Counter Service Restaurants

Table Service Restaurants

Food Carts

Bars or Lounges

From the beginning, dining has been an integral component of Epcot's entertainment product. The importance of dining is reflected in the number of restaurants and in their ability to serve consistently interesting and well-prepared meals. This is in stark contrast to the Magic Kingdom, where, until recently, food service was seemingly an afterthought, with quality and selection a distant runner-up to logistical efficiency.

For the most part, Epcot's restaurants have always served decent food, though the World Showcase restaurants have occasionally been timid about delivering an honest representation of the host nation's cuisine. While these eateries have struggled with authenticity and have sometimes shied away from challenging the meat-and-potatoes palate of the average tourist, they are bolder now, encouraged by America's expanding appreciation of ethnic dining. True, the less adventuresome can still find sanitized and homogenized meals, but the same kitchens will serve up the real thing for anyone with a spark of curiosity and daring.

Author's Favorite Counter-Service Restaurants

Many Epcot restaurants are overpriced, most conspicuously Nine Dragons Restaurant (China) and the Coral Reef (Seas with Nemo and Friends Pavilion). Representing relatively good value through the combination of ambience and well-prepared food are Chefs de France (France), Restaurant Akershus (Norway), Biergarten (Germany), and Restaurant Marrakesh. The Biergarten and the Marrakesh also have entertainment.

Unofficial Tip

If cost is an issue, make lunch your main meal. Entrees are similar to those on the dinner menu, but prices are significantly lower.

While eating at Epcot can be a consummate hassle, an afternoon without advance reservations for dinner in World Showcase is like not having a date on the day of the prom. Each pavilion has a beautifully seductive ethnic restaurant, offering the gastronomic delights of the world. To tour these exotic settings and not partake is almost beyond the limits of willpower. And although the fare in some World Showcase restaurants isn't always compelling, the overall experience is exhilarating. If you fail to dine in World Showcase, you'll miss one of Epcot's more delightful features.

If you want to sample the ethnic foods of World Showcase without eating in restaurants requiring advance reservations, we recommend these counter-service specialties:

Unofficial Guide readers have many diverse opinions of Epcot's full-service restaurants. Concerning the much-hyped Chefs de France:

Cafeteria food served on linen placemats. An expensive rip-off; [food] on par with Denny's.

What a joke!!! Pre-made food that anyone can get [where they live], served by snotty little princesses.

It was very noisy; the waiter broke glass on the floor three times during our meal.

And finally, from a United Kingdom reader, a detailed account of his experience:

We took dinner at the Chefs de France, expecting from previous experience a really classy meal, albeit expensive. The ambience was great—we could have been in Paris. The menu contained all the right items. But the entrées seriously disappointed. We tried sending one back because it arrived cold. The waiter took it away, stuck it under a hot lamp and brought it back minutes later. The top was now hot, sure enough, but the underside was still lukewarm, and the gravy was gaining a skin. This is not how it is done in France—we should have received a fresh entrée. Others in the party later admitted that their meals were not correctly heated. We also ordered a carafe of wine expecting European measures, but received only enough for three glasses. We had to order up another, so making the wine doubly expensive. Chefs de France needs to address its problems.

Though Les Chefs de France fares better with our Unofficial Guide restaurant critics and on our reader restaurant (thumbs up/thumbs down) survey, comments in our reader mail and e-mail have been pretty scathing. Negative feelings toward Chefs de France do not, incidentally, extend to Monsieur Paul, the other French restaurant. Monsieur Paul is generally highly regarded by all.

The Coral Reef Restaurant in the Seas with Nemo and Friends pavilion fared a bit better:

Food was good; however service was poor and portions were small and overpriced. Music has added a lot of atmosphere.

Best desserts for children, but entrées are overpriced.

You were dead on; we went this year, and it was fairly disastrous. I think my dinner was prepared underwater.

Restaurant Marrakesh likewise garnered mixed reviews:

Restaurant Marrakesh is overrated. It may be a walk on the wild side for someone from say, Wichita, but I can find better and more exotic food at a dozen places in my neighborhood.

(For all you folks who are wondering where this reader is from: Arlington, Virginia.) More comments:

It's worth eating here just to see the interior. Going to Epcot and passing this gem up is like going to Paris and skipping Notre Dame.

The Rose & Crown Dining Room exceeded the expectations of many readers. This comment is fairly typical:

We were pleasantly surprised by the Rose & Crown [Dining Room], so much so that we have since been back several times. We love their sampler platter and the puff pastry with mushrooms. Simple but well prepared foods.

And finally, about the San Angel Inn:

Expensive, but where else can you drink Corona beer and dine under a moonlit sky at the base of a vaulted pyramid while serene boats drift by?

We love the view!!! The food was good, we enjoyed lunch there, since the portions are generous, and the prices are a little lower. [Advance reservations] are definitely recommended.