Best and Worst Booths at the 2023 Flower & Garden Festival
Here’s the thing: if you only have time for a few booths at Flower & Garden, you need to make them count. You don’t want to waste your time (and money) on lesser contenders. Never fear, TouringPlans is here! We’ve got the three best booths at this year’s Festival, and also three that we think you should skip.
Our Top 3 Flower & Garden Booths
I officially declare a 3-way tie for Best Overall Flower & Garden Kitchens – surely this is a first?!?
1. The Honey Bee-Stro
I say this at every Festival. I don’t need to take notes when I really love a dish – I just need to see that I took 25 shots of one plate vs. the singular shot of another to know which one was the best! (For the record, I DO take notes!) The first dish was so well-loved that we had a photoshoot with it.
Chicken and Waffles, $6.75
This is all that is perfect about this festival! Sweet & spicy honey, crunchy, perfect chicken, and a sweet corn bread waffle. Joy! They dollop a hearty scoop of whipped honey butter on top of the chicken and zip the spicy honey over the top so it’s all just starting to melt and drip when you find a table. Or trash can. Whatever. The downside is this is far too much for one person but you’re going to want the whole thing and then you’re just cooked for a few hours. Worth. It.
Pollinator Flatbread, $6.25
I’m a sucker for any type of whipped cheese. And bread. Also, honey. This probably isn’t going to make your little ones or picky eaters happy, but throw a chicken nugget their way and keep this for yourself. Try to manage one bite with the prosciutto, goat cheese, a blueberry, and the blueberry gastrique! Salty, crunchy, sweet, tart, and tangy. A simple flatbread elevated to a symbol of spring. Don’t skip this one.
Honey-Mascarpone Cheesecake, $5.00
I love that so many sweets at this festival are $5.00 or less and STILL fabulous! It’s so amazing that the EPCOT chefs can combine 7 different components on one dish thousands of times a weekend and each one is prettier and tastier than the next. The mascarpone and fennel cut the sweetness beautifully.
This new kitchen may look like the Donut Box, but it’s a whole new game this Festival. Three of these dishes were at the Sunshine Griddle last year, and it’s rare that we’re so excited about multiple returning dishes at the same booth. Just two of the items here made our “Best $76 You Can Spend at Flower & Garden” but really we absolutely loved everything.
Avocado Toast, $6.00
They had me at watermelon radish. This avocado is so lovely and the tomatoes are so sweet that the slight acid in the dressing makes everything taste as bright as it looks. Stunning to look at and better to eat.
Shrimp and Grits, $7.25
Perfection. No notes. The sprinkle of grilled corn and fresh, green onion are some pretty dressing on these perfectly cooked shrimp.
Lox Benedict on Everything Focaccia, $7.50
I admit, I judged this when the menu first came out and had already decided I wasn’t going to love it. I was so wrong. If you love a good bite of sweet salmon, puckery capers, and fresh dill, just wait until you see this perfectly cooked egg! Brunch, indeed!
Fried Cinnamon Roll Bites, $4.75
Rarely do we finish an entire plate when we are at a Festival and never, ever have we finished an entire plate at the very first kitchen of a huge festival. All that was left was some cinnamon dust and promises to come back. Another one of our “Best $76” and when you try this you’ll know why!
No skips at this booth which is so impressive considering it’s new and has 4 items!
3. EPCOT Farmers Feast
Farmers Feast has 3 menus throughout the Festival. The current menu runs until April 7th, The Springtime menu is April 8 – May 20, and the Summer Solstice menu is May 21st – July 5th. It can be frustrating for one-time visitors to read reviews of dishes that will change by the time they arrive, but for locals the fresh takes are nice because the Festival goes on for four months. Anyway, back to why this is one of our favorite overall kitchens at the festival! No skips, all joy.
Chilled Potato and Leek Soup “Vichyssoise” $5.00
This chilled soup is delicious and so great for Florida weather. The bacon lardons and potato croutons give enough chew to make this a meal all on its own. And it’s Gluten-friendly! This is another plate that landed on our “Best $76”
Char-grilled Bison Ribeye, $8.25
The second dish from this kitchen to hold a place on our “Best $76” list and the picture should explain why! The price is on the higher end but the serving is more than enough for four people to share without a fight. You can smell the smoke from the grill as you loop the corner from Test Track and before you know it you’ll be trying to scoop up as much Red Wine Butter Sauce as you can with your first bite. This is a win!
Spice Cake, $4.40
The parsnip is the nod to spring on this precious loaf. We loved this and will absolutely be back for it a few times before the festival ends in July.
Our 3 Worst Booths
Recommending where you spend your money is important, but warning you about dishes that are absolutely not worth your time & cash is just as vital when budgeting! Let’s discuss.
1. Primavera Kitchen
$24.25 for a bite of Caesar Salad with shrimp, 1/4 cup of worms & dirt, and some spinach tortellini. At this point, the Italy Pavilion & EPCOT Festival regulars are in on the joke. We’re just warning those of you who haven’t been burned yet.
2. Lotus House
Spicy Mala Chicken Skewer, $6.75
This was under the warmer too long & was a battle to sample as a result. Not a great sign if you can’t make chicken on a stick taste good.
Cheesy Crab Wontons, $7.75
No clue. They sold out 2 hours 20 minutes into day 1 of the Festival. We shan’t be back so we cannot be an authority on this. So why do we feel confident dissing this booth? Well … it’s effectively Crab Rangoon. We’ve never had a superlative Crab Rangoon and we don’t expect we’d be starting now.
Vegetable Dumplings, $5.25
At more than $2.60 each for such a wisp of a serving, we cannot direct you to this dish, or this booth.
3. Trowel & Trellis
This will probably be divisive and we know that some people have been impressed this year, but for us the whole ding dang booth is a no. Disney has improved 10,000% in the world of plant-based dishes in the last few years- Steakhouse 71, Victoria & Albert’s, & Hollywood Brown Derby just to name a few. These dishes are not in the same ballpark, or even in the same league.
Boneless Impossible Korean Short Rib, $6.75
The flavor is fine on first bite, but it’s the chemical aftertaste of the Impossible Short Rib that left us unhappy. It’s a metallic, false flavor that lingers unpleasantly long.
Impossible Lumpia, $5.50
This had the same problem with the aftertaste as the short rib. As M. Gary Scott would say, “it has sort of an oaky afterbirth”
Chocolate Cake, $5.00
This cake was ok but only if there isn’t anyone in line and it’s not too hot and it doesn’t look like rain and your feet don’t hurt. Since we’re cashiering the rest of the booth, we can’t recommend the cake.
Honorable Mention: Refreshment Port
Shrimp Scampi Poutine, $10.50
There’s only one Festival dish at this stop, so you might know from that how bad it had to be for us to call this out. This is the cost of two lovely dishes elsewhere at the festival and not 10% as good. Heavy garlic hot breath will pair with your lighter wallet to leave you feeling stinky & bitter. Skip. Just no. Don’t do it. Really.
Have you visited the Festival this year? What would make your best and worst list? Let us know in the comments!
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