Delicious Disney: Shutters at Old Port Royale

Shutters (At Disney Again)The phrase “Hidden Gem” is tossed around an awful lot, especially as it pertains to Disney. Which is sort of ridiculous. Because there’s really not much that’s hidden at Disney World. That’s, sort of the point, right? A buffet of family-friendly fun, everywhere you turn.

But Shutters actually is something of a hidden treasure. For starters: It’s at Caribbean Beach. It’s a beautiful resort and a great place to stay … but it’s absolutely not a place I think of when I think “good food.”

Plus, it’s located at the faaaaaaaaaar end of Old Port Royale. Unless you know it’s there (and even if you do, frankly), your main entry point for Shutters walks you through the entire food court. That’s five (or six?) windows of delicious options. If you’re really hungry, it’s easy to get distracted.

Then, to check in to the table service spot, you have to walk through what basically amounts to a hot-plate obstacle course … because the kitchen for Shutters is directly opposite the dining room, and the check-in desk is on the other side of the expanse of tiled floor that every entree must pass over before it gets to the table.

See?

Photo Credit: Dining At Disney

Anyway, it’s hidden. But once you get past the less-than-ideal location, Shutters is a gem!

I don’t know anything much about the Caribbean. I visited there, once, for five or six hours. But my mind’s eye tells me it’s a vibrant, colorful place … and so is Shutters. It’s set up in four or five separate small dining rooms–some of them are dressed up as “outdoor” seating while others are set inside a comfy Caribbean home. It’s all loud and vibrant and fun.

Over the past couple of years, Dan and I have been here four (or maybe? five) times for dinner. (They only do dinner!) Because it’s a nice, little out-of-the-way place where you can always get an ADR and you never have trouble parking (which isn’t always the case at Port Orleans for Boatwright’s). The food and service are good … and his mom likes to stay at CBR, so it’s a nice place to meet up with her.

And they have great cocktails …

In keeping with the Caribbean theme, there’s a rum flight. Two, actually–one is made up of Caribbean brands and the other is all Captain Morgan blends. Dan opted for the Caribbean flight, and he says the rums are different from those served at Trader Sam’s, and they were served room temperature for sipping (as they’re meant to be). He’s also enjoyed the Southern Hurricane (SoCo with OJ, pineapple juice and grenadine) and a coconut porter from Orange Blossom Brewing.

For my part, I regularly order the Caribbean Smuggler (rums with cranberry and pineapple juice), and when I feel like I’ve had one too many, I sip a Coconut Elixir.

First, bread came for the table–these are not your standard rolls. They’re slightly sweet and reminiscent of Jamaican coco bread. Then it’s time for apps!  Above, you’ll see we’ve tried the chicken wings with habanero-brown sugar glaze, the chorizo-black bean soup and some braised beef and pepper jack empanadas.

Dan loved (loved!) those chicken wings–the sauce was sticky and flavorful, on the sweeter side of sweet-and-spicy. I don’t eat chorizo, but Dan said the soup had nice big chunks of it in there. And the empanadas were loaded with flavorful, recognizable ingredients (not a bunch of stuff ground into an indecipherable paste).

Dinner time! I love, love shrimp, but I typically don’t order it (because Dan’s allergic), but something about Shutters makes me think, what the hell! So above, you’ll see my Caesar salad with shrimp (obviously from the end of a trip, when I realize I hadn’t even seen a vegetable in days) as well as an order of Citrus BBQ Shrimp and Grits. Both were totally delish.

Dan tucked into the short ribs and found them excellent–tender and flavorful. He also liked the pasta chorizo. It was, he said, well spiced–not Disney weak, like many “spicy” dishes you order on property. Above, you’ll also see seared chicken breast in coconut curry and pan-seared mahi. Yum!!

What’s dinner without dessert?? Over the course of our many visits, we’ve tried the banana bread pudding with rum-caramel sauce (yum!), a trio of tres leches cakes (tres treses … deliciouso!), vanilla cheesecake topped with a banana brûlée, an unidentifiable (but delicious looking) dessert, and a sugar-free strawberry creme brûlée. All delightful.

In fact, I really can’t remember a single thing I’ve had here that wasn’t excellent-to-really-good. Like I said earlier, it really is the definition of a hidden gem at Disney World.

Have you ever dined at Shutters? Let us know what you thought in the comments below!