This has always been one of the more troubling restaurant spaces at Walt Disney World. Not that Citricos hasn’t offered good (sometimes very good) food in the past. On the contrary, the quality of the food here has always been fine. And over its 20 years in existence, it has been served by some excellent chefs, including Roland Muller, Gray Byrum and Phillip Ponticelli. After Ponticelli left, in 2015, to take over the kitchen at Golden Oak, Dominque Filoni was hired as the restaurant’s fourth chef de cuisine.
(Full disclosure: In 2015, Scott Joseph Company’s consulting division was hired by WDW to perform a guest experience analysis. Those findings are not included in this review.)
What has made this a troubling restaurant is its relative lack of proper identity. Considering that most restaurants at Walt Disney World, especially those we see opening at Disney Springs, come with a legend or backstory that explain their existence, Citricos has no such history.
Long-timers will recall that the restaurant was originally called Flagler’s when the Grand Floridian Resort originally opened, in 1988. Although it had the name of a historical Floridian figure, it was an Italian restaurant, which didn’t make much sense.
And when it was rebranded, in 1997, as Citricos, it kept a Mediterranean mien.
That apparently isn’t going to change. But if the restaurant itself doesn’t have focus, Filoni certainly does. I can tell you that the quality of the food has never been better than it is now.