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Guest Review: Tangierine Café in Epcot

Welcome back guest author Melissa Sue Sorrells Galley with a review of the Tangierine Café in Epcot’s Morocco!

Today we’re heading to one of my all-time absolute favorite places in Walt Disney World, Epcot’s Morocco at night, to do one of my all-time absolute favorite things ever: eat.

Morocco at night

Atmosphere

As you enter the Morocco pavilion, you’re immediately transported by the sights, smells, and sounds of a Moroccan marketplace, which sets the scene for the delicious meal you’re about to enjoy.

Nejjarine Fountain

Located on the France-side of the Morocco pavilion, the Tangierine Café is a jewel in the crown of the Kingdom of Morocco.

Tangierine Café menu board - click image for larger version

Tangierine Café

After you place your order at the front counter, you’ll walk down the length of the counter while the Cast Members prepare your meal. One of my favorite things about Tangierine is how authentic everything is. The meat is prepared on a shawarma spit and shaved off as needed.

Meat is cooked on a spit and sliced to order.

On this particular evening, the service wasn’t great. I don’t know if it was new Cast Members or just a bad night, but orders were coming up with missing pieces. My own meal came up without my water twice before I gave up. I’ve never experienced bad service here before, and hopefully it was just a fluke!

Once your order is up, the seating in Tangierine is part of the experience. The tables are beautifully crafted, and the chairs are made of wrought iron. If it’s crowded inside, there is some seating outside, both in the front of the pavilion as well as on the west side of the pavilion, nearer to France.

Table inside at Tangierine Café

There’s also a tiny nook of seating to the left of the pastry counter — a perfect little hideaway.

Seating nook near the pastry counter.

Throughout the dining room, you’ll also find authentic Moroccan art and artifacts, including glass lighting fixtures, plaster carvings, and hand-tiled details.

Morocco is my favorite pavilion, and the exquisite handwork is a big part of that.

Authentic works of art enhance the setting.

If you time your meal right, it also comes with a show! I was lucky — I caught two performances by Mo’Rockin, the Moroccan live band in the pavilion, on this particular March evening.

Eats

My husband and I have ordered the wraps before because they’re the perfect IllumiNations food, but tonight I ordered the Mediterranean Slider Combo.

The three mini-“burgers” are actually three pita pockets, one with lamb, one with chicken, and one with falafel. All of them included lettuce, tomatoes, onions, cucumber spears, and tahini sauce.

The pitas came with three sides: lentils, hummus and tabouleh.

Mediterranean Sliders Combo

I went for the lamb slider first. It was simple and gamey — no frills, just good food. I’d absolutely order the lamb here again.

By the time I got to the chicken slider, the tahini had started to get a little wet, but even though my pita was drippy, the flavors were still really clean and classic. Two thumbs up for these two.

My last slider, the falafel, wasn’t quite as good. I prefer flat, patty-shaped falafel, but these were deep-fried balls. They were very crunchy and reminded me of bar food, and the flavor was kind of flat. I make better falafel at home, for sure. If I was going to order this again, I’d ask for two lamb sliders and a chicken.

The lentil salad is served cold and slightly al dente, with a nice bite to it. It’s a clean, fresh Mediterranean take on the vinegary mac salad you eat at a summer picnic. The hummus was also absolutely delicious — exceedingly creamy and sweet with roasted garlic. I was less fond of the tabouleh.

There was almost no bulgur in the salad, and it was extremely heavy on the parsley. It wasn’t bad, but I wouldn’t rush back for it. Again, it’s something I make better at home.

On to dessert!

Pastry and Coffee menu

The pastry counter at Tanigerine Café is something you have to see to believe. The glass case is brimming with cookies, pastries, tarts and sweets.

Pastry Case at Tangierine Cafe

I knew what I wanted: baklava! Of course, there were three or four different flavors, including the traditional walnut, but I went with the pistachio.

I also decided to get one of their specialty coffee drinks, and I asked the Cast Member which she would recommend. She whipped me up a Kasbah Coffee — coffee with hazelnut liqueur — and told me that if I didn’t like it, she’d make me a second cup at no charge.

The most beautiful cup of coffee ever.

Luckily, I didn’t need a second visit to the counter because her advice was spot-on. The coffee at Tangierine is real coffee. It’s very strong and slightly bitter, and the alcohol added a sweet little punch. I’ll admit, I couldn’t finish it on my own!

Tangierine Coffee and Pistachio Baklava

The baklava was sticky sweet, just the way I like it. The pastry was crispy and flaky, and it was filled with pistachio pieces as well as a smooth pistachio paste.

It was literally the best piece of baklava I’ve ever had; and if I could order it again, I would not share it with anyone!

Overall

This is the best Disney counter service location you haven’t visited yet. The food is both authentic and inventive, and it’s really, truly delicious.

And you can’t beat the portion sizes for these prices. All of this fresh, delicious, fast food is a great deal by Disney standards. I wish I had more hands so I could give it more than two thumbs up!

Have you stopped by the Tangierine Café? What do you recommend we try on our next visit?

Melissa Sue Sorrells Galley works in higher education communications in upstate New York, where she lives with her husband, Robert, and her cavapoo, George. She’s is the co-editor of Mouse on the Mind.

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39 Comments

  1. Sara says:

    I hate to be negative, but Tangierine Cafe was one of the worst dining experiences we had at Disney. We had the same service issues that you had, and eventually gave up with trying to make our order correct, as you had as well. The food really was completely unappetizing, and we ended up throwing the entire meal away less than a minute after we had bought it. I’m glad to hear that your food was better than ours was though!

  2. Mylene says:

    We also had a not so good experience at Tangerine Cafe. We loved the location and atmosphere but the meat was not good. Like you can see on the picture above, it seems to be “processed” meat, not real pieces of meat. We were disapointed and don’t think we will try it again :(

  3. John says:

    A consistent favorite of mine, and I’m pretty picky when it comes to my African and Middle-Eastern cuisine. It’s one of the best places to get coffee in all of WDW, and the falafel (usually) is fantastic. And the location makes it a great place to get a bite to soak up some of the adult beverages on a World Showcase drinking tour.

    The service usually is a little spotty, but IMHO, that just makes the Moroccan experience that much more realistic :) What the Moroccan cast members make lake in speed and organization, they always make up for in hospitality. If you haven’t tried Tangerine before, give it a shot on your next trip.

  4. Liz says:

    I haven’t eaten there in a few years, but I remember the food being excellent. Hopefully you just caught them on a bad night and a get better service next time.

  5. Matt says:

    “This is the best Disney counter service location you haven’t visited yet.” I couldn’t have said it better myself. My wife and I gave Tangerine Cafe a try last October for lunch. We loved it so much we went back for dinner on our last night. The Marketplace does take on a different feel at night, and its a great place to people watch while enjoying some really good food.

    I didn’t run into any issues with the service, and would suggest this place to anyone to try at least once!

  6. Cynthia says:

    I have eaten here a number of times and the food is always wonderful and I have never had a problem with service. On my last trip in April I stopped in for the chicken and lamb combo platter. The food was excellent and I have to say it was the best counter service meal of the trip.

  7. Michael says:

    Glad to see a review …. even if it was spotty. I’m really looking forward to trying the cafe on our next trip (Jan, 2013)!

  8. Jennifer says:

    I love this place, and I’m a big fan of the parsley-heavy tabbouleh. Actually, I could go for some right now, with some hummus and pita… Anyways, point is, I’ve never had a bad meal there, and the platters are enormous and absolutely shareable.

    It’s a bummer to see negative reviews in the comments, but I guess food that is is ethnic and assertive like at Tangierine Cafe (admittedly not the most authentic but probably comes closest for the CSes in World Showcase) could be polarizing.

  9. Beth says:

    I can’t wait to try Tangierine Cafe in November! Being half Syrian, I’m probably going to be hypercritical of the food, especially the tabbouli, lamb and hummus, but from the pictures I’ve seen of the food, it looks quite authentic and delicious!

    While the cast members might not understand the orders at times, hospitality and friendliness are some of the best attributes of anyone from the Middle East!

  10. Jennifer says:

    Thanks for the review! This is my favorite counter service place in all of WDW

  11. Jamie in Jax says:

    WHOA! Looks like a definite acquired taste. I won’t be eating here… especially with a German bratwurst waiting right down the “road”. ;)

  12. Alan says:

    I haven’t tried this place as the type of food they serve reminds me of Greek food which I can take or leave. And, of course, my picky eater could not be dragged into the Cafe ( those large pieces of meat on the rotisseries are a major deal breaker for her ). But the Morocco pavilion is a delightful place to visit and shop in. To my eyes it is probably the least visited pavilion. AJ’s review has peaked my interest so maybe next time I’ll let my wife have her CS at the French bakery while I try those wraps.

  13. Betsy says:

    Tangerine Cafe is one of my top 3 favorite Disney counter service along with Flame Tree and Sunshine Seasons. I eat here every trip. Can’t beat the food, atmosphere, and architecture of the Moroccan pavilion.

  14. Mike says:

    I will give another thumbs up for Tangierine Cafe! It holds the distinction of being the only restaurant that my family and I have eaten at for every trip to WDW. My wife and I enjoy the different offerings and wonderful flavors of their food. Also, it is one of the best values in all of WDW as well. I definitely would recommend it to everyone who goes to WDW. Even if you’re concerned about the flavors, you should still stop by and have a piece of baklava and sit outside in the wonderful Moroccan courtyard. In fact, I am already looking forward to going back to try that pistachio baklava. Thanks for the photos and review.

  15. Lisa says:

    I really enjoyed my meal at Tangerine Cafe last January. We were on the quick service dining and we all agreed it was the best value. Our only regret was it was our last day in Epcot and we couldn’t go back the next day!

  16. Juanita says:

    I ate here last Sunday for the first time. I was with my sister, and we just wanted a snack, so we shared the kefta pocket, and it was quite good. My sister asked quite a few questions and was having a hard time deciding which side she wanted, and the CM did seem to get aggravated though.

  17. Melissa Sue says:

    @Mylene: I am sorry you had a bad experience.

    @John: I think I am just used to a different kind of falafel. I’m sure theirs is more authentic than I am used to.

    @Matt: I agree!! It’s so enchanting at nighttime. I was there by myself on this particular night. Who would have thought eating alone would be super magical, but it was!

    @Jennifer: Yes!! Sharing is caring, especially when it comes to Tangerine Cafe’s delicious food! I’m sure the tabbouleh is just not something I’m used to.

    @Beth & @Alan: Hope you love it! Please come back and let me know what you think!!

    @Mike: the baklava was out of this world!! Please enjoy it!

  18. Amanda says:

    We leave for Disney tomorrow and I think I am going to have to make a stop here. It looks delicious and like something my husband and I would both enjoy!

  19. Jill says:

    We had an authentic Moroccan experience a few months ago at Epcot when walking past the Tangierine Cafe right at park closing. The CM’s were singing, dancing and playing traditional instruments right there behind the counter of the restaurant. I could not resist walking in and sharing that moment. It felt like happening upon a Moroccan wedding or birthday celebration. It was truly a memorable experience.

    As for the food, I haven’t eaten here in a while but I remember it to be very tasty, especially if you like this type of food. And the pistachio baklava is definitely a treat not to be missed.

  20. Amanda says:

    One of our favorites! We eat here every trip!!

  21. Jayme says:

    My family wanted to love the Tangierine Cafe and we do for pastries and coffee, but we just don’t feel the love for the entrees. This is one spot I could easily stop by for a quick pick me up a few times during our trip, the baklava is that good in my opinion. That being said, we were just so very disappointed with our entrees. My husband ordered the meatball platter while I ordered the vegetarian platter. We both complained about the lack of flavor of all the different dishes. Hummus is a staple in our house and I was delighted to see hummus was listed with the vegetarian platter. It had no flavor at all. I couldn’t believe it. My husband was totally shocked that meatballs were lacking in salt and were very, very bland. Our meal was saved by the baklava and other goodies they serve, though. We will happily stop by for a sweet smackeral of something, but we’ll leave the entrees for someone else.

  22. Sarah says:

    Oh man! Definately one of our family favorites! Can’ t wait to go back. Backlava is heavenly! Thanks
    For the pictures!

  23. Diane says:

    The mint tea can’t be beat on a hot day. It is so refreshing; I can’t get enough. I’ve had pastries and coffee there too – excellent. (I’ve only had entrees at Restauran Marakesh.) Like others, I love the pavillion. It’s just beautiful.

  24. canada68 says:

    The Tangierine Cafe is my favourite quick serve restaurant in the World Showcase and I have always found the cast members to be very friendly. I usually order the vegetarian plate…the falafel balls are a bit lacklustre but I really liked the accompanying pita bread, parsley and lentil salads.
    The meatballs and rice are very tasty, too. I’ve also really enjoyed having an espresso sitting in the ‘hidden’ dining nook near the pastry counter. I have found the baklava dry in the past so I’ll have to give it another try :)

  25. Tink says:

    This has always been my favorite counter service restaurant… And maybe they were having an off day, because I absolutely love their falafels!

  26. Melissa Sue says:

    @Diane: YES! Their mint tea is out of this world!

    @Canada68: Let’s meet in the nook for some coffee and pastries!

    @Tink: I think I am just used to a different type of falafel.

  27. This is my favorite CS place in Epcot. Though it is also one of my favorite cuisines–and the place that got my mom to try falafel for the first time (she now asks for it, which is impressive given how picky she is!) I definitely feel like the slider plate–my personal favorite, by the way–is enough for two to share.

    Though I’ve never had dessert here. Pistachio baklava? Yes please!

  28. Jeff Morris says:

    This is one of our favorite “breather” stops around EPCOT. We popped in during a miserable rainy day during the Food & Dining Festival last October; my wife and daughter ordered hot mint teas, and I got one of those Moroccan coffees. They were a perfect antidote to the rain and wind…to the point where, ummm, I might have gone back for a second cup..

    We stopped by there again last week during another Pavillion Death March. Wife got the iced mint tea and loved it, while I of course got…a cup of coffee. Given that I was actively avoiding anything that even hinted of Nescafe, it was the answer to a prayer!

  29. Novi says:

    I got the vegetarian combo here, and while the hummus and roll were great, as was the baklava, the rest of the meal was pretty unappetizing. Tabouleh is just a disgusting food. Just smelling it makes the rest of your food taste worse, unless your food is a pistou-type soup.

  30. Emma says:

    I love, love, LOVE this place!!! I always get a chicken wrap with tangerine cous cous (I mean, it’s called the TANGERINE Cafe for a reason!) and lentil salad. I think some people are scared of it because it’s Moroccan food and they don’t know what to expect, but it’s SO GOOD. I think the sketchy service must have been a fluke because I’ve always gotten incredible service here. I was eating out by the fountain one day and, even though it’s not table service, someone kept checking on me and bringing me drink refills! And yes, the baklava is magical!

  31. Laura says:

    We love the food at the Tangerine Cafe and have eaten here on every trip. Sadly, my husband is insisting that we try another CS place in Epcot this time around to try something different. I agree that the service here is not the best. (Since my husband is always the table runner, he never deals with the service.)

  32. Diana says:

    This is one of my favorite restaurants…..love Moroccan food and love the atmosphere!

  33. Galloping Gourmand says:

    You took a picture of the seating nook! It’s always been empty when I’m there, but now I fear there will always be someone in my favorite spot :(.

    Tengierine Cafe is a cult dining spot. Those that like it love it, and those that don’t often say things like “I find that kind of food disgusting and won’t try it.” I’ll defend it by saying that Moroccan is considered one of the major cuisines of the world (others – French, Indian, Chinese) and this place is a fair, if slightly blanded down for American pallets, representation. A foodie owes it to themselves to give Moroccan food a try with an open mind. If you still don’t like it, that’s fair. But you should give it a try.

  34. shannon says:

    The baklava is deeeeeeelicious! And I’m completely addicted to the iced mint tea. Yum!!

  35. Julie says:

    I love Middle Eastern food and can’t wait to go here in September. My only disappointment is looking at the pita bread. It looks like store bought pita pockets instead of that thick, soft, warm housemade pita bread I’m used to at take-out restaurants in NYC.

  36. melissa sue says:

    @Tracy: this was the night you did Brown Derby … I think we both had wonderful dinners that night. : ) You HAVE to try (and have Peggy try) the pistachio baklava. Amazing. Amazing. Amazing.

    @Jeff: YES! I couldn’t (didn’t, in fact) say it better: It’s the answer to a prayer!!

    @Galloping: I am sorry I shared our secret!! Hopefully it’ll remain blissfully available whenever we’re in town (or maybe we’ll run into each other there). On this night, there were three older women sitting in there, too, when I sat down with my dessert. (I ate dinner outside, overlooking the fountain.)

  37. Megan says:

    I LOVE Tangerine Cafe and agree it is a hidden gem of counter service at Disney World. The meals are large enough to share and we like sitting in the shade of the building watching the crowds walk around World Showcase.

  38. Heather says:

    The other day we were trying to decide what to eat on our last day, and I remembered I heard a lot of good things about Tangierine Cafe, so we decided to try it. We both really enjoyed it! I had the lamb wrap, and my mom had the chicken wrap. It’s funny you said it’s authentic because a CM was talking with us, and said that the food isn’t really authentic Moroccan, it’s more Mediterranean, and that the food at the table service is more what you would see in Morocco.

  39. Dee says:

    This was one of our favorite meals last month! We shared the lamb & chicken platter and it was delicious. Hubbie liked the chicken more and I prefered the lamb, so it worked out well. The moroccan bread was delicious and we actually really liked the hummus, and we eat a lot of it so we’re pretty experienced with the stuff :-)

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