the disney food blog Rotating Header Image

Restaurant Marrakesh Review

I took the opportunity to do a wine pairing dinner at Restaurant Marrakesh during the 2009 Epcot Food and Wine Festival, which was a nice introduction. We decided to give it a try for a full meal on a recent visit.

Restaurant Marrakesh is the prize at the end of the Morocco maze in Epcot‘s World Showcase. Once you wind your way through the gorgeous alleyways, museum, and shops of the pavilion, you end up at the huge arched doorway of the restaurant.

Restaurant Marrakesh

Atmosphere
Walking into Restaurant Marrakesh is like exploring a Sultan’s palace. Everywhere you look there’s rich velvets, silks, and tapestries. Intricate, hand-lain zellige tile work and plaster carvings done by artisans sent by the King of Morocco himself decorate the entire restaurant from floor to ceiling. Delicate metal urns, teapots, and glassware give the impression that you’re about to partake in a treasured meal. And soldered, etched stained glass chandeliers hang from heavy chains to dimly light the massive room. It is clearly a restaurant fit for — and designed by — a King.

Dining Room of Restaurant Marrakesh

Ceiling and Wall Decor and Chandeliers

Velvet Fabrics and Tilework Line the Booths

If you’re lucky (and most people are), you’ll be serenaded by Moroccan musicians and entertained by a real, live belly dancer! Sometimes the kids in the restaurant are invited to come up and learn a bit of dancing as well. It’s a great way for Epcot to do what it does best — teach new cultures in an immersion environment. Very fun!

Marrakesh Musicians

Belly Dancer

Eats
Now, on to the food. Like I said, I promise you’ll find something you can eat here. Restaurant Marrakesh has learned over the years that not all patrons are adventurous eaters, so they’ve placed picture menus at the front of the Morocco pavilion as well as at the entrance to Restaurant Marrakesh. Before you dine, flip through the book of appetizers, entrees, and desserts to determine what you’d like to try — and how you’d like to modify your chosen dish if necessary. If you want a piece of plain chicken, just ask for it. Nobody will even bat an eyelash.

That said, this is also an opportunity to venture out of your comfort zone and try some new cuisine. Many gourmands thoroughly enjoy Restaurant Marrakesh. Who knows — you might find a new favorite food!

On our visit, we both ordered the Taste of Morocco Royal Feast, which included Harira Soup, a Beef Brewat Roll, Chicken and Beef Kebabs, Potatoes, Lamb Sausage, and Assorted Moroccan Pastries.

Our service began with the Harira Soup, a traditional soup flavored with tomatoes, lamb, and lentils; and the Beef Brewat Roll, pastry layers stuffed with seasoned, minced beef, fried, and sprinkled with powdered sugar. I did NOT like the Harira Soup (hey — I said I was a picky eater, but at least I tried it!). It was flavored with cilantro, which is an herb I am vehemently against — it tastes like I’m eating metal. But those who love cilantro (like my husband) will love this soup. The Beef Brewat Roll was a winner for both of us. The savory taste of the beef coupled with the sweet powdered sugar might not be a homerun for everyone, but I thought it gave the appetizer a great depth of flavors.

Harira Soup and Beef Brewat Roll

Inside the Beef Brewat Roll

Next up came huge platters with the chicken and beef kebabs, assorted sauces, a tomato salad, potatoes, and skewered lamb sausages (basically — meat and potatoes!!). I thought this was delicious, and although it was served on a massive plate, the amount of food was not excessive. We didn’t feel stuffed when we finished this portion. By the way, according to the current menu, this option has changed slightly, but all of the components of this dish are still on the menu.

Chicken and Beef Kebabs, Lamb Sausage, Potatoes, and Sauces

Finally, we were treated to assorted pastries, which turned out to be two different types of baklava. Oh. My. Goodness. I thought I was a chocolate person, but this baklava is one of the best desserts I’ve found. It’s small enough to be just the right amount of sweet after this meal, and the buttery pastries and filling are deceptively rich!

Baklava

Inside the Baklava

Overall
Like I said, a lot of folks are a bit nervous to try out Restaurant Marrakesh, either because they’re not used to the cuisine, the culture, or both. But, like other World Showcase restaurants, their goal is to give you an immersive experience without shocking your system! Enjoy the subtle differences and sample the new cuisine.

Then again, there are those of you who consider Restaurant Marrakesh to be too “Americanized,” giving a less cultural experience than you’d prefer. If this is the case, understand that the restaurant is catering to a wide range of likes and dislikes, and that sometimes being located in a theme park means making a few concessions when it comes to cultural authenticity.

Restaurant Marrakesh has the difficult task of staying true to its goal of creating a culturally immersive experience while catering to a theme park crowd. It can’t be easy, which is probably why this spot is often kept off the lists of first-time visitors, but, in my opinion, it’s a fantastic restaurant in the midst of a truly breathtaking setting. I urge you to sample it at least once… .

By the way, if you’ve been to Restaurant Marrakesh, leave us a comment with your thoughts and menu suggestions!

Other Posts You May Enjoy:

24 Comments

  1. Ken Brown says:

    Thanks for the review AJ!! Restaurant Marrakesh is one of our favorites and you are exactly right. I will eat almost anything (BTW I love cilantro, it’s a staple in Southern Arizona) and my wife likes only “regular” food. We were both pleased as were the two friends we dined with on our last visit. Excellent food, very nice venue, good and not overbearing entertainment, and a very nice staff.

    Ken

  2. This is one of my favorite restaurants at EPCOT – and purely by default, we discovered how wonderful it is! We waited until the last minute one year to book a Candlelight dinner package, and this was one of the only locations left. The food is delicious, the waitstaff has always been incredibly nice, and the atmosphere is fun. If I’ve ever had a complaint here, it’s that the service can be a wee bit slow, but it does allow you time to soak up the atmosphere.

    Thanks for another great review!

  3. Amy says:

    Thanks for the warning about the cilantro! I’m totally with you on that herb.

  4. Galloping Gourmand says:

    I love Marrakesh, but it’s hard for me to get people to go. That’s odd. We eat kabobs on the girl on Memorial Day. We have couscous as a side dish. We won’t put them together on a plate. Go figure.

    You are a cilantro hater. !The lines have been drawn! But seriously, that soup has way too much in it. I like cilantro but it’s an herb where a little bit goes a long way.

    Finally, I think one of the main problems with the restaurant is it’s terrible location. Even people who make reservations have to be given directions at the front of the pavilion. They don’t get many walk-ups because so many people actually want to see the place that they eat, not just a menu. At most World Showcase restaurants you can see the food, not just a picture on the menu. That can make or break a decision. You also cannot see the room you are eating in. Odd as it seems to some people, but there are folks who make spur of the minute dining reservations based mostly on atmosphere.

  5. Melissa Cara says:

    We *Love* Marrakesh! We tried it for lunch many years ago & it was very quiet. It felt like the musicians were playing just for us! The food was great – we keep going back. Last time we went for dinner it was *very* crowded, but the service was still excellent – so friendly! We love the brewat & the kabobs & couscous are great! (I wouldn’t try anything with cilantro in it though, as I just hate it!) Marrakesh inspired us to try not only the Tangierine Cafe, but also to see out authentic Moroccan/Middle Eastern food near our home as well! Just what a World Showcase restaurant should do – expand your horizons & open your mind!

  6. Shayne says:

    After reading your review from F&WF last year, we decided to try Marrakesh on our trip last January. We REALLY enjoyed it! My husband is a picky eater too, but he loved his beef couscous dish, which he found to be essentially like beef stew. I ordered a different couscous dish–I can’t remember what it was called, but it had beef, eggs, and figs, I think–it was tasty, but I liked my husband’s dish better.

    I loved the atmosphere and the servers were helpful in explaining the different items on the menu. I can’t wait to go back and try something new!

  7. Brular says:

    Oh, sweet AJ, let me get onboard the “anti-cilantro” train! I also find this herb overbearing and … loud? I think of it as the Guy Fieri of herbs!

    As for the restaurant, I’m a big fan too, I really enjoyed the rich tones of the decor, and how can you say no to beef in phyllo pastry, right?

    I’d add that they brew a delicious sweet mint tea, a traditional welcoming beverage in Morocco, which should please kids and grown-ups as alike. It’s a welcoming break for the omnipresent soft drink and Nescafe. You can ask for it iced also, but I’m a sucker for the theatricality of the whole tea-pouring process, with the elegant metallic teapot. That said, I’ve been known to ask for a sweet mint iced tea to go, a refreshing delight on the hot pavement of the World Showcase.

    And if someone wants to brush up on his French without coping with the French attitude over French pavilion, know that the Moroccan CMs will gladly talk to you en français. Bon appétit!

  8. Rich T. says:

    I ate here for lunch last month. To me, the food didn’t really seem that exotic, but I usually try to seek out new cuisines. However, it was tasty, and the service was excellent. We had the appetizer combo, beef kebabs, chicken kebabs, and bastilla. I also had the Casablanca beer, which was quite refreshing and complemented the food well. Overall, this isn’t a must visit every time, but I will definitely return.

    Also, regarding the mint tea, I did not have any here, but I regularly get an iced one at the cafe. It is quite tasty and really helps cool you down on a hot day.

  9. Griffin says:

    Thanks for the review! We didn’t love it here though. I don’t know if it was because we went at an off time, or that fact that I just didn’t like the Couscous. Really the only thing I enjoyed eating was the Beef Brewat rolls. I could make a meal out of those bad boys!

  10. I’m a big fan of Restaurant Marrakesh for it’s good food, good prices and generally easy to get into. Like you mentioned, many avoid it because Moroccan food isn’t exactly ubiquitous in the United States. It’s definitely worth checking out!

  11. AJ says:

    Ken — Thanks for your review! Glad to hear it worked out for everyone in your party — lends credence to my “there’s something for everyone” theory!

    Anna — Yay! What a great idea for the Candlelight Processional! I have heard complaints about the service being slow, but we didn’t experience that. Hopefully it doesn’t happen that often!

    Amy — Warnings are justified when it comes to cilantro!

    GG — Did you read the article in the NY Times about the sharp division between cilantro lovers and haters?! It’s, like, a meme these days. Anyway, good point about the location. Especially for a restaurant that serves food not everyone is 100% sure of, you definitely want to make to make them feel invited and comfortable from the outside.

    Melissa — Exactly!! So, what do you like at Tangierine? And have you found any good restaurants at home?

    Shayne — Thanks for the suggestion on the dish! We’ll try that next time! Also, don’t you find that you just want to keep asking the servers questions about where they’re from and what brought them to WDW of all places? I always wonder how the International program folks heard about WDW… :-)

    Brular — YES! The tea!! We didn’t order it, so I don’t have it featured on the blog, but I should have mentioned it :-) Thanks for bringing it to everyone’s attention — it really is a theatrical experience! Also, great point that you can speak French with the CMs — thinking about it, that’s probably one of the most prevalent languages in the World Showcase, what with France, Canada, and Morocco!

    Rich — I agree, the food isn’t all that exotic if you’re used to a more ethnically diverse diet. They do a good job of toning down some of the dishes to please a broader range of people, but it’s still good stuff, as you said. Great suggestion on the iced tea over in the Cafe!! (Mmm…iced mint tea and baklava…)

    Griffin — Ha! I liked those, too! Wasn’t sure I was going to, but I almost made my husband give me half of his! :-)

    Matt — Hear hear!

  12. Jason says:

    Great review. Sadly, Americans have a pretty narrow-minded view of certain African or middle Eastern countries. I don’t think people grasp that Moroccan food or Lebanese food is not all that different than Greek food which is more widely accepted. It’s almost as if they expect bowls of slop. Maybe it’s because I live in a heavily ethnic area (North Jersey outside of NYC) and am exposed to a lot of it. I don’t know. I do know that i love Marrakesh and think that anyone who loves a good cut of red meat would die for the lamb and picky eaters would live perfectly fine with chicken kebobs and the side dishes. The atmosphere is great (in a wonderful pavilion) and i love that the place is easy to get into. The sampler platters are also a great way to get lots of different dishes off the menu, something that’s harder to do at other restaurants.

  13. AJ says:

    Jason — Where are you from? I was in NYC for several years and got over to Jersey quite often. Agreed on the sampler platters — a great deal!

  14. Lillian C. says:

    Oh, this is one of the restaurants we visited during my first trip to WDW….. I don’t remember the food but I enjoyed the music and the dancer. That’s when I realized that restaurants at WDW are special!!

  15. What?

    As soon as I saw the bellydancer video, I forgot what I was reading?

    Who is this?

  16. AJ says:

    Lillian — Great point! They offer so much more than just a meal!

    George — Ha!! Focus…focus!! :-)

  17. Diane says:

    The first time I ate at Marrakesh was in 1993. I played it safe and had what amounted to lemon chicken. We enjoyed it enough to want to go back on our next trip. It took 17 years but we made it. Our party of three ate dinner there this past June. The restaurant is beautiful, the musicians were wonderful, and the belly dancer was fun to watch. But the true star of the experience was the food. It was fabulous. We all had some version of lamb and it was truly wonderful. The flavor was fabulous and all the roasted vegetables were bursting with their natural flavors. My dad loved the hummus with his meal. He cleaned his plate which is something he hasn’t done in about 10 years. I’m not a big fan of couscous in general but I found it to be a nice foundation to the rest of my meal. Since we were there when it was 97 degrees outside, the mint iced tea was a wonderful treat. It was also by far the best service we had at any restaurant at any park or resort. I really don’t understand why more people aren’t willing to give it a try. I realize it isn’t “typical” fare for most people but it really isn’t that exotic. I don’t remember what the dessert was called – some kind of fried wafer thing with a vanilla sauce – but it was really good (my description not so good). Despite the hot weather, I still had the morrocan coffee wth it. It was delicious and strong. On the one hand, I hate that it doesn’t get the business it deserves. On the other hand, I’m glad because that means those of us who appreciate this gem of a restaurant can get in when we want and have a relaxing dinner. I am a big fan of cilantro so I’ll have to give the soup a try next time.

  18. Mike says:

    We have eaten here only once. The atmosphere was nice, as was the entertainment. I love ethnic food, but for some reason, I wasn’t impressed with my dish at Marrakesh – it may have been an off night. I have 3 children who also enjoyed the atmosphere, but stuck to traditional Disney kid offerings that you can find just about anywhere. I thought it was pricey for what we had, but that’s Disney – you are often purchasing the “exerpience” and “atmosphere” more than the food.

  19. Marie says:

    It’s on the expensive side, but the food is great. I enjoyed my lamb couscous. The meat was so tender and fell right off the bone. It was juicy and succulent. Great and healthy with vegetables and couscous. But, I the best thing I’ve tasted there is the goat cheese appetizer. I was scared to try goat cheese, but I found it to be smooth and tasty. It has no funky flavor like I expected. The chips served with it is the most crunchy chip I’ve ever had. Ask for more of them when you get the goat cheese! ;) I really thought the muscles were fantastic as well. Oh, and the green and mint tea was different. I thought it was a little too strong of mint, but if you add sugar it will help it to dilute it. It tasted better with food. It was almost like a palate cleanser. I recommend for everyone to at least try it.

  20. Cherry says:

    All the times I’ve been to Disney I’ve never eaten here (and I love middle eastern type food). That is going to be remedied on this next trip! Just trying to decide if I want to try what you had AJ or the lamb shank. Both sound so tempting. :-)

  21. Tera says:

    Just found this review since we’re going to be eating here for our upcoming trip in June and I’m really excited. My husband and I are doing a night out and we’ve never eaten any middle eastern type food. Very excited to try something new :)

  22. AJ says:

    Tera, I think you’re going to love it!! The menu may have changed slightly, but go with an open mind and enjoy! :-)

  23. Casey says:

    Just got back from WDW and this was my favorite meal. You must order the mussels casablanca appetizer. It is for two but I could have eaten the whole thing myself. I had to stop myself to leave room for entree and dessert. The saffron cream sauce with capers over the mussels was amazing. For the entree I got the beef shish kebob which was excellent. The beef was so tender and the sauce they serve with it is drinkable. Make sure you get the hot mint tea just to see the waiter pour it. For dessert we had bastilla which was a light and refreshing ending to a great meal. We ate at the newly remodeled Tutto Italia the next night and the Marakesh blew it away. Very disappointed with Tutto.

  24. Shannon says:

    Went to Restaurant Marrakesh on my last trip to WDW in October of 2011 with my husband, mom, dad, sister, brother in law and niece (age 11). Everyone absolutely LOVED this restaurant and we all agreed it was one of the best meals we had in Disney and that we would all definitely go back.

Leave a Reply

Current month ye@r day *