We Survived A Reservation At Tony’s Town Square Restaurant

Tony's Town Square Restaurant sign

It’s trip report time yet again! Come along on my long weekend trip to Walt Disney World for the Princess Half Marathon. Any race weekend requires pasta, so in this installment we take a chance on Tony’s Town Square restaurant. You can see all the post in this report here. Onward!

In a comparatively grim Magic Kingdom dining lineup, Tony’s Town Square Restaurant’s reputation precedes it… in that it is generally agreed to be not great. Well, in truth, I’ve seen two kinds of reviews of this place: glowing or horrific, with the pendulum frequently swinging toward the latter. Still, our needs for this meal were minimal: some edible pasta that would fuel our Princess Half Marathon in the morning. Could Tony’s rise to this challenge and surpass our expectations? Let’s find out!

TONY’S TOWN SQUARE RESTAURANT ATMOSPHERE

It’s not indicative of an impressive vocabulary, but the first word that springs to mind when I think of Tony’s Town Square is “cute.” They’ve taken a vaguely early-20th-century (even Victorian in aesthetic?) building and decor and done it up with tons of adorable little Lady and the Tramp touches.

There are three dining areas: an outdoor porch, the solarium (where we were seated), and an indoor dining room where I would argue the bulk of the decoration resided. If you really want to maximize your Tramp-iness, ask to sit here; if you want to people-watch, outdoors is your best bet; and for all the comforts of the great indoors with a window on the World, the solarium is advantageous.

FOOD

Follow along the the menu here!

To start, we allowed ourselves to be talked into the “garlic bread for the table.” Described as toasted ciabatta with roasted garlic-butter and parmesan fonduta, this garlic bread arrives in a Jenga stack as opposed to more traditional slices. There’s a cheese/cream sauce on the side, which is not my literal nor figurative jam (I don’t want Alfredo anything), although Becky seemed to like it well enough.

In my humble and yet somehow inescapable opinion, the bread didn’t need the cheese sauce anyway. It was quite delicious, with crisp crust, soft body, and generous garlic-and-butter spread that was sufficient without being overwhelming. I carried a to-go box of the remainder all the way back to Wilderness Lodge if that tells you anything. Did it transcend the average good garlic bread? No, but it was a darned good example all the same. Do recommend.

For my entree, I went with the classic spaghetti and meatballs. Per the menu: house-made beef and pork meatballs served over spaghetti with Tony’s marinara sauce. Usually I get this exact meal at Everything Pop the night before my races, so I was very curious to discover how a table service restaurant’s rendition would stack.

The answer is: it depends by which metric you’re judging. Tony’s portion is larger, so you can start there; two runners with smaller appetites could share with the bread add-on. The marinara was similar in flavor, but less watery than Everything Pop’s quick service sauce, which is nice.

The lowlight is unfortunately the pasta itself – I’ll lay down a five spot bet that they used a dried box just like you do at home. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, per se, but it’s certainly no better than what the food court is serving up.

On the other hand, the meatballs were a definite highlight! They do in fact taste homemade just as advertised. The flavor is more delicate than Pop’s meatball. And in texture Tony’s meatball is genuinely superior – while Pop’s meatballs are dense, Tony’s are light with exactly the right amount of chew.

One more area Tony’s take the crown is in the cheese. Unlike those condiment bar parmesan dust packets, you get legit shredded parmesan here. Score one for Team Bella Notte.

Alas, no fun drinks this time around since we had a half marathon to run in the morning. I will note that this is one of the Magic Kingdom establishments that does in fact serve alcohol. They even had a cocktail menu. I’d still rather hit up a monorail resort bar myself, but if that’s not an option for you, Tony’s is a workable stopgap.

SERVICE

Our server was quite animated and enthusiastic about… everything, really. He saw us taking pictures of our food (bloggers gonna blog) and insisted upon building us a more photogenic tablescape, then stopped us on the way out and gave us a spontaneous tour of the inside dining room’s details.

Obviously not every Cast Member is going to give you the same experience, but isn’t that sort of thing part of what makes the Disney difference? It’s the people that make it Disney, not the food. Ideally you’d have both, admittedly. Still, if your Cast Member rocks and your food is decent, you’re doing pretty well in the grand scheme of things.

THE SCORE ON TONY’S TOWN SQUARE RESTAURANT

Did Tony’s Town Square Restaurant rise above its unfortunate reputation as one of the worst places on Disney property? I would say so. I might not go so far as to say I was impressed, but I left satisfied and I had fun.

If you expect to be in the Magic Kingdom the night before a race and could use some pasta, you could do much worse! (Get some garlic bread; it also makes a great post-race snack.) If not, the MK resorts are but a monorail ride away. There’s something for everyone at Walt Disney World!

Don’t forget, you can follow FRoA on Twitter @fairestrunofall and on Instagram @fairestrunofall. If you have any questions or thoughts, leave a comment or email fairestrunofall@gmail.comSee ya real soon!

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