Epcot’s International Food and Wine Festival gives guests great options to sample a variety of foods from around the world. But what happens if you find food that you really like? Well, you could spend your vacation fund getting round after round of cardboard-tray-plated samples of foods, or you could try some restaurants at Walt Disney World that serve similar foods. Here’s some suggestions for places to get a whole meal that either have some of the items from Food and Wine booths, or have options that are similar to what you get at those booths.
Active Eats–Coral Reef
The menu at Active Eats largely screams sponsored dishes (Verlasso salmon and Nueske’s bacon), but the gist behind it is foods great for an on-the-go lifestyle. My first thought was suggesting The Wave for the overall vibe behind the foods, however the menu at the Coral Reef actually works better for similar dishes. For the grown-up mac ‘n’ cheese experience, there’s Lobster Mac ‘n’ Cheese with bacon, spinach, and peppers (to compare with Food and Wine’s loaded mac ‘n’ cheese with bacon, peppers, and onions). There’s also Seared Sustainable Salmon Filet, if you just can’t get enough salmon in sampler size. And although there’s no comparable dish to the energy bar bites, perhaps the Bailey and Jack Daniel’s Mousse can put a bit of pep in your step.
This one should come as no surprise. Both Jiko and Boma at Animal Kingdom Lodge have menu options similar to the items found at the Africa booth, but my vote goes to Boma. If you’re enjoying sampling items at Food and Wine, what better way to continue the sampling experience than a buffet? Pap and chakalaka are available on the breakfast buffet, and dinner options provide everything from roast meats to stews and soups similar to those served at Food and Wine.
Cheese Studio — Wine Bar George
The Cheese Studio has some wonderful options (I’m looking at you Maple Bourbon Boursin Cheesecake), but when it comes to sampling cheeses, the booth actually falls a little short. A far better option for cheese lovers is to head over to Wine Bar George and get The Big Board. While you’re there, enjoy the other small plates as well–and of course have some wine pairings to go with it. This may just be your own private Food and Wine festival experience year-round.
I know this one may raise some eyebrows, as the idea of an Earth Eats menu and a restaurant inside a bowling alley don’t automatically seem to mesh. But trust me on this one–Splitsville serves really good burgers. And we’re not talking just beef burgers here (although they are awesome)–that very popular IMPOSSIBLE burger sliders from Earth Eats makes an appearance on the menu at Splitsville as well, along with a veggie burger packed full of flavor.
Morocco–Spice Road Table
I’m not a big fan of hummus, but I think it is a given that everything tastes better fried. As a result, I wasn’t surprised that I liked the hummus fries at the Morocco booth. What surprised me is how much I enjoyed them. Seriously, if you haven’t tried them yet, I encourage you to do so. The great news is that they appear on the menu at Spice Road Table year-round (albeit in a slightly different preparation). You can also get baklava there as well, and the menu provides plenty of other Moroccan flavors to help keep that festival vibe going long after the booths have been packed away.
To sample the finest flavors that Spain has to offer, at least for now, you’ll want to make a stop at the Food and Wine booth. But if you like the flavors there, you are in for a real treat when Jaelo opens. They’ve started the hiring process for Sous Chef, specifically looking for someone with menu development skills, so we’re getting closer every day. Like a fine paella, you can’t rush perfection, but I can’t wait until the grand opening happens. Trust me, it will be worth the wait.
Which of these restaurants do you enjoy dining at when Food and Wine is over? Let us know in the comments.