The restaurant exterior is rather underwhelming compared to what you get on the inside. You might even miss this restaurant if you're not looking for it because it blends in so well to the Town Center neighborhood of Disney Springs. But step inside Frontera Cocina and you're in for a real treat! The first thing you notice is the bright mosaic mural of a sun beaming down on the patrons. Your eyes are then pulled to the right as you notice the cooks busy in preparation and then on to the left with the walls adorned with shelves of tequila. As you look to the back, a bright and beautiful bar extends from one end to the other. I wanted to start taking pictures right then and there. In fact, I did snap a few on the way to my table. As usual, I reserved my table for 11:00am to beat the lunch crowds and I was able to get some amazing pictures for you!
I was seated along the wall of windows that overlooks a garden and walkway. The view was peaceful and it's always nice to have a window seat without people walking outside right next to the restaurant! Being able to see the foliage to my left and a vibrant restaurant interior to my right brought me joy in knowing that this was going to be one of those memorable experiences for all of the right reasons!
If you enjoy patio dining, there are several tables outside to the rear of the restaurant (see photos). Right now, it just so happens to be patio season but I chose to sit inside since I would much rather take in all of the colorful surroundings than watching tourists walk by. I wouldn't mind the patio at night when the lights illuminate the springs, that would be really pretty!
I love Mexican food but I grew up on Southwestern USA and Tex-Mex style of Mexican food and it's not the same thing. For example, on this side of the Mississippi, no one knows what a burrito smothered in green chili is! Instead, there are more steak and fish meals with black beans and plantains. And that is exactly what is offered here. My order consisted of bacon guacamole($10), tortilla soup($9) and steak tacos($20). Yes, this was a rather expensive meal for one person but the entire menu is a little pricey. This is expected in Disney Springs where you are also paying for the location and experience.
My guac was to die for! I don't know if it was the bacon or the pepitas (pumpkin seeds) that gave it that extra punch of flavor but it was delicious! Sound to weird? You can also choose a Verde style or the Atomic blend that I was told has a fiery heat that many can't handle. The chips are fresh and crispy with a good amount of salt. Probably my favorite chips outside of Rocco's Taco's (to be reviewed soon!). After my guac came the chicken tortilla soup. Let me clarify, first came a bowl of spiced chicken, cheese and tortilla strips followed by a small copper pot of broth that is poured into the bowl at your table. How cool is that! One bite and I was hooked. I am a serious cheese lover and this soup had so much of it, I was in heaven. The tortilla is cut super thin and it was crispy enough to hold up well in the broth. By the time my soup came (service is a little slow), there were several people in the restaurant looking over their menus. I noticed that they ALL ended up ordering the soup! They must have seen me delight in the yummy goodness and saw the cheese stretch out onto my spoon. It really is a 'must have' and I hope you try some, you'll love it! Lastly, I indulged in the steak tacos - without onions of course. The meat and other ingredients came separately so that you can build your own taco. This is great for me because I needed to eliminate the tortilla after over indulging in the carb loaded, but heavenly tortilla soup! The steak is prepared to your liking and there was plenty of it. It looked almost like the same amount of steak you get with the Carne Asada for $34. It also comes with more guacamole, black beans, red peppers, cheese and salsa. I couldn't finish my meal so I had to take it home. It was just as good warmed up later for dinner!
Click here for a PDF menu for Frontera Cocina. Maybe you can study it before you go and ordering will be easier! Choose from a good selection of appetizers, salads, tacos, tortas (Mexican sandwiches), specialty entrees and sides. The selection of sides is very interesting with items such as fried plantains with crema and cotija cheese and grilled Mexican squash with garlic mojo. Yum!
There were three desserts to choose from: a pecan pie bar, a plantain sundae and a coconut lime cuatro leches cake. All of which sound good and probably would have been great if I hadn't made a little piggy of myself already!
I did not order a fancy drink at this lunch but there is a good assortment of margaritas, wines and cocktails. The wine list and margarita selections are similar to what you would find at the Mexico pavilion at Epcot since is operated by the same people.
The Magic List:
#3 Menu selections. This was a well thought out menu with some twists on traditional Mexican dishes. I love it when it's a struggle to narrow down to just a few things with a nice list of what you want to try on the next visit.
#2 The vibrant atmosphere. Bring your camera, you'll want to share this experience with your friends back home!
And my #1 favorite thing about Frontera Cocina is..... The chicken tortilla soup! Grab a napkin and slurp like you're on vacation!
The Not-So-Magical List:
#3 The service was a bit slow. I'm all for taking my time and having a leisurely meal but I was there a while.
#2 The kids menu. There are only three items to choose from and one dessert. It's odd to have the regular menu on the magical list and the kids menu on the not-so-magical list. Something's wrong here!
#1 The prices. I get that things are more expensive at Disney. I practically live at Disney and am fully aware of this. The food quality is wonderful but these prices are higher than average and the identical drinks can be found at Epcot for .50 cents to $3.00 cheaper. Its the same drink!
Not just an obsessed theme park fan, I am also a professional theme park private guide and I own Orlando for Families, a vacation services company. I am a graduate of the College of Disney Knowledge, and also a certified specialist by Universal Orlando Resorts. I hold specialist certificates from Visit Orlando and Visit Florida as well.
I'm a busy professional and mom of two who enjoys visiting Walt Disney World several times a week, staying at theme park resorts (and off-site hotels) several times a month and dining in the parks and around Orlando every day.
I tell it like it is and hopefully my experiences, whether good or bad, will help guide you in the right direction on your next vacation to Orlando!
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