Spice Road Table opened up on Saturday for previews, and I was able to head over there on opening night.
This new restaurant is found in the Morocco Pavilion at Epcot, situated along the water’s edge. It serves up Mediterranean-inspired small plates, along with an extensive drink menu. The restaurant’s inspiration is drawn from outdoor cafes found along the Mediterranean. You really get the outdoor cafe feel, as most of the restaurant is outdoors, with only a small portion of seats situated inside. In the same complex as the restaurant is a Henna tattoo artist station, as well as a Moroccan shop.
The night the restaurant opened, as my husband and I were walking through Epcot, it started sprinkling. Then it started raining…by the time I reached the restaurant, it was POURING! I looked like a drowned rat, seeing as I’d left my umbrella back at the hotel. (So dumb on my part! I always bring it, and then the one time I don’t, downpour!) So, I ran into the restaurant, observing its beauty with rain water-filled eyes. (PS: keep the rain in mind when dining here. While it is covered, there is the potential for you to get a bit wet, depending on the way the wind is blowing.)
My first impressions were that the whole complex was quite pretty. Disney did a great job in the design and theme. As I walked in, I marveled at the incredibly blue wall behind the bar area. I was also in awe of the lights that hung above.
It was about 8 p.m. and we asked if we could have a spot where we could view IllumiNations. When you walk in, to your left is the outdoor section, in the middle is the bar area, and then to the right are the indoor tables.
We were seated in the outdoors section, and as soon as we sat down, I realized that you can pretty much see the lagoon from every table, though some tables are much closer to the action than others. This will come into play later, as I did have to stand up and move for a better view once IllumiNations started. It appears that most of the indoor tables have a view of the nighttime fireworks spectacular, too.
We sat down and looked over the menu (after I stopped in the bathroom to attempt to dry off even just a little, which didn’t really work). The one thing I noticed is that the bar menu seemed quite extensive. So, for those of you who like to imbibe, there is plenty to choose from. I also asked our waiter, and it seems as though people will be able to just walk up to the bar for a drink from the World Showcase promenade.
The restaurant’s signature beverage is the Sangria, which is made in house and is organic. They also serve up quite a few signature cocktails and have a pretty decent beer and wine selection.
As for me, I’m sort of a plain jane and not much of a drinker, so I stuck with water, but note, on this evening, they were serving up bottles of water and charging for them. Our waiter never once asked me my preference. If you prefer regular tap water, make sure you specify, as I am not sure what they will serve guests on a regular basis going forward.
According to our waiter, small plates are a Mediterranean tradition. People prefer to dine on smaller dishes and don’t typically get over-stuffed that way. The menu had a nice list of 10 small plates to choose from. To me, prices didn’t seem uber-exorbitant (keep in mind, you are at Walt Disney World, so prices are certainly inflated a bit than they would be in the real world), so you can choose a few options to sample. Though for the size of the dishes, I can see how some people would think that it is quite costly.
The menu consists of Mussels Tagine, Spicy Garlic Shrimp, Mediterranean Omelet, Moroccan Merguez Sausage, Fried Calamari, Hummus and Imported Olives, Salted Cod Croquettes, Lamb Slider, Rice Stuffed Grape Leaves, and Harissa Chicken Roll. They also have two sampler platters. They are the Mogador Sampler, which includes the mussels, cod croquettes, and calamari; and the Tingis Sampler, which includes the lamb slider, the chicken roll, and the sausage.
Here is where I think that this restaurant differs from many at Walt Disney World. It appears to me that Epcot is trying to do something a little different in World Showcase lately. Disney has been adding these small plate restaurants all around the promenade. It did this with Italy and Tutto Gusto, in a way at the updated Boulangerie Patisserie, a bit at La Cava del Tequila, and now here in Morocco. These all offer locations that serve up appetizer sized portions and allowing guests to sort of eat (and drink, of course) around the world, without having to eat a full meal. This way they can sample a little bit from a few different countries. I could be absolutely wrong in my assessment, but it appears that is the way things seem to be heading.
Anyway, enough of my rambling and back to the food.
I am not the most adventurous eater. I am actually quite picky. I do not like spicy foods much and tend to shy away from things that seem a bit different. So, trying this place originally made me a little leery; however, in the end, I was perfectly comfortable eating here. I tried a few things that I normally wouldn’t have and found a couple of things on the menu that I wouldn’t mind trying the next time I get the chance to visit. Overall, it seemed like there were a lot of interesting options on the menu to choose from that fit many different palates.
So, what did I sample this time out? The hubby and I decided to sample the Cod Croquettes, the Spicy Garlic Shrimp, and the Fried Calamari. (Wait…I’m gonna eat squid?)
Our waiter brought them over, and I first tried the Fried Calamari. It was actually pretty good. It wasn’t overly fried, the breading was light, and the squid wasn’t tough. There were two dipping sauces we could choose to sample: one being a Harissa sauce (the red sauce) and one being a Capers aioli sauce (the white sauce). I much preferred the Harissa sauce over the other one.
Next, I tried the Spicy Garlic Shrimp. I was a bit apprehensive…spicy is in the name, and I have a very sensitive palate when it comes to spicy foods. Luckily, this wasn’t too bad for me. The garlic taste was the most prevalent, but the spice kicked in at the end. For most people who are used to extremely spicy foods, this probably won’t do much for them, but for those who like a mild spiciness to their dishes, this should be right up their alley. The shrimp were not the jumbo shrimp that were originally mentioned. Instead, they were tiny popcorn sized shrimp. That was a little disappointing.
Finally, I tried the Cod Coquettes. These were just alright. They certainly weren’t my favorite. On the inside, the cod was very minced, and it was a little tough. The breading was a heavy coating, kind of like a hush puppy. I tried dipping it in the two sauces; one being sundried tomato and the other a black olive aioli. Neither one really did anything for me, nor did it seem to enhance the flavor of the dish.
Overall, out of the three dishes that I tried, the Calamari was my clear favorite. (Who knew I’d choose that?!)
But now it was time for dessert. We opted to get the Chocolate Pyramid with Almond Ice Cream. The almond ice cream is made with almond milk and has almonds in it. It was a tiny little dollop of ice cream. I didn’t love it and thought it tasted a bit flowery. If you like almond milk, though, you will probably like the ice cream. Our waiter mentioned that it is made on site.
As for the chocolate pyramid, that I did enjoy. It was sort of a mousse, but not entirely, as there was a hint of chocolate cake on the bottom and white chocolate that came oozing out of the center. It wasn’t overly sweet or chocolaty. Both the ice cream and the chocolate pyramid were sort of light.
Personally, I may not choose to get dessert here again, as I would likely enjoy getting dessert at one of the other World Showcase countries. But if you are there for a full meal, then it’s nice that they have the option.
This brings me to the end of our night. You see, I was there to see this new viewing area for IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth! Once things got started, I realized that the view is just ok. There are a few trees that are situated in the middle that sort of block your view from being completely unobstructed. In my mind, it wasn’t a spectacular viewing area, but it is nice to have a new location where you will be able to have a meal and still see IllumiNations at the same time. For me,though, I won’t be knocking down the door to watch IllumiNations from here.
Overall, I thought that the restaurant was a good spot to go if you are wanting to get a drink and maybe an appetizer or two to share among your party. This is not a place to get a full-on meal. If you want that in the Morocco Pavilion, I would suggest either Tangerine Cafe or Restaurant Marrakesh. Spice Road Table reminds me more of a bar with food than a restaurant that serves drinks.
Currently, this restaurant does not accept the Disney Dining Plan, Tables in Wonderland, or any other discount. No word on if that will change in the future.