REVIEW: New “Toledo – Tapas, Steak, and Seafood” is Bland, Bad, and Poorly Designed at Gran Destino Tower


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Yesterday marked the official grand opening of Grand Destino Tower at Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort and if you’ve been following along on our social media channels (@WDWNT on Twitter, @wdwnt on Instagram) then you’re probably aware of what an inspired, sumptuous experience Grand Destino has brought to Walt Disney World.

Grand Destino’s headlining restaurant, Toledo – Tapas, Steak & Seafood is located rightfully on the top floor, offering a unique rooftop dining experience that Disney claims you can’t really get anywhere else, save for maybe Disney’s Contemporary Resort. (How these two restaurants stack up against each other in the fireworks department is coming up later in the review.) The restaurant’s menu focuses on the flavors of Spain, contrasting against the Mexican-forward eateries of the original Coronado Springs.

The restaurant is inspired by surrealist art and the 1930s avant-garde, with an indoor landscape of olive trees, shimmering vaulted ceilings, and modernist wrought iron lighting fixtures.

Let’s take a walk around the restaurant and sit down for a full-on tapas feast, shall we?

Toledo – Tapas, Steak & Seafood – Entrance, Decor, Ambiance

You’ll find the entrance to the restaurant right as you get out of the elevators. A podium is in place for checking in for your reservation. While you wait, you’re invited to check out the Dahlia Lounge right next door and grab some drinks. (We’d almost say we liked it better than the restaurant itself!)

Once inside, the ambiance and decor gave me almost Enchanted Garden vibes (from aboard the Disney Dream and Disney Fantasy on the Disney Cruise Line) with the lush indoor garden and changing mood lighting above. It’s surprisingly serene given what a large, bustling space it is.

It was still light out when we checked in for dinner, but by the time we left, it was already nighttime, which only made the warm interior pop even more.

Several U-shaped booths line walls of calibered, cooled wine cases.

There are also a variety of table setups with Spanish-style Taburete upholstered chairs.

I personally love these gilded Morel-mushroom looking light fixtures.

Their on-stage tapas kitchen serves small plates, charcutería, and cheeses.

There’s even a full jamón on display! (Jaleo called, they want their iberico back.)

How much for a full wheel of Manchego cheese?

Toledo – Tapas, Steak & Seafood – Sunset Room (Conference/Private Dining)

You can imagine our surprise when we were led past the main dining room and into this private room off to the left-hand side of the restaurant. Some may call it preferential blogger treatment, but they really just wanted to hide us away from the general public. (#NotHosted)

The large board room table seats eight. There are few 8-tops throughout the restaurant, so if you have a larger party, you can specifically request this room for your meal.

If you’re looking to host a presentation, there is a smart TV in the back of the room. The light fixures above are gorgeous, and there are two large side windows with curtains.

The base boards may have been peeling off of the walls already, and there wasn’t a cover for the electric socket by the TV, but that’s opening day for you, folks. It was a pretty room nevertheless, and really worked well for taking better photos of the artfully presented dishes.

Toledo – Tapas, Steak & Seafood – Menu

Instead of your traditional folding menus here, you’re presented with a wooden board with smaller menu booklets affixed to it, separated into three sections: Tapas, Beverages, and Food.

It makes for a somewhat overwhelming and confusing first experience as you flip through each. Our server even joked about it. “If you turn to Beverages, Article Six, Page 3…” While the separate sections are helpful, hopefully they work this into a larger, yet more easily absorbable menu for guests.

Tapas Menu

The Tapas menu is divided into Pintxos (translates to skewers) and Cazuelas (translates to small pots), and House Boards. Don’t ever be the sole Spanish speaker at a Spanish restaurant, people. Everyone will be asking you for translations while simultaneously laughing at how things are properly pronounced. It was refreshing to see how truly authentic the menu was, though, despite the dishes being slightly elevated and altered for the Disney crowd.

Beverages

Appetizers, Entrees, Sides, and Desserts

Wine List

Toledo highlights Spanish and California wines with over 75 choices hand-selected by their Master Sommelier.

Toledo – Tapas, Steak & Seafood – Cocktails

El Pepino – $12.50

Xoriguer Gin de Mahón, Ancho Reyes Verde Chile Poblano, St. Germain Elderflower, Lime, Cucumber

The El Pepino is sweet and refreshing without being overly cucumber-y, thanks to the St. Germain Elderflower in it. You’ll notice that the drinks here skew mainly on the refreshing side to contrast with the hearty tapas, appetizers, and main dishes.

Tequila Daisy – $12.50

Don Julio Blanco Tequila, Torres Magdala Naranjas del Mediterráneo, Grapefruit, Lime, Hibiscus, Soda Water

Another juicy drink. It’s smooth, so you barely notice the tequila… which could be dangerous. A great, zesty pairing to go with the tapas.

Toledo – Tapas, Steak & Seafood – Tapas

Charred Octopus – $15.00

romesco, chimichurri

The octopus was our first “Hey, this is kind of like Tiffins!” moments. Was it as good as Tiffins octopus? No, but it’s probably the second best charred octopus dish on property. If you’re into octopus, get this.

Salt Cod-stuffed Piquillo Peppers – $3.00 | Chilled Marinated Mussel ‘Escabèche’ with saffron aïoli – $3.00

These two traditional tapas are served on a repurposed, melted down wine bottle, which definitely gives this points for presentation. The mussels are surprisingly good and well-cooked, but the stuffed piquillo pepper wasn’t as tangy or flavorful as it could’ve been given the pungent ingredients (cod, or bacalao as it’s known in Spain) involved.

Traditional ‘Tortilla Española’ (Spanish Potato Omelet) – $3.00

jamón serrano, picholine olive relish

Growing up, a giant Spanish tortilla (basically an egg omelet with ham and fried potato cubes) was a staple of Sunday morning breakfast. It’s a huge staple in Spanish markets as well, but here Toledo tried to fancify something that’s best served fresh as greasy, triangular slabs. They wrapped rectangles of tortilla with serrano ham and put them on skewers, but the tortilla itself was dry and overdone.

See the mussels on the left? Yeah, get those. Spanish tortilla on the left is a big no from us.

Garlic Shrimp ‘Pil Pil’ – $18.00

‘ají amarillo’ yellow pepper sauce

We ordered the shrimp and a side of marinated olives, or aceitunas, as our third and fourth tapas option. When you order two cazuelas together, they’re served in this neat tower that’s easy to pass around the table. You also get a basket of toasted bread with olive oil to dip in the shrimp juice. (Trust us on this one. The servers recommended it, and they did not steer us wrong.)

The shrimp became the one thing we kept raving about by the end of the meal, so this is definitely a “must-do” for your Toledo meal.

‘Aceitunas’ Marinated Olives – $11.00

citrus, garlic, crushed red pepper

These olives are excellent and easily shareable, but slightly overpriced for being otherwise just olives. However, they’re great to pick at while you wait for your main meal.

Toledo – Tapas, Steak & Seafood – Appetizers

Savory Churros – $10.00

chorizo, oregano, romesco, lemon

The savory churros, or buñuelos did not disappoint. They’re topped with paper-thin shreds of Manchego cheese and served with a delightfully spiced dipping sauce.

These are sprinkled with copious amounts of paprika and are messy to eat, but worth it given how flavorful they are. Definitely get these. I’m not typically a chorizo fan, but the flavors really worked out here.

‘Pan con Tomate’ Tomato Bread – $10.00

grilled bread, crushed tomato, olive oil, garlic

As straightforward and delicious as they come, the pan con tomate was another dippable dish. The tomato sauce is heavy on the olive oil, but still surprisingly light.

The bread, by the way, was also delightfully chewy, with a slight sourdough tang. It comes already brushed with olive oil and slightly charred as per Spanish tradition. We wouldn’t get this again, though, just because there was nothing really outstanding about it.

Toledo – Tapas, Steak & Seafood – Main Courses

‘Chuletón’ 28 oz. Bone-In Rib-Eye for Two – $89.00

beef candle, tomato, onions, oregano, choice of two house sides

The bone-in ribeye was a massive slab of meat served with grilled onions and tomatoes, and a large steak knife stabbed into it. There are definite rings of thick, fatty sections, but deep within, the meat is very tender and cooked to a perfect medium rare.

This was one of the softest, most tender steaks we had here, and if you’re in the mood for ribeye, or otherwise have a huge appetite, we can definitely recommend this for the price.

‘Bravas’ Potatoes – $8.00

pimenton aïoli

The ribeye comes with your choice of two sides, so we opted for the papas bravas and roasted cauliflower. We’ve included the prices for value assessment, and in case you’re looking to order these individually. The potatoes were just okay, roasted with a savory aioli, and they paired well with the steak, but otherwise there was nothing really special about them.

Roasted Cauliflower – $8.00

harissa vinaigrette, watercress

Same here for the cauliflower. I would’ve preferred these to be roasted a tad longer, as some pieces just tasted like boiled cauliflower.

Plant-based ‘Seafood’ – $30.00

Chefs’ vegan presentation of classic seafood presentations – crab cakes, calamari, scallops, citrus-infused couscous

I ordered this upon the behest of many vegan friends, and pressure from the rest of the table, who didn’t want to go near it. The best part is, nearly everyone at the table ended up picking at it out of sheer curiosity, and I’m pleased to say that Toledo has created a unique dish for plant-based eaters and seafood eaters alike.

The scallops were made of mushroom stems, with fried “calamari” that tasted more akin to onion rings. My least two parts of the dish were the hearts of palm “crab cake” and the couscous, which is served cold and tastes like it was boiled in orange juice. The couscous especially was nearly inedible.

I’d honestly recommend this as an appetizer (not an entree), to share just out of how innovative it is. It’s a definite conversation starter, and you can have the whole table try something new, just don’t be surprised if people grimace at their first taste of vegan seafood.

Red Wine-braised Chicken – $28.00

grapes, sherry vinegar, roasted tomato ‘bomba’ rice

This was one of the best plated dishes, as I loved the round shallow bowl accentuated by the ring of sauce and a heaping pile of crispy potato chips carefully placed on top.

It was also one of the most comforting and large dishes on the menu. This could easily be shared amongst two people or even three, if you’ve already shared tapas beforehand. It honestly reminded me of my mom’s arroz con pollo, which is really saying something. The crispy chicken skin and creamy, tomato-y rice combine with the crunchy chips to create a moment of “Ratatouille”-like nostalgic food bliss. Even if you’ve never had arroz con pollo, this would be a great introduction to a well-executed version of it. Is it better than my mom’s? Still no.

Hanger Steak – $32.00

crushed new potatoes, salsa verde, greens, charred peppers, yellow pepper

This was the second best steak we tried here, and yes, as you’ll come to see, it was far better than the filet. These were tender slices of hanger steak, cooked to a perfect medium rare, topped with a heap of watercress and a creamy salsa verde.

If you’re in the mood for steak and don’t want to chow down on a Flinstones-style ribeye, this is a passable steak at a decent price.

Bone-In Pork Chop Paillard – $30.00

roasted potatoes, romesco, arugula, fennel, lemon

This is one of the most flavorless items on the list, unfortunately. The breading on the pork doesn’t really have any seasoning on it, and the splatter of sauce isn’t saving this dish, either.

The mashed potatoes are also unfortunate, and taste as gritty and instant as they come.

Manhattan Filet – $36.00

olive oil-potato purée, grilled onions, dates, sherry vinaigrette

Another unfortunate dish, despite being billed as filet. What we received was a gristly, tough steak with a side of gritty mashed potatoes, essentially. The best part of this dish was the apple-date paste.

If you want steak, go for the hanger steak. You’ve been warned.

Golden Tilefish – $34.00

petite potato, cauliflower, fennel, Valencia orange sauce

Rounding out this series of unfortunate dishes is the golden tilefish.

I was excited for this as the fish did have a lovely crisp, golden exterior. It certainly looked seared to perfection, and had a great texture, but it simply wasn’t seasoned well enough.

The fruity elements of the Valencia orange sauce don’t work with the savory fish here, either. We’d definitely pass on this. If you’re looking for seafood, stick to the tapas.

Scallops – $32.00

fava hummus, olives, harissa vinaigrette, roasted carrots, yogurt powder

Thankfully, we can end on a good note, as these scallops were excellent. They were also seared to perfection, with slightly charred tops, and paired well with the creamy hummus.

These are some of the best scallops on property. They were quite soft and savory. We’d definitely get these again.

Toledo – Tapas, Steak & Seafood – Desserts

Classic Crema Catalana – $8.00

Valencia orange, chocolate tuile

For someone who loves creme brulee, this Spanish counterpart left much to be desired. The crema catalana had an almost papery aftertaste to it, a product of too much citrus worked into the cream.

Paired with the chocolate, the flavors worked out better, and cracking a burnt sugar shell is always strangely pleasant, but we’d still skip this dessert moving forward.

‘Café con Leche’ Choux – $9.00

dark chocolate, vanilla whipped cream

This was a table favorite for chocolate lovers. It follows the same chocolate dome style seemingly taking over all of Walt Disney World, but the cream puff was baked perfectly, with all the chocolate flavors getting accentuated by the coarse sea salt topping.

If you’re a chocolate fan, definitely consider getting this, but it’s no match for this next dessert…

‘The Toledo Tapas Bar’ – $12.00

A progressive dessert tasting with the flavors of Spanish coffee, crunchy chocolate, raspberry mousse, and lemon curd

Another Tiffins redux, the progressive chocolate bar was a good shareable dessert, so long as everyone can have the flavored section they want.

This is meant to be eaten from left to right, starting out with the zesty flavors of lemon, moving on to the raspberry, and culminating in  coffee.

I thought it was one of the prettier desserts on offer, with the crunchy chocolate interior offering a nice texture to the dessert… but again, it’s still no match for Tiffins. (If anything we’d say it’s just a cheap knockoff.)

Chocolate-Avocado Mousse – $10.00

strawberry-basil sorbet, coconut crumble

This dessert definitely takes the prize for prettiest desserts, but the flavors were a bit too out there with this one, even for me. The basil was really pungent in the sorbet, overpowering the strawberry with a near soapy taste. The chocolate avocado mouse was good, but there really wasn’t enough of it on the plate to get a real appreciation for it.

Toledo – Tapas, Steak & Seafood – Overall

Bloggers Reviewing Food, circa 2019. (Colorized)

Overall, for being the headlining restaurant at a brand-new resort, we were severely underwhelmed and honestly disappointed by basically everything that was on offer. Many of you have asked us about the views, and while our experience inside the Sunset Room was unique, you could barely see the parks, much less the fireworks from the restaurant, and it’s a far cry from what the Contemporary’s been doing since 1971. (Whether you like the California Grill or not.) Considering the years of testing and innovations in resort building and themeing, they could’ve done better. Honestly, the views are better from the Dahlia Lounge and even from Standard Rooms on higher floors within the tower.

Food-wise, besides the scallops, we weren’t truly wowed by any of the main courses. We’d come back for tapas (namely the octopus, mussels, and shrimp), but everything else is pretty much a wash, despite whatever virtues we pointed out in the dishes. It’s worth noting that I saw some charcuterie boards on our way out that seemed particularly good for sharing while experiencing the lovely restaurant, which is really enchanting for a moderate resort. (Though not Enchanted Garden by any means.)

For a look around the restaurant, check out our full video tour below! If you’ve dined at Toledo, let us know your thoughts by commenting below or tagging us on social media. ¡Buen provecho!





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