Review: Lunch at Spice Road Table in Epcot’s Morocco Pavilion

Happy (almost) First Birthday, Spice Road Table!

Spice Road Table hit the scene in Epcot’s Morocco Pavilion almost one year ago now, so we thought it would be a great time to pay another visit to this beautiful restaurant and see how things are going.

Since it’s opening, this Table Service location has offered Mediterranean tapas (small plates) and a unique wine and beer list. However, Spice Road Table recently changed its approach a bit with the addition of Advance Dining Reservations and acceptance of the Disney Dining Plan, as well as a new focus on entree-sized menu options.

So now is a great time to show you what’s evolved, and what’s remained the same at Spice Road Table!

Atmosphere

While we will be discussing some of the recent changes at Spice Road Table, the atmosphere definitely falls under the “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” category.

Spice Road Table

Spice Road Table

The decor remains stunning, from the restaurant itself to the waterfront views it provides of World Showcase Lagoon. You can get an idea of those views as you approach Morocco from the bridge that connects Epcot’s France and UK Pavilions.

Spice Road Table View from the water

Spice Road Table View from the water

The first thing to greet you as you step inside is the bar area, made remarkable by bold blue on the walls and the view of the water wheel outside.

Spice Road Table Bar -- straight ahead as you enter

Spice Road Table Bar — straight ahead as you enter

Spice Road Table Bar

Spice Road Table Bar

From here, you’ll be seated either indoors or outside (preferences can be stated at the check-in podium, and are honored as availability permits). While the indoor seating area is small and narrow, it is beautiful, featuring intricate woodwork surrounding the booths.

Indoor seating

Indoor seating

Indoor seating

Indoor seating

Gorgeous — there’s no other word for them — Moroccan lanterns and decorative items are on display near the ceiling.

Spice Road Table Indoor Lanterns

Spice Road Table Indoor Lanterns

Decor

Decor

But the most striking decorative element is the view of the water from the large windows lining the inside of the restaurant. (It’s worth noting that most of the indoor booths, with a few exceptions, are situated facing the windows for great water views from just about anywhere in the space).

Indoor seating

Indoor seating

Spice Road Table Setting Indoors

Window seat

But Spice Road Table might be best known for it’s outdoor seating area, offering prime views for the nightly IllumiNations fireworks spectacular (and likely the very reason Spice Road Table began offering Advance Dining Reservations, since the spot is in higher demand in the hour before IllumiNations begins).

Outdoor seating

Outdoor seating

Beautiful lighting fixtures are key decorative elements outside as well.

Spice Road Table Outdoor Lanterns

Spice Road Table Outdoor Lanterns

Hanging lantern

Hanging lantern

And it’s a cool fact that the tables and chairs (as well as the lamps and lanterns), were all custom made in Morocco and shipped to Disney World for use at Spice Road Table.

Spice Road Table Outdoor Table Settings

Spice Road Table Outdoor Table Settings

During my visit, however, it was raining to beat the band, so it was great to have the option to sit inside for my meal. The rain made everything inside seem downright warm and cozy, in addition to being beautiful.

Rounded booth

Rounded booth

Safe from the downpour and settled in, it was time to make my selections.

Eats

Since its opening, the menu at Spice Road Table has revolved around a selection of small plates. But we mentioned earlier that Spice Road Table recently started accepting the Disney Dining Plan, requiring one Table Service Credit. You may wonder how this works with a menu focused on tapas? Well, that’s where the recent addition of full entrees comes into play. Check out the new menu! (Just click on the image to enlarge.)

Spice Road Table menu

Spice Road Table menu

The new entrees include Coriander-crusted Rack of Lamb, Yellowfin Tuna, All-Natural Roasted Chicken, and a Mediterranean Vegetable Platter. The Mix Grill Skewers, previously available as a tapas option, have been transformed into a full entree dish with the addition of Rosemary-roasted Potatoes. Ditto with the Lamb Sliders, except Hummus Fries are the side option instead of the potatoes.

Of course, my visit happened literally just days before this change (we got the low-down from the manager while we were there!). Still, I really enjoy tapas-style dining so it’s likely what I would have gone with anyway, even with the additions of entrees. And the good news is, everything I tried is still on the menu in some form or fashion. (I’ll be sure to note where things have changed.) So, let’s begin!

Spice Road Table is a great place to enjoy a drink, and wine fans will be especially pleased thanks to the selection of Assorted Mediterranean Wines.

Wine List

Wine List

While the Apertif Flights are popular, I went with the Spice Road Signature Sangria (Certified Organic), which my companion and I decided to try in both red and white.

Spice Road Table Signature Sangrias

Spice Road Table Signature Sangrias

Something good to know about the Signature Sangria: it’s nowhere near as sweet as what you’ll find with the Sangria typically served throughout Disney World bars and lounges. The flavors are more robust. Personally, I liked that aspect of it, but that’s something to be aware of if you prefer your Sangria on the more customary sweeter side.

I began my Mediterranean food tour with the Hummus and Imported Olives. Two types of hummus accompany the cornichons and marinated olives you see in the center of the dish: tomato, and a standard garlic hummus.

Hummus and Imported Olives

Hummus and Imported Olives

Aside from the addition of olive oil and olives garnishing the top, the hummus isn’t altogether unique. What made it a little more special was the nicely spiced Za’atar flat bread it comes with — small pitas, essentially. You can see the bits of sesame and and herbs (basil, oregano, thyme) on the bread. The smell was divine!!

Za'atar Flat Bread

Za’atar Flat Bread

Simple, but fresh and well-made.

Next up were the Rice-Stuffed Grape Leaves. Say what you will about food at Disney World, but you won’t find these on a menu at too many other theme parks.

Rice-stuffed Grape Leaves

Rice-stuffed Grape Leaves

This dish offers an array of flavors, topped with fried capers and raisins, and sprinkled with a very generous dose of nutmeg. But here’s the thing: the rice-stuffed grape leaves are served cold and I have to say, this was a surprise that wasn’t altogether pleasant. The rice inside is essentially a risotto, and a cold risotto just feels wrong to me.

Stuffed Grape Leaves inside

Stuffed Grape Leaves inside

According to our server, it’s not uncommon for this dish to be served warm in other restaurants, and I really would prefer it served that way here, too. IMHO of course.

Moving on… you all know I’m not huge into seafood, right? I think I’ve mentioned that a few times. But here’s an exception: Fried Calamari. And, yes, that’s probably because it’s fried ;). And it’s often a show stopper at Spice Road.

(An aside — check out the stunning metal table top here. I so want one in my house!)

Fried Calamari

Fried Calamari

I found the breading on the calamari to be crisp and delicious. (Truth: I try not to think about the whole fried squid thing while I’m eating it. I mainly enjoy the breading and crunch and then move on with my day, so that’s what I’m focusing on here). The calamari has a bit of spice on it’s own from the black pepper, but the accompanying sauces (a spicy Harissa and capers aioli) add another layer of kick that I really liked.

Speaking of seafood, I hope you’re proud of me for my next order: the Spicy Garlic Shrimp. I’d heard good things about this dish, and thought I’d give it a go.

Spicy Garlic Shrimp

Spicy Garlic Shrimp

I am so glad I did. I’ll say it again — I don’t care for shrimp. But thanks to a ton of butter, terrific spice (check out the red pepper) and generous amount of garlic, I walked away with this dish being one of my favorites. And that’s saying something.

Now, this next dish is where I want to be sure to note a change: with the recent menu changes noted above, the Mix Grill Skewers are now offered solely as an entree, served with Rosemary Roasted Potatoes. I tried the Mix Grill Skewers when they were part of the tapas menu, so that’s what you see here.

Mix Grill Skewers

Mix Grill Skewers

I won’t vouch for the coriander dipping sauce, since it’s chock full of cilantro which is Not. My. Thing. But the chicken and beef skewers? Pretty great! Not over-cooked or over-spiced, but with great flavor.

Again, I like tapas-style dining because it gives you a chance to try so many things, but I am kind of bummed I missed these as an entree by merely days, because I would love to make a full meal out these. It’s tender meat, well-flavored with garlic, and I especially enjoyed the marinade on the chicken. If anyone tries this dish as an entree, I’d love to hear what you think!

Overall

I have a mix of emotions when it comes to the recent changes at Spice Road Table. On the one hand, I was really happy that there was another space like one of my other favorites at Epcot, Tutto Gusto, with a focus on tapas where anyone could stroll in on their own timetable without concern over having an Advance Dining Reservation. I found that to be a ton of the original appeal as a very frequent visitor.

That said, I can obviously understand how guests on the Disney Dining Plan would have little desire to make a special trip to visit a place where it’s not accepted. So if the addition of entrees brings more guests into this restaurant, then ultimately I can be okay with that. Because considering the quality of the food in such a uniquely beautiful setting, Spice Road Table is a place that should definitely be visited and enjoyed.

Have you visited Spice Road Table? If so, I’d love to hear about your experience with a comment!

 

Comments

  1. Julie says

    We have visited here several times and loved it. I am sad to see the sampler plates gone. This was perfect for my husband and I for a small shared meal.

  2. Keith says

    Spice Road has probably become the best restaurant overall in EPCOT. I hope they don’t keep screwing with the menu and format….that is what make it such a great experience.

  3. Lori says

    I’m really disappointed with the ADR change, I suppose it’s the curse of taking the DDP. I loved it as what it was. It’s still beautiful and the food is probably still great but, like Tutto Gusto, the true beauty was in being able to just go when you were hungry without having planned it a gazillion months in advance. I know some people live for that but I hate how much planning has become necessary just to eat something healthier than hamburgers and chicken nuggets at a theme park. It’s insane.

  4. says

    Thanks for the timely review! Our January trip includes a lunch at Spice Road. Especially appreciate the warning on the cold rice-stuffed grape leaves. That I would not have expected. The spicy garlic shrimp looks delicious, though.

  5. says

    I haven’t tried Spice Road Table yet, but I have had stuffed grape leaves in a few places and I have only ever seen them offered cold. If they do warm ones somewhere, it would be a surprise to me.

  6. says

    I personally am pretty happy to see this menu change. When we ate there we felt like the food was good, but it was a really expensive meal to be able to feel full from. The new entrees look good. I said before I wouldn’t go back here because it wasn’t worth the money, but we may have to try it again now!

  7. MLinDisney says

    We were there on Wednesday at 8:30 PM. We sat outside overlooking the water. It was cold but they had heaters set up and we had one next to our table! We ordered some small plates and wine. One of our choices was the grape leaves. I enjoyed these and like others who responded, I never had warm stuffed grape leaves. At 9:30 we watched illuminations from our seat. We both enjoyed our evening at Spice Road!

  8. Anonypilgrim says

    Stuffed grape leaves are some of my favorites. I’ve never had them served warm in the US. When I traveled in Morocco they were almost always served cold.

  9. Keith says

    As an epicurean, I really can’t comprehend the mentality of needing to be stuffed full at every meal in order to “get your money’s worth”….I am always more interested in excellence and creativity rather than quantity, and unfortunately restaurants such as Spice Road are far too rare.

  10. Tina says

    Back in August my mother and I tried to give Spice Road Table a go. We were actually THRILLED to try it, as I’m half Egyptian (My father is from Cairo), and the Cuisine is quite similar. All of those delicious Mediterranean Flavors and Dishes that we’ve had many times over throughout our lives. I can’t tell you how horrible disappointed I was when we sat down. Two tables who were seated after us were greeted and served first before we were even acknowledged at all. After about 30-35 minutes of not so much as a “Hello, I’ll be right with you.”, we got up and left. We made sure to tell the hostess at the front why we were leaving. She said “oh.. someone’s coming over right now.”. Not only could she not have cared less, or didn’t think anything of it, there was no apology or we’ll fix it, it was our mistake. ANYTHING. Almost like WE were the bother. Needless to say, I have A HORRIBLE taste in my mouth from a restaurant where I was one of the people most excited to try it. Little do they know when my family and I dine out, we also tend to spend a lot of money. We like variety and to try new things. So they also lost out on a bigger check, and return customers. I know I shouldn’t hold a grudge from one bad experience, especially that so many people enjoy it there. But I just don’t know if I can swallow my pride and go back there. Has anything like this happened to anyone else at SRT?? I’ve read mixed reviews before, but specifically wondering here on the food blog.

  11. John says

    I’m very worried about the change to accepting ADRs. The beauty of this (and Tutto Gusto) was that for those of us who refuse to participate in the madness that is the Dining plan, and who love the idea of a leisurely stroll through the World Showcase where you can enjoy a nice bottle of wine and some snacks without planning 6 months ahead, Spice Road fit a great niche. Now there will be people who find the food “too spicy” taking up tables for 2 hours before Illuminations while they nurse a water waiting to watch the show. Boo , Spice Road.

    It would be nice though if they offered Tables in Wonderland discount, though …

  12. Bellamouse says

    You don’t like squid, you don’t like shrimp, cilantro is not your thing….. LOL Kind of wonder why you ordered all that? The good news is you liked it anyway. :) Can’t wait to try this out. Those meat skewers in particular look amazing.

  13. says

    Bellamouse — I order a nice variety of foods at restaurants so that I can give my readers a good overview of what’s available. I rarely order only “what I want” in restaurants when I’m at Disney — that would make for a super boring blog since I’m a pretty picky eater. Luckily I get the chance to try new things and am a much more adventurous eater than I was back in 2009 when I started the website!

  14. Angelina says

    I think that if I ever make it to EPCOT this will be at the top of my list to try…everything looks so good. I like the idea of just getting a glass of wine and a couple small plates and enjoy the atmosphere and conversations.

  15. Jan says

    Thanks for this wonderful review, AJ! My husband & I love this restaurant, primarily because we’ve visited Spain and love the similar food on the menu here. I’m all for anything that will make this restaurant a success, so I’m glad they’ll now take ADRs & the Dining Plan (although we’ve never done the dining plan ourselves). We’ve eaten at Marrakesh a couple of times as well as the Tangierine Café and love them both, so I guess this is just our kind of food. Thanks for the picture of the wine menu–I can’t wait to have some of the rosé from Spain!

  16. Nicholas Fiorillo says

    To be honest I had a terrible experience here. The food was not bad but the waiters were some of the most unreasonable and poor people I have met. A waiter spilled a tray full of wine all over my white shirt completely ruining it. He never apologized and after fighting it for nearly a half hour all I was able to get for a discount was 50% off my 12 dollar meal. All I asked for was an apology and a free meal considering my 80 dollar shirt was completely ruined. We had multiple incidents similar to this one at this dinner and we were given 0 sympathy and no understanding. Would not recommend

  17. Melissa B says

    I was SO excited to try this place. However, I do not think I will be returning…
    At first I could tell my in-laws were NOT excited to try this at all, but I tried to ignore that fact and just enjoy the meal.

    My husband and I ordered beers while my daughter slept in her stroller (a blessing in disguise).
    His beer smelled like Marijuana, seriously, it was gross, he sent it back and got a light beer. My beer was very tasty (casa I think was the name), until a fly flew into it and drowned itself. The waiter was super apologetic and delivered me another one right away.

    As I could tell my in-laws were going to be tough, we just ordered a few apps to share. We had lunch/dinner at 3:30pm so to me, this was OK.

    We ordered the shrimp, calamari, baked brie and the hummus fries.
    All were “just ok” the toast they served with the Brie was so stale/hard, I thought I was about to crack a tooth, however the cheese was tasty. The shrimp and calamari were just “ok” and the hummus fries (which I was THRILLED we got to order) were a huge disappointment – they were just very oily and a bit bland.

    The flies were relentless (we sat indoors).
    Our bill was about $100 including the tip-the server was very nice, but unfortunately unless I’m going back solo I don’t think I can get anyone in our party to come along for another try.

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