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Guest Review: Coronado Springs Resort’s Pepper Market

Bill Iadonisi returns with a colorful and impressive review of the Pepper Market at the Coronado Springs Resort. Take it away, Bill!

When guests vacation to Walt Disney World, they are looking forward to going on their favorite attractions, seeing World-Class shows and entertainment, and of course meeting the Disney Characters. A trip to Disney is an exciting adventure for all. But for many, the rides and attractions are just the tip of the iceberg.

I know that for myself, dining at Disney is a whole world of fun! With menu options from around the world and a huge diversity of food choices, the dining scene is a theme park unto itself.

Welcome!

While most guests hanker to dine in the parks, the resort venues are just as impressive. We know the classic restaurants such as Citricos, the California Grill and Jiko, but the resorts are also home to some of Walt Disney World’s “sleeper” restaurants.

These eateries are hidden gems with mostly low crowds, fantastic menus and easy access. Many times when the parks are booked, you can usually walk right in or have just a short wait before dining. Some of my favorites are the Kona Café and the Captain’s Grille. And here we will review; Coronado Springs Resort’s Pepper Market restaurant.

Atmosphere and Ordering Process

Pepper Market is an open food court located in the main building area of Coronado Springs Resort, called “El Centro.” It is a counter-service restaurant, although your drinks are brought to the table by a server.

But what makes this eatery special is its extensive menu and expansive dining area. Even during crowded times, you can usually find a table. It is themed after a south of the border-feel marketplace. Huge and airy, it is also very colorful, bright and gives the feeling of space versus claustrophobia — something we love in Disney restaurants.

Dining Area

As you make your way to the entrance, (next to Coronado’s table-service restaurant, the Maya Grill) you walk on terracotta tiles and past wrought iron fences adorned with green plants. Everything is vibrant and very colorful. It puts a smile on your face before you are even seated. At the entrance is a large, colorful dog holding the Pepper Market sign in his hands, er, paws. Large red chili peppers are used for gates.

The dining area like the rest of the building has brightly-colored everything! Chairs, umbrellas, signs and artifacts on the walls all ooze with bright colors.

Displays Line the Wall

Disney’s attention to detail is amazing. I have been to Mexico countless times and our friends south of the border would feel right at home here.

Colorful Displays

Painted Animals

Painted Animals

This restaurant is unique in the fact that after you are seated, you order your drinks and are given a ticket. You now can wander around the numerous food stations, pick and choose your favorites, and have your ticket stamped at each station to reflect your menu choices. Your purchases are tallied up at the register on your way out.

Desserts and Ice Cream

Eats

The choices here are impressive; the menu has more offerings than many table-service restaurants.

Breakfast Menu - click image for larger version

Breakfast Menu - click image for larger version

Lunch and Dinner Menu - click image for larger version

Lunch and Dinner Menu - click image for larger version

There is a coffee bar right at the entrance to the Pepper Market that serves espresso, lattes, teas and cappuccinos.

Coffee Bar

You will find a Chef’s Station with daily specials and a fresh salad “Market” station.

Chef at Grill Station

Chef's Station Menu

Market Specials

There is a Pizza and Pasta Station plus a Hot Sandwich and Grill Station.

Hot Sandwich Station

Hot Sandwiches

The Pepper Market serves breakfast and its stations change offerings accordingly.

Breakfast Station

Breakfast Menu Add-On Sign

And the Pepper Market also has a coffee and pastries take-out window that you can stop at on your way out to the parks without having to be seated.

Coffee Window

Today I had lunch with my wife, friend Joe and his wife Barb, and their son Mike. Although we arrived at noon, it was busy, but we were seated straightaway.

After ordering our beverages, it was off to the food stations. I started out with the Cream of Broccoli soup ($3.99). I am a big fan of soup and this did not disappoint. A good-sized portion, rich and creamy with bits of broccoli, it was satisfying and filling.

Cream of Broccoli Soup

For my entrée, I am a sucker for salad. From the Market Station I ordered a Caesar salad with white breast chicken meat ($11.95). This had big chunks of chicken and large croutons sitting on a bed of garden fresh lettuce. The dressing was creamy and had just the right amount of zing. You can have the salad without chicken, if desired ($8.99).

Caesar Salad with Chicken

My wife Donna ordered Beef Fajitas with grilled beef tips, soft flour tortillas, beans, Spanish rice, onions and peppers, ($11.95). This dish was more than filling, and in addition, a small dish of Pico de Gallo and sour cream accompanied the entree.

Beef Fajitas

Now my friend Joe is a good eater, and at first I thought his selection would not be enough; but I’m happy to report it not only filled him up, but he thought it was some of the tastiest chicken he has ever had. He ordered the Chef’s special Asian chicken with white rice, roasted string beans, and red peppers ($13.99).

Asian Chicken Plate

He affirmed the grilled vegetables were crisp and flavorful, and the chicken tender. The sauce had a hint of spice, but not overwhelming, he wholly enjoyed his selection.

Barb decided on the half-rotisserie chicken with grilled veggies and French fries. The meal was fine except she thought the chicken could have been a bit more moist.

Rotisserie Chicken

Mike also decided on a Chef’s special and had the broiled Mahi Mahi with a creamy hollandaise sauce, red potatoes, and roasted veggies ($13.99). The fish was flaky and firm, done just right, the veggies and potatoes were perfect.

Grilled Mahi Mahi

The dessert choices are plentiful as well over at the dessert station.

Pastries

Flan

Desserts

Specialty desserts

churros and cookies

Overall

Other than the comment Barb made on the chicken, the entire experience was wonderful. Our server kept the beverages filled and was extremely attentive. The Pepper Market has an extensive menu — add any item to your plate, mix and match selections to customize your meal. A great place for a picky eater.

There is a kids station (9 years and younger) with many selections. A souvenir mug is available with unlimited refills on coffee, tea, soft drinks and iced tea for your length-of-stay at the resort.

Large Dining Room

The restaurant opens at 7am to 11am for breakfast and 11am to 11pm for lunch and dinner. A 10% service gratuity is added to your bill. Pepper Market does not accept the DVC (Disney Vacation Club) nor Tables in Wonderland discounts. It is on the Disney Dining plan list. Always check for the Chef’s specials before making your final choice!

What are your thoughts on the Pepper Market? Let us know your experiences, likes, and dislikes in the comments section below!

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15 Comments

  1. Theresa says:

    Great review! I always stay at the Coronado Springs resort exclusively for the Pepper Market itself! The Mexican food there is phenomenal!

  2. Renee D says:

    I have to stop reading these reviews before I eat. Now nothing I feel like making looks as good as what’s available in Disney :)

  3. Anna says:

    A family member and I stayed at Coronado Springs in March of 2010 and ate at the Pepper Market three times – two breakfasts, one dinner. We were used to the food courts at the Port Orleans resorts and were very frustrated with the Pepper Market. On each visit, our waitstaff were very slow to greet our table to take our drink orders and almost non-existant on refills. Also, the servers brought all of the condiments – ketchup for fries, steak sauce, etc. Often our food was getting cold or we were finished eating by the time the waitperson returned with what we had requested. The place was not overly busy at these times, either. Add to the fact an automatic gratuity, and there was no incentive for good service. Finally, the portion sizes were very inconsistant. You could be standing in line behind someone who ordered the exact same thing as you, and they would get a large portion of a side while you got half of what they got. Our family has no plans to return here.

  4. Ashley says:

    Pepper Market is one of my favorite of the resort dinning choices. It is just so beautiful and fun. Although I have to second Anna on the service, though I have only felt that way when it was extremely busy. It can get really hectic as a customer when it is crowded(what line? Just pick a place in the mass of people. “oh I’m sorry, I’m standing in the middle of your group?…”), though I feel this would probably be remedied with a bit of a change to the floor plan. I have always been happy with my food there.

  5. Jill says:

    wow that all looked awesome. is the 10% gratuity added on because of the size of your party? or is that going to be added to all checks now?

  6. Michael says:

    The food is expensive for counter service. Comparing the breakfast options with Contempo Cafe the ‘adult breakfast platter’ is $6.79 (comes with bacon AND turkey sausage), where as the closest thing at Coronado is $9.50 (comes with bacon OR sausage) add on the 10% and you’re up to $10.45 (not including tax!). When my fiancé and I stayed at Coronado last Dec, we ate breakfast at Cafe Rix. They have hot breakfast sandwiches for $6.50, which are the same as Sunshine Seasons’ breakfast sandwiches, only theirs is $5.99! So Coronado is still overpricing their food! The food is diverse at Coronado, but is just too much money for a moderate.

  7. Brian says:

    Have to agree with Anna. We ate there at 4:30 one day and the service was slow (as mentioned an auto-gratuity does not work…) and the ‘wandering’ from station to station just does not work when you have kids to wrangle. To us the food was also marginal at best. It was funny – although I had to stand and watch the lady prepare mine and my wife’s meals, it was still very sloppy to watch. Both of my kid’s meals (ages 2 and 11) came from 2 different stations. There has to be an easier way… Oh yeah – next time wait the extra 30 minutes for Maya Grill to open.

  8. Dina says:

    My family & I always stay at CSR & enjoy the food at the Pepper Mkt. Though as other people have stated, when it gets crowded, it gets a little confusing to find a “line” for the pizza/pasta station in particular. Also, unless you are on the Dining Plan, it is extremely expensive. We were on the DP our last 2 trips & our trip coming up in Aug., so it’s actually a great Ctr. Svc. value for the Dining Plan. We love how most of the food is freshly prepared right in front of you & our kids are old enough now that it isn’t a problem to go to different stations for everyone’s food. I could see it being tricky with little ones though.

  9. Savorique says:

    Looking at the photos, I seem more attracted by the savory meals than by the sweets. It remains a good place to visit.

  10. Angelique says:

    I agree the service can be better there (although we did also have some very sweet CM). Food is great, I just love the Market Nacho’s with everyting on it, yammmmmm :-)

    The deserts were so, so, although on our last night I ate the best cheesecake I ever tasted. Only seen it once though, only on our last night

  11. Emma Godbold says:

    Interesting place. Sounds almost like it’s set up as a buffet restaurant but isn’t!

  12. Bill Iadonisi says:

    Thanks again for all your great comments! As you can see, there are many opinions about the Market. In the many times I have dined there, our service was always “On the Ball” so to speak. But we all know any eatery will have an off-day, and each guest will encounter different experiences. Of course, this type of Restaurant will not appeal to all, especially as Brian noted, with small kids in tow, but that is what makes Disney such a wonderful place to dine, there is something for all to enjoy. As for gratutity, many Disney restaurants charge 18% grat for six or more, but the Pepper Market is an auto 10%. As for price, Michael is right, but I believe the food at the Market outshines the Contempo, hence the difference in price. Like everything else, you have to choose atmosphere, food quality etc and pick your poison. I look forward to your comments on the next review!

  13. Eric K says:

    I’ve only eaten at PM on the Meal Plan. For a quick service credit, you simply can’t beat it, you get plenty of food and value for your credit.

    If you want to avoid the auto 10% tip, ask for your food to go and eat it outside by the resort’s lake.

  14. Dawn says:

    I have a question for Eric and Dina..if its not too late for that sort of thing. On the dining plan do you pay the 10% out of pocket or is it built into your dining plan?

  15. Carl says:

    If you have the dining plan does the plan cover the 10% surcharge that the Pepper Market charges or is that a separate charge?

    Anywhere outside where you can sit and eat?

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