Best Table Service Restaurants in World Showcase
MickeyBlog has spent the past few months honestly evaluating the various Quick Service and Table Service restaurant options at the four theme parks at Walt Disney World. As the writer of all these pieces, I must admit that I’ve put this one off until the very end, because in Star Trek terms, it’s the Kobayashi Maru of the parks. I’m now going to rank my favorite Table Service restaurants at Epcot’s World Showcase, which is a no-win scenario. Please remember that these are just one person’s opinion and, if anything, it’s mathematically improbable that you agree with me across the board.
9) Monsieur Paul
Paul Bocuse is one of the greatest chefs of all-time. A legend in France, he even invented the world’s greatest cooking competition, the Bocuse d’Or. He was also once voted the Chef of the Century. That tidbit alone tells you how skilled he is in the kitchen.
When Disney planned the various pavilions at the World Showcase, they wanted culinary superstars to build their menus. Even so, park planners had to feel shocked when Bocuse embraced the idea of a restaurant bearing his name and signature dishes. The concept was so important to him that he sent one of his sons, Jerome, to run the place. That place…is Chefs de France, but Jerome also added a second floor eatery in 2012, one that bears his father’s name.
Monsieur Paul features the greatest in French cuisine. They offer special tasting menus and multi-course meals. And the primary reason it’s not ranked any higher has nothing to do with the quality of the food. It’s the most expensive restaurant at the World Showcase, so I didn’t feel good about ranking it higher. In terms of cuisine, it’s top three for sure. Also note that I excluded Chefs de France since it’s the lesser version of the same concept.
8) Biergarten Restaurant
I’m a buffet guy. Sure, they’ve fallen out of vogue in recent years as the public has become more health-conscious. It’s such a problem that companies like Disney use a more polite term, All You Care to Eat (AYCE), to describe this kind of restaurant.
Out of the AYCE places at Disney, Biergarten is one of the best. The Germans are known for their love of bratwurst, schnitzel, and other protein-rich meats. This restaurant isn’t a place to visit when you’re on a diet. When you’re hungry and looking to carb-load, however, it’s the best option at the World Showcase. Just remember to wear loose pants.
7) Restaurant Marrakesh
No, I’m not listing it because of the belly dancers. I happen to like the food here, which is arguably the most ambitious at Epcot, maybe even Walt Disney World as a whole. The Mediterranean flavors on display here will challenge your palate in the best possible way. Unless you’ve spent lots of time abroad, the flavors and spices at Restaurant Marrakesh may overwhelm you at first. Once your taste buds adapt, however, you’ll grow frustrated that the Mediterranean places in your home city aren’t anywhere near as good. Something that amuses me about this place is that Disney knows it’s adventurous. Plenty of pictures populate the menu so that guests know exactly what they’re ordering. This place is unquestionably for the daring, but fortune favors the bold.
6) Via Napoli Ristorante e Pizzeria
Sometimes, I want a pizza pie. And after spending many years vacationing at Walt Disney World, I’ve discovered that pizza isn’t their strength. Many of the Quick Service places serve it, of course, and the options are good. It’s not like we’re talking about Sbarro’s or anything. I just have high standards about pizza, probably because I’ve had Giordano’s in Chicago. Once you’ve had it, ordinary pizza loses its luster.
Via Napoli is special for a simple reason. They serve the best pizza I’ve had at Walt Disney World. While I haven’t had a chance to check out the newest places at Disney Springs, I’ve tried flatbreads everywhere else. What I’ve discovered is that the Italy Pavilion is the place to go. Their ovens melt cheese better than the competition.
5) San Angel Inn
What’s a list of world cuisine options without Mexican food, right? San Angel Inn provides one of my two favorite settings at the World Showcase, along with the winner on this list. The restaurant resides next to Gran Fiesta Tour Starring the Three Caballeros, and the boats from that attraction float past many of the tables. This part of the Mexico Pavilion is also quite dark, with a distinctive blue hue that makes the setting ethereal.
As for the food, it’s precisely what you think it is. Tacos, tortillas, and carnitas all feature meats and spices. The mole and chile peppers here are especially good. Also, I’m a huge fan of the desserts. San Angel Inn is one of my favorite Table Service restaurants at Walt Disney World when I want to just hang out and spend 90 minutes relaxing.
4) Le Cellier
Yes, I know that I dinged Monsieur Paul for its hefty prices and am now picking another Signature Dining experience much higher on the list. I’m comfortable doing that because Le Cellier’s prices are certainly expensive by World Showcase standards, but they’re not $100 per person like Monsieur Paul.
Le Cellier is an upscale restaurant at the Canada Pavilion that has a focus. That focus is my favorite, grilled meats. The steaks here are in the conversation for best at Walt Disney World, and the same is true of the charcuterie dish. These two things are what matters most to me when selecting a restaurant. I also love the desserts here. Finally, I should note that while I am NOT a fan, the poutine at Le Cellier is allegedly spectacular, presuming such a thing is possible…which it isn’t. Don’t eat that nasty stuff, my friends.
In the grouping of character meals at Walt Disney World, Akershus is in the top tier. Since the priority with today’s list is the food, I’m not factoring that in, but it’s also impossible to separate. When you eat at Akershus, the Princess party is part of the proceedings. No matter how much you enjoy engaging with cast members dressed as characters, it’s still a wonderful place to dine, particularly when the little princesses participate in a parade. I love this place.
The food is impossibly Norwegian. Entrees are dishes with authentic names like Tradisjonell Kjøttkake, which I presume translates to traditional meatballs. I’m sure about the meatballs part of it anyway. Akershus also offers Brassert Biff (braised beef), a Viking Mixed Grill with Vossakorv Sausage, and a Seafood Stew that has salmon and scallops among other fish proteins. In other words, it’s not food that you’ll eat during the course of an average week…unless you travel to Norway regularly.
I love the hearty nature of the proteins, and Taste of Norway salad bar is usually a highlight of my Disney trip thanks to the Gjetost cheese and cured meats. Akershus is a difficult Advance Dining Reservation to book, but you’ll be glad that you made the effort once you enter the building.
2) Teppan Edo
A memorable anecdote from a book I read a couple of years ago involved Teppan Edo. A Disney cast member worked as a VIP Hostess. I’ll probably write an article or two about this at some point, but the gist of a VIP Host’s job is to satisfy guests paying thousands of dollars for a single day at a Disney theme park. The cast members take these wealthy guests around Walt Disney World for 6-8 hours at a time. Lunch is inevitably a part of the discussion, with the VIP having the choice to request the Host’s presence for the meal. This particular Hostess had a finite rule wherein she always demurely declined…unless the restaurant was Teppan Edo. I always laugh at this anecdote because it’s so relatable.
The food at Teppan Edo is as good as it gets at Walt Disney World. That’s not hyperbole. Yes, the restaurant mimics the style of Benihana and other famous Teppanyaki eateries. It doesn’t have their brand of generic Japanese cuisine, though. To the contrary, I can eat a delicious meal at this place…and I don’t like Japanese food as a rule. My wife, who does love this type of cuisine, views Teppan Edo as the most magical meal at the Most Magical Place on Earth. If we ever won the lottery, I’m confident she’d try to hire someone from the kitchen here as her own personal chef. And I know at least one VIP Hostess feels the same way. Teppan Edo is a must-eat restaurant at the World Showcase.
1) Rose & Crown Dining Room
Eating at the World Showcase comes down to the place that makes you the happiest. For my family, there’s only one answer that fits this definition. For years now, we’ve booked reservations for Rose & Crown and then sat by the lake, anxiously anticipating the start of the IllumiNations fireworks exhibition.
The show takes a back seat to the meal, though. At Rose & Crown, classic English dishes populate the menu from start to finish. We love the appetizers such as the Scotch Egg and House-made English Pie, but the greatest of them is the United Kingdom Cheese Platter.
For an entrée, British staples such as Bangers and Mash and Shepherd’s Pie will make you close your eyes and think of England. But the steaks are great here, too. Also, the Pan-roasted Scottish Salmon is sneaky-delicious, and the Corn Beef and Cabbage is a remarkably filling meal. Alternately, you can do the expected and order the Fish and Chips like everyone else. You won’t regret it.
Whatever you do, though, you need to save room for dessert. The options here are among the best on the Disney campus. I’m infatuated with the Lemon Scone and Warm Fruit Crumble, but everyone else at my table tends to stick with the Sticky Toffee Pudding. We smile a lot during dessert, which Rose & Crown’s wonderful staff of servers times impeccably with the start of IllumiNations. There’s just nothing better than devouring a sweet treat as fireworks light up the night sky. The World Showcase has literally dozens of worthy restaurants, but Rose & Crown is my family’s favorite.
Thanks for visiting MickeyBlog.com! For a free quote on your next Disney vacation, fill out the form below!