Best Epcot Sit Down Table Service Restaurants Disney World
Updated October 7, 2010 with La Hacienda de San Angel
Oh, boy. There are a lot of choices at Epcot – 16 sit-down restaurants to be exact. That’s eleven more than at the Magic Kingdom, eleven more than at the Hollywood Studios, and thirteen more than at the Animal Kingdom. Several of the best or otherwise most popular restaurants in all of Walt Disney World are found at Epcot. At first it may seem difficult to decide which restaurant to choose. Unfortunately, you’ll have to select which restaurants you want to eat at well before you even think about leaving for Disney World. The days of walking up to a restaurant and getting a table with a minimal wait are long gone, in part due to the popular Disney Dining Plans. Le Cellier, for example, is almost always completely booked 180 days out (180 days is the farthest in advance you can make a reservation) and your chances of getting a table without a reservation are about one percent. While it does occasionally happen, it’s very rare. The following analysis should make it easier to hone in on which restaurants sound like they would be the most ideal for your group.
We’ll skip the “Most Unique Menu” category for Epcot. Every one of Epcot’s restaurants features interesting and unique food, save for perhaps the Garden Grill and Coral Reef.
Best “Value” AKA Most Expensive Meal on the Dining Plan
1. Tutto Italia Ristorante (Average Entrée Cost $26.93, Average Dessert Cost $10.13, Most Expensive Entrée Cost $36.00, Most Expensive Dessert Cost $14.00, Most Expensive Entrée + Dessert + Beverage $55.00)
2. Le Cellier (Average Entrée Cost $27.89, Average Dessert Cost $6.89, Most Expensive Entrée Cost $36.99, Most Expensive Dessert Cost $7.99, Most Expensive Entrée + Dessert + Beverage $47.98)
3. Chefs de France (Average Entrée Cost $27.50, Average Dessert Cost $7.25, Most Expensive Entrée Cost $34.95, Most Expensive Dessert Cost $7.25, Most Expensive Entrée + Dessert + Beverage $45.20)
4. Coral Reef (Average Entrée Cost $24.43, Average Dessert Cost $7.99, Most Expensive Entrée Cost $30.99, Most Expensive Dessert Cost $7.99, Most Expensive Entrée + Dessert + Beverage $41.98)
5. San Angel Inn (Average Entrée Cost $24.70, Average Dessert Cost $5.75, Most Expensive Entrée Cost $33.00, Most Expensive Dessert Cost $5.75, Most Expensive Entrée + Dessert + Beverage $41.75)
6. Via Napoli (Average Entrée Cost $18.10, Average Dessert Cost $8.83, Most Expensive Entrée Cost $26.00, Most Expensive Dessert Cost $10.00, Most Expensive Entrée + Dessert + Beverage $41.00)
7. Teppan Edo (Average Entrée Cost $24.83, Average Dessert Cost $5.50, Most Expensive Entrée Cost $29.95, Most Expensive Dessert Cost $6.50, Most Expensive Entrée + Dessert + Beverage $39.45)
8. Nine Dragons (Average Entrée Cost $20.72, Average Dessert Cost $6.21, Most Expensive Entrée Cost $26.98, Most Expensive Dessert Cost $7.98, Most Expensive Entrée + Dessert + Beverage $37.96)
9. La Hacienda de San Angel (Average Entrée Cost $24.55, Average Dessert Cost $7.53, Most Expensive Entrée Cost $25.95, Most Expensive Dessert Cost $7.95, Most Expensive Entrée + Dessert + Beverage $37.90)
10. Restaurant Marrakesh (Average Entrée Cost $24.05, Average Dessert Cost $5.95, Most Expensive Entrée Cost $27.95, Most Expensive Dessert Cost $6.95, Most Expensive Entrée + Dessert + Beverage $37.90) This only includes the items that do not have an “upcharge.” There is an extra fee for the “royal feast” and the “sampler platters.”
11. Tokyo Dining (Average Entrée Cost $21.32, Average Dessert Cost $5.65, Most Expensive Entrée Cost $26.95, Most Expensive Dessert Cost $6.50, Most Expensive Entrée + Dessert + Beverage $36.45)
12. Akershus Royal Banquet Hall (Breakfast: $28.99 for adults, $17.99 for kids 3-9; Lunch: $30.99 for adults, $18.99 for kids 3-9; Dinner: $35.99 for adults, $19.99 for kids 3-9)
13. Rose and Crown Dining Room (Average Entrée Cost $18.49, Average Dessert Cost $5.49, Most Expensive Entrée Cost $24.99, Most Expensive Dessert Cost $5.99, Most Expensive Entrée + Dessert + Beverage $33.98)
14. Biergarten (Lunch: $19.99 for adults, $10.99 for kids 3-9; Dinner: $32.99 for adults, $13.99 for children)
15. Garden Grill ($31.99 for adults, $14.99 for kids ages 3-9)
16. Bistro de Paris (Not on Dining Plan)
Many of Epcot’s restaurants are among the most expensive at Disney World. The most expensive combination of entrée, dessert, and beverage exceed the cost of a day on the regular Disney Dining Plan at any of the top five restaurants. Even the buffets are a few dollars costlier than the other theme parks and resorts. If members of your group tend to order the cheaper entrées on the menu (and you don’t catch the waiter and switch out the spaghetti for the steak), you might want to consider the buffets for dinner. Akershus, at $36, costs more than the average meal at many of the restaurants.
Best Value Out of Pocket
1. Rose & Crown Dining Room
2. Akershus Royal Banquet Hall
3. Via Napoli
4. Bistro de Paris
5. Le Cellier
7. Teppan Edo
8. Tokyo Dining
9. La Hacienda de San Angel
10. Chefs de France
11. Restaurant Marrakesh
12. San Angel Inn
13. Coral Reef
14. Nine Dragons
15. Garden Grill
16. Tutto Italia
Not only is Rose and Crown the cheapest restaurant at Epcot, but it also features (arguably) the best vantage point to enjoy Illuminations (the fireworks and laser show) in the evening. Lunch at Rose and Crown includes many entrées that cost $12 or less, making it less expensive than some counter service locations. Akershus Royal Banquet Hall, the hybrid buffet, comes in second even though the cost is higher than average. The princess interaction, “free” photo package, and abundance of food make it a good value. Breakfast is the best meal at Akershus and you can actually enter Epcot before the official opening with a reservation between 8 and 9am. This is a fun opportunity to be inside Epcot when almost no one else is around. If you don’t have any interest in meeting the princesses, you may want to dine elsewhere, but this is one of the best character meal buffets at Disney World.
Via Napoli comes in third, even though the prices may appear high at first glance. A $36 half-meter pizza is plenty of food for most groups of four to share, which makes the per-person cost of each entree just $9. This is well below the price of entrees at almost all other Epcot restaurants. However, the cost is substantially more if each person orders their own individual pizza ($15-$17 each). The appetizers are also on the expensive side considering the portion size and the specialty lemonades are expensive, at $4-$5 for a single glass. Nonetheless, the opportunity to save money is readily available for those willing to share and the quality of the ingredients and final product is high enough to elevate it to a top three finish. Despite its high cost, Bistro de Paris comes in fourth because it’s your best bet to get away from the hustle and bustle of Epcot and the food is higher quality than other Epcot restaurants. The Bistro is not on the Disney Dining Plan, which means you won’t have to deal with the crowds and popularity that it brings. The wine list and romantic atmosphere are popular with adults as well. With kids, you might want to make another selection because Bistro is one of the rare restaurants that frowns at youngsters. There is no children’s menu, if that’s any indication.
Le Cellier is fifth on the list. Although the prices are high here, the meat served is better quality than almost all of Disney’s non-signature restaurants. Le Cellier is also one of the few restaurants at Disney that could survive charging similar prices outside of Disney World. If you’re looking for a steak, Le Cellier is one of your best bet. If lunch is your main meal or you’re happy to eat a big lunch, you’ll get a tremendous bang for your buck at Biergarten. Offering a 20-minute music show and a wide variety of traditional German favorites, Biergarten is a great choice for big eaters. I would recommend it for a late lunch (at 3:30pm the prices go up). Coming in seventh, Teppan Edo scores highly because of the entertaining hibachi grill show and the simple, tasty food. It would be higher on the list, but the portions are relatively small and it’s one of the noisiest restaurants at Disney World. Tokyo Dining finishes the top half of the list. You’ll find some of Disney’s best sushi here, which translates to above average. As usual, prices are higher here than they would be at your local sushi restaurant and the cost can add up quickly if purchasing a la carte. Tokyo Dining is also a noisy restaurant and the menu is fairly limited, so make sure you want to eat sushi or tempura before choosing it. La Hacienda de San Angel only offers five entrees, the cheapest of which is $22.95. Portions are relatively small for the price and the quality of the food doesn’t make up for the higher than average entree cost. The view of Illuminations adds considerable value if you can swing a reservation by 8pm, but La Hacienda’s food and service only don’t make it a notable value for the money.
The prices at Chef’s de France are high for the quality of the food and most meals here are rushed, which is why it has fallen to tenth. While the food is good, it’s difficult to justify a $20 plate of macaroni and cheese or $26 half chicken. While it may be true that an authentic French café would have tables so close together, it doesn’t make for an intimate meal. Although Restaurant Marrakesh provides entertainment in the form of a belly dancer and band, the performances are only about 10 minutes long and similar to what you can see for free outside in the Morocco Pavilion. Prices are also above average and $10+ more than you would expect to pay at a similar restaurant outside of Disney World. Overall, the quality and cost of the ingredients doesn’t justify the high prices. San Angel Inn is another restaurant on the expensive side, especially considering Mexican food is usually much cheaper. While the setting can’t be beat (if you can get a table overlooking the water), the prices are wildly expensive. The Coral Reef is another restaurant that relies on its setting to lure diners. No doubt, the aquarium views are unique, but you would be better off spending 20 minutes at The Seas Pavilion and eating elsewhere. The prices are high and the food is certainly nothing to write home about. If it weren’t for the fish, this restaurant would be empty. Coral Reef is also exceptionally loud because the noise bounces off the aquarium glass and not all seats have excellent views.
Nine Dragons is probably not as good as your favorite local Chinese restaurant and the food is much more expensive. While the setting is pleasant, it doesn’t make up for overpriced food. While you can certainly have a good meal at Nine Dragons, it doesn’t offer a whole lot of value for your money. At $32 per adult and $15 per child, a family of four would expect to pay $94 + tax + tip for a meal at the Garden Grill. Featuring entrées similar to the other “family style buffets,” there’s really nothing special here. For $4 more you can go to Akershus and find more interesting food and receive the imaging package. In last place is the most expensive Epcot restaurant, Tutto Italia. While the food is good, you’re going to have a tough time convincing me that a pasta dish is worth $25 or a basic baked chicken breast entrée is worth $26. The touch of authenticity is nice and the restaurant is beautiful, but the cost of a meal is too high and service is too rushed to enjoy it.
All of Epcot’s restaurants feature an interesting atmosphere and it’s impossible to put them in order from first to last. Nearly all of them would be ranked first at any of the other theme parks. The two best restaurants in terms of atmosphere are probably the Coral Reef, with its aquarium, and San Angel Inn, with its tables overlooking the Three Caballeros water ride. Suffice to say, you shouldn’t be disappointed with the setting of any restaurant you choose.
Best Food (With Score Out of 100)
1. Bistro de Paris (95)
2. Teppan Edo (90)
3. Le Cellier (88)
4. Tutto Italia (85)
5. Via Napoli (83)
6. Biergarten (80)
7. Tokyo Dining (78)
8. Rose & Crown Dining Room (76)
9. La Hacienda de San Angel (74)
9. Akershus Royal Banquet Hall (72)
10. Garden Grill (70)
11. Chefs de France (67)
12. Nine Dragons (65)
13. San Angel Inn (60)
14. Restaurant Marrakesh (55)
15. Coral Reef (45)
This is a difficult category because not every entrée at the top rated restaurants will be excellent and not all entrées in the bottom three restaurants are terrible. I’ve added scores out of 100 to better show the differences in quality between the restaurants. As you can see, there isn’t that much of a difference between some of the restaurants, so don’t discount Biergarten just because it’s sixth on the list. You should be satisfied with the food at any of the restaurants in the top ten and even Nine Dragons is fairly decent. The bottom three are the most questionable in terms of food quality and taste.
Overall Best Sit Down Table Service Restaurant at Epcot
2. Le Cellier
4. Teppan Edo
5. Via Napoli
8. Tokyo Dining
10. Chefs de France
11. Nine Dragons
12. Garden Grill
13. Tutto Italia
15. San Angel Inn
16. Coral Reef
Rose & Crown earns the top spot because of its inexpensive, quality entrées and the fact that you can view Illuminations either from your table or the private viewing area. At lunch, several entrées are only $12 and you can choose whether you want to be seated overlooking the water or inside in the air-conditioning. You also won’t be able to beat the beer and liquor selection. A close second is Le Cellier, the most popular restaurant at Epcot. While it’s probably overrated, there’s no denying the fact that they serve high quality, well-prepared meats. Jump on it if you can get a reservation as it’s unlikely there will be any availability the next time you check. Akershus Royal Banquet Hall comes in third, particularly because of its excellent breakfast, princess interaction, “free” imaging package, and quality cold-bar buffet. The entrées may leave something to be desired at lunch and dinner, but the positives far outweigh the negatives. Teppan Edo is a personal favorite and comes in fourth. It is a noisy restaurant and you may be seated with strangers, but the hibachi grill show is fun and the food is prepared fresh in front of you. In fifth, Via Napoli is an inviting pizzeria with authentic flavors and high quality ingredients. The casual atmosphere and well-lit, airy interior are welcome additions to the World Showcase that is made up of primarily dimly-list restaurants. The food is prepared fresh and the show-kitchen with wood-burning ovens is fun to watch. Biergarten is a terrific deal for big eaters at lunch and everyone should enjoy the oompah band and Oktoberfest atmosphere. Dinner makes more sense on the Disney Dining Plan because of the additional cost, but most people won’t miss the few dishes that are only available at dinner.
Bistro de Paris is a bit more expensive than most of the other Epcot restaurants, but the quality of the food, service, and presentation are higher and it’s your best chance to get away from the crowds and loud children. If you’re looking for a slightly more romantic, intimate meal then Bistro de Paris is your best bet. If you’re looking to get in and out of a restaurant quickly then this is not your best choice though. Tokyo Dining has a large selection of above average a la carte sushi and some delicious combo meals and tempura. Service is usually among the best at Disney World and the atmosphere is pleasant a well, if not a bit loud when the restaurant is full. For a quieter, more relaxed meal, consider eating at off-peak times. La Hacienda offers a fantastic vantage point to enjoy Illuminations at night, but it doesn’t offer much in the way of value earlier in the day. I would recommend it if you can get a reservation after 8pm, but the portions are small and the flavors aren’t as interesting and unique as the presentation. Despite its popularity, I have Chef’s de Paris in tenth place because of the crowded tables, rushed service, relatively high prices, and food that isn’t cooked to order. The Chefs menu isn’t particularly unique either and offers the same mahi mahi, half chicken, steak, and salmon you can get at many other Disney restaurants. While it’s likely you would enjoy a meal at Chefs de France, it isn’t highly recommended. Nine Dragons would suffice if you’re in the mood for Chinese and it’s one of the rare restaurants that can probably seat you even without a reservation due to the amount of tables available. Nine Dragons has improved a lot over the last few years, but it’s still expensive for food similar to what you would find at a local Chinese restaurant. If Chinese sounds good then Nine Dragons shouldn’t disappoint, but the high cost and the fact that the cuisine is so common drops it down towards the bottom of the rankings. Garden Grill is a decent character meal featuring Chip, Dale, Mickey, and Pluto, but with so many outstanding restaurants at Epcot you’re better off saving your character meals for Crystal Palace at the Magic Kingdom, Tusker House at Animal Kingdom, or one of the buffets at the Deluxe resorts. At $32 per adult, it’s unlikely you’ll be eating your “money’s worth” and the menu items offered aren’t particularly unique or outstanding. On the plus side, you should have a good meal at Garden Grill, you can just do even better elsewhere.
In 13th place, Tutto Italia is simply too expensive to be recommended out of pocket. It is a good choice on the Disney Dining Plan, especially if you’re keeping track of how much you would have spent out of pocket. Even lunch at Tutto is uncharacteristically expensive. Although Le Cellier is more expensive on average, Le Cellier serves high quality, expensive beef. Tutto serves mostly pasta with indistinguishable sauces and cheeses. Unless you love Italian food, don’t care about the cost, or are on the Dining Plan, I would skip Tutto Italia and try to find something more economical. Restaurant Marrakesh is also expensive, especially considering the low quality food and service you will receive. Morocco’s counter service, the Tangierine Café, is a better stop to fill your need for Moroccan food, especially on the Disney Dining Plan where you can put together a meal that exceeds $20. Since you can see the belly dancer and band outside in the Morocco Pavilion for free, there’s really no reason to visit the table service restaurant. Despite improvements in its menu and service, San Angel Inn comes in next-to-last. If you could guarantee yourself a table overlooking the water, it would rate much higher, but the fact that you don’t know where you’ll be seated makes San Angel Inn a potential disappointment. If you enjoy authentic Mexican flavors and have the Disney Dining Plan, I would give San Angel Inn a chance, despite its low ranking. Eat at off-peak times (11am, 3pm, 8pm) for a better chance at getting a desirable table and make sure to request one at check-in. Despite its novel aquarium setting, Coral Reef isn’t recommended due to the excessive noise and the poor food and menu choices. There are no crab, shrimp, lobster, or scallop entrées. Instead, you’ll find the usual chicken breast, short rib, salmon, and steak you’ll find at many other Disney restaurants. The aquarium is neat, but chances are the novelty will wear off fairly quickly and you may not even get a table with a good view of it.
Overall, Epcot offers the best dining choices at Disney World. The chances of having a great meal are higher here than they are at any of Disney’s other resorts and theme parks. Even the lower rated restaurants at Epcot would be ranked above many of the top rated restaurants at the Magic Kingdom or Hollywood Studios. It’s safe to say that any of the restaurants in the top ten would be ranked number one at either the Magic Kingdom or Hollywood Studios. With a Park Hopper ticket, you may want to plan to hop over to Epcot for several of your meals, especially after a day at the Animal Kingdom or Hollywood Studios. Since the Animal Kingdom closes most days at around 5pm, there is an excellent opportunity to end the evening at Epcot. If you’re having trouble deciding where to eat at Epcot, find solace in the fact that it’s hard to go wrong. Also take into consideration that you may want to eat at restaurants with a variety of food. If you have a few steak houses planned already then you may not want to eat at Le Cellier because you’ll just be eating another steak, even if it’s highly rated. If you have several character meal buffets planned then Akershus may not be the best choice either.
You’ll find poor reviews of every restaurant at Disney World, so don’t let one or two negative reviews change your mind about a restaurant. There are people who seem to have a poor experience no matter where they go. At the same time, one or two stellar reviews shouldn’t change your mind either. Your best bet is to try the restaurant for yourself. The great majority of people thoroughly enjoy their experiences at most of Disney’s restaurants, even the low rated ones. Putting yourself in a position to have the best experience possible is all you can do. You may have a poor meal at one of the top-rated restaurants. It happens. Don’t be mad at yourself for poor planning. You did the best you could and it didn’t work out. Next trip, you can try something else. Have fun and enjoy your vacation.