Top Eats: Best Quick Service Dining in Epcot.
Last week, I struggled a bit coming up with quick service spots in Hollywood Studios that I thought were good enough to recommend to others. We figure if you’re kind enough to read our site, we owe it to you to be honest and accurate. The last thing any of us wants is for someone to be sitting in the World thinking “Wow, they were really wrong about this place” so we take this pretty seriously. Well, I’m happy to tell you that I didn’t struggle to find places to recommend in Epcot. In fact, the real problem was narrowing it down. Here’s my top five.
5. Sommerfest has a really limited menu, so if you have vegetarians in your group, you might want to send them ahead to the next pavilion so you can enjoy your sausage without them giving you accusing, hungry glances. Sommerfest is modeled after the German schnellimbuss, which are the small, fast food stands you’ll find throughout Germany. You’ll find pretzels, wurst (served with sauerkraut and a roll), German beer, and pastries, often Black Forest Cake and a delicious Apple strudel. The desserts are above average, so it’s one of those places where the included dessert which comes with your quick service meal on the dining plan is a particularly good bargain. The wurst is very flavorful, although I’d love it if they served it with some mustard that had more of a “bite” to it. The rolls served with the wurst are its weakest link, as is often the case with Disney World restaurants. Sommerfest lacks adequate seating, but if you can get one of the few nearby tables, you’ll enjoy one of the most shaded spots in Epcot. Good people watching too.
4. Located in the Norway paviolion in Epcot, Kringla Bakeri og Cafe has two things that always stand out in my mind: One, the really extraordinary rice cream, which is their super-creamy but not too sweet (so it counts as lunch) version of rice pudding; and two, the friendliest cast members in the World Showcase, which is saying a lot because it’s Disney and everyone is friendly. I’m not sure what they’re putting in these kids’ school bread, but whatever it is, I’d like some for the cashiers at my local Whole Foods, please. Besides cheerful cast members and rice pudding, you can find a wide variety of pastries, sandwiches, small salads, a soup of the day, and a vegetable tort. All of it’s fresh and all of it’s very good. There’s a small, shaded seating area as well.
3. Vegetarians can eat really well at Epcot quick service restaurants and one of the best spots is the Tangerine Cafe, located in the Moroccan Pavilion, where they’ll find a tasty vegetable platter with traditional accompaniments. Shawarma platters with couscous, hummus and bread, wraps, and Mediterranean Sliders are exotic enough for the setting but not so spicy as to be unappealing to more timid palates. There’s also a kids’ menu with chicken fingers and burgers. As a bonus, this place is just exotic enough that it scares off some guests, so you’re unlikely to encounter massive crowds. Reward yourself for being in the know with some delicious baklava.
2. Boulangerie Patsisserie, located in the French pavilion at Epcot, is one of those places that everyone seems to love. Not surprisingly then, it can get pretty crowded, but I’ve found the line moves quickly. Sandwiches, pastries, salads and quiche are on the menu. The only downside is that there are very few places to sit save for the sides of the long fountain just outside and competition for those spots can get downright ugly. Consider bringing your food over to one of the benches that line the World Showcase Lagoon and have a relaxing little picnic.
1. I picked Sunshine Seasons as number one because it has some of the best and freshest quick service food anywhere in Walt Disney World, not just in Epcot. While I think there are better individual dishes in the World Showcase, or at least ones that I prefer, the wide selection at Sunshine Season means there’s something for everyone in your group: Asian-style noodle bowls, soups, sandwiches, salads, grilled salmon, and rotisserie chicken, in addition to kid favorites like macaroni and cheese. The quality is generally high, so you won’t leave feeling unsatisfied or worse, ripped off. Located in the Land pavilion right next to the entrance of Soarin’, Sunshine Seasons stays busy and there’s little in the way of the type of theming you’ll find at restaurants in the World Showcase. It’s a place to fuel up for a decent price and continue touring. If you missed breakfast at your resort, it’s one of the few places in Epcot where you’ll find quick service breakfast items.
Dishonorable mention: These posts are designed to showcase what we think are some of the best choices at a given park or resort, but I feel I would be remiss in not mentioning one that I think you should avoid, mainly because there are too many excellent meals available elsewhere and I don’t like to see anyone waste their money or have a disappointing meal. The worst offender in an otherwise exemplary group of restaurants is Lotus Blossom Cafe, located in the China pavilion, arguably the loveliest and most detailed of all the World Showcase pavilions. I’m not sure, but somehow they’ve managed to make Chinese food that’s even worse than you’ll find back home in your mall’s food court, and that is something of an accomplishment. It’s too bad because the cast members are great and I could spend hours exploring the China pavilion, which undoubtedly has me hankering for a snack.