Since Tangierine Cafe in Epcot’s Morocco pavilion in the World Showcase has long been a family favorite counter service stop, I have been wanting to try the country’s table service restaurant, Restaurant Marrakesh, for some time.
Tucked at the very back of the pavilion, Restaurant Marrakesh seems to be one of the most overlooked restaurants at Epcot, but I think it’s also one of the best. I’m not sure if it’s because it’s out of sight or because the food may seem too “exotic” (it’s not!), but it truly is a hidden gem.
From the second you step into Restaurant Marrakesh, you really are transported to another place. The dining space features towering columns, intricate mosaics, high chandeliers and white tablecloths. It may seem fancy, but you are still at Walt Disney World, and children of all ages are certainly welcome.
In fact, the cast members were some of the best we have encountered at any Walt Disney World restaurant. We were celebrating my son’s birthday on this trip, and I had called to have a note added to our Advanced Dining Reservation. All of the servers came together, put a fez on his head, and sang “Happy Birthday” to him in Arabic. It was a fun moment, and he enjoyed his complimentary ice cream with a candle.
Yes, those are actual vegetables on a plate of food at a theme park restaurant!
For lunch, my husband and I both chose the Sultan Sampler, which includes a grilled brochette of chicken, beef brewat roll, chicken bastilla and vegetable couscous ($24.99).
So let’s break the meal down. Brochette of chicken is chicken on a skewer with vegetables, and while good, it was probably the least exciting part of the dish. A couple of the pieces of chicken were slightly overcooked, but the rest of the dish made up for it. The couscous (steamed tiny semolina pasta) was tasty, and the hearty pile of vegetables, including cooked carrots, potatoes and zucchini, was a healthy – and welcoming – surprise. So while the names may sound a little foreign, this part of the dish was mainly chicken, vegetables and chopped up pasta. Nothing was overly seasoned either.
But what is a beef brewat roll and chicken bastilla, you ask? Probably one of the best things I have ever eaten at Walt Disney World! They are both savory pastries (one filled with seasoned minced beef and eggs and the other with minced chicken and almonds) that are fried and topped with sprinkled cinnamon and powdered sugar. It may sound weird, but the sweet and savory combination works – and works well! Also, the eggs and almonds are all ground together with the meat, so it’s a nice, even consistency.
Other entree options include couscous with beef, lamb shank, chicken or vegetables; chicken or shish kabobs; braised lamb shank; lemon chicken; and salmon.
Our preschooler ended up sharing our Sultan’s Samplers, as he likes chicken, couscous and vegetables. However, there is also a kids menu available with chicken tenders, Moroccan-style pasta and hamburgers.
We were too full for dessert, but the bastilla (crispy pastry leaves topped with vanilla cream, cinnamon, powered sugar and toasted almonds) is on my list for next time – and there will be a next time!
Throughout both lunch and dinner, a musician comes out and plays sets for about 10 minutes before being joined by a (family-friendly) belly dancer. Then, at the end of her performance, she invites kids to join her and teaches them how to belly dance. It’s entertaining to watch and gives kids an opportunity to stretch their legs and interact with even more wonderful Disney cast members.
Tip: Since Restaurant Marrakesh is an overlooked restaurant, it’s fairly easy to get Advancing Dining Reservations. If you are at Epcot and don’t have any meal plans, you can log into the My Disney Experience app and will likely find same-day reservations. It’s also easier to reserve for special events, like the Candlelight Processional Dining Package, when other restaurants quickly fill up.
Kids Rating: out of 5. For adults, Restaurant Marrakesh is a solid 5, but it has tough competition for kids against more kid-friendly options like character meals. Still, the interactive belly dancer, outstanding cast members and tasty food make it easy to bring kids along.