One of the first things I consider when planning a getaway is dining options. Discovering real local cuisine is my favorite part of travelling. My husband, Chris, is dedicated to the mantra “call me whatever you want, as long as you don’t call me late for dinner”. Her culinary flexibility – minus the strict timing option – allows me to be fully in charge of planning where we dine. Being an adventurous foodie, having the ability to make my own palate-appealing selections is heaven. Orlando is a quick flight from Boston, allowing us frequent trips to Disney, and Epcot is our favorite park to explore. Below are my favorite Epcot restaurants. I hope you will have the opportunity to try them on your next visit.
Our first visit to Epcot was on our honeymoon 36 years ago. We spent a week dining in the World Showcase, exploring the fine dining establishments at Epcot. It was an amazing journey and it opened our eyes to culinary treasures around the world. We always visit our favorites whenever we get the chance.
1. Mr Paul
By far my favorite Epcot restaurant is Mr Paul, named after the famous co-founder and restaurateur Paul Bocuse. Dining at Monsieur Paul takes a bit of advance planning — reservations for the gourmet restaurant are required in advance. If you are looking for an elegant place to celebrate a special occasion, you will love this charming restaurant. It’s an expensive dinner, but the food is amazing.
I highly recommend the decadent red snapper topped with potato scales and a rosemary sauce. For dessert, the crispy meringue with raspberry sorbet and whipped cream is sublime.
I hope one day to have the chance to dine at his signature Restaurant Paul Bocuse in Lyon, France, until then, Disney will suffice.
Pro tip: Monsieur Paul is on the Disney Meal Plan and reservations are required. There is no children’s menu; although I saw a few (very few) children eating very expensive meals here. There is also a casual dress code that eliminates a fair number of daily Disney guests.
2. Akershus Royal Banqueting Hall
The medieval Akershus Fortress in Oslo is the inspiration for Akershus Royal Banqueting Hall. The impressively decorated banquet hall is the perfect place for your princess-in-waiting culinary adventure. You and your little princess will love Disney Princess visits and photo ops.
Dinner is served family style and features an assortment of treasures from the Norwegian buffet.
Pro tip: The Akershus Royal Banquet Hall is part of the Disney Dining Plan and advance reservations are required.
3. Steakhouse Le Cellier
Nestled in the cellar of the Canadian Castle is Steakhouse Le Cellier. The winery doesn’t offer sweeping views or costumed characters, but it does have an old-world vibe, delicious food, and a nice selection of wines by the glass.
Our neighbors to the north know a thing or two about cooking meat. The signature starter is their filet mignon with mushroom risotto and truffle butter sauce – I’m a sucker for all things truffle. The beef bourguignon poutine (fries) with gruyere cheese, garlic aioli and truffle is my other favorite dish. I order it as a starter and don’t share a single fry. For dessert, forgo the sweets and treat yourself to a glass of Château des Charmes Vidal Icewine from the Niagara Peninsula.
Pro tip: Le Cellier Steakhouse is on the Disney Dining Plan and reservations are recommended.
4. Rose And Crown Pub and Dining Room
United Kingdom pavilion
Reminiscent of a London corner pub, the Rose and Crown Pub and Dining Room transports you above the pond as soon as you walk through the door. Dark wood and UK-themed decor evoke a laid-back atmosphere where you can meet up with friends for a pint or two. Plus, the outdoor terrace overlooking the World Showcase lagoon is a beautiful setting for al fresco dining.
I love their signature fish and chips – a classic. Another great option is the British bangers and mash served with Colcannon potatoes, mushrooms and onions, in a savory demi-glace. Don’t forget to leave enough room for an unmissable plate of sticky caramel pudding. To share or not to share, that is the question.
Pro tip: The Rose and Crown Pub is part of the Disney dining plan and reservations are strongly suggested.
5. La Cava Del Tequila
pavilion of mexico
Stand in line for a tequila-focused adult drink at Tequila Cava. The long queue moves pretty quickly as the drinks are served. With over 200 libation options, La Cava del Tequila is a must stop for drinking in the World Showcase. It’s also a great place for a happy hour cocktail and a bite to get you a late dinner reservation.
Don’t know what to order? Try a tequila flight and taste your favorite. My suggestion is the Piña Loca made with ginger pineapple juice, Ilegal mezcal and Ancho Reyes chili liqueur with a salty black ant rim. Yes, you read that right, black ant salt – crushed black ants mixed with dried chili peppers, salt and sugar. Don’t hit it until you try it. You can have a small portion of fries to accompany your libation break.
Pro tip: La Cava del Tequila is not on the Disney dining plan and there are no reservations.
6. Restaurant Beer Garden
Everyday is Oktoberfest at the Bavarian-inspired restaurant Beer Garden Restaurant. Take a seat in the hall as German musicians and dancers dressed in traditional clothing entertain you. I enjoy the fun and lively atmosphere of the Biergarten. You can usually get a reservation fairly easily, and the laid-back atmosphere is a perfect interlude when enjoying a long day at Epcot.
The family-style buffet includes favorite classics like schnitzel, spaetzle, and sauerkraut. Enjoy their beer flight with samples of Beck’s Pilsner, Warsteiner Dunkel, König Ludwig Weissbier, and Schöfferhofer Pink Grapefruit Hefeweizen. If you already have a favourite, order a half liter or a liter if you are very thirsty.
Pro tip: The German Biergarten is on the Disney Dining Plan and reservations are highly recommended.
7. Heads of France
To Chefs of France it’s like taking a seat in a chic Parisian café. The bright and airy dining room provides a refreshing oasis after a walk in the World Showcase lagoon.
My favorite dish at Chefs de France is the Burgundy snail casserole with parsley butter; delicate snails cooked in garlic butter — oo la la. Order the beef bourguignon for a hearty plate. Add a bottle of high priced 2012 Dom Pérignon (out of my price range) or a glass of more reasonably priced Cuvée Prestige sparkling wine to complete your meal.
Pro Tip: Chefs de France is on the Disney Dining Plan and reservations are highly recommended.
8. Tutto Gusto Wine Cellar
Tutto Gusto wine cellar is an Italian-inspired wine bar. The small restaurant (by Disney standards) offers wonderful Italian wines and a selected menu. The cellar-like decor with exposed stone and rich wood is a visual respite from the colorful panorama of the global showcase.
Relaxing over a bottle of wine and antipasti with your fellow traveler offers a refreshing time away from the crowds. I love the tagliere, perfect for two. It includes all the classic Italian delicacies we love to snack on: prosciutto di parma, salametto, asiago, gorgonzola, fontina, artichoke hearts, grissini and cerignola olives.
Pro Tip: Tutto Gusto Wine Cellar is not part of the Disney Meal Plan and does not take reservations. When they are busy, they will add your name to a waiting list when you approach the host.
9. Via Napoli Ristorante E Pizzeria
Sometimes you just need pizza. Via Napoli Ristorante and Pizzeria is ready to satisfy your southern Italian wood-fired pizza cravings. Most pizzas are individual sizes, a large one that serves two to three people, and the Mezzo Metro size serves four to five diners — a good option for large groups.
They serve antipasti and plated meals, but we opt for the pizza. My favorite is pizza carciofi, a white pizza topped with artichoke, fontina, mozzarella and truffle oil. A good second choice is the quattro formaggi pizza topped with mozzarella, parmesan, fontina and provolone.
Pro tip: Via Napoli is on the Disney dining plan and reservations are highly recommended.
Dine at Epcot restaurants
Throughout Epcot, there are upscale dining establishments, charming cafes, and lively bars offering guests a wealth of options. Finding the one that will perfectly complement your visit is easy.
You’ll be less stressed out about meals at Epcot if you plan ahead. Make your most important reservations before you even leave home. Some sites offer walk-in service, but your day should be flexible as you may encounter a long wait. When all else fails, stop by one of the many kiosks along the World Showcase Lagoon promenade and enjoy a quick bite to eat while you wait in line waiting for your turn on the next incredible Disney adventure.
When you’re ready to visit Disney, our packing guide will get you started on your journey. And when you’re ready to see the rest of the world through a foodie lens, you can visit some of my favorite places for taste testing. Miami’s Little Havana is a wonderful take on authentic Cuban cuisine. The Czech Republic has a rising gastronomic community that turns traditional dishes into superstars. A little closer to home, Winston-Salem’s southern-influenced dishes will tantalize your taste buds. Enjoy your lunch!