Tucked away in a corner of The Landing area of Disney Springs, sits an Italian lake house where friends and families can come together to enjoy a fine meal, a glass or two of wine, or maybe enjoy the new outdoor bar. We were invited by Terralina Crafted Italian to review the recently opened restaurant and find out how it adds something unique to the many Disney dining options guests enjoy while at Walt Disney World. A portion of the check was picked up by the restaurant, but the opinions here are our own.
Terralina takes over the space formerly occupied by Portobello. The owners felt the spaces inside the old restaurant didn’t really work for more modern day operations or provide the best guest experience. The new layout creates more spaces inside the restaurant and takes better advantage of its location adjacent to the lake in terms of the views if offers. The goal is that you feel like you’re visiting some Italian lakeside estate sharing a meal with friends and it is largely successful.
One of the great new spaces for Terralina is an outside veranda bar area. A great place to stop for a drink and some light eats before a meal or even if you’re just wandering through Disney Springs. The cocktail menu is carefully crafted with drinks that may remind you of Italy, and you will find a knowledgeable bartender who will help you find something to your palate.
We arrived a few minutes early for our reservation and were greeted by friendly staff. In short order we were escorted to a seat in a beautiful glass enclosed patio with a fine view of all the busy lake activity. The tables are set relatively plainly, as you might at home. We were pleased that they tables aren’t set too close together, as is a problem with some other Disney Springs restaurants.
Like most Disney fans, we love to eat. For various reasons we’re on somewhat restricted diets right now. We asked what our options were and the server was able to talk knowledgeably about the menu, she also asked for the chef came out to explain them in more detail to make sure all our questions were answered.
The meal starts with freshly baked bread that you’re encouraged to eat with a small bite of pickled vegetables and Terralina’s own brand of olive oil. We also ordered a starter of Eggplant fries. They came out crispier than I expected and perfectly seasoned. We’d definitely order them again.
The only other ‘on the menu’ item we ordered was the mushroom pizza. With housemade dough and baked in a woodfired oven, this pie was a big hit with our son. The mushrooms included a generous portion of portobello, shiitake, and cremini, with roasted garlic and fresh mozzarella on a white sauce.
I am eating a plant-based vegan diet now, which means no egg in the pasta (usually spaghetti is fine) and obviously no meat-sauce. Terralina’s chefs prepared me a wonderful plate of mixed roasted vegetables in tomato sauce with spaghetti for pasta. It was a very satisfying dish with lots of large veggies, and perfectly cooked pasta. I couldn’t finish it all.
The only failure of the night was a ribeye that was unevenly cooked. Thick on one end and thin on the other, it was perfect on the thick end but overcooked on the thinner side. As this is one of the more expensive items on the menu, we expected more care in its production.
For dessert the manager brought a trio of treats to the table, even though we had only ordered one. It was a nice way to make up for the fact that they messed up one of the entrees. As a vegan, I enjoyed the mango sorbet. Large chunks of sweet mango and a very creamy sorbet was the perfect way to end the evening. The other members of the table enjoyed their famous ‘Beer’-misu and a lemon panna cotta with berry compote.
When we addressed the issue with the ribeye with the manager, they promptly offered to fix the problem and we felt they did great job with the recovery. That’s the sign of a restaurant we’re looking forward to trying again.
James Beard Award winner Tony Mantuano oversaw the transition from Portobello to Terralina Crafted Italian. Day to day operations is overseen by chef Justin Plank, whom central Florida residents might remember from his successful time at Park Plaza Gardens in Winter Park, Fl. They bring a lot of knowledge to the kitchen and it shows in the meal. The new spaces work well whether you want a more intimate dining experience, a seat looking into the chef’s kitchen, or a place for a large group to dine. It’s very flexible. The new menu is an impressive lineup of Italian food you might encounter on a trip to Italy, not to menu a wine list that has something to please everyone.
Lunch and dinner are one credit for Disney resort guests on the Disney Dining Plan or Deluxe Dining Plan. We recommend securing a reservation if you intend to visit for dinner.