REVIEW: Why We’re Willing To Pay $13 For BREAD In Disney World

With over 200+ restaurants in Disney World, it’s no wonder choosing where to eat during your vacation can be a challenge. And, while you can opt for the big hitters like Be Our Guest Restaurant and Cinderella’s Royal Table, you might want to visit a restaurant that is a bit more low-key that still brags some seriously delicious eats. But, where can you find such a perfect mix?

Ale & Compass!

Well, we’re headed over to Ale & Compass Restaurant in Disney’s Yacht Club Resort to see if it still fits the bill! This underrated spot is a Cape Cod-meets-Gastropub restaurant that features cozy comfort food with a bit of a refined touch. You’ll find it near Yachtsman Steakhouse and Cape May Café and there are a few extensions of the restaurant including the grab-and-go Ale & Compass Market and the bar Ale & Compass Lounge. Now, we usually enjoy this spot a lot, but it’s not super memorable in our book — so, let’s see if Ale & Compass can break the cycle and dazzle us!

In the past, we’ve thought that this restaurant is good…but that’s pretty much it. Don’t get us wrong, it does a lot of things well, but it just doesn’t excel in anything in particular and doesn’t really stand in the crowd. Both its breakfast and dinner offerings are pleasing to the eye and to the stomach, but we’ve never been ones to call home about this restaurant. So, usually, we’re recommending this restaurant to those who are nearby because otherwise, it isn’t worth the trip. But, since we were in the neighborhood, we decided to stop by for a bite!

Atmosphere

One of the first things that you’ll notice when you arrive at Ale & Compass is the Cape Cod-esque, nautical-inspired style of the restaurant. The decorations and vibe match perfectly with the rest of the Yacht Club, which makes sense because it’s basically located in the lobby!

Checking in!

Inside, you’ll find one big dining room with a central dining area that is inspired by the interior of a lighthouse (get it, yacht club…lighthouse…nautical? You get the point). There is also some additional seating around that main interior structure, but the setting is overall pretty open even with the rooms seemingly “split.”

On our way to the dining room

One of the big highlights of this restaurant is the open kitchen! Here, you can watch as Disney’s chefs work on your meal (and others). You won’t be able to see this from every table in the restaurant, but if you’ve got kiddos this could be a great place to take them while you wait on your food.

The open kitchen!

We were seated in the part of the dining room that is meant to be “inside the lighthouse.” It is a bit on the dim side but the gastropub lighting and dark furniture give it a refined feel, similar to Le Cellier in EPCOT. Don’t worry though, you won’t need a flashlight for this spot, it’s a lot brighter than it looks!

It’s a little bit dark in here…

Seating-wise, there’s a mix of both booths and chairs and at the table, you’ll find utensils with cloth napkins when you first take a seat. Plus, you have fresh-cracked salt and pepper readily available! If you’re looking for bar seating, we suggest heading to Ale & Compass Lounge instead.

Our table for the evening!

Like most other restaurants in Disney World in the COVID-19 era, you won’t be given a paper menu to browse at your table. Instead, you’ll need to scan the QR code at the table to access the menu.

The QR code for the menu!

And, speaking of it, let’s take a look at the menu!

Eats

On the menu, they have a few starters, like the Lobster and Corn Chowder and the Roasted Garlic Shrimp, as well as a number of salads and flatbreads.

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And, in terms of main plates, there are quite a few up-scale offerings including comforting dishes like the New England Seafood Pot Pie and the Cabernet-braised Short Ribs, along with some enhancements you can add to your main plate. Just keep in mind that these entrees are a bit pricier than your average dinner out — ranging from $17-$34 — though, for Disney World restaurants, this is pretty comparable.

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Of course, what’s a Disney meal (or any meal for that matter) without dessert? And, these desserts are fancy with things like a TWELVE-LAYER Chocolate Cake, Warm Apple Cobbler, and an Enchanted Forest Cake — YUM!

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For the kiddos age 9 and under, there are a few kids’ appetizers as well as entrées for the create-your-own kids’ meals.

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And, along with one of the entrées, the kid’s create-your-own-meal includes the option of two sides, with four savory options and two sweet options. There’s also a kid’s specialty drink!

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Next are non-alcoholic beverages, which are really just different types of coffee…

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…and if you want something a bit boozier to pair with your meal, you’ll also find a great selection of wine…

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…beer, hard cider, and signature cocktails!

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There are also a few other cocktail options as well!

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Plus, there’s, even MORE, to drink on the menu! If you’re looking for a good way to cap off your meal, check out the After Dinner Drinks, which include the hilariously named How Dare You.

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If you’re dining with an allergy, you’ll be able to determine what you can and can’t eat by using the allergy-friendly menu. It features similar starters, salads, flatbreads…

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…allergy-friendly main plates…

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…allergy-friendly desserts…

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…allergy-friendly kids’ appetizers, kids’ create-your-own entrées…

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...and allergy-friendly kids’ create-your-own selections!

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So, let’s dig in!

First up we ordered the Purple Mariner, which is made with Hendrick’s Gin, Crème de Violette, Simple Syrup, and Fresh Lemon Juice topped with Soda Water for $14. This drink had a very light flavor and despite the lemon wedge and juice, we didn’t find that this wasn’t sour at all. Now we will say that the drink had a bit more of a blue hue versus purple, but we could get past the color thanks to its smooth, not overly-boozy taste.

The only gripe we had with this one was that the glass was a bit on the small side for what you’re paying. However, this is the perfect drink for people who don’t really love that boozy flavor but still want to have something with a bit of a kick that’s refreshing.

The Purple Mariner!

Now, here at DFB, we are ALL FOR a good bread service and Ale & Compass DELIVERS on that front! The Parker House Rolls with Spreads doesn’t come complimentary with your meal, but if you’re dining here, we suggest spending the extra $13 and saving money elsewhere in your meal because these are seriously GOOD.

The Parker House Rolls with Spreads!

The parker house rolls come with Bacon Jam, Pub Cheese, and Citrus Butter spreads for your dipping pleasure and each one is good in its own right.

First up is the Citrus Butter spread which has a nice light, fruity aftertaste. Honestly, these rolls would be great even if this was the only spread available but — that being said — this was actually our least favorite of the three spreads.

Citrus Spread!

Coming in second place on our spread ranking is the Bacon Jam spread. This one is a delicious savory-sweet combo and it’s obvious that Disney uses real bacon in their jam because it had that delicious flavor that you just can’t get from bacon bits. This spread paired really well with the rolls since both have a nice, salty, and sweet flavor profile.

Bacon Spread!

And, our favorite? Why it’s got to be the Pub Cheese! It was nice and creamy with a slight sharpness to it that made it the perfect complement to the rolls. The consistency was a little bit similar to cream cheese making it really easy to spread an overly-generous portion on our rolls.

Pub Cheese Spread!

If you decide to treat yourself to this tasty appetizer, here’s our very BEST pro tip — cut open the roll so you can get the maximum surface area for your spread and then combine the bacon jam and the pub cheese. You won’t be disappointed! 😋

Delicious!

If you’d prefer to pass on the carbs overload but you still want an appetizer to start your meal, the Roasted “Buffalo-Style” Cauliflower are just as drool-worthy. This dish comes with Hearts of Romaine and Herb Ranch and is available for $9. And, we’ve got to say, this one is another winner — the crunch of the cauliflower, the spicy buffalo sauce, and the cool herb ranch all come together for a perfect bite.

Roasted “Buffalo-Style” Cauliflower!

But, be warned — if you’re not big on spicy food, steer clear of this one! It is DRENCHED in buffalo sauce and you won’t be able to escape the spiciness. However, the herbed ranch does help quite a bit.

These were excellent!

For our entrée, we grabbed the Bacon and Vermont Cheddar Burger with Truffle Fries for $20. This one comes with Caramelized Onion on a Parker House Bun with Applewood-smoked Bacon, Lettuce, Tomato, and Herbed Mayonnaise and is a great option for all you burger lovers out there (though there was a LOT of lettuce on ours that made it a bit messy to eat). 

Bacon and Vermont Cheddar Burger with Truffle Fries

We ordered ours medium-rare and it was done perfectly! And, although we wish there was a bit more cheese, this was a juicy burger with crisp bacon, a nice fluffy bun, and delicious toppings. The onions definitely added a nice texture and a good aromatic flavor.

A delicious pink burger!

The burger also comes with a side of fries and, while these might look like your typical Disney World fries, look again! These are actually TRUFFLE fries (which automatically makes them better) that are cut and fried fresh at Ale & Compass and it shows. We were a bit surprised that the fries themselves didn’t have any truffle flavor, but the herbed mayo definitely brought the truffliness (is truffliness a word? Well, it is now!).

The fries were crisp and fresh!

Speaking of the herbed mayo, the sauce itself offers up a creamy, fatty, and full of savory, truffle flavor. It’s a great complement to the crisp, warm fries and definitely added some much-needed flavor.

The herbed mayo was a nice touch!

And, to top off our meal, we ordered up the Warm Apple Cobbler, which is available for $7 and features Spiced Granny Smith Apples, Butter Streusel, and Frozen Vanilla Custard. This one came out piping HOT! The streusel had a nice bit of crunch without being dry and the frozen custard went amazingly with the spiced apples, giving this dish a nice balanced sweetness.

Our only complaint is that there wasn’t MORE frozen custard!

Warm Apple Cobbler — the perfect way to end a meal!

Regardless, this was a delicious dessert, just not very unique. But, if you’ve been craving an indulgent dessert, this is definitely worth the calories.

Am I the only one drooling?

Nosh or Not

Head over to Ale & Compass if…

  • You’re looking for something fancy but family-friendly. The restaurant itself has more of an up-scale feel but the menu is approachable for almost anyone — even your pickiest eater!
  • You’re staying at an EPCOT Resort. We’re not necessarily saying that you should cancel your reservation at Le Cellier to dine here, but if you’re in the area and you want a nice meal this is a great option!
  • You’re looking for a filling meal for a reasonable price.

Steer clear of this spot if…

  • You want more of that “Disney feel.” Spots like Topolino’s Terrace — Flavors of the Riviera and California Grill offer a similar up-scale atmosphere but have a bit more of that Disney feel.
  • You’re looking for something unique. Though they are tasty, there’s nothing all that fancy about the menu offerings here that you can’t find elsewhere in Disney World.
  • You’re looking for a quick (and cheap) meal. If you’re not staying at an EPCOT Resort you’ll be dedicating a lot of time to get here and it may not be entirely worth all the effort.

Overall

All in all, it was great to be back at Ale & Compass! There was attentive service, a good atmosphere, and delicious food making it a must-try spot if you’re staying in the EPCOT resort area and you want something that’s a hint fancy, family-friendly, and outside of the parks. It’s definitely one of those “there’s something for everyone” spots that can really come in handy when you’ve got a lot of mouths to feed. The price is also another great aspect of this restaurant, being full and spending a little bit under $75 at a Disney World table-service restaurant is a pretty decent price point.

The only thing about this spot is that, as usual, it kind of suffers from the fact that, although it’s very good at what it does, it just doesn’t do anything that’s unique enough to set it apart from other Disney World spots. Don’t get us wrong, this restaurant does everything well, but other restaurants do specific things excellently. But, if you’re looking for gastropub-meets-Cape-Cod food options that’ll make everyone happy, this is your restaurant.

That being said, it’s hard to ignore the fact that Ale & Compass is located right next to EPCOT, a park with some of Disney World’s best restaurants, along with two nearby restaurants also in the Yacht & Beach Club Resort area that outshine it. Options like Yachtsman Steakhouse and Le Cellier are better at being fancy, while spots like Beaches & Cream, La Creperie de Paris, and Via Napoli are better at bringing casual but delicious dining. Plus, this spot just doesn’t have the unique flair that many of Disney’s table-service options have. There are no memorable dishes like Takumi-Tei or impressive theming like Space 220. So, yes, Ale & Compass is a great restaurant, but that’s all it is. Whether or not that’s enough for you, that’s up to you to decide.

Of course, we’re always making our way around the Disney World restaurants to bring you our full reviews and updates. So, be sure to stay tuned to DFB for the latest and to help you decide where to eat when you visit!

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What do you think about Ale & Compass? Let us know in the comments! 

The post REVIEW: Why We’re Willing To Pay For BREAD In Disney World first appeared on the disney food blog.

REVIEW: Why We’re Willing To Pay $13 For BREAD In Disney World