Disney restaurants can be pretty hit or miss and with the inflated prices they charge, to me it is always a risk trying something new. My friend Sheena and I decided to take the gamble and have our girl’s night out at a Disney Springs because we wanted to get in some shopping. It was a last minute decision so available reservations were limited, out of the available options Frontera Cocina won out.
Frontera Cocina, a Chef Rick Bayless Mexican eatery, opened June 27, 2016 and with me being an avid fan of just about all Latin food, I am surprised it took me this long to try it.
We arrived about 15 minutes early for our reservation and were told, despite empty tables all around, that they do not seat reservations early, okay no problem we can get a little shopping in while we wait. Upon returning, we were directed to the hostess to be seated. Looking around, there are shelves lined with vivid Oaxacan carvings and interesting tequila bottles. The walls are brightly painted and the focal point is a beautiful tiled mosaic, the restaurant also features a semi-open kitchen and a full stand alone bar.
This restaurant gets very mixed reviews online but I am happy to report we had a great meal and experience. We started with drinks (Sangria for me!) and an order of the chips and salsa, which for me are like crack, so I proceeded to nearly spoil my appetite on them. They were a heavier chip served with both smoky chipotle salsa and a salsa verde.
It took me forever to order the main dish because there were so many great options (red snapper, shrimp, carne asada…) on the menu. In the end my personal favorite Mexican meat dish, carnitas, was the winner and I was not disappointed, it was moist and had a great citrus flavor. I should mention that they were very accommodating with substitutions, I hate beans and guacamole and was allowed to substitute the cotija cheese mashed potatoes and crema. Sheena had an easier time, from the moment she saw the carne asada she was sure that was the right choice, she was not disappointed either. I tried the carne asada and can confirm it had a great flavor, it was a bit overcooked for me, I prefer my beef cooked medium but Sheena likes a more well done steak so she was happy. She thought the beans and plantains were great as well, I think I have mentioned that I loathe beans and while I do love sweet plantains, these were served topped with crema and cotija cheese, I also do not mix my sweet and salty foods so I did not try them.
Despite being so full I could just die at this point, I was with Sheena and if there is one thing I can say about her, the girl loves dessert! Frontera Cocina doesn’t have your garden variety Mexican tres leches, which BTW is one of my favorite desserts, they step it up a notch and add one more leches to the mix for a cuatro leches cake. Had. To. Have. It! It also had coconut and lime zest added, the lime zest I wasn’t sure about for a tres (sorry cuatro!) leches cake but the subtle lime flavor added a unique twist and it tasted amazing!
From reading other’s reviews, I cannot promise you will have the great experience we did but if they remain consistent to what we experienced, you will have a very enjoyable meal.
Also, they do provide discounts for Disney Annual Pass holders, Tables in Wonderland members and Disney cast members (lunch only.)