Lunch Review Of Maria & Enzo’s Ristorante At Disney Springs

The Patina Restaurant Group has been bringing quality Italian food to Walt Disney World guests for years with its popular restaurants in Epcot's Italy Pavilion. These days you don't have to have a theme park ticket to be treated to a fantastic meal that tastes like the old world. Maria & Enzo's Ristorante is one of three eateries that shares the space of an old airport terminal lakeside at Disney Springs. I stopped in for lunch with a tasting crew in tow so we could find out first hand how good this new restaurant is.

Maria & Enzo's Ristorante In Disney SpringsMaria & Enzo's Ristorante In Disney Springs

As the story goes, Maria and Enzo were "an immigrant couple from Italy, ran a bakery in what was once the Air Terminal for Disney Springs. When the terminal closed, Maria & Enzo opened a pizza-by-the-slice shop by the name of Pizza Ponte. That business venture was so successful in the town of Disney Springs that it allowed Maria and Enzo to purchase the closed air terminal and transform it into Maria & Enzo's Ristorante."

The restaurant features a stunning dining room with 50-foot ceilings and views of Lake Buena Vista with Aerophile and Disney's Saratoga Springs Resort across the way.

Guests Get A Stunning View Before SittingGuests Get A Stunning View Before Sitting
The Tree In The Middle Of The Room Enchants MeThe Tree In The Middle Of The Room Enchants Me

Art decor details tell the story of travel in a golden age when taking a trip by air was glamorous. The 1930's design infuses the space that use to hold passengers bustling to and fro into an elegant setting for this Italian Trattoria.

Not only was the space a stunner, but our friendly waiter (who himself was Italian) oozed charm and gracious service. Two of us dining (my daughter Tori and I) were using the Deluxe Disney Dining Plan; and friend JoAnn was paying out of pocket. Our server coached us on how to save some money and get the most value from our overall experience at the restaurant. His tips were most appreciated, because when paying out of pocket at Maria & Enzo's it can run you up a hefty tab.

Points On The Globe Mark Disney ParksPoints On The Globe Mark Disney Parks
Art Deco DetailingArt Deco Detailing
Interior Posters Promote Air TravelInterior Posters Promote Air Travel

If you are feeling like a special treat, serene adult dining is available in the First Class Lounge. This cozy yet elegant dining room is off to the side of the restaurant can be made by request, or you may simply be "bumped up" for your seating. First Class perks include a complimentary glass of Prosecco for adults.

Ask For An UpgradeAsk For An Upgrade
Display Case Near The First Class LoungeDisplay Case Near The First Class Lounge
The First Class LoungeThe First Class Lounge

Arriving at our seats we found the table set, and a bread basket at the ready. There is a lot to take in, so be sure to give yourself a few moments to look around at the cavernous space. The super fresh, soft Italian bread has a crisp crust and was lightly dusted with flour. The quality of the crumb heralded the deliciousness to come.

Maria & Enzo's Ristorante MenuMaria & Enzo's Ristorante Menu
Place Setting And Bread ServicePlace Setting And Bread Service
Start Your Meal With Bread ServiceStart Your Meal With Bread Service

Of course there were cocktails! Maria & Enzo's Ristorante drink selection is truly something to behold. Snagging a sommelier from Epcot's Tutto Gusto, the wine list offers 100 choices of fine Italian wines to choose from. Italy's specialty liqueurs are also on the menu in prominent fashion with Campari being a key ingredient to many cocktails, several varieties of Limoncello, and delicious bubbly Prosecco. If one drink isn't enough, the beverage menu boast pitchers of sangria, and five different varieties of alcohol fuled flights so you can discover even more regional flavors.

There are also plenty of non-alcoholic drinks available to sip and enjoy with your meal including specialty waters and mocktails.

Watermelon Spritz CocktailWatermelon Spritz Cocktail
Frangola Smash CocktailFrangola Smash Cocktail

We started off on our meal with a round of appetizers that we all shared. JoAnn ordered the Salumi e Formaggi, which included a 24 month aged prosciutto di parma salametto piccante, mortadella with pistachio, pecorino romano, parmigiano reggiano, caciocavallo, and a selection of olives. The prosciutto di parma was rich and had a melt in your mouth texture, pairing perfectly with the sharpness of the aged cheeses.

Salumi e FormaggiSalumi e Formaggi

I ordered the Arancicni, because this is one of my favorite dishes. These lightly fried rice balls are filled with italian sausage and fior di latte mozzarella. The portions are surprisingly big, but I felt let down a bit when it came to flavor. While all three of us agreed that they were good enough, they were really sort of bland. The dish could benefit with a bit more salt or a stronger aged cheese. As it was, all of the flavors and textures inside melted together without there being any real "pow" to the dish.
everyone agreed

Are You A Sucker For AranciniAre You A Sucker For Arancini
Cross Section Of The Arancini de CarneCross Section Of The Arancini de Carne

My daughter ordered the Caciocavallo Fritto, which are Fried Sicilian Cheese Fritters, served with a sweet tomato sauce. The menu claims the tomato sauce is "spicy," I beg to differ. Fried cheese is something most folks can agree on and the soft and creamy center of these did not disappoint.

Caciocavallo fritt - The Goodness Of Fried CheeseCaciocavallo fritt - The Goodness Of Fried Cheese

The menu has been changed up a bit since we ate here last Fall, but the basic Disney entree formula remains. You'll find a selection of chicken, beef, fish, and pasta entrees that all evoke the food theme of the restaurant, in this case Italian. Each of our entrees was hearty and flavorful. The portions were large, so makes sure you don't fill up on appetizers and bread. This is a great place to eat if you want to take left-overs back to the room for later.

Maria & Enzo's serves classic varieties of pasta sourced from The Gentile Pasta Factory, founded in 1876, in Gragnano, Italy. Where all the best pasta comes from, if you ask anyone in Gragnano. They use the same tried and true process that pasta-makers have been using since the sixteenth century. It doesn't get much more authentic.

On the day we went to Maria & Enzo's my tasting crew ordered Steak Pizzeola, Sicilian Baked Pasta, and Torchio al Pollo.

Baked Sicilian PastaBaked Sicilian Pasta
Steak PizzeollaSteak Pizzeolla

Without a doubt, we agreed that the Torchio al Pollo was the best of what we ordered. Perhaps that's why it's the one dish still listed on the menu online. When I asked my daughter to recall her thoughts she smiled and said "I won that meal!" This spiral shaped pasta was cooked perfectly al dente, and was sauced with just the right amount of roasted chicken ragu, toasted garlic, and parmesan cream. The rich sauce never broke, and it's silky texture held well balanced flavor.

The Chicken Sausage Ragu Was First RateThe Chicken Sausage Ragu Was First Rate

Be sure to save room for dessert because Italian pastries are worth holding out some room in your stomach. We ordered Enzo's Torta, which is a chocolate and mascarpone cheesecake. It was good cheesecake, but has faded a bit in memory.

The Cassata Siciliana is an interesting choice on this menu, and was nothing that I expected when I ordered it. A traditional, Sicilian ricotta layered sponge cake, this traditional Italian sweet is said to be "born of a fascination with sugar." Beautiful to look at, this super sweet liqueur-soaked cake is not for folks under 21.

Enzos TortaEnzos Torta
Cassata Siciliana DessertCassata Siciliana Dessert

Maria & Enzo's Surprise Dessert Sensation was without a doubt the tiramisu, which was so light and airy, with just the right touch of coffee flavor I wrote an article just about it. It's not listed on the menu, so if you want to give it a try be sure to ask your server.

Heavenly TiramisuHeavenly Tiramisu

I absolutely loved Maria & Enzo's Ristorante, so did my table mates. Our server was phenomenal, not only making suggestions for our meal, but truly going above and beyond to try and make us happy. He got a huge tip. My only complaint was that we had to rush a bit through the end to catch our Magical Express home. That was my own fault though, this is a leisurely meal that should be enjoyed at a relaxed pace. Maria & Enzo's takes the Disney Dining Plan, and it's an absolutely amazing 1 Table Service Credit meal.

Three Tips For Eating at Maira & Enzo's:

  1. Go hungry because they feed you like your Italian Grandma would.
  2. Don't go if you are in a hurry, this is dining at a leisurely pace.
  3. Share with your table mates, you just might find something delicious by surprise.

Have you eaten at Maria & Enzo's yet? Be sure to share your thought of this restaurant in the comments below.

JoAnn C wrote on Fri, 05/24/2019 - 01:48:

JoAnn C's picture

I really enjoyed having lunch with you and Tori. Hope we can do it again some day.

Kristen K. wrote on Sun, 05/26/2019 - 13:18:

Kristen K.'s picture

I did too JoAnn! It was a great meal with fantastic company. You were so patient and accepting of my quirks when working! That was very much appreciated.

Chris E wrote on Fri, 05/31/2019 - 04:25:

Chris E's picture

We gave this place a try earlier this year when they were running the AP discounts. It was dead, nobody was there, where scared us a little bit, but, once we had our meal, we were pretty impressed. Was it the best Italian we have ever had, no, but, on Disney property and at 40% off, it was amazing. We loved it and it has since been on our list ever since.

Post new comment

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly. If you have a Gravatar account associated with the e-mail address you provide, it will be used to display your avatar.

More information about formatting options