The more cynical would assume that everything at Disneyland Paris is a rip-off, and truthfully, before visiting the Bistrot de Rémy at the Walt Disney Studios section of Disneyland Paris, I was expecting the same story again: overpriced, low-quality food in a place filled with screaming kids. Everyone’s dream, right?!
Either way, you have to book to get into this place – it gets booked up fast, and you can’t just walk in. (Tried it once. Failed.) It’s true that the picturesque setting appeals – it’s on the Place Gusteau, which also houses the Ratatouille ride and shop, and is convincingly set-dressed to replicate a traditional Parisian square. With cobbled streets, gilt-edged canopies over the restaurant door, authentic-looking road signs, and the massive Gusteau sign from the Ratatouille ride smiling down benevolently, it’s all very sweet.
Inside is a bit more chaotic. It’s true that there are vast cushy banquettes made of red leather to sit on while you wait, and plenty of Ratatouille memorabilia from the films adorning the walls for you to look at. However, even once you have given your name to the concierge and they’ve located your reservation, you still have to wait an inordinately long time to be seated, which leads to a backlog of families waiting and the subsequent generation of families’ worth of noise, making it difficult for wait staff to be heard when they do come to call your name. Add to this people walking in without reservations and taking a while to establish that they won’t be getting in without one, and you have one hot mess. They *really* need to streamline this whole process significantly.
Once you’re in, though, things look up considerably as you’re firstly struck by the creativity of the whole place. Seats really are made out of mock bottlecaps, the lights really are giant fairy lights, there are huge drinks parasols everywhere, and enormous plates form the partitions between booths, to name just a few touches. You really feel like you have stepped onto the set of the film and the overall feel is magical indeed. If you request a window seat when you book, you’ll also be lucky enough to see the Ratatouille ride (rat-shaped carriages galore!) gliding by as you eat.
The staff are also excellent – encouraging you to take pictures, providing exemplary service (even when you send food back, as a friend of mine did when the steak was not cooked to his liking), and even cracking the odd joke.
But what of the food itself? I’m happy to report that it, too, is of high quality. There are two choices of menu, and within that, two choices per course. The salad is made with fresh ingredients that in no way look tired or subpar, and the dressing is well-made, bringing the lively mixture of colours (lettuce, carrot, beetroot and tomato) together with zest. I’ve only sampled the steak for my main course so far (yes, I’ve been twice this year…!), but generally speaking it comes cooked to your liking, and is a good, tender cut of meat for your money. The pepper sauce is perhaps a little strong, but comes in generous portions – easily enough for your steak and your chips (which are perfect, for what it’s worth – crisp on the outside and fluffy in the middle). Furthermore, it wouldn’t be the Ratatouille restaurant if it didn’t come with the signature dish – and this portion of ratatouille is full of flavour, and offers a variety of textures so that you don’t feel like you’re eating mush. On the frivolous side, it also comes with a tiny little plastic Rémy chip fork for you to take home with you 🙂
On the dessert front, you can go for cheese (which actually looks very nice by the way – a ficelle baguette served with a variety of cheeses and a pleasing-looking chutney), but as I have a sweet tooth, I have gone for the apple tart both times, which is about the size of my own face and comes with a stick of chocolate and plenty of custard. No regrets!
Your menu also includes bottled water (your choice of brand, or just tap water if you prefer), and you may also wish to sample the Lanson champagne made especially for the restaurant, which is light, effervescent, and again, of equally high quality. Failing that, you can go for the house red or house white, which are comparable in standard to that found in any genuine Parisian bistro. Coffee is decent too – and I say that as someone who has a machine at home which grinds the beans for them.
So atmosphere: tick. Food: tick. But what about the price? So far I’ve found that the €40 Emile menu (starter, main course, dessert and drink) more than suits my needs in terms of quality and quantity – you don’t pay a lot less in some of the buffet places at Disneyland Paris, and the €40 for three courses and a drink even compares very favourably to a standard Parisian bistrot. I’d even say you get better service at the Bistrot Chez Remy than in the city of light itself – the servers are friendly and swift.
I’d said to myself before going for the first time that if I didn’t think the €40 menu was good enough quality that I’d switch up to the €60 Gusteau menu for better food (the menu includes foie gras and premium cuts of meat and fish), but so far this hasn’t been necessary given the scope of choice even within the Emile menu. If you don’t want to eat that much, you can order à la carte (even though this is worse value) or try the two-course menus (Linguini, €46, or Remy, €30 – neither of which include drinks). There’s also a children’s menu that’s a frankly bargainous €17 for 3 courses and a drink.
On the whole, this might be one of the most magical and best value places to eat at Disney. Book your seat now – and go on, have some Disney-branded champagne while you’re at it, as you pat yourself on the back for a job well done.