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Guest Review: Restaurant Marrakesh in Epcot’s Morocco

Today, Disney Food Blog welcomes back guest author Joey Beyer with another “hidden gem” review of dinner at Restaurant Marrakesh in Epcot’s Morocco pavilion. Man, I think it’s time I went back to this place!

While I am always excited to write a piece for the Disney Food Blog, this review is particularly special for me because I get to write about one of my absolute favorite restaurants: Restaurant Marrakesh.

Nestled in the very back of Epcot’s Morocco Pavilion, Restaurant Marrakesh is a truly unique and authentic experience. An argument could easily be made that Morocco is the most authentic and immersive World Showcase pavilion.

As a result of the restaurant being somewhat hidden at the very back of the pavilion, there is a kiosk right on the promenade where interested parties can make a reservation and look at the menu. There are always cast members at this kiosk to answer any questions people may have.

In addition to these amenities, there is a book containing pictures of most of the menu items. This same book can be found on a table outside of the entrance to Restaurant Marrakesh.

Marrakesh Sign and Menu Book

Many people seem to be a bit apprehensive towards Moroccan cuisine, and for that reason it is usually possible to walk up and get a table here. My most recent trip was in late July through early August, and I had no trouble getting a table around 6 PM. So, if you find yourself without an ADR and want to eat a table service meal, this is a fantastic option even during peak Summer crowd levels.

Marrakesh Menu Cover

My dining partner was unsure about Moroccan food, so we actually did stop at the promenade kiosk so he could look at the menu.

While he was doing so, I struck up a conversation with one of the cast members there. Her name was Hatya and it was only her second week in Florida. I am always curious to find out how authentic or inauthentic the menu is at restaurants serving ethnic cuisine. I was delighted to hear from her that the menu is very authentic, and that many of the items are similar to what she would eat in her hometown of Tangiers. Hatya and I were able to sell my companion on Restaurant Marrakesh, so off we went!

Atmosphere

Whether you have an Advance Dining Reservation or do a walk up, I would highly encourage taking the time to casually stroll through the Morocco pavilion.

Exterior of Marrakesh

It may look somewhat bland from the promenade, but as you wind through the narrow medina streets and see the gorgeous tile work, hear the sounds of a bustling marketplace with authentic Moroccan music, and smell incense, it truly feels like you are in the heart of a Moroccan city. As you reach the back of the pavilion you will find the doorway to the restaurant.

Interior

Upon stepping into Restaurant Marrakesh, it is hard to not be awed by the gorgeous architecture and interior design of the room. The ceiling features beautiful tiling, and the light fixtures are truly remarkable.

Marrakesh Ceiling

In the center of the room is a small stage where two musicians play authentic Moroccan music. I asked our server, and he told me that the songs played are more on the traditional side, but there are a few contemporary pieces mixed in.

There is also a small dance floor in front of the stage where a belly dancer performs every hour. The restaurant is truly a multi-sensory experience, but the piece de resistance is indeed the food.

Belly Dancer at Marrakesh

Eats

I began the meal by trying the Casa Beer, which is imported from Morocco. The restaurant also has a good selection of Moroccan wines.

The beer has a rich amber color that is characteristic of many lagers. It is a bit “hoppier” than the average lager, but I tend to enjoy that extra bitter flavor so it was a welcome choice for me. If you generally enjoy American lagers (e.g. Samuel Adams), you will most likely enjoy Casa Beer.

Casa Beer

Restaurant Marrakesh features a variety of appetizers, and my personal favorite is the appetizer combination for two. It comes with an order of the Beef Brewat Rolls, Chicken Bastilla, and the Jasmina Salad.

Appetizer Combo

All three of these items have very bold flavors. The salad features lettuce, olives, feta, and diced tomatoes. It is topped with a very light and tasty mustard vinaigrette dressing.

As its name suggests, the dressing does have the distinctive flavor of mustard, but it is also slightly sweet. It blends very well with the rest of the salad.

The beef brewat rolls and chicken bastilla are both lightly fried, topped with cinnamon and powdered sugar, and are made up of many layers of thin pastry. The texture of the pastry is very similar to baklava.

The beef rolls feature only beef, while the chicken bastilla features diced almonds in addition to the finely minced chicken. Both of these items have very unique flavors and textures. The cinnamon and powdered sugar creates a very unique sweet flavor, and actually creates a sensation of dryness. However, once you reach the inside of the pastry the rich taste of the very tender meat mixes with the initial flavor to create an overall savory taste. The crunch of the pastry also creates a nice contrast to the texture of the meat that is inside.

Chicken Bastilla Cross-Section

For the main course, I branched out from my usual chicken couscous and ordered the lemon chicken. Green olives and zucchini accompany the chicken, and the sauce on top includes garlic and the preserved lemons.

Lemon Chicken

The overall lemon flavor is very subtle. The truly outstanding thing about this entrée is the chicken itself. Just like the chicken couscous, this chicken is incredibly tender and juicy, with a very robust flavor.

Lemon Chicken Cross Section

When I asked a cast member in the Morocco pavilion, they mentioned that Moroccan cuisine relies heavily on herbs as opposed to spices, which creates these very subtle additional flavors while making the meat itself have a more bold taste.

I truly enjoyed the lemon chicken. It was a welcome change from the couscous, but on a future visit I will most likely return to the couscous or try another new dish. I definitely would not discourage anyone from trying this entrée.

My dining companion chose the couscous with lamb shank, which is accompanied by carrots, chick peas, zucchini, and cherry tomatoes. The couscous is very fine, but has a delicious grain flavor.

One caveat when eating the couscous is that it has a tendency to get caught in the back of your throat, since the individual pieces are so small. It makes for a somewhat embarrassing and uncontrollable cough. I have experienced this before, as did my dining partner on this occasion. He commented to me that the lamb was very tender and juicy with a very bold flavor. After one or two bites, the meat actually just fell right off of the bone.

Couscous Lamb Shank

Overall

Unfortunately, we were both too full after our entrees to follow through with our initial plan to order dessert. Instead we both bought snacks later on in the evening before IllumiNations. I have never been hungry enough to eat dessert at Restaurant Marrakesh, but I really hope to change that soon!

I hope this review will help everyone that is on the fence decide in favor of trying Restaurant Marrakesh. It is a truly unique dining experience, and the food is exceptional.

Have you had the chance to dine at Restaurant Marrakesh? I am looking forward to hearing everyone’s thoughts!

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21 Comments

  1. Kelley says:

    Marrakesh is our “go to” restaurant in Epcot. We don’t mind that it is not as popular with others. It just makes it easier for us to get in. :)

  2. Jason Wright says:

    Great article & pics. It must be dark in there though, right? Thanks

  3. Carrie says:

    I second that! I love that I can always fall back on Restaurant Marrakesh if I can’t get in anywhere else. I usually make a meal out of the Seafood Bastilla, which is sooooooo good!

  4. Jen says:

    I am kicking myself for not eating here last week. We were waiting for our table at Chefs de France and just had a bad feeling about it. We were about to leave for Restaurant Marrakesh, when they called our name. Wow, what a disappointing meal. This is going to be at the top of our list for our next trip. It looks beautiful on the inside, I love the tile work.

  5. Tink says:

    Restaurant Marrakesh is one of my favorite places to eat! It’s incredibly yummy and huge portions!

  6. Rodney says:

    The last time I visited this restaurant was back in 2005 and I did not experience the bold flavors that are mentioned throughout this blog entry. My wife and I had the combination appetizer for 2, Night in Casablanca (each of us) for entree, and Bastilla and Crepes Casablanca for dessert. We found everything to be quite bland and boring, and I was quite disappointed. The decor of the dining room along with the music and belly dancer are indeed quite exciting and exotic, and we were expecting some really interesting flavors in the food, but were let down.
    I guess that either things have improved dramatically, we made bad choices, or we just hit them on a bad day. But either way it sounds like it is time to give this restaurant another try.

  7. Sunny says:

    My husband and I booked one of the Holiday Candlelight dinner packages last Christmas. The only option left was Restaurant Marrakesh. We figured what the heck, let’s try it. I was hesitant in going and whether I would enjoy the food. I’m not an adventurous person when it comes to trying “new” types of cuisine.

    Let me say this, I was EXTREMELY pleasantly surprised. The food was amazing!! The inside of the restaurant was gorgeous. The belly dancing and Morroccan music during our meal was entertaining. We enjoyed every minute of it and will definitely go back again. We are Disney passholders and visit Epcot often. So we’ve been to almost every restaurant there. Restaurant Marrakesh is one of our favorites now.

    If not for a last minute planning of the Holiday Candlelight dinner package, we would have never found this place. Thank goodness for procrastination!

  8. Cynthia says:

    On a whim ate Marrakesh and everyone, inlcuding the children enjoyed the food and atmosphere. Tangierine cafe is a must every year. Will be in the world for the f&w in Oct and made reservations for Marrakesh, CAN’T WAIT!

  9. Ruben says:

    Wsup with the picture quality. Normally the images taken are amazing this time it looks too blurry. regardless, Marrakesh is an AMAZING place to eat.

  10. Amy says:

    Marrakesh did not make the cut for our late November trip this year, but it is definitely waiting in the wings for the next trip. Everything looks and sounds delicious, and the restaurant itself is gorgeous, judging by these photos. Something to look forward to!

  11. AJ says:

    Kelley — I hear that! I think this is a great spot!

    Jason — It IS dark in there!

    Carrie — Thanks for the recommendation on the seafood bastilla!

    Jen — So sorry you had a bad time at Chefs! Can’t wait to hear what you think of Marrakesh.

    Tink — Awesome feedback! Thanks!

    Rodney — Let me know what you think if you try it again. I wonder if people who are used to spicier ethnic cuisine might find this a bit blander.

    Sunny — Fantastic!! I’m going to have to procrastinate more (if that’s even possible!).

    Cynthia — Wonderful news! I’m so glad you enjoyed it!!

    Ruben — Likely it’s my bad photo editing (lack of) skills that have done Joey’s pics a disservice. I think he got some fantastic photos!

    Amy — I’m excited to hear your reviews from the places you ARE eating! :-) Enjoy!

  12. Joey B. says:

    I am glad to hear so many of you also enjoy Restaurant Marrakesh!

    Rodney – Hopefully you do have a better experience next time. I agree with AJ that it could maybe seem a bit bland if you are expecting something spicy or a more acute flavor. I would recommend trying lunch there if that works well for your schedule. The portions are similar and it is cheaper!

    Ruben – I apologize for the photos! My camera is not the best, and it is a bit dark in there. For my next trip I am making my priority to get a better camera.

  13. JoAnn says:

    I have an ADR there in November. I’m looking forward to trying it.

  14. Ruben says:

    don’t worry about it joey , I know its dark in there and you still managed to capture the amazing food, thank you very much for this

  15. Chris says:

    I too have an ADR there but for Oct. I can’t wait to try it. I have planned and failed on 3 visits to eat here. This time it’s booked and I can’t wait to get me some good authentic cous-cous.

  16. Anna says:

    We ate there last week after having to cancel a reservation at another restaurant due to some transportation issues. I was so happy Marrakesh was available! The decor and entertainment make it special, and the food is very good. Personally, I don’t find it all that exotic and am surprised people shy away from it. Hopefully having the photo book on display will help, but kebabs and couscous seem like pretty common fare these days, and I’m from Texas. But I do get that there are families with kids who might not like it.

  17. Joey B. says:

    I agree Anna! If more people gave it a try, I am sure they would enjoy Moroccan cuisine.

  18. Meg says:

    I’m not sure if anyone will see this over a year later, but I’ll comment anyway. My husband is the Executive Chef at the Morocco Pavilion, so obviously I’m biased. He’s been there since early 2008 and has made significant changes over time. The original chef retired. If you have any expectations based on experience prior to 2008, I suggest you give it another try.

  19. AJ says:

    Meg — Thanks for commenting! I was just there a couple of months ago and will soon be publishing that review! We had a great time.

  20. Joey B. says:

    Meg – Thanks so much for sharing that! I have always had fantastic meals there. It seems like even if I do not have it in the trip plan to eat there, I always end up doing so anyway.

    AJ – I’m looking forward to your new review!

  21. Susan Follas says:

    your photos were awesome! We had the same appetizer but I had the beef instead of the chicken and it was so good! I wasn’t sure what the roll ups were called but glad you had it on here. I wasn’t sure if I would like powedered sugar ontop of something with meet inside but it was awesome, so good!! I managed to have the dessert. I think it was Baklava but not like the sticky ones I am use to having. I asked the server if it was a large serving since I was full but wanted to try them and he said no. There were three types on the plate, the one was in a rectangle shape and dryer but not any larger than my thumb, the other two were a different shape, one had pistachio and I think the other had almonds, both very good. I would order it all again, which I hope will be soon. I wish I had taken photos like you did

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