No trip to Disney World is complete without a visit to the Boardwalk. Which is why I didn’t feel that my 2005 trip was complete, because I never made it to the Boardwalk! I had seven nights on this trip to rectify that error, and spent not just one, but two nights hanging out there. After reviewing the Boardwalk’s list of available restaurants, I decided that the menu at Spoodles appealed to me the most, so I booked a reservation for Friday night.
I arrived at 6:30 for my 6:40 ADR, as advised. The place was mobbed. I had a short wait and then was shown to my two-top table in the huge, sunny dining room. I can’t say it was the most comfortable place to dine alone. There were families, families everywhere, and I didn’t see another solo in the room. But it was fine. I was seated off to the side, where I could see the open kitchen and observe the chefs and service staff prepping dinners. I also flirted with the baby boy in the high chair at the table next to me, who gazed at me throughout the meal with such adoration it almost made me wish I had a kid. (Until I caught sight of the horrific mess of spoons, food, napkins, and liquids accumulating beneath the high chair and came to my senses.)
My waiter was an older gentleman who was clearly a professional. He was exceptionally good. I didn’t have to wait long for anything. He kept telling me that every choice I made was an excellent one. I like that in a person. I was torn as I reviewed the menu, and finally decided to order both the crispy calamari and the butternut squash ravioli, even though I knew it would be too much food, simply because they both looked so good, I had to try them both. I also ordered an iced coffee.
The crispy calamari was literally the best I’ve ever had. (I know I keep saying that about food I ate at Disney, but it’s true!) Calamari is easy to screw up, really it is. It’s also easy to be plain. If it has the wrong breading, or the wrong spices, or is too rubbery, it’s just inedible to me. This had a crispy breading and was cooked perfectly, and came with an olive-pepperoncini relish that was just as good as the calamari. In fact, it was so good, I ate almost two-thirds of the very large plate, even though I knew that meant I would be able to eat even less of the ravioli. I couldn’t help myself.
When the ravioli came, I wondered if it would be able to live up to the quality of the calamari. There were three ravioli on the plate, as big as the palm of my hand, but the fact that there were only three of them led me to foolishly believe I could eat them all. Nope. They were exquisite, though. Tender, hot, and flavorful, they were served with a walnut pesto with sage brown butter and a balsamic vinegar reduction. To say this sauce was divine would be a gross understatement. The flavors were amazing–and just a little sweet, which was a great counterpoint to the pepperoncinis I’d just eaten. After having raviolis like this, how can I ever go back to traditional cheese ravioli in a tomato sauce? It would seem so bland and uninspiring. I stuffed two of the raviolis into me before I had to stop eating for fear of exploding. Needless to say, I had no room for dessert. The total bill before tip came to $30.60.
The only negative about this restaurant was the noise level. It is a very open space with high ceilings and when every table is packed with families, it was too loud for my tastes. But the food is so worth the price you pay. If you plan to be at Disney before this fall, I highly recommend a meal at Spoodles (they serve breakfast and dinner). Sadly, the restaurant is being replaced this fall by a new restaurant from chef Cat Cora. So enjoy Spoodles while you can. I know I did.