For those who still lament the loss of the Sunday brunch at La Coquina, take heart. The newly established brunch at California Grill may be the worthy replacement.
Like La Coquina, the fine dining restaurant in the Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress Resort that stopped serving in 2012, California Grill offers an elegant repast in a sumptuous setting at an extravagant cost.
CG, of course, is one of Disney’s top restaurants, figuratively for its upscale dining experience and literally for its location on the 15th floor of the Contemporary Resort. The restaurant is ordinarily open only for dinner, so dining during the daytime and being able to take in the bright vistas through the large windows — a sight that includes a Dumbo’s-eye view of the Magic Kingdom — is an especial treat.
La Coquina, you’ll recall, was special because the salads, charcuterie, cold seafoods and other starter foods were set up at stations inside the hotel’s kitchen, which ordinarily was out of sight of the diners.
California Grill does sort of the same thing with its opening courses. But since it features an open show kitchen (hard to believe it was one of the first restaurants in the area to bring the kitchen out front), such foods as salads, sushi and cured meats are set up in front of the kitchen stations without the need to go "backstage." And, as was the case at La Coquina, the entree course is ordered separately and delivered to the table.
Here’s where there is a major departure between the two experiences: La Coquina featured bottomless glasses of mimosas or Champagne — and good stuff, too. California Grill offers one welcome drink, then you’ll be billed separately if you would like more. And that welcome drink does not include CG’s Bloody Mary bar.