Review: Lunch at Epcot’s Coral Reef Restaurant

We’re dining “Under the Sea” today at Epcot’s Coral Reef Restaurant!

And if you’re wondering if it was all part of my plan to insert that song in your head for the rest of the day, the answer is “Yes.”

(Insert evil laugh here. ;) )

Coral Reef is one of only two Table Service Restaurants in Epcot’s Future World (the other being Garden Grill), and the only one open for lunch, which is the meal we’re having today. But first things first: in order to eat at Coral Reef, you’ve got to find it. Just head to “The Living Seas…” whoops! I mean, “The Seas with Nemo and Friends” Pavilion.

And once you get your fill of the birds chanting “Mine, Mine, Mine,” just hang a right…

The Seas Pavilion

The Seas Pavilion

… and head as far as you can towards the back. (The outdoor sign will help, too.)

Heading to Coral Reef

Heading to Coral Reef

Coral Reef sign

Coral Reef sign

So, now we’ve found it! Let’s head in…

Atmosphere

As per usual with Disney dining, there are some fun details to take in here, starting right at the entrance.

Entrance

Entrance

Seahorse door handle

Seahorse door handle

The dining room is well-concealed for the “big reveal” to come, but touches in the check-in area (which expands into a fairly large hallway) give several indications as to what awaits you once you dine.

Octopus at Check in

Octopus at Check in

Octopus at check-in counter

Octopus at check-in counter

What are those lights, anyway? Jellyfish?

Check-in area hallway

Check-in area hallway

Glass fish behind check-in counter

Glass fish behind check-in counter

But as fun as it always is to check out the little things, the truth of the matter is that everyone is here to see one, single, MAJOR “detail.” The aquarium!

Coral Reef Dining Room

Coral Reef Dining Room

Yep — the dining room has giant picture windows that look right into the massive Living Seas aquarium. It’s like you’re dining in a submarine.

Coral Reef Dining Room

Coral Reef Dining Room

And here’s an interesting thing about Coral Reef: in most restaurants, several of the tables for two are often tucked on the outer perimeters, and sometimes that can lend to a feeling of being a little removed from the atmosphere. At Coral Reef, many of the tables for two receive “front rows seats” for the big show. Our table for two was right next to this table for four.

Coral Reef Seating in front of aquarium

Coral Reef Seating in front of aquarium

Our server presented Fish Guides to us, so we could identify some of the marine life swimming by.

Fish Guide

Fish Guide

Fish Guide

Fish Guide

Being that close contributed just a little extra to an already unique experience. I’ll let the pictures speak for themselves…

Aquarium views

Aquarium views

Aquarium views

Aquarium views

Aquarium views

Aquarium views

Though I gotta say, this felt [Read more…]

Epcot Food & Wine Festival Food Pictures and Review: 2013 Belgium and Canada Booths

The 2013 Epcot Food and Wine Festival is still going strong at Walt Disney World! And today, we’re back with another delicious marketplace booth review.

This has been a terrific year at the festival for revisiting favorite dishes from the past while enjoying some really delicious new options. And two booths that demonstrate this beautifully are Belgium and Canada!

Let’s take a closer look at what each offers guests in 2013, and talk a little about our favorite dishes!

Belgium

Belgium celebrates its fourth year as part of the Epcot Food and Wine Festival.

In the past few years, the savory offering has been mussels prepared in a variety of ways. (I’m still waiting for them to catch the vision of those amazing frites that Belgium is known for!)

Belgium Booth

This year, the booth departs radically from mussels, and instead has decided to offer a full menu of another Belgian staple: Waffles!

2013 Belgium Menu

This probably makes sense, since the sweet waffle that’s been a staple here has always been popular. But it does make things a bit homogenous over here. Regardless, I was excited to try the savory waffle that was added to the lineup.

The Potato and Leek Waffle with Braised Beef was so impressive (primarily because they douse it with melted butter) when we tasted it that we immediately named it one of our Best of the Fest dishes for 2013.

A fresh waffle — crispy on the outside, tender on the inside — is smothered with a thick, rich beef stew. The braised beef features chunks of beef and carrots in a flavorful sauce that soaks right into that tasty waffle. The whole thing was topped with that aforementioned melted butter. Amazing!

Potato and Leek Waffle with Braised Beef

And what better way to top off a meal of waffle than with [Read more…]