Maria & Enzo’s Ristorante at Disney Springs will be celebrating Carnevale for the entire month of February, through February 29th, 2020! That is double the length of the event last year, which was one of my favorite evenings of 2019. Maria & Enzo’s says of the Venice celebration, that it is offers glamorous costumes, culinary delicacies, and riotous celebration. In 2019, this was true of Maria & Enzo’s as well for Carnevale. In 2020, the riotious part is gone – we were invited again this year and while the food, drinks and decorations were all wonderful, the event was a pretty quiet one. It could still end up tweaked, but here is our experience from yesterday. We were invited by the restaurant to experience Carnevale.
Maria & Enzo’s Ristorante is in The Landing area of Disney Springs, just over the bridge from the West Side. It shares a complex with The Edison, Enzo’s Hideaway, and my favorite place to grab a slice, Pizza Ponte. The Patina Restaurant Group has a big market on Italian food at Walt Disney World, including Via Napoli at Epcot – my favorite restaurant in the park. Patina offers several of my favorite dining experiences on property. And Maria & Enzo’s has always been a solid choice since it opened.
Outside of Maria & Enzo’s Ristorante is a sign for Carnevale. It runs from 5:00pm – 10:00pm each night.
For Carnevale, the decorations were upped in a big way this year – and that starts from the lobby. Last year there was stiltwalkers and such outside but we didn’t see any coming or going.
There is SO much decor this year. It looks really nice, especially after the sun sets.
Guests can choose a mask and beads from a cart before heading to their table.
The menu is gorgeous.
This was the view from our seats.
We arrived at 5:00 p.m. It was much busier by the time we left.
First, we looked over the drink specials. Maria & Enzo’s does a nice job with mixed drinks and we tried each of them.
In the meantime, a balloon artist came by.
I ended up with a purple and orange flower. It is a nice extra offering during the meal.
We received homemade sfincione focaccia and ciabatta bread. The bread is great here and the focaccia is like pizza in a cold bread form.
My Red Mask drink was brought out. Even though I am not a whiskey drinker, this is a hearty, delicious drink. $15.00 is fairly average for drinks on Walt Disney World property now but it isn’t inexpensive and this is a drink I’d purchase. It includes fresh strawberry puree, tangy pineapple juice, simple syrup, lemon juice, Maker’s Mark Whiskey and a pineapple wedge.
The King Carnival includes Ketel One vodka, pomegranate juice, Rose Regale, a touch of lemon juice, and is topped with a spring of rosemary. Jeff ordered this and this was his favorite of the four drinks.
We were brought Pimzimonio (Italian Cruidite) with Giardiniera Cremosa, it is included with the meals. The vegetables were fresh but there isn’t much here I eat, except for cucumbers.
The menu is different than last year in that it is ala carte. Last year, there was a set menu for a set price and guests could also order off the regular menu. There are some extras on the menu included with the meals like the vegetables above. From the menu, we ordered the Burrata Caprese. It includes sweet cherry tomatoes, fior di latte mozzarella, basil, first press extra virgin olive oil for $18.50.
On the other hand, Maria & Enzo’s makes a fantastic lasagne. I used to order the spaghetti on most of our visits but once I tried the lasagne, I was hooked. The Lasagne Bolognese includes thin layered egg pasta, braised short rib ragù, béchamel, fior di latte mozzarella. It is soft, with plenty of cheese and is a large portion. I ate less than a third of it for dinner and then we split the rest for lunch today – and it was plenty for all of that.
Mamma Marias mini-meatballs are included – and surprisingly for me, they are excellent. I expected them to be decent but for something that isn’t an extra charge as part of the meal, I could order these and be pretty happy for an entree.
We ordered the Cesare salad as a side, it costs $8.00 with the meal. It is a very nice sized salad and includes mixed romaine lettuce, ciabatta croutons, parmigiano-reggiano, and classic Cesare dressing for $14.50. Maria & Enzo’s makes good salads too, and the Cesare is standard for us when we dine here on our own.
The Fire Dancer features leblon, lime juice, simple syrup, muddled jalepenos and a jalepeno slice garnish. Jeff liked this one, there was just a little strong of a kick for me.
This is the February Sunset. It includes cointreau, simple syrup, a splash of ginger beer, a handful of blueberries, oranges, raspberries and mint. It is a lighter option and I enjoyed this quite a bit.
The last offering with the meal is the Bugie e Chiacchiere (fried sweet pastry). It is a light choice for the end of the meal, it comes with it. But if you are looking for a more decadent dessert, Maria & Enzo’s does offer cannolis and other specialties. We didn’t go for a traditional dessert this time, but the cannolis are especially fantastic (and you can also purchase a cannoli at the Pizza Ponte counter service location).
Last year, I focused the article heavily on Carnevale entertainment. This year, there wasn’t much. But the violinist was excellent and I stopped him for a photo. He came to our table twice asking if we had a request, and Jeff asked him if he knew music from Illuminations. He didn’t, but he went off and listened to “We Go On” from the former Epcot show online and came back with a very nice rendition. I saw him at other times listening to music before performing.
Decor is a big part of Carnevale this year.
And another element brought back for this year was the mask painter. This does not cost extra and is a nice bonus.
When I first discovered there wouldn’t be nearly as much entertainment as last year, it was a disappointment. The extra decor is very nice but Carnevale is less event, more an enchanced dining experience. Last year, the entertainment was actually way over-the-top for a restaurant and it was hard even to know when to leave because there was barely a pause. I’d love to see Maria & Enzo’s bring back some more of the elements from 2019 – somewhere in between this year and last year would be perfect. For example, a singer with the few roaming band members alternating with the wonderful violinist from this year. And have a 15 minute or so break each hour so that guests have a definined time to leave.
I still recommend Carnevale. If you are looking to dine at Maria & Enzo’s Ristorante, you’ll pay about the same for an upgraded dining experience. Last year it was a rousing event, this year it is a nice one. Last year, I recommended going out of your way to attend. This year it is less so, but Carnevale is still an enjoyable night out with terrific food and drinks at Disney Springs.
We were invited for Carnevale, all views are my own. Thank you to Maria & Enzo’s for having us out! This is a restaurant we dine at on our own as well because we enjoy it.