Tortuga Tavern

by josh on October 6, 2012

6/6/14 Update: Menu updated and items added.

Location: Tortuga Tavern is located across from the entrance to Pirates of the Caribbean in Adventureland.

Food Type: Mexican.

Dining Plan: One Quick Service credit and some items count as snacks.

Menu:




Unique Items: The Burritos are unique and the Nachos are different than what’s served elsewhere. The Kids’ Quesadillas, and Cookies and Cream Gelato are also unique offerings.

Advantages:

  • Outside of the Mexico Pavilion at Epcot, this is one of the only places to purchase quick service Mexican food.
  • The toppings bar allows you to load up on as much cheese and lettuce as you like.
  • Food quality is above average.
  • Unique items are very good and it’s a nice change of pace from burgers and nuggets, particularly for the kids.
  • The nachos are a great snack to share among a few people.
  • There’s usually plenty of seating.

Disadvantages:

  • It operates “seasonally,” which means it may not be open at all when crowds are lower.  When it does operate, it’s almost always just from 11am – 3pm, so dinner isn’t an option.
  • You’ll be served a bare-bones salad or burrito, meaning just the meat and the container.  This surprises many people, but rest assured that the rest of the toppings are at the bar.  If you’re only ordering the Taco Salad, I’d head over to Pecos Bill because you can order the Taco Salad and the toppings bar is more extensive.
  • Service is surprisingly slow, considering all they have to do is put beef or chicken on a tortilla in most cases.
  • The Burritos can get messy.

Value: High.  At about $8, this is a good way to fill up for less than you’d pay elsewhere.  Portions are large, but not so much that you should feel sick after consumption.  The rice and black beans help lower the density of the burritos and you have freedom to add as many or as few toppings as you desire.

Reputation: Not a lot of people dine at Tortuga Tavern because it’s so often closed, but those who do seem to enjoy it.  I think there’s some amount of initial shock over receiving a taco salad that just has a few bites of meat on the bottom, but the toppings bar should help round out the meal.

Food Choices:

Beef Burrito:

Taco meat is not one of the more photogenic things of our world and this is unfortunately, no exception.

And the extremely unattractive finished product sans the ounce of sour cream that’s included with each taco entree. This is more or less Taco Bell quality fare – at least as far as the beef is concerned. It tastes good, but it’s virtually impossible to pick it up and eat because they aren’t served properly folded and it’s difficult to do yourself because the original toppings aren’t centered. That means you’re knife and forking it, which in turn means you have to look at every bite. Still a filling meal that tastes better than it looks.

Chicken Burrito:


The two blue packets you see in the second picture are sour cream.   I guess they trust you with the cheese, but sour cream is another story altogether.  Because you are expected to “dress” your taco yourself, the burrito comes simply folded over.  This presents a challenge when eating because it’s extremely messy to pick up.  It occurred to me that I could try to re-fold it “properly,” like you might receive at Chipotle or Taco Time, but that seemed too daunting a task.  And I was hungry.  I looked around and most people were eating their burritos with a fork and a knife.  I guess the moral of the story is that whatever entree you purchase, you’re in essence ordering the taco salad.  It just depends on whether you want the hard shell or the soft shell.  That was my one complaint during the meal.  The burrito was fresh, with well seasoned ingredients, but it was difficult to get in my mouth.

Beef Nachos:


This was pretty good.  You get a ton of chips.  I would have liked more beef because you’re really only going to get a bite of it with about a quarter of the chips.  Unless you really ration it!  The chips basically taste the same as the tortilla shell on the Taco Salad, so you’re basically getting the same meal, sour cream and all.  This would make a great snack if you’re looking for something big, filling, and relatively inexpensive.  $7.29 isn’t bad at all.  Also recommended.  With Pecos Bill just a short walk away, you may want to head down there and squeeze some hot cheese sauce over the top.  That would make them perfect.

Kids’ Quesadillas:


There isn’t a whole lot to the quesadillas. Since the cheese is white, you may not even be able to see that they’re anything more than a folded tortilla. Considering the palettes of most seven year olds, this probably isn’t such a bad thing. Remember that you can take this entree, along with any other, to the toppings bar for lettuce, cheese, tomatoes, salsa, and pepper sauce packets. They should also hand you a sour cream packet should you inquire. Actually, while I was standing there I even saw a woman exchange a cup of water for a Sprite at no charge. Anyway, the quesadillas were perfectly fine. Served hot and would probably satisfy the appetite of someone about 20 years younger.

Cookies and Cream Gelato:

For this one in particular, all I can say is OMG!!!!!!!!!! Sooooooooo good and so much better than those prepackaged cakes that permeate most quick services. Amazing on a hot day and highly recommended. Not a huge portion, but it’s enough.

Seating:


Tortuga Tavern usually has plentiful seating in several rooms. Tables on the patio have a view of Pirates of the Caribbean and the Adventureland promenade, while indoor tables are darker and cooler. You may also take your food to nearby Pecos Bill, which is located further up in Frontierland.

Condiments:

There, you’ll find diced tomatoes, salsa, and jalapenos.

In addition to lettuce and cheese. All very photogenic.

And taco sauce and hot pepper sauce.

{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

keri October 6, 2012 at 3:43 pm

One note on the seating is that the inner area near the restrooms/toppings bar is ALSO a portal for the Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom game. This may or may not be a big deal, but if you don’t care to hear it over and over again while you eat, or if you’re trying to keep your kids away from it, you might want to be aware. (I’ve spoken to a few families who were frustrated that their kids were so fascinated by it that it was making actually doing things difficult, especially since for most of these families, it was their first trip to WDW.)

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Mary Ann October 6, 2012 at 5:33 pm

What the heck is non-alcholoic sangria?

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shalom October 7, 2012 at 10:21 am

Heh. I’m pretty sure they hand out the sour cream because it would be more of a health hazard sitting out (cheese keeps better). But now I keep trying to figure out why sour cream would be more of a problem in a food fight than the weapons already at hand there.

That gelato looks great, but I’m thinking won’t be available (or as tempting!) when we go in January. :p

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Steve October 9, 2012 at 5:24 am

“What the heck is non-alcholoic sangria?”

Just fruit punch, if you ask me. LOL

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Jean October 9, 2012 at 9:02 pm

Is this the only place that offers the cookies & cream gelato? I don’t like chocolate and the sugar-free mango doesn’t sound appealing…..

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Gary October 10, 2012 at 10:16 am

Needs to offer Tortuga Rum Cakes!

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Scott February 24, 2013 at 7:56 am

I had a great burrito lunch here in November. Partially due to the fact that I was extremely hungry from a light breakfast and a late lunch (darned crowds ;-) . I went back to the fixings bar and piled my plate with lettuce tomato and cheese for a descent salad.

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Heating unit Center Problems: Cold Snap Solutions! July 3, 2013 at 3:39 pm

Hands down, Apple’s app store wins by a mile. It’s a huge selection of all sorts of apps vs a rather sad selection of a handful for Zune. Microsoft has plans, especially in the realm of games, but I’m not sure I’d want to bet on the future if this aspect is important to you. The iPod is a much better choice in that case.

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