After having obtained a degree in biochemistry, Leah works for a small biotechnology company and enjoys writing about science.
Dining in Future World
Two table service restaurants hit the mark in Future World. The Coral Reef is located within the Living Seas pavilion and the Garden Grill is located in the Land pavilion. Advanced dining reservations are required for both restaurants.
Coral Reef Review
The Coral Reef
This restaurant is fantastic for seafood lovers. The seafood is well prepared with many options—my favorite dish in past years has been the mahi-mahi with laughing shrimp. The menu changes occasionally and can be found on the main Disney World website.
The Coral Reef is fantastic for escaping the crowded, hot theme park environment. The restaurant is located directly next to the aquarium and is cool and inviting. Large windows into the aquarium provide a beautiful and ever-changing view. Tables and booths are placed on elevated platforms, stadium style, so that everyone can see the marine life swimming by. It is best to reserve this restaurant early to have a chance at obtaining a table closer to the windows. Scuba divers may also swim by, and we have had hilarious encounters when a diver writes a message on a white board. Once, a diver held up a sign that said, “fish are friends, not food.” This famous line from the Finding Nemo movie made us all chuckle, considering we were all seated inside a seafood restaurant.
If seafood is not your favorite cuisine, consider having breakfast here instead of dinner or lunch. While chicken is available on the menu for non-fish eaters, it is not as well done as the seafood and breakfast might offer the best option for those who want to enjoy the ambience and avoid eating fish.
The Garden Grill
This table-service location slowly revolves to display scenes from the Living with the Land ride. The menu is prix fixe, and all meals are character meals. The breakfast consists of waffles, eggs, bacon, sausage, and hash brown style potato barrels. Lunch and dinner are a “harvest feast” with salad, pot roast, turkey, stuffing, and mashed potatoes.
This is one of the best character meal experiences in the park. Unlike other buffet style restaurants, which require guests to leave their table to get more food, this food is brought to you by a waiter. This removes the stress of worrying about missing a character while you are away at a buffet station. The food is served family style and guests may eat as much as they care to enjoy. This restaurant only requires one credit from the Disney Dining Plan, making it a great option for families who would like to participate in a character meal without using two credits.
Review of the Garden Grill
Dining Around the World
The World Showcase offers many exceptional restaurants from each country. A comprehensive list may be found on the Disney World Resort website. While there are many sit-down restaurants in this area of the park, there are a few that really stand out as an exceptional experience for either theme or for food quality. Advance reservations are required for all table service restaurants in the park.
Spice Road Table
Located in the Morocco pavilion, the decor and feel of this restaurant are extremely well done. If dining here at night, guests may enjoy the nighttime fireworks while eating dinner. This restaurant offers many choices for those on a low carbohydrate diet, and arguably one of the most unique menus within the theme park. Rack of lamb, grilled skewers, and other Mediterranean specialties star here.
Spice Road Table Review
San Angel Inn
This restaurant offers Mexican fare and is located inside the large pyramid in the Mexico pavilion. When checking in, ask for a table alongside the water. The theme is well done in this restaurant, which feels like an outdoor patio at night. A volcano periodically erupts in the background as boats float past on the Gran Fiesta Tour ride. Unlike other Mexican restaurants, salsa and chips are not included in the final bill, and the dessert plates are quite small. We particularly enjoyed the tacos de Costilla de carne.
Offering pasta and pizza, most people come to this location in the Italy pavilion for the fantastic pizzas on offer. The family pizza feeds four people, making this site one of the most affordable of the table service restaurants in Disney World.
Try the fried risotto balls (arancini) as an appetizer and the zeppole di Caterina for dessert. This is a fun, informal place to have lunch. Be aware that there are many complaints for slow service for parties with a size greater than four people. Our family was a party of six and we also experience an extreme lag time, almost making us late for one of our fast passes. Due to the issues with delays for larger parties, this restaurant is only recommended if you have enough time in the schedule to allow for a potentially extended lunch hour.
German food served buffet style with polka bands playing makes this restaurant a great deal of fun. An excellent choice for families with small children, Biergarten has a festive ambience and allows small kids to get up and move during the meal experience. The food is traditional German food, replete with beer and sausages. As a buffet, the price is fixed (alcohol is not included).
The seating at this restaurant is along long tables, so your family will likely sit next to other people. This is all part of the fun, though it is good to understand this before booking the restaurant if a private table is important. If your family is part of a large party, this is an excellent location for lunch or dinner.
Inside Biergarten at Disney World
One of the most expensive restaurants on the list, Le Cellier is a steakhouse located in the Canadian pavilion. As the name suggests, the restaurant is located below ground level. This restaurant is considered a “signature” dining experience, and the prices reflect the quality (and popularity) of this particular place to eat. The food is outstanding and the filet mignon is highly recommended, along with the Canadian cheddar cheese soup. Advance reservations are absolutely required for this restaurant and may be difficult to obtain. This restaurant takes two table service credits for those who are using the Disney Dining Plan.
Chefs de France
The food quality at Chefs de France is fantastic, and the boeuf bourguignon is highly recommended. Tucked back into the France pavilion, this restaurant offers a calm, relaxing way to escape the hubbub of the theme park. For dessert, the apple tart is absolutely beautiful—and delicious. For those wanting quality French food without having to use the two dining credits required at Monsieur Paul, this is an excellent one-credit alternative.
Food and Wine Festival at Epcot
Special Events at Epcot
Food and Wine Festival
This festival is the best known for the food kiosks dotting the World Showcase. Many people opt to skip the table service restaurants and try small bites “around the world.” This festival takes place during the fall months and makes this season an attractive one to visit Epcot. The food carts are not limited to the countries represented by the eleven official pavilions and include food options from Peru, Brazil, New Zealand, India, and other nations.
Those on the Disney Dining Plan may use their snack credits to obtain food from the kiosks during this festival. Take note that there may be some people who view this festival as a reason to over-imbibe, and reports of some disorderly guests have been made in the past. Issues with intoxicated guests aside, this is one of the most fun ways to enjoy a variety of food from different cultures while on vacation.
Festival of the Arts
Food kiosks exist during the winter months as the art festival kicks off, with creative takes on food at different carts around Epcot. Most of the carts are located in the World Showcase section of the park. Deconstructed sandwiches and different artistic takes on food may be found. This event is still relatively new and is improving every year.
Flower and Garden Festival
Similar to the other special events, this special season celebrates gardening and nature. The kiosks offer a variety of food options, with an emphasis on fresh options. This festival takes place in the spring.
The Best Restaurant in Epcot
© 2018 Leah Lefler
Leah Lefler (author) from Western New York on November 06, 2018:
Thanks, Liz. We love many of the restaurants there - I think Epcot is my favorite park at Disney World. It is really fun to wander around the different country representations and try the food!
Liz Westwood from UK on November 06, 2018:
You give a good guide to eating at Epcot.