Where to Eat at Saratoga Springs Resort and Spa
When we’ve discussed previous Disney Vacation Club resorts, the onsite restaurants were typically the best dining options. Now, we’ll talk about a place where that’s not quite true. Here’s where you should eat when you stay at Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa.
Quick Service and Lounges
Let’s start by acknowledging the obvious. You’re always most likely to dine at least once at the Quick Service restaurant at your DVC resort. The convenience of it ultimately wins out in the end.
At Saratoga Springs, that’s especially true due to the convenient location of The Artist’s Palette. This eatery resides in the same space as the hotel lobby’s gift shop. You can see the setup in this video:
While the modest space may not seem like much, The Artist’s Palette ranks as one of DVC’s best Quick Service restaurants. TripAdvisor voters have graded it as one of the 60 Quick Bites options in Orlando out of more than 450 restaurants.
As you know, Saratoga Springs also hosts several pools. A couple of them include pool bars. The On the Rocks Pool Bar will provide you with a respite in between swims at High Rock Spring Pool.
The depth of the menu will surprise you as well. Counting three salads, it offers ten adult entrée options, plus three for kids. Disney’s Sunshine Margarita and Piña CoLAVA are also available here.
At the Paddock Pool, you’ll find the Paddock Grill, which serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner. The menu here isn’t as deep, with four adult entrees and one for children.
That’s generally the rule with pool bar restaurants, though. You’re usually there for drinks like the Millionaire Margarita. Still, when you have a choice, On the Rocks is objectively the better pool bar. When you’re hungrier, you should consider Backstretch Pool Bar, which is at the pool by the hotel lobby. I’d personally favor The Artist’s Palette, though.
Fine Dining Options
The stretched-out design of Saratoga Springs combined with the nearby golf course makes deciding what’s what a bit challenging. For example, I consider Chip ‘n’ Dale’s Café a part of the golf course. It’s an excellent place for a grab-and-go meal due to its menu, though.
Similarly, most would agree that the Turf Club Bar & Grill is a part of Saratoga Springs, but it’s right by the golf course. Here’s a recent video of our own Paul Krieger dining here:
This restaurant is moderately well regarded on TripAdvisor, although there’s some debate on bang for the buck. Reviewers have graded it one of the top 235 restaurants in Orlando from a list of more than 2,100.
Most entrees here cost $30+, which doesn’t sound unreasonable until you remember the resort’s location. You’re a short walk or boat ride from Disney Springs, where you can eat much better for the same price. Then again, as far as surf and turf goes, this restaurant’s pretty good.
Right beside the eatery, we also have The Turf Club Lounge. The lounge side of this restaurant only offers three dining options: a Turf Burger, a Grilled Artichoke, and Charcuterie for Two. So, this place is primarily for nurturing a beverage while enjoying the panoramic view of the nearby golf course.
Still, the recurring theme at all these places centers on opportunity cost. Should you eat at Saratoga Springs when Disney Springs is right beside the hotel campus? Let’s talk about the options.
Other Options in the Area
Look, you know where you can eat at Disney Springs and likely have a list of favorites. Let’s quickly discuss the obvious ones, though. TripAdvisor’s rankings probably won’t line up with your preferences, but they’re informative, nonetheless.
To wit, I wouldn’t have expected the top three of Splitsville, Jaleo by Jose Andres, and House of Blues Restaurant and Bar. One of those is not like the others, as Andres is both a Michelin Star chef and a Nobel Prize nominee.
Other fine dining experiences that rank high include Chef Art Smith’s Homecomin’, The Edison, Terralina Crafted Italian, Paradiso 37, and Wine Bar George.
On a personal level, I’m stunned that The BOATHOUSE, Maria & Enzo’s Ristorante, and Raglan Road score lower on the list. For Disney loyalists, the Paddlefish’s ranking of #252 might read like an act of war since the ship was originally named after Lillian Disney.
On the Quick Service side, Chicken Guy, Yesake, Pizza Ponte, and – I kid you not – Blaze Pizza score highly. Oddly, there’s no mention of Earl of Sandwich on the Best of Disney Springs list, but TripAdvisor does rank it #15 overall in Quick Bites, thereby preventing DVC member outrage.
Several snack shops like Everglazed Donuts, Ghirardelli Soda Fountain, and Salt & Straw also score highly. In short, Disney Springs will always be the place for Disney foodies and literally anyone with an empty stomach.
So, when you spend time at Saratoga Springs, you face a frequent choice. Will you eat at a restaurant close to your room, or will you fight the crowds at Disney Springs to dine somewhere exceptional? Neither choice is wrong, but I’m squarely on Team Disney Springs.