Disney Foodie’s Guide to Epcot Quick Service Meals
You are a foodie. Ergo, you will love Epcot. It’s that simple.
I could spend a great deal of time talking up the appeal of Epcot cuisine in general. I suspect that you’ve already heard about it by now, though. This park is the epicenter of dining at Walt Disney World. During a theme park vacation, you should plan to eat as many meals as possible here.
I’ve combined a couple of theme park foodie guides to reflect that the Quick Service and Table Service restaurants are safely lumped together for the most part. The sheer volume of dynamite places to eat at Epcot makes that impossible. I must differentiate counter service from sit-down restaurants. Otherwise, your eyes would glaze over halfway through this article. So, I’ve cut it in half. Here is the foodie’s guide to Quick Service eating at Epcot.
The Front vs. the Back
Let’s start with a simple explanation of Epcot for beginners. Imagineers designed the park in two sections. The front of Epcot is Future World, the attraction hub where infotainment is the name of the game, at least historically. The back of Epcot is the World Showcase, a set of 11 pavilions that showcase international customs and, importantly, cuisine. If you haven’t drawn a conclusion yet, let me spell it out for you:
EAT AT THE WORLD SHOWCASE!!!
The rest of the guide will reflect the fact that I’m emphatic on this point. Yes, there are Quick Service restaurants in Future World. Yes, I’ve eaten at all of them. Yes, I’ve primarily regretted it afterward when I’ve realized that I could have a pizza at the Italy Pavilion instead.
Your Options at Future World
Look, I get it. You don’t know me. You don’t trust me. You have no reason to believe me. Also, people can be stubborn. So, you may ignore my *ahem* gentle suggestion and eat at the World Showcase. Here are your choices:
Future World only has four primary restaurants, two of which are Table Service establishments. When you want to grab a quick bite at the front of the park, you’re either going to choose Electric Umbrella or Sunshine Seasons. Yes, Taste Track occasionally sells entrees, but it’s unreliable as an option.
I can simplify your Quick Service decision at Future World even more. Eaters with bland taste buds should head over to Electric Umbrella. It sells cheeseburgers, chicken nuggets, pizzas, and sandwiches. Please understand that I’m not saying this as a dig. If you asked me to pick one, I’d take Electric Umbrella virtually every time…and have.
The food here won’t excite anybody, but I’ve found it to be consistent and reliable. I also think the burgers here are some of the better ones at counter service restaurants. I’m in the minority on these topics, though. The average Disney fanatic would tell you to avoid Electric Umbrella at all costs. Since you’re a foodie, you should do that anyway because…
This restaurant resides on the first floor of the Land Pavilion. This place is also home to Living with the Land, a boat ride that demonstrates the agricultural system in place at Epcot. Imagineers locally source ingredients while working on solutions to end world hunger. It’s an admirable project that comes with a side benefit.
You’ll never eat fresher ingredients than at Sunshine Seasons. Many of them are created onsite. The menu is rather pedestrian for some reason. The flavors most assuredly are not, though. If you absolutely must get a bite to eat Future World, as a self-respecting foodie, your only real option is Sunshine Seasons. What you really ought to do, however, is visit…
The World Showcase
Welcome to culinary heaven! When you visit here, you’ll wish that you had more mouths, throats, and stomachs. One of each just isn’t enough to satisfy your cravings. The World Showcase features 10 international pavilions plus the American Adventure. Each of these sections sells cuisine authentic to the country of origin. Let’s take a quick look by country rather than restaurant.
The American Adventure
Deciding to eat here is the equivalent of The Simpsons visiting Tokyo only to dine at America Town. Don’t get me wrong. I’ve done it, and I’ve liked it. As a foodie with an adult palate, you should aspire higher than I do, though.
The restaurant here is Liberty Inn, a unique Quick Service option. I say that because they sell steak sometimes. When that happens, you can use a Quick Service dining plan entitlement for, you know, steak. The other menu items are what you’d expect at an American restaurant. I’m talking hamburgers, hot dogs, and pork sandwiches. It’s okay, but we can do better.
There’s not a Quick Service option here. I’m saving snack options for a later part of the foodie’s guide. I will give you a sneak preview by saying that the popcorn cart in Canada is spectacular. When you have the munchies, it’s ideal.
This pavilion is one of the stranger ones for foodies. The Table Service restaurant here is really, really good. The counter service place, Lotus Blossom Café, receives some of the worst reviews of anything at the World Showcase. I would suggest passing on a quick meal here. Should you want to sit down and take your time, however, you’ll learn in the second half of the guide that the China Pavilion’s a great place to go.
This pavilion is another one that lacks a true Quick Service offering. It does have Kringla Bakeri og Kafe, though. And that is my happy place. It’s also a place where I hate wearing a belt.
The food at Italy may be the best of any at the World Showcase. Sadly, it’s all Table Service, which is understandable. Italy and the next pavilion, France, are the unofficial culinary capitals of the world, places where dining is a national sport. Grab-and-go places aren’t ideal for those who want cheese, charcuterie, and fine wine with a meal.
This is the other pavilion that lacks a counter service restaurant. I do feel that I should mention Boulangerie Pâtisserie des Halles. Have you seen the movie Chocolat? It’s kind of like that, only with baguettes and cheese plates in addition to the decadent desserts.
My German heritage compels me to praise Sommerfest. My integrity forces me to counterbalance that by saying that there’s not a lot here. It’s a brat and sauerkraut place. In other words, fans of tubed meat are in business. For that matter, so are fans of strudel and (especially) beer. Sober vegetarians and even a few meat lovers won’t be impressed.
Now we’re getting to the good part! Starting with the Japan Pavilion, the Quick Service restaurants are all worthy of your attention. Here, you’ll dine at Katsura Grill, a delightful place for fans of sushi and noodle dishes. Ramen and various teriyaki recipes are other favorite dishes. And Katsura Grill is a place to remember for guests traveling on a tight budget. Most of the dishes cost $12 or less!
What would you expect to eat at the Mexico Pavilion? Yes, the cuisine is a huge cliché. Tacos, nachos, and empanadas comprise the body of the menu at the sole Quick Service establishment, La Cantina de San Angel. That’s okay, though! It’s the best kind of comfort food. Since the Mexico Pavilion is just past Future World and the eatery is outside, it’s also one of the most accessible places to visit!
Tangierine Café is one of the best Quick Service restaurants across the Disney campus. Fans of Mediterranean flavors will fall in love with this place. Classic tastes like hummus, couscous, and tabbouleh are all available here! And fans of The Avengers can finally try shawarma! Seriously, this place is one of the highest rated Quick Bites in Orlando according to TripAdvisor. You need to try it.
This pavilion’s best restaurant is kind of a combo. Most of it is a Table Service eatery called Rose & Crown Dining Room. On one side is an adjoining counter service option called Yorkshire County Fish Shop.
You’ll only find one entrée on the menu here. That one thing is so delicious that it merits high placement on any Best of Epcot Counter Service list. It’s Fish and Chips, the staple of English cuisine that’s beautifully recreated at the World Showcase. If/when this place adds Mobile Ordering, it might be all my wife ever eats at Disney.
Given the international cuisine listed here, you may believe that you’ve reached the pinnacle of Disney dining. That’s far from the truth. In reality, the Quick Service restaurants at the World Showcase aren’t on the level of the Table Service ones. During part two of our foodie’s guide to eating at Epcot, you’ll learn about a slew of even better places to eat. I say again that the World Showcase is foodie heaven.