Your Top-Rated Epcot Restaurants

by on January 24, 2017 26 Comments

Filed under: Dining, Epcot, Walt Disney World (FL)

Top-rated Epcot restaurants

Today we’re looking at your top-rated Epcot restaurants, based on the 122,000 Disney World dining surveys we received in 2016.

Dining is an integral part of any visit to Epcot. Epcot has around 30 quick-service and table-service restaurants – the most of any Disney World theme park. Epcot also has some of the best bars in the area, specializing in everything from tequila to sake to sweet, sweet German wines. And if you’re asking whether the Disney Dining Plan is worth buying for your next Disney World trip, this article should help you find the best places to use those dining plan credits.

Save room for dessert!
Photo courtesy of Disney (c)

We’ll also add a “Best Epcot Treats” section to include places like Germany’s Karamel Kuche sweets shop and France’s L’Artisan des Glaces ice cream parlor. Our editors point out that some people don’t consider caramel or sugar cones a proper meal. We’ll exclude (for now) small kiosks without seats or tables, like Taste Track.

The Best Quick-Service Epcot Restaurants

Our restaurant surveys use a straightforward “thumbs up/thumbs down” system. Epcot restaurants shown in green did better than average. Restaurants in red did worse than average.  As we did with the Magic Kingdom’s restaurants, let’s start with Epcot’s quick-service restaurants:

Epcot Quick-Service RestaurantNumber of
Surveys
Thumbs Up
Percent
Notes
Les Halles Boulangerie-Patisserie (France)1,01496.7Two years at #1
Kringla Bakeri og Kafe (Norway)66695.6
Yorkshire County Fish Shop (U.K.)53594.2
 Sunshine Seasons (The Land)1,31793.4 Wide variety
 Tangierine Cafe (Morocco)49292.9 Lots of vegetarian options
Fountain View Starbucks (Future World)28290.4
La Cantina de San Angel (Mexico)91589.2
Liberty Inn (U.S.A.)39185.7
Sommerfest (Germany)17884.3 Pretzel looks better than it tastes
Katsura Grill (Japan)30583.9
Electric Umbrella (Future World)66179.9
Lotus Blossom Cafe23379.8
mean = 89.7 sdev=6.1

 

Y’all rated France’s Les Halles Boulangerie-Patisserie the best quick-service restaurant in Epcot for the second year in a row. I agree. If you grab a $7.50 jambon beurre and eat it while walking around France, you’ll have as close to an authentic Parisian experience as you can get outside of the city.

Likewise, Norway’s Kringla Bakeri og Kafe and the U.K.’s Yorkshire County Fish Shop are near the top of this list every year. The Norwegian Club sandwich is my go-to meal at Norway, with turkey, ham, bacon, and two kinds of cheese. For sweets, you can’t go wrong with Kringla’s rice cream with strawberry sauce or the sweet pretzel with icing and almonds.

Yorkshire County Fish and Chips. Photo courtesy Disney (c)

You may be surprised about the Yorkshire County fish and chips place, but let me tell you a story. One year we decided to have a TouringPlans meet-up here, where we planned to buy lunch for about a hundred people. The Yorkshire manager found out about it and got in touch with me. His concern was that this tiny window-in-the-wall couldn’t meet his own quality standards while producing 100 meals in a short amount of time. That’s right – his first concern was the quality of the food, not the money. We eventually worked something out for the meet, but that interaction still shows to this day in the food that Yorkshire produces.

At the other end of the list, China’s Lotus Blossom Cafe is rated among the worst quick service restaurant in Epcot every year. I’ve been working on the Unofficial Guide for more than 15 years, and I can’t remember a time when Lotus Blossom wasn’t the worst place for a quick meal in Epcot. The menu is uninspired, the presentation is indifferent, and the setting is generic.

As far as Electric Umbrella goes, I give them credit for a more diverse menu than most non-ethnic Disney places. Their willingness to serve a veggie naan-which (broccoli slaw, edamame, tofu, and wasabi dressing on naan) is commendable. Lots of folks also like Electric Umbrella’s free soda refills. I haven’t given up on you, Electric Umbrella.

The Best Table Service Epcot Restaurants

Epcot Table Service RestaurantNumber of
Surveys
Thumbs Up
Percent
Notes
Tutto Gusto (Italy)12994.6Tapas-style dishes and drinks
The Garden Grill (The Land)99293.0Character meal with Mickey
Teppan Edo (Japan)66591.9
Biergarten (Germany)1,01691.5Buffet
Rose & Crown Dining Room (U.K.)52991.1
Via Napoli Ristorante e Pizzeria (Italy)1,14890.5With Blaze Pizza, the best pizza in WDW
Tokyo Dining (Japan)21788.5
Chefs de France63988.4
Tutto Italia34588.1
Akershus Royal Banquet Hall (Norway)1,13387.7Character meal with princesses
Le Cellier Steakhouse (Canada)61587.5
La Hacienda de San Angel (Mexico)63987.3
Spice Road Table (Morocco)25186.9
Monsieur Paul (France)10286.3
Restaurant Marrakesh (Morocco)31785.8
San Angel Inn Restaurante (Mexico)54884.7
Coral Reef Restaurant (The Seas)85781.1
Nine Dragons Restaurant (China)23580.4An improvement from last year’s 69%

We used to consider Tutto Gusto a bar. I’m putting it in the list of Epcot’s table service restaurants because it has waiters who will bring hot food to your table. And the hot food you should order is the cavatappi, spiral tube pasta served in sauce. And the sauce you should order is the ragu d’Agnello, made with lamb and pecorino cheese. That red sauce is at once savory and tart, rich and creamy. Tutto Gusto has always had good food. I criticized it when it jacked up prices and cut menu options soon after opening, but it looks like the value proposition may be back.

Over in Future World, The Land’s Garden Grill takes the #2 overall spot in Epcot. If you had told me that two months ago, I would have been surprised. But I ate here last month and it was a good meal, possibly even a decent value for what it is. Our dinner included steak, ham, turkey, sausage, a better-than-average mac-and-cheese, green beans, and cobbler and ice cream for dessert. Plus it’s a character meal with Mickey, Pluto, and Chip and Dale.  Each character visited twice, and that was more than enough time for photos and autographs, plus eating.

A few comments about the restaurants in the middle and bottom of the pack:

  • Via Napoli remains one of the hardest reservations to get in Walt Disney World. Our reader surveys invariably comment on how good the pizza is and how good-looking the waitstaff is.
  • Canada’s Le Cellier Steakhouse used to be rated near the top of this list. They’ve gone through some price increases and menu simplifications. Per Se – just sayin’.
  • La Hacienda de San Angel has the most authentic Mexican food in the area. I think people aren’t expecting that – they’re expecting something more like San Angel Inn, and at lower prices.
  • I ate at Coral Reef a couple weeks ago and I daresay it was … average. In a good way. Certainly better than this 81.1% rating indicates. Maybe it’s on an upward swing. Maybe I got lucky. We’ll see. I do know that the place was completely packed at 8:30 p.m., with a long line waiting to get in, even when most of the park was getting ready for Illuminations.
  • China has been the culinary pit of Epcot for a decade.

The Best Bars in Epcot

Good news! All of the bars in Epcot are great.

Epcot BarsNumber of
Surveys
Thumbs Up
Percent
Notes
Weinkeller (Germany)12795.3
Les Vins de Chefs de France14295.1
La Cava del Tequila (Mexico)41494.9
Rose & Crown Pub (U.K.)39293.9
Sake Bar (Japan)15293.4%

Our loose definition of bar is that it’s indoors and serves alcohol. That excludes places like Block and Hans at the U.S.A. pavilion, but really, every place that serves drinks in Epcot rates at least 90% in our surveys. It’s no wonder Epcot’s calendar is filled with Food & Wine-like events.

Germany’s Weinkeller serves wine flights and wines by the glass. If you like sweet wines, this is the place for you. If I’m remembering right, the Riesling is the least-sweet wine in one of their flights. And there’s a dessert wine flight if you want to get verrückt.

I’m a huge fan of La Cava del Tequila in Mexico. When it opened in 2009, La Cava set the standard for quality bars in Walt Disney World. La Cava serves more than 100 kinds of tequila and mezcal. If you’re new to tequila, their super-friendly staff will help with selecting and tasting something to get started. Tell ’em I sent you.

There are a couple of places to get sake in Japan – inside the Mitsukoshi store, in the far back, and outside at the Garden House Sake stand (93.1%). Both are good. The one inside is tiny, and maybe that’s part of the appeal.

The Best Snacks in Epcot

This is our first year calling out the best snacks in Epcot. Like the bars, almost all of these snack places are rated better than average. If you’re looking for a quick snack to get you to the next country, these are the places to go.

Epcot SnacksNumber of
Surveys
Thumbs Up
Percent
Notes
Karamell-Küche (Germany)64897.1
L’Artisan des Glaces (France)51395.5
Club Cool (Future World)1,27994.4 Free
Beverage Stand (Japan)19894.4
Morocco Coffee & Pastries9690.6
Crepes des Chefs de France34190.0
Kabuki Cafe14289.4Shaved ices
photo of available snacks from Germany, Caramel covered candies, cookies, fruit

Caramel treats in Germany’s Karamell-Küche

Germany’s Karamell-Küche (“Caramel Kitchen”) serves caramel in all its forms, from the simple, rich squares, to coated apples, to baked goods. It’s been popular since the day it opened. I agree it’s pretty fantastic.

Likewise, the ice creams and sorbets served over at France’s L’Artisan des Glaces have been hits from the start. I went in L’Artisan mildly skeptical about Disney’s ability to deliver really good ice cream, but L’Artisan did (and does). I think L’Artisan serves a different style of ice cream than, say, Ample Hills over at the BoardWalk (scroll down a bit). L’Artisan’s is lighter and I think the sugars are more balanced with the rest of the flavors, while Ample Hills is bold cream and really sweet. If, you know, you wanted to try both in the name of science, it’d probably be worthwhile.

Over in Future World, Club Cool offers free tastes of Coca-Cola’s sodas from around the world. The Beverly, from Italy, is legendary among people who’ve tried it. I mention it here because it’s free, and if Club Cool was an attraction, it’d be the most popular thing in Epcot.

 

Posted on January 24, 2017

26 Responses to “Your Top-Rated Epcot Restaurants”

  • Good timing, we’re leaving for WDW on Saturday. This made me change up a few ideas for our trip…

  • Excited to try Via Napoli during our trip in June. Still a little confused about how table service credits work there if you are on the Disney Dining Plans. Seems like paying out of pocket might be the way to go. Thank you for this great information!

  • Thank you for the article! Epcot dining is the reason we bought Park Hopper passes for our upcoming trip in April. Club Cool is great! It’s always packed with people and the floors are sticky but the kids love Love LOVE it.

    One question though … in your comments about Via Napoli where you mention “how good-looking the waitstaff is” … please tell me you mean that they look professional or authentic, not that they look “hot” or whatever – because that would be kind of disrespectful to cast members in that they need to be “hot” to work at Via Napoli.

    • No Dawn,
      Most all women seem to agree that the young men working there are pretty “hot”… or at least charming and attentive.

    • We’ve got a number of comments on the attractiveness of the waitstaff. Enough that it’s clearly a reason some people book it.

      I don’t think any of the comments imply any sort of physical stereotypes that make them ‘hot’ (if that’s even the word they’d use). Everyone mentions the accents though.

      • I’ll say this much… I took my 70-something year old Mom (widow) & my 50-something year old sister (divorced) to Via Napoli. (My Mom is of Italian heritage, for what it’s worth.)

        Both of them commented to me how, well… attractive, charming, and helpful the wait staff is.

        C’est la vie. (Oh wait… that’s French…)

    • I don’t know if they need to be hot or not, but my mother-in-law sure couldn’t keep her eyes off the male staff.

  • I am sure there are many wonderful CMs working at the restaurants in China, but how can Epcot executives be so inattentive for so many years?

    • That’s what we’ve discussed in our family. I’ve read that most, if not all, of the restaurants are owned/operated by 3rd parties so I wonder who owns the China restaurants? Maybe it’s still making money so no reason to change?

  • We ate at Le Cellier on our trip a few weeks ago. The steak was fabulous and it was one of the best meals I’ve had at Disney World. But I don’t think we’ll be going back, because the prices were outlandish! My entree was $54 and a glass of wine was $16 – for LUNCH!!!

    • I had the best steak I’ve ever eaten at Le Cellier. You’re right though, it is expensive. My solution is to dine reasonably during my stay so that I can indulge just once at Le Cellier… it’s worth it!

      • Oh, let me know what kind of steak it was!

        I’ve been doing experiments at home to see if I can prepare a decent, dry-aged New York or Kansas City strip. The Whole Foods and Harris Teeter near us both do dry-aged, and it’s not cheap (around $22-$28/lb). So I can see how a steak in a restaurant runs $44-$56.

        I’ve got decent results so far. Not as good as the best steak places, but enough, I think, to judge these places.

        It’s a tough job, eh?

        • It was filet mignon, which is my favorite kind of steak. Not the cheapest thing on the menu, I know. It was delicious, though! At that price, I certainly consider this restaurant a “special occasion only” place.

  • How does one review one of these restaurants? I have dined at numerous WDW restaurants and would like to weigh in.

  • We also ate at Coral Reef a few weeks ago, and thoroughly enjoyed our meals. Our waiter was even the same one we had had a couple of years ago, and while he didn’t seem to remember me, he did remember my wife :). Both times we have eaten here, the food has been above average and the service has been excellent. We just don’t get why so many don’t like it.

  • I largely agree with the results. I was a big fan of La Cava del Tequila for years, but the last couple of times I was there, the margaritas seemed really watered down. I remember the first time I had one, it was so strong I was wobbling to the bus stop afterwards. The last couple of times, I couldn’t really tell if alcohol was in it. I’m not advocating getting people drunk in Epcot, but come on. Has anyone else noticed this or is it just me?

  • Len, you included the mean and sigma for the counter service spots, but not the table service. (Everyone loves the bars and the snacks, so I’m not sure that data would be helpful for the latter two lists.)

  • We’ve eaten at a bunch of restaurants and I have to say that Marrakesh was my absolute favorite. I got the couscous and it was incredible. That said, the belly dancer albeit authentic is a little weird. It gives me that creepy skeevy feeling that I’ve gotten when going to strip clubs for friends bachelor parties. Just not my thing at all.

  • We still hit up Electric Umbrella and keep telling ourselves “it’s Good Enough”. The pluses are reasonable order times and hot food. I think they have extra lean beef and that’s why they hamburgers tend to be a bit tough.

  • Riesling the *least* sweet, wow. With the high bar rating for Germany we may decide to get verruckt up there.

    We always go to Marrakesh, it’s become family tradition the past 4 trips. DS14 loves the spice flavors and mint tea. Sure the belly dancer doesn’t hurt, lol. It’s an art form, right?