Formerly known as Yakitori House, Katsura Grill is casual Japanese food in a unique setting. The options are limited to three types of sushi (California, spicy tuna, and vegetable), four types of udon noodles (plain, beef, shrimp tempura, and Japanese curry), three teriyaki dishes (beef, chicken, or salmon), fried chicken and beef curry, and curry rice — but they are filling enough for a lunch or lighter dinner. The restaurant itself is attractive, housed in a small, square Japanese-style building with peaked roofs and an airy feel. The seating inside is a bit limited, but there are many places in the surrounding area to rest your feet for a few while you enjoy your $10 meal.
While some might be looking for a memorable experience with unique, high-quality cuisine in a place with good atmosphere and a view, others might just want some familiar food, ample seating, and a cool place to relax for a few minutes — all at a reasonable price. If the latter sounds like you, head over to Liberty Inn. The menu has no surprises: Burgers, hot dogs, grilled chicken BLTs, chicken nuggets, a couple salads, and a New York strip steak make up the menu, but everything costs only about $10. There’s no table service, but lines are short, there are a lot of seats, and the air conditioning is always pumping. Oh yeah, there’s beer, too.
If you like Italian food and outdoor dining, look no further than Tutto Italia Ristorante. As you might expect, the menu is pasta-heavy (lasagna alla bolognese, spaghetti with beef and veal meatballs, tortiglioni with bacon and caramelized onions, fettucine with basil pesto, and ricotta ravioli), but also includes polenta, sage-roasted rack of lamb, pork chops, parmesan-crusted filet of sole, and a Black Angus ribeye for $24-36 each. There’s also gelato and sorbet to beat the heat in the warmer months on the patio, or you can simply opt to sit inside the handsome dining room complete with chandeliers and murals of ancient Rome.
If you’re looking for non-American cuisine but don’t want a full-service meal and the prices that go along with it, consider the quick-service Lotus Blossom Café. Selections include Chinese-inspired dishes like egg rolls, pot stickers, noodles, salads, rice bowls, and orange chicken — all of which come in big portions and cost less than $12 each. Also, there’s covered (but not air-conditioned) outdoor seating for pleasant days. All in all, if you’re looking for a tasty, quick, satisfying, and reasonably-priced meal, the Lotus is easily one of the best options in Epcot.
Amongst the ornate wood carvings, traditional lanterns, and attractive glass artwork, Nine Dragons Restaurant also serves some solid Cantonese, Mongolian, Szechuan, Hunan, and Kiang Che-style Chinese cuisine. Beginning with pot stickers, spring rolls (with chicken, shrimp, fish, and vegetable options), and a selection of steamed buns (try the General Tso’s chicken buns), guests can move on to mains like honey-sesame chicken, sweet-and-sour pork, spit-roasted Beijing chicken or duck, peppery shrimp with spiced spinach noodles, kung pao chicken or shrimp, and a vegetable and tofu stir fry. Entrées range from $16 to $27, and any dish would go fantastic with one of the restaurant’s daiquiris, because what wouldn’t?
Yelp / Victoria K
The Rose & Crown has two separate rooms: a pub for walk-ins and grabbing a quick drink, and a sit-down dining room for meals. The dining side is the better bet, as it offers a full menu that includes traditional U.K. pub fare like a Scotch egg, cold-smoked salmon, fish and chips, bangers and mash, Scottish salmon, pork two ways (a grilled chop and pear cider-braised belly), and house-made shepherd’s pie, all for $17-$29 each. Of course there’s also plenty of beer available from the quaint, wood-adorned bar, pours of Scotch and Scotch flights, wine by the glass or bottle, and a handful of specialty cocktails. If you can get a table on the outside patio, it provides a fantastic view of the IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth show.
Located in the Morocco region, Spice Road Table offers Mediterranean small plates ($7-12) and specialty entrées ($24-30) like fried mussels, spicy garlic shrimp, lamb sausage, lamb sliders, rice-stuffed grape leaves, Brie fondue, beef and chicken skewers, yellowfin tuna, and coriander-crusted rack of lamb. The biggest draw here, however, is also the biggest downfall: The restaurant is outside. On the plus side, it’s covered, so pleasant temperatures can still be enjoyed (especially when the IllumiNation show is occurring) even if it rains. Unfortunately, this also means that when the heat rises, there’s obviously no air conditioning for diners, which can get unbearable during the hottest summer months.
Naturally, Les Chefs de France — originally conceived by three great French chefs, Roger Vergé, Gaston Lenôtre, and Paul Bocuse (and now run by Bocuse's son, Jérôme) — is a great place to order French cuisine like escargot casserole, French onion soup, a croque monsieur or quiche Lorraine, broiled salmon, or mahi mahi sandwich, but it’s also a good spot to beat the heat on summer days. The restaurant is filled with expansive windows that look out onto the promenade, providing a place that is bright and airy, but also has air conditioning when it gets unbearable outside. With main courses that range from an affordable $15 to a $30 semi-splurge, diners can choose a meal at their cost comfort level, and still be able to pair it with a nice glass of French wine.
Once the live music gets going and the belly dancers come out, you might momentarily forget that you’re in a Disney World restaurant. Helping that cause is Restaurant Marrakesh’s Moroccan dishes like goat cheese with crispy bread (for two), mussels Casablanca (for two), couscous with lamb shank, shish kebab, and two “Taste of Morocco” Feasts. The Royal ($45) comes with a jasmine salad, seafood Bastilla, lemon chicken, roast lamb, and couscous with seven vegetables. The Marrakesh ($42) includes harira soup, a beef brewat roll, tenderloin of beef shish kebab, chicken kebab, and lamb sausage. Both are served with assorted Moroccan pastries. The regular à la carte mains go from $21 to $29. For the record, the kids’ menu is, in fact, kid-friendly: chicken tenders, a hamburger, or Moroccan-style pizza for $8 each.
Formerly known as Bistro de Paris, Monsieur Paul is a white linen, fine dining restaurant that was recently refurbished and carries the name and familiar style of famed chef Paul Bocuse (and is run, like Les Chefs de France, by his son, Jérôme). Chef Francisco Santin, who worked with the elder Bocuse in Lyon, serves innovative twists on French classics like mussel soup, ahi tuna tartare, lobster à l’americaine, roasted duck breast, grilled beef tenderloin, herb-crusted rack of lamb, seared scallops, red snapper, and black truffle soup — the dish that earned chef Bocuse the medal of Commandeur de la Legion d’Honneur in 1975 at the presidential dinner at Élysée Palace. Appetizers run from $15-29, and entrées from $39-44, however, there’s also a prix fixe menu for around $89. If you manage to snag a window seat in this upscale eatery, with its bright color palette, you’ll have an excellent view of the IllumiNations show.
Like the New Orleans-themed Blue Bayou restaurant at Disneyland Park in California, San Angel Inn at Epcot is also bathed in perpetual twilight, but this place built to resemble a seventeenth-century hacienda at the base of Mayan ruins. Offerings here include a traditional tortilla soup, pulled chicken tostadas, mushroom quesadillas, mole poblano, diabla-style shrimp, pork in salsa verde, and grilled wahoo ($25-30 for mains) — as well as tequilas and margaritas too, of course. After catching a view of the nearby “active volcano,” hop in a boat for a ride down the adjacent river as part of the Gran Fiesta Tour.
Yelp / David L
What do you get when you cross a restaurant, a merry-go-round, and a bunch of Disney characters? The Garden Grill at Epcot. This buffet-style table-service eatery offers dishes such as char-grilled sliced filet of beef, sliced turkey breast, Italian sausage and peppers, and sides like macaroni and cheese, buttermilk mashed potatoes, and bacon and leek stuffing, as the circular seating area slowly revolves and shows views of the educational Living with the Land experience. As an added bonus, costumed characters like Mickey, Chip and Dale, and Pluto drop in to say hello, sign autographs, and pose for pictures. Breakfast costs $30 for adults and $18 for kids, lunch is $35 and $20, and dinner is $40 and $20. As opposed to many of the other restaurants, reservations are usually pretty easy to book here.
Hordes of screaming, unruly kids got you down? Epcot has a wood-adorned beer garden (indoors, but made to look like it’s outdoors), called Biergarten, and it opens promptly at noon every day. After being seated at a large table (which you may be sharing with other parties), it’s time to order up a stein of German brew or glass of wine to go with your buffet eats: sausages, cheeses, salads (in potato, tomato, bean, cucumber, cabbage, sausage, or pasta varieties), pork schnitzel, German meat loaf, roasted chicken, or baked cod. The cost is $15-20 for kids during lunch and dinner, and $25 for an adult lunch and $25-40 for an adult dinner. And if you really need a jolt to get you through the day, the Biergarten also serves Jägermeister shots.
As the more acute among you will discern from its name, Tokyo Dining is a Japanese restaurant. Offering one of the largest menus in the park, the sleek, contemporary eatery features a wide variety of soups, salads, appetizers (like panko oysters, edamame, and assorted tempura), sushi rolls and combos (like shrimp, tuna, eel, salmon, and yellowtail), sashimi (tuna, salmon, or yellowtail), inside-out uramaki rolls (California, tuna, salmon, yellowtail, or shrimp), and entrées (bento box with steak and sushi, panko or grilled chicken, tuna steak, and filet mignon). Sushi rolls run about $10, depending on the type and order size, and mains are $26-32 each. On the plus side, reservations are easier to score here than most other restaurants in the park, and if you land a balcony seat in the evening, you’ll get a great view of the IllumiNation show.
Akershus Royal Banquet Hall’s medieval castle setting and its soaring archways and cathedral ceilings are impressive, the Norwegian food is delicious (buffet-style at breakfast, mains like Norwegian meatballs, potato-cheese and herb ravioli, center-cut pork chops, and a scallops, shrimp, and mussels platter at lunch and dinner), and the Taste of Norway appetizer (featuring Scandinavian seafood, imported cheeses, cured and sliced meats, and salads and fruits) is a nice treat, but the real draw here is the princesses. Snow White, Cinderella, Belle, Princess Aurora, Ariel, and Mary Poppins (wait, she wasn’t a princess!) all make their rounds at the restaurant during meals to chat, take pictures with, and sign autographs for the kids (and kids at heart), which makes the $30-60 price tag seem much more worthwhile.
There are three reasons to go to the dinner-only La Hacienda de San Angel: the food (Mexican staples like pork empanadas, shrimp tacos, and meat or seafood sampler platters for two), the waterfront views, and the fact that when the “IllumiNations: Reflections of the Earth” fireworks show starts, there’s no better place to be than sitting in a comfortable chair, at a window seat, with a margarita (try the avocado or orange mango fire flavors) or glass of tequila in your hand — or three tequila tastes, if you wisely opt for the flight option. Entrées are prices between $25 and $32 (platters are $58 each), and margaritas are about $13 each, but chips and salsa are provided free of charge.
There have always been a surprisingly small number of good pizza options at Disneyland and Disney World. However, the table-service restaurant Via Napoli opened in 2010 at Epcot, and all is now right in the world. (The World of Disney, at least.) With eight wood-fired pizza varieties (including picante, mushroom, four cheese, and prosciutto and melon) and a build-your-own option; additional entrées like spinach lasagna, veal parmigiana, and linguini and seafood; and several large salads, Via Napoli should please anyone needing an Italian fix — with the exception of those also seeking a quiet place to eat or a small price tag; the restaurant is notoriously loud and features entrées that run from $18 (salad) to $41 (large pizza). Via Napoli, owned by the same group that operates Naples 45 Ristorante e Pizzeria in New York City, was once named the critic’s choice for “Best Theme Park Restaurant” by the Orlando Sentinel,.
In Future World, at the Coral Reef Restaurant, people clamor for the crab-spinach fondue, lobster soup, and mains of seared mahi mahi or rainbow trout, and shrimp and grits (priced from $20 to $33 each), but the best part of the dining experience at this table service eatery is the view. Unlike some other restaurants, the view doesn’t look outside upon the endless crowds of park-goers, but instead the panoramic windows peer into the underwater world of “The Seas with Nemo & Friends,” allowing guests to check out the largest inland saltwater environment ever built (containing enough water to fill 54 Olympic-sized swimming pools) and its 4,000-plus sea creatures — including sharks, sea turtles, rays, and 85 species of tropical fish. Mickey has even been known to swim by in scuba gear to entertain the kids!
Teppan Edo is a hibachi-style restaurant, which means dinner will also include a show — one that features knife-flipping, onion volcanos, and vegetables arranged to look like Mickey. Sushi-lovers will adore the sampler meal (tuna, salmon, shrimp, and California roll); and the entrées have a mix of surf (swordfish, sea scallops, and shrimp), turf (filet mignon, chicken breast, and a meal with both), and surf & turf (steak and shrimp, chicken and shrimp) options. The kids meals stick with the Japanese cuisine theme, with shrimp, chicken, or vegetables paired with udon noodles and beef rice. Mains are priced between $18 and $32, and smaller dining parties will likely be sat with other guests at the large, eight-top tables. For those 21 and over, don’t forget to sample the sake!
“Sensational Canadian Cuisine” might sound odd at first, but bear with us: Le Cellier is definitely worth a visit, and is, in fact, the best restaurant in all of Epcot. Guests can start with an artisanal cheese plate or a bowl of Canadian Cheddar cheese soup (made with Moosehead Beer and applewood-smoked bacon and served with pretzel bread), before moving on to seared bison strip loin, potato and parsnip agnolotti, cross-season Canadian salmon, or the signature filet mignon made with AAA Canadian tenderloin. Of course, no Canadian menu would be complete without a selection of poutine, and delicious desserts like the chocolate whisky truffle. The prices are a bit steep ($28-52 for entrées and wine starting at $16 per glass), but that’s expected at the one of the park’s most coveted restaurants — which also means you should expect reservations to fill up weeks or months in advance.