How to Eat Healthy at Disney’s Epcot
June 12, 2015
Tour the world without expanding your waistline
How to Eat Healthy at Disney’s Epcot
Of the four theme parks at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida, Epcot (formerly known as EPCOT Center) is the most unusual. More than twice the size of the Magic Kingdom, it’s dedicated to celebrating international culture, human achievement, and technological innovation. The third most-visited theme park in North America and the sixth most-visited in the world, it hosts more than 11 million guests annually, all of whom are most likely looking for something to eat during their visit.
The intimate, underground Le Cellier Steakhouse at the Canadian Pavilion is one of Epcot’s most popular restaurants (and the only restaurant in this country’s area of the park). Their Canadian cheddar cheese soup is one of the single best dishes served at Epcot, but if you’re looking for something healthier, choose the pan-seared snapper with yucca and romesco sauce or the seared scallops with celeriac and butternut-apple chutney.
The Nine Dragons Restaurant is the China pavilion’s traditional Chinese-American sit-down restaurant, and the Lotus Blossom Café is a counter-service spot. There’s not often a wait at the Nine Dragons (interpret that as you will), but it’s a good option if you don’t feel like putting your name down on a list. The healthiest options there are the fragrant five-spiced fish (white fish in a five-spice sauce) and spit-roasted Beijing chicken with mashed taro. The options are more limited at the Lotus Blossom Café, but healthy choices include beef noodle soup and Hong Kong-style vegetable curry over rice.
Les Chefs de France, a lovely traditional brasserie, offers quite possibly the best restaurant at Epcot. Your healthiest options there are the traditional salade niçoise, half-rotisserie chicken with potatoes and broccoli, and filet of salmon with braised lentils. Dinner-only Monsieur Paul, named for legendary French chef Paul Bocuse, is even more upscale; the healthiest entrées available are the chicken ballotine with carrot and sunchoke purée and spinach, and the red snapper with potato scales, braised fennel, and rosemary sauce. (Bocuse's son, Jerôme, runs both restaurants here.)
At the Biergarten you’ll find traditional German specialties in an Oktoberfest-style atmosphere, and at the counter-service Sommerfest you’ll find bratwurst and other sausages. The Biergarten is buffet-style, so we suggest opting for a less tempting restaurant, but your healthiest options there are the beet salad, tomato salad, roasted pork, white fish, rotisserie chicken, seasonal vegetables, and fresh fruit. Healthy options are also limited at the sausage-heavy Sommerfest, where the cold potato salad is probably the least-unhealthy item.
There are three dining options at the Italy pavilion: the full-service Tutto Italia, Tutto Gusto Wine Cellar, and pizzeria Via Napoli. The pollo (a chopped grilled chicken salad) and grilled salmon with asparagus and fennel salad are the healthiest options at Tutto Italia; white asparagus, tomato bruschetta, mussels with white wine and tomato, and insalata di mare trapanese are the healthiest options at Tutto Gusto; and the pollo insalate, with chopped chicken romaine, cucumber, peppers, and cantaloupe, is your best bet at Via Napoli.
There are more options to eat healthy than probably anywhere else in the park at the Japan pavilion. Teppan-yaki style cuisine (which you’ll probably recognize from Benihana) is the name of the game at the hibachi-style Teppan Edo, where chefs prepare a meal on a large griddle at each table. For the main course, opt for the sea scallops, chicken breast, chicken and shrimp, or seasonal vegetables if you’re looking to eat healthy, and ask that they don’t use much oil. Traditional Japanese fare is on offer at Tokyo Dining; try the grilled chicken, grilled salmon, or the wide sushi selection there. Sushi and edamame are also the healthier options at the quick-service Katsura Grill, which gives you the option to eat outdoors in a garden.
There are three restaurants at the Mexican Pavilion: La Hacienda de San Angel, a 250-seat restaurant offering traditional Mexican cuisine; the San Angel Inn, a hacienda-themed restaurant; and La Cantina de San Angel, a counter-service spot specializing in taquería-style fare like empanadas, nachos, and guacamole. If you’re looking to eat light, opt for the pescado a la talla at La Hacienda de San Angel (grilled tilapia with roasted corn, cactus, and mango ); lomo de puerco en pipian (pork tenderloin with roasted vegetables) at San Angel Inn; or pollo cascabel at La Cantina de San Angel (grilled chicken with Mexican rice, corn, cascabel sauce, and pickled onions).
There are four dining options at the Morocco pavilion: the small plates-focused Spice Road Table, the traditional and opulent Restaurant Marrakesh, the counter service Tangierine Café, and the Moorish Café & Pastry Shop. Healthy options at Spice Road Table include fresh mussels tajine, hummus and olives, roasted chicken, and yellowfin tuna. Choose the Moroccan salad, chicken kebabs, fish or chicken tagine, or vegetable couscous at Restaurant Marrakesh. The shawarma chicken platter is the healthiest option at Tangierine Café, and a light crêpe is your best bet at the Moorish Café.
There are two places to eat at the Norway Pavilion: the “Princess Storybook Dining”-themed Akershus Royal Banquet Hall, which is perpetually packed, and the charming Kringla Bakeri Og Kafe. At Akershus, those looking to eat light should opt for the oven-roasted chicken breast or pan-seared salmon, and the smoked salmon and egg sandwich (the only cheese-free option) is the healthiest savory entrée at Kringla.
The United Kingdom pavilion’s Yorkshire County Fish Shop only sells fish and chips, so we suggest that you instead visit the Rose & Crown, a traditional English pub. Healthy diners may choose to forego the U.K. pavilion’s dining options entirely, but the pan-roasted mussels and apple and frisée salad are healthier alternatives to shepherd’s pie and bangers and mash.
There’s no sit-down restaurant at American Adventure; its three options are the Liberty Inn, the Fife & Drum, and the Funnel Cake Stand. At the Liberty Inn (which specializes in hot dogs and burgers) your best bet is to order the Red, White, and Blue Salad, with greens, Craisins, pecans, apples, blue cheese, and sherry vinaigrette; at the Fife & Drum, a turkey leg is the healthiest option. We suggest you don’t look for other healthy options at the Fife & Drum (except for the turkey leg) or expect to find any at all at the Funnel Cake Stand.