According to most accounts, Nine Dragons in Epcot doesn’t really require an advanced reservation. It’s also considered a very disappointing restaurant for many. This characterization might be somewhat accurate — it’s not a “Wow!” restaurant — but I’ve had a few good experiences there and wanted to share that perspective as well.
Nine Dragons was recently overhauled, and, I think, offers a decent dining experience. While most people are forced into this restaurant by sudden rainstorms and bad planning (i.e. all the other restaurants are full and they couldn’t find Marrakesh), the food is more than edible (sometimes even good!) and the atmosphere is rich. Yes, it’s a bit too expensive for what you actually get, but the service hasn’t been bad in our experience, and we do enjoy the food.
The restaurant renovation was immediately apparent on our last visit. Gone was the garish, too-opulent decor of the old Nine Dragons. The warm dark woods and interesting colors worked well with the stark, clean table settings. I find atmosphere to be almost as important as food, so being seated in a room that was pleasing to the eye already had the restaurant ranking higher in my mind than previously. Plus, the fun “history of writing” on the place mats was interesting, and any Epcot restaurant gets extra points if I learn something while I’m there.
We ordered the Chicken Consomme with Pork Dumplings, the Spit Roasted Beijing Chicken with Mashed Taro, and the Canton Pepper Beef with rice. Although the food wasn’t “signature restaurant” quality, it was as good as most neighborhood Chinese restaurants and a bit better than some.
Overall, we enjoyed a relaxing dinner, had decent service, and were pleased with the atmosphere (even if the tables were a bit too close together for our liking). There’s nothing wrong with this place, but if you don’t believe me, Marrakesh is at the back of the Morocco pavilion… . 😉