The Best Restaurants in Disney World’s Epcot

Here are the best things to eat at Epcot, the Walt Disney World theme park that’s renowned for foods from around the world.

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Photo By: Courtesy of Walt Disney World Resort

Photo By: Courtesy of Walt Disney World Resort

Photo By: Courtesy of Walt Disney World Resort

Photo By: Courtesy of Walt Disney World Resort

Photo By: Courtesy Patina Restaurant Group

©Courtesy of Walt Disney World

Photo By: Courtesy of Walt Disney World Resort

Photo By: Courtesy of Walt Disney World Resort

Photo By: Courtesy of Walt Disney World Resort

Photo By: Courtesy of Walt Disney World Resort

Buffet: Biergarten Restaurant

Yes, a buffet. Don’t be a snob. At Biergarten Restaurant, the food is hearty, from pork schnitzel to hand-pulled apple strudel, so you can work your way through the classic Bavarian staples. Braised red cabbage. Spaetzle. Black Forest cake. That’s just the beginning, though. This restaurant is fun. You’ll be seated at long communal tables and entertained by a merry band of musicians. They’ll be wearing lederhosen and playing German folk music — we’re talking oompah, and the always uplifting chicken dance — while you toast your Disney days with a Warsteiner Dunkel or König Ludwig Weissbier. No time for a lively Oktoberfest outing? Grab a warm pretzel at Sommerfest, by the entrance.

All American: Liberty Inn

If you’re visiting Epcot to taste flavors from around the world, don’t even bother to peek at Liberty Inn, which is unabashedly all-American. But if there’s no talking you — or, more likely, your little ones — out of the foods they know so well, this fast-food favorite with a bright colonial feel will keep everyone content. The restaurant’s barbecue pork sandwich has a well-justified following, so join the hordes and give it a go. A fluffy brioche bun is topped with pulled pork slathered in a sweet and smoky sauce. Disney is mum about what that sauce is made of, but it’s irresistible. Together with battered and fried onion strips, the combo makes quite a lunch or dinner.

French: Monsieur Paul and Les Halles Boulangerie-Patisserie

The late French chef Paul Bocuse epitomized the classic Michelin-starred chef, and now his son, Jerome, runs Monsieur Paul, an indulgent tribute to the master’s talents. Hidden away above Epcot’s France Pavilion, this classical French restaurant is light and bright, yet posh and pampering — whether or not you’re sporting appropriate apparel. Under the care of Bocuse acolyte Chef Nicolas Lemoyne, this dinner-only escape will wow you with artfully presented arctic char with saffron potatoes, black sea bass with potato scales and rosemary sauce, or roast duck with passionfruit sauce. If that’s a little too highbrow for a day that involves character encounters and thrill rides, the France Pavilion’s other Bocuse eateries will still appease gourmands. Fuel up on a refreshing baguette sandwich at Les Halles Boulangerie-Patisserie, a chocolate crepe at Crepes de Chefs de France, exceptional ice cream like the cinnamon with caramelized pecans at L'Artisan des Glaces, or a proper café repast from escargot to beef Bourguignon at the sprawling, bustling at Chefs de France.

Norwegian Baked Goods: Kringla Bakeri Og Kafe

While the princess character meals at Akurshus Royal Banquet Hall are magical, you’ll find spot-on Scandinavian snacks and sandwiches across the Norway Pavilion at Kringla Bakeri Og Kafe. The ham and apple sandwich with a draft Nordic beer will set you right for the day. And a Viking Coffee, spiked with Kamora Coffee Liqueur and Baileys Irish Cream, will jolt you awake. But save some calories for the signature sweets like school bread, a Norwegian-style pastry filled with cardamom-laced custard and topped with shredded coconut. The sweet pretzel with almonds also has icing and raisins. Kjempegod (yummy).

Pizza: Via Napoli Ristorante e Pizzeria

Yes, you can go to Italy for what it costs to vacation at Disney World, so why eat in the Italy Pavilion? Because New York’s Patina Restaurant Group runs three good restaurants there. Tutto Italia Ristorante is best for a full meal, and Tutto Gusto Wine Cellar lets you feel in-the-know. Opt for Via Napoli, though, for a really good red-sauce experience including a Neapolitan pie created with care, down to the type of flour used (Caputo) and even the exact make-up of the water. The pies are baked in a trio of wood-fired ovens that resemble Italian statues. You should also be happy with chicken parmigiana, spaghetti and meatballs, or a grilled branzini either. Dessert? Treat yourself to the “ugly but good” amarena cherry and vanilla gelato sundae.

Japanese: Takumi-Tei and Kabuki Café

The Mitsukoshi department store at the Japan Pavilion may well be Epcot’s very best emporium, and now the same owner, Mitsukoshi USA, is aiming to run the park’s premier table-service restaurant. Takumi-Tei may have an unusual request for a warm-weather vacation spot: dress respectfully, but the $$$$-restaurant’s setting justifies a little extra pizzazz. The name means “house of the artisan,” with a high-end menu featuring luxe ingredients such as Wagyu beef and experiences such as multi-course tasting menus and traditional tea service. Also on the menu: cocktails, premium sakes and craft beers. Takumi-Tei has five dining rooms, each decorated around one natural element: water, wood, earth, stone or washi paper. For a quicker, cheaper taste of Japan, cool off with a fruity kakigōri, the shaved ice snack, at Kabuki Café.

Free Refreshments: Club Cool

Free. Epcot offers something free. At Club Cool, located into Future World, you’ll find several multi-spout soda fountains, and they all serve Coca-Cola products from around the world. Grab a small cup and start tasting. Maybe you’ll like the Israeli soft drink or the Chinese one. Costa Rica? Perhaps. Italy? Not likely, based on the “ewws” of a bunch giggly boys we saw there recently. Cool off, get a few jolts of sugar and caffeine, and head back out. Or you can stop and peruse the clever Coca-Cola merchandise, but that part isn’t free.

Pub Fare: Rose & Crown Dining Room

Step out of Epcot’s bustle into the Rose & Crown, and you’ll find a welcoming British pub serving elevated English fare. Go for old-timey United Kingdom favorites like scotch egg, shepherd’s pie, corned beef and cabbage, or bangers and mash, or embrace the new with chicken masala curry, pan-roasted Scottish salmon with kale, or a vegetarian “crumble” that’s a hot and satisfying entrée for the meat-free crowd. You must end your meal with sticky toffee pudding. Scotches, beers and wines will quench your thirst. Outdoors, grab a fish ‘n’ chips from the Yorkshire County Fish Shop and you’ll feel like you’re in, well, Yorkshire.

Family-Friendly Home-Grown Eats: Sunshine Seasons

If you’re put off by the thought of the long march from Future World to the World Showcase for lunch, you’ll be rewarded for your laziness at Sunshine Seasons, which is open from breakfast through dinner. This festive, pod-style, counter-servery inside The Land Pavilion looks unimpressive, but its food is among the most diverse — and family-friendly — at Epcot. The kids can grab the usual lunchbox staples (or super healthy alternatives) while you feast on, say, a Mongolian beef or vegan korma Asian noodle dish, salmon with cheesy grits, a power salad or a freshly made rotisserie turkey sandwich. Bonus: Much of the produce is grown within The Land’s greenhouses. Talk about farm to table. Why not add on a hard cider or rum-and-ginger?

Moroccan Spice: Spice Road Table and Tangierine Café

Epcot’s majestically designed Morocco Pavilion disappoints with the Americanized Moroccan fare at its signature restaurant, yet its pubby alternative, and its counter-service café, are among the best bets on campus. When you want a long spell out of the ruckus, grab an indoor or outdoor table at Spice Road Table and nosh on Mediterranean and North African tapas like rack of lamb with olives and sun-dried tomato, marinated skewered meats or stuffed grape leaves, accompanied by a white, red or sparkling sangria, or perhaps a Lebanese beer. If you’re in a rush to cash in your next FastPass, you can’t go wrong with the ample, tasty and healthful platters at the Tangierine Café. We always end up with the veggie version, mostly for that tabouleh, but chicken shawarma, lamb shawarma and Moroccan kefta are also good choices.

Adult Fuel: La Cava del Tequila

We’re cheating here. La Cava del Tequila offers little in terms of food, although we spot chips with guacamole, queso and/or salsa at just about every table. Adults flock to this dimly lit, intimate spot within the Mexican Pavilion’s main building for tequila, straight and simple. Well, straight up. Flights are available, along with about 200 types of tequila, divided into blanco, reposado, añejo and specialty. You’ll find an assortment of margaritas too: horchata, blood orange, minty pineapple, wild passionfruit and the list goes on. Settle in for liquid taste of Mexico, and you may forget all about that ride you were bent on riding before heading for the hotel.