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Amare at Walt Disney World Swan Reserve

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by Gail Clifford MD (subscribe)
I'm a freelance writer and photographer traveling the world, often following my daughter. Visit our site at and follow us on Instagram @ABLETravelPhoto
Published September 17th 2022
Orlando, Florida, Disney, WDW, Walt Disney World, Fine Dining, Restaurant, Amare, Mediterranean, warm, inviting, delicious, Chef Maurizio
Fresh Baked Bread and a White Wine Flight or "Excursion"

Everything is so comfortable at Walt Disney World's Swan Reserve, including its restaurant, Amare. That doesn't mean it's not upscale, just that it's even easier than being at home. You need only dress for a casual chic dinner and you'll fit right in.

Head to the third floor, the opposite direction from the lobby, where, greeted by a large wall display of wine bottles, you know you're in the right place. Turn to the left and the hostess at Amare will greet and seat you.

Amare, Italian for "to love," takes its inspiration from the Mediterranean, but more south than the traditional areas covered. As discussed with Chef Maurizio, a hardworking New Yorker, who grew up on Long Island, but started working as a line cook at age 16, before graduating from high school and then enrolling in the French Culinary Academy and subsequently ALMA, the Italy Culinary Academy.

Chef Maurizio spoke to us about building on his classical training for what they're doing here at the Swan Reserve.

"Chef Dan, the Executive Chef of the entire place, a brilliant chef, really steered me towards this area I'd never really explored, which is like Morocco, Turkey, Greece, these areas. You get the feel for it here."

Trained to use fresh ingredients, Chef allows diners to enjoy premium ingredients popular to the area, from seafood and beef to olive oils and pasta. Our group enjoyed items from each.

While most of my readers know that I am a "dessert-first" diner, the appetizer, The Niçoise Salad which was shared at the table led to a more traditional approach to our meal. The only adjustment recommended, that Chef said he'd take under consideration, was to add even more potatoes. They were just so delicious.

Other appetizers include hearth fired prawns, Polpetti, chargrilled pepper crostino, charred octopus, and fried calamari. Additional salads on offer include the Tarpon Springs "Greek Salad," Taverna Salad, and the Amare Salad.

Entrees covered the seafood and steak so popular in the area. Historic Florida had a thriving horse and cattle industry.

Orlando, Florida, Disney, WDW, Walt Disney World, Fine Dining, Restaurant, Amare, Mediterranean, warm, inviting, delicious, Chef Maurizio, seabass
Parchment Lined Sea Bass

Paula, our Visit Orlando host, ordered the Seabass. Highly recommended by our server, Niki, she tells us she may open 35 of the parchment stuffed pockets nightly. Two filets of sustainable striped seafood steamed to perfection with a concoction of wilted greens, thyme, garlic, tomatoes, and heirloom potatoes, it's easy to see why it's such a popular dish.

Orlando, Florida, Disney, WDW, Walt Disney World, Fine Dining, Restaurant, Amare, Mediterranean, warm, inviting, delicious, Chef Maurizio, Vognolle
The Tonnarelli Alle Vongole

Stacey, the other travel journalist with me on this journey, ordered the Tonnarelli Alle Vongole. She laughingly tells us how her husband can't appreciate the glory of six steamed baby clams and a roasted tomato sauce. Lucky for her, she certainly does. To accompany it, she ordered the Mediterranean White Wine Excursion. One thing she would have changed, had she realized it was a red sauce, was that she'd have ordered the red wine flight instead.

The first wine, a Pighin Pinot Grigio from Fruili, Italy (2020) retained floral and fruity notes that was a refreshing accompaniment to the Niçoise Salad. The second wine, one of her lifelong favorites, Fleurs de Prarie Rose from Cotes de Provence, France (2020), is always delicious, she tells me, but a little light for this pasta dish. The final white wine, Pieropan Soave Classico (2019), was a nice accompaniment with the depth of fruit balancing the food's acidity.

The Steak
Amare's Rosemary Grilled Beef Tenderloin

My choice came down to the two steak choices: the Rosemary Grilled Beef Tenderloin or the Bistecca All Fiorentina. I'd been leaning towards the Bistecca, but Niki shared that it was a 20 oz, compared to the filet's 10 oz, and she was easily able to add more potatoes to the beef tenderloin. Sold. Rosemary Grilled Beef Tenderloin it was. Served with root vegetables and a white bean puree that tasted suspiciously like a fine mashed potato, the asparagus added both texture and depth of flavor for a marvelous meal. With just a touch of added salt, it was too much food to allow for dessert later.

orlando, Florida, Disney, WDW, Walt Disney World, Fine Dining, Restaurant, Amare, Mediterranean, warm, inviting, delicious, Chef Maurizio
The Sokolatina

Reviewing the dessert menu, though, the one gluten-free option, the Amaro Flavored Sokolatina is a dark chocolate flourless sponge with chocolate mousse and chocolate sauce. With Paula's encouragement, I accepted one to go. With Chef's permission, I was able to see the serving line and witnessed the presentation of this dish plated. (insert kissing fingertips emoji).

Additional dessert options for subsequent visits include cannoli, Pistachio Caragli, a Calabrian Walnut Cake, and a Greek Yogurt Cheesecake.

Orlando region residents are fortunate to have such an excellent restaurant within our midst. It's easy to see how quickly it will become a local favorite.
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Where: 1255 Epcot Resorts Blvd, Lake Buena Vista, FL 32830, United States
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