As an immediate disclaimer, if you did not know: Disney World and Disney Springs are, in fact, not the same place. Though owned and operated by Disney, you won’t find these restaurants in any of the parks.
The short history of Disney Springs is that Walt Disney built a little town that his employees could use exclusively. Many, many years later, it has now expanded to, what I would argue to be, underrated hub for restaurants, bars, and a handful of disney stores.
As I do every two weeks, I will be focusing on my favorites and why you should (or maybe should not) go there.
Where to begin? This place is not an outing, but an experience. My boyfriend, who is somewhere in between being picky and not too picky, has claimed that this place has changed his entire thought on spanish food. Alejo, without a doubt, will leave your jaw hitting the ground and your belt undone for weeks.
The idea behind this restaurant is unique, merely in the sense that I have never experienced anything like it before. First of all, they have three simultaneously running kitchens. To elaborate, they have the various kitchens to have a full staff dedicated to the perfecting of very specific items that would come out of that particular area. One example is their grille station, where they have many chefs working simultaneously on massive pieces of meat and preparing meat-oriented dishes. To say the least, it’s very different from anything I had experienced in the past.
Second, while it may not be about the food, service will make or break your dining experience. And like their food, the service has left me at a lack of words. All I can say is that these waiters and waitresses are so perfectly trained that they know when to come ask if your food and everything is good and to not come when you are mid-bite into whatever you are eating. It truly is impeccable.
Third, I suppose if you are not entertained enough by the setup of the restaurant of the superiority of the staff, I could convince you with the food. Going three for three, the food will leave you wanting more, but unable to consume anything else. As follows with traditional spanish dishes, it is served in a small plate/family sharing style. If you are unfamiliar, think about all the appetizers you have ever ordered for the table. It’s like that, but with all aspects of your meals. This is both incredibly intimate and clever. Intimate because you are sharing up close and personal, and clever because it allows you to want to try more things and not feel guilty or too full. Now, disclaimer: the ‘full’ feeling comes at the very end after you consume enough food for a month. Honest to God, I don’t think it is worth describing the food. The food is beyond any words that I could formulate. As stated, the food is an experience.
To follow everything I just said… don’t sleep on Alejo, okay? This is about as authentic as it gets, Hispanic food wise. The food is fresh, it’s clean, it’s everything you want to be putting in your body. The service and uniqueness is just the topping on top. When there’s no more pandemic, get out there, enjoy Disney, and then wrap up the night at Alejo.
Enzo’s Secret Hideaway
The most important thing about this place– do not get it confused with Enzo’s. While both are in Disney Springs and are actually really close to each other, they are different joints. I did no research prior to booking this reservation, and honestly, I am glad I didn’t. I was pleasantly surprised by all aspects.
Starting with the location itself, it is tucked away under a bridge that then goes underground. Yep, that’s right– the whole restaurant is underground. It looks like a bunker, if I’m being honest. But it is so cool. From the decorations to the service, this is definitely something different and an experience.
Thinking about the food, like most things Disney, it does not disappoint. I am not a big fish eater. And by that, I mean not at all. But the people we were with? One of them got the special, which happened to be fish-based dish, and I have never been more compelled to try it. I didn’t because ~germs~ but it smelled amazing. I treated myself with the chicken and let me tell you, I am about as harsh a critic as it gets with chicken. This chicken was some of the best. It was juicy, it was tender, it was rich in flavors, and it was NOT my mom’s chicken. My boyfriend got the fresh gnocchi, and as Italians, we gave it the stamp of approval. It was fresh and it tasted as such. The sauce was bolognese and it was the perfect amount; not so much that the pasta and it’s entities were drowning, but not too little that you were scraping to get some off the plate. The other member of our party got the pasta too and raved about how good it was. All in all, it serves the standard italian food and I was thoroughly impressed and satisfied.
Oddly enough, everything I mentioned wasn’t even the weirdest or coolest part. The aspect that made this place different was the casual venture to the bathroom. There are certain doors that you go through (duh) but when you open them and you think you are going to another section where the bathrooms are, you have just played yourself. Enzo’s Hideaway connects directly to a speakeasy underneath Disney Springs. Granted, when we were there, it was a Sunday night and people had class the next morning, so we did not stay. But oh my word. They had a whole set up going on in the back. Completely unexpected, which made this restaurant different.
This is the type of place you want to be going to to just relax and enjoy foods you are already familiar with but are just different from what you may already know. That and the fact that it is underground and connected to a speakeasy, is definitely reason enough to get yourself there next time you’re hanging around Orlando.
Okay, y’all, let’s wrap this up. When I opened with ‘Disney,’ did you really think this was going to be a disappointing food article? If you did, I have nothing to say to you. Disney, like everything that comes out from their direction, does not disappoint. Everything about these two restaurants was intentionally meant to reflect what Disney is: the happiest place on Earth.