While most people come to theme parks for the rides and attractions, some gastronomes have discovered that theme parks can cater to them too. There are several spots to sate a refined palate in Orlando's theme parks.
Epcot guests can wander outdoors between countries and get a kitschy look at landmarks and cultures from around the world. But, all that walking can work up an appetite. Luckily, there's a fantastic spot that transports diners to a bustling Morrocan market.
Spice Road Table
Instead of taking a lengthy flight to Casablanca or Tangiers, take a seat at Spice Road Table to sample Mediterranean-inspired fare. Spice Road Table serves an assortment of small plates along with Mediterranean beers, wine, sangria, and signature cocktails. The dolmas, grape leaves stuffed with rice and herbs, marinated olives, and charred preserved lemon are a fantastic vegetarian option. The grilled lamb kefta with tzatziki, radish, and tomato confit transports the tongue straight to the spectacular blue waters of The Med. The beers and cider hail from Morrocco, East Africa, and Spain. Similarly, the wine and sangrias come from Spain and Morocco with additional origins in Santorini and Peloponnese. The colored tiles, art, and hanging rugs create an incredible atmosphere to enjoy these treats.
Disney Springs is the theme park for adults. Bars, better food, and fewer children (though they're still allowed in most places) make Disney Springs the after-dark hotspot. So, leave the kids with the hotel sitter and make a reservation for a meal that's more age-appropriate.
Wine Bar George
Wine Bar George is run by Master Sommelier George Miliotes and is geared towards those who pray at the altar of the divine grape. He still hand selects the more than 140 wines that are available each day in the two-story space. Wines are available by the ounce, glass, or bottle which makes it easy to sample a variety of fine vintages. The food menu is thoughtfully composed to compliment the wine and servers will absolutely have a pairing suggestion. The kitchen has the classic wine and cheese pairing covered. Order burrata with seasonal tomatoes, olive oil and grilled bread or saganaki (which is served aflame) with vlahotiri, Metaxa, and crostini. Guests can also order the artisanal cheese board with accoutrements. Such a large wine list can be daunting and Wine Bar George has taken some of the pressure out of selection by offering tasting experiences. The "Tales of Three Vintages" experience takes guests through the upper and lower Loire valley with two-ounce samples of the great Sauvignon Blanc Dagueneau "Silex" Pouilly-Fumé (vintages from 2015, 2016, and 2017).
Iron Chef Masaharu Morimoto's Orlando venture Morimoto Asia has several ways to enjoy the culinary star's innovative cuisine. Whether through reservations in the main dining room, the Forbidden Lounge, or the second-floor sushi bar, guests will be delighted with every carefully plated dish. The Morimoto Peking Duck (serves two) rivals anything you could find in China. It is served with steamed flour tortillas, apricot sweet chili, hoison miso, and rice. The "Buri-Bop" is a Korean-style rice bowl with yellowtail served in a blisteringly hot clay pot and finished with creamy egg yolk. The sushi menu features fish from all over the world including the famed Japanese Toyosu Fish Market. Pair your meal with special and reserve whiskies from around the world.
A sister location to the Chicago institution, Frontera Cocina is Rick Bayless' Orlando venture. The seven-time James Beard Award winner is known for lavish takes on the south of the border cuisine. There are drink specials at the beginning of the week like margarita Monday, tequila shot Tuesday, and mezcal shot Wednesday. The smoky pineapple margarita is made with gingery pineapple juice, espadín mezcal, chile liqueur, and a black ant salt rim. Pair that with a cup of tortilla soup made with a red chile vegetable broth, chipotle chicken, creamy avocado, Chihuahua cheese, cilantro, and lime. The entree menu takes advantage of all the Florida coast has to offer. Florida shrimp are the center point of the shrimp mojo de ajo dish. The mojo is slow-cooked with garlic, chipotle, and lime to the peak of flavor. You've heard of tres leches cake, but Bayless takes it one step further with his quatro leches dessert. Four kinds of milk soak into a luxurious sponge and get topped with coconut, berries, and lime zest. A perfect end to a Mexican meal.
Stay at the top of the food chain in the Animal Kingdom while visiting the land of Pandora.
Theme park dining isn't all fried foods. The healthy and deeply flavorful cuisine at Satu'li Canteen nourishes park guests inside an RDA mess hall straight out of Avatar. Wholesome grains, fresh vegetables, and hearty proteins feature heavily throughout the menu which consists mostly of bowls in a fast-casual atmosphere. The slow-roasted, sliced grilled beef is marinated in garlic and herbs before red pepper spice, crunchy vegetable slaw, and boba balls are added to the bowl. Satu'li Canteen is one of the best places to visit if you have food allergies. The menu has specific sections for those with gluten, shellfish, egg, dairy, tree nut, legume, or soy sensitivities. The blueberry cream cheese mousse is a delicious dessert option with a tart, passion fruit curd.
After exploring Hogwarts, head to Diagon Alley for delicious British fare both wizards and muggles will love. The Leaky Cauldron is the it place to grab a butterbeer (frozen, hot, or regular). The foamy head on top and the amber, butterscotch liquid below combine to make a beverage that's even better than the descriptions suggest in the beloved J.K. Rowling novels. The scotch eggs, sausage-wrapped hard-boiled eggs that have been deep fried, are a savory, salty way to offset the sweet butterbeer. The heartier toad in a hole with English sausage, Yorkshire pudding, onion gravy, and minted peas is for hungrier witches and wizards that want to sample a classic British meal.