Take a bite of the food or a sip of a cocktail at the Gran Destino Tower’s crown jewel, Toledo – Tapas, Steaks & Seafoods, and you may forget for a just a moment you’re in Orlando, Florida.
At least, that was the case for me when I sampled some of the offerings from the tower’s newest restaurant ahead of its grand opening on July 9, 2019.
Having lived for a few months in the old Spanish capital myself, I immediately felt transported to the small city of Toledo when I spotted the jamón Ibérico on the table, bit into the tortilla española and caught a whiff of fresh saffron. The food and beverage, in step with Gran Destino’s homage to Spanish culture, is a refreshing departure from typical event food.
Here’s what you can expect on your first trip to the restaurant.
My first impression of Toledo’s cuisine was that it felt authentically Spanish. Turns out, many of the ingredients are from Spain, making these dishes the real deal.
“This is Disney’s first tapas location,” said Robby Sayles, lead chef at Toledo – Tapas, Steaks & Seafood; Dahlia Lounge; and Barcelona Lounge. “Here, you can see some pintxos and cazuelas, typical Spanish tapas.
Tapas Spread at Toledo – Tapas, Steaks & Seafood
“We try to import all of our ingredients from Spain and we also focus on sustainable food practices, using what’s in season,” he added.
During the preview of the restaurant and my interview with Sayles, my eyes enjoyed a feast of traditional Spanish ingredients, like freshly sliced jamón Ibérico (cured ham) and four aged Manchego cheeses.
Jamón Ibérico at Toledo – Tapas, Steaks & Seafood
I sampled a few tapas, including the tortilla española—an egg-potato bake—and olive oil-poached tuna, and the freshness and rich flavor of each had me counting the minutes until dinner.
Later in the evening, I was treated to a larger spread of tapas that the restaurant offers on its menu, including:
- Seared scallops with a side of bean hummus and favas
- Hangar steak with potatoes
- Marinated olives
- Rioja-braised chorizo
- Bravas potatoes
- Chilled marinated mussels
- Aged Manchego cheese
- Sliced jamón Ibérico
Cheese Spread During Tapas Meal at Toledo – Tapas, Steaks & Seafood
Little bites meant more room for dessert, and there were options for chocolate lovers and citrus fans. My favorites included:
- Classic Crema Catalana: This traditional Spanish treat is also known as “burnt cream,” and featured flaky pastry crust filled with milk custard and topped with small orange pieces and chocolate bits.
- Spanish coffee-flavored, crunchy chocolate bars topped with raspberry mousse and lemon curd.
- Café con Leche Choux: This was my personal favorite of the bunch. These bites were light chocolate pastries topped with dark chocolate-coffee flavored truffles sitting on top of vanilla whipped cream.
Classic Crema Catalana Dessert at Toledo – Tapas, Steaks & Seafood
The grazing style of tapas and small desserts lends itself well to large groups.
Though I was a part of a big crowd, we helped ourselves at our leisure and were able to mingle with others while munching.
In the adjacent Dahlia Lounge, the signature cocktail of Gran Destino was on display—a golden twist on gin and tonic. The “Gran Gin Tonic” gets its rich hue from the saffron-orange-infused simple syrup that’s mixed with gin, tonic water, juniper berries and sprig of rosemary.
Gran Gin and Tonic at Dahlia Lounge Inside Gran Destino Tower
Saffron is a key ingredient in paella, a famous Spanish dish originating in eastern Valencia, Spain. Though I’d eaten saffron in paella plenty of times, this was my first time seeing the iconic ingredient in a drink.
According to Michael Scheifler, the food and beverage proprietor for Gran Destino, 80% of the wines available at the tower are from Spain, and many of the beers on draft originate from there as well. Each cocktail on the list is unique to Gran Destino—meaning you can’t find them anywhere else.
The Dahlia Lounge has an attached patio as well, delivering sweeping views of the Disney parks and grounds and is a perfect pre-dinner networking spot for groups.
Private Dining Options for Groups
Groups can take advantage of the truly impressive interior of Toledo for their own use—the restaurant has three dining rooms that can seat up to 24 people in each, or planners can buy out the entire restaurant for a private event, which can host around 200 people.
Private Dining Room at Toledo – Tapas, Steaks & Seafood
Sayles explained that he can work with planners to tweak menu offerings, catering to any dietary needs of attendees.
As a bonus, Toledo is home to some of the best views in Disney—from its balcony and through the restaurants large windows, diners are treated to a birds-eye view of Disney’s theme parks:
- Magic Kingdom
- Animal Kingdom
- Hollywood Studios
In Hollywood Studios, you can spot the almost-open Star War’s Galaxy’s Edge.
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