There are a whole host of reasons why one would love Epcot’s World Showcase. You’ll find great musical entertainment, awe-inspiring street performances, enchanting attractions, rich cultural and educational experiences, awesome food, and even more awesome food. The truth is, when I visit Epcot, I find myself gravitating to this section of the theme park before I can even bat an eye at Soarin’ (not that I don’t love Soarin’, but I digress). It’s no surprise that Epcot is my go-to theme park, especially if I’m even the slightest bit hungry. I love snacking around the world, drinking around the world, desserting (let’s just pretend that’s a word) around the world—basically, if it involves one of Epcot’s 11 international pavilions and food, I’m the first one to sign up. Between the counter-service dining spots and the higher-end restaurants, one would have a hard time tasting everything there is to offer. There are some dishes, however, that stand out as guest favorites, earning praise and notoriety because they are just that darn delicious. From fast food to slow food, elaborately prepared dishes to simple plates, you can’t go wrong ordering one of these selections. Meals that are not only filling but fulfilling, these 10 dishes deserve a spot on your World Showcase meal bucket-list! Let’s grab our forks and dive right in, shall we?
10. Fish and Chips — Yorkshire County Fish and Chips — United Kingdom Pavilion
I can recall the very first time I treated myself to this popular quick-service dish. It was a cool park day, a brisk February wind blowing as I settled into my bench, holding my plate of piping hot French fries and two strips of battered-fried fish. I had to give myself a second to breathe in the amazing smell (and to let some of the heat dissipate so as not to risk rendering my taste buds useless by burning my tongue). Then it was go time. I attacked that plate—not because I was starving, but because it was so incredibly tasty that I couldn’t stop myself. Truly, I could have eaten more than two strips of the flaky white fish with the perfectly crispy coating, but the fries helped quell the hunger. This is comfort food in its simplest form, and at its finest. As you stroll through the United Kingdom pavilion, you’ll almost always find a long line at this window, proving that I’m not alone in my Yorkshire County Fish and Chips love.
9. Neapolitan Pizza — Via Napoli — Italy Pavilion
Here’s the thing—I’m a Florida native, born and raised, and though married to an Italian, I have absolutely none in my DNA. This, some would say, would not exactly place me as an authority on great pizza. That being said, I know when I’ve just eaten something really spectacular—something that makes my taste buds eagerly yearning for the next bite…and the next, etc. I’ve had pizza everywhere on Disney property and I will go out on a limb and say that Via Napoli has the best pizza at WDW. Likewise, not only do I think it rates at the top of the “Best Pizza in WDW” list, but this pizza also stands out as one of the best meals (and best values) in all of the World Showcase. What makes it so special, you ask? It’s all in the water. Apparently, Via Napoli uses water nearly identical to the chemical composition of water used in Naples, Italy, which results in better density to the dough and in turn, better, tastier pizza. The flour used in cooking the dough is imported from Southern Italy and the mozzarella is fresh. The pizza here is also cooked in one of three wood-burning ovens. It is authentic, it is delicious and it should be on your World Showcase bucket list.
8. Shrimp/Chicken Tempura — Tokyo Dining — Japan Pavilion
While the spotlight focus on the food at Tokyo Dining is sushi (and very tasty sushi at that) the real winner here is the Tempura Shrimp and Chicken. Both are featured in the Shibuya entrée, which also comes with Sunomono (cucumber salad), noodle salad, and Sukiyaki beef rice. You’ll also find shrimp tempura and chicken tempura in a number of other entrees (as well as an appetizer) on the menu here. Delicately battered and fried, the chicken and shrimp are moist, plump, and FRESH. The seasoning is always on point, and the crispy, fried coating does not overwhelm the inside meat. The consistent rave reviews this particular menu item receives from satisfied patrons confirms that it’s a home run and should be tried by all you World Showcasers!
7. Shawarma Platter — Tangierine Café — Morocco Pavilion
I’m bracing myself even as I type this because, shocker of all shockers, there are some people out there who actually loathe this place (say WHAT?!). Yep, they are out there and will inevitably let us know who they are in the comments below (it’s all good—have at it!). Truthfully, I can see why there are such polarizing opinions. Every dish I’ve ordered here hasn’t always been a slam dunk. Sometimes my falafel is dry and though I usually LOVE the Kefta pocket here, there has been a time or two that I’ve ordered it and the flavors have fallen flat. Also, I see lots of cilantro in these Mediterranean dishes and I know people who would rather ride on it’s a small world for 14 hours straight than find a piece of cilantro in their food. That being said, I have a special place in my heart for Tangierine Café and love the unique dishes offered here, and I know there are many, many others out there just like me who would readily recommend it. The dishes here are Americanized Moroccan dishes, the flavors not too overpowering or spicy (as in seasoning, not “hot spicy”), making it worth a “go” even if the menu appears slightly intimidating to those not familiar with this cuisine. The Shawarma Platters are incredibly popular and a must-try! The term “Shawarma” refers to the meat preparation, where the lamb and chicken are placed on a slow-roasting rotating split, and are freshly shaved when the order is placed. The seasoning is spectacular—exotic herbs and spices really enhancing the meat. The food you receive in this platter is enough to feed an army, all coming served with a side of hummus, tabouleh, couscous salad and fresh Moroccan bread. No question, it’s a bucket-list must-eat!
6. Poutine Fries — Le Cellier Steakhouse — Canada Pavilion
Okay, you got me—this isn’t listed as an “entree,” so why did it make the cut? Included as its own category on the menu at Le Cellier, it makes a perfect side item OR meal, depending on which offering you settle on. They come in three varieties—Le Cellier Poutine (Canadian Cheddar, Black Truffle, Red Wine Reduction), Farmhouse Poutine (Soft-Poached Egg, Heirloom Tomato Jam, Applewood Smoked Bacon, Arugula), and Pulled Barbeque Pork Poutine (Cornbread Croutons, House-Made Barbeque, Jalapeno Aioli). So you see, with all the additional toppings, this could get quite filling rather quickly and easily serve as a main dish! Back to why we (and everyone else) love it so much…the essence of the “poutine” fries found here is basically this: Hand-cut fries and gravy with a twist. They are delicious and always earn two thumbs up from patrons. Go ahead and indulge yourself in one of the yummiest French fry creations ever!
5. Bratwurst — Sommerfest — Germany Pavilion
At Sommerfest you’ll find everything you need to make your tummy smile—sausage, beer, pretzels, and strudel (or the black forest cake, because both are worthy of a mention!). The bratwurst and sauerkraut have been a fan favorite since the beginning of time and eating one amidst the cozy setting of Germany in Epcot makes it a worthwhile and memorable selection. The atmosphere here is lovely, the people are all happy, the beer is flowing (perhaps this is why…), and the smells pull at you from every direction. You have the Karamel Kuche on one end—be still my heart—granting guests the hypnotically tantalizing scent of caramel and you’ve got Sommerfest on the other, summoning guests with the unmistakable sweet fermented scent of sauerkraut. The bratwurst selection is such a simple meal and yet so tasty and hearty. It’s served in a house-made roll, which is all crusty and thick and bready, and helps perfectly balance out the brat to sauerkraut to bread ratio. Add this one to your list—it’s a real people pleaser!
4. Tacos de Camarones (Shrimp Tacos) — La Hacienda de San Angel — Mexico Pavilion
This entrée is supremely enjoyable and a MUST for those who like shrimp! If you’ve ever had the Food and Wine Festival’s Shrimp Tacos from the Mexico stand, then you know just what I’m talking about as they are simply a smaller version of this dish. But if you can’t make it out to the Food & Wine Festival, you’re in luck because you’ll find it as a menu staple at La Hacienda de San Angel! This restaurant, though hotly debated as being too overpriced for the offerings (not going to argue that one), really nails the flavors in this entrée and for me (and many others), there is no debating that it’s delicious. The chipotle-lime sauce and salsa verde really complement the lightly fried shrimp, and the cabbage gives every bite a great added crunch and nice texture. Pricewise, you might not be able to do this dish every trip, but it’s worth ordering, even if only once!
3. Prix Fixe Meal — Monsieur Paul — France Pavilion
A fancy-schmancy restaurant located just upstairs of Chefs de France and serving classic French cuisine, the food here—as well as the overall experience—is incredibly memorable, making it a definite bucket-list contender. The fixed price menu (“prix fixe”) is a great way to experience your food as you get to select an appetizer, an entrée and a dessert (as well as the complimentary fresh baguettes) for a set price. On the appetizer menu, you’ll find the Soup aux truffles (black truffle soup), which alone is worth visiting this restaurant for. According to the Disney website, this impressive dish “earned Chef Paul Bocuse the medal of Commandeur de la Legion d’Honneur in 1975 at the presidential dinner at the Elysee Palace.” The flavors are simply stunning, and unlike anything you’ve had before. If choosing an entrée from the Prix Fixe menu, you’ll be able to select from a roasted bone-in rib eye, herb-crusted lamb chop, or Maine lobster with sautéed mushrooms, all completely valid and distinctly delicious choices. Because there is a wide range of delectable French desserts to choose from, no matter what you select will be the perfect ending to a wonderful dinner. These dishes are all made with such care and attention, and the classic French flavors are so unique, pronounced and incredible, this restaurant and ANY of the meals offered here should make your World Showcase meal bucket-list.
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2. Gratin de Macaroni — Chefs de France — France Pavilion
There is nothing spectacularly complicated about this dish—it’s really just a grown-up version of our childhood favorite, mac n’ cheese. BUT, the flavors are incredible, the textures smooth and creamy, and it will no-doubt “wow” anyone who orders it. Really, this is perhaps the best macaroni and cheese you’ll find on Disney property and might just render you speechless! This version is baked, made with cream, Gruyere cheese and has a hint of nutmeg. If the French onion soup also found on the menu here was a meal, it would undeniably make this list too, but since it’s just an appetizer, you can order that AND the Gratin de Macaroni. Win win!
1. Le Cellier Filet Mignon — Le Cellier Steakhouse — Canada Pavilion
Once your napkin dabs that last bit of Canadian Cheddar Cheese Soup from the corner of your mouth, clear your spot on the table and make room for the best Filet Mignon on property. High ranking in popularity, this dish found at Le Cellier features AAA Canadian Beef Tenderloin (impressively tender), Wild Mushroom Risotto (creamy and tantalizing) and Truffle Butter Sauce (which most people can’t get enough of!). Everything works harmoniously in this dish, resulting in rave reviews from just about everybody. This dish is so popular that it winds up at Canada’s Food & Wine Festival Booth every year, people clamoring to get even just a taste, especially if they can’t nail down a hard-to-get reservation at the restaurant itself. Try it and see what all the fuss it about!
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