Spice Road Table is now open at Epcot's Morocco Pavilion and promises to bring a new type of dining to World Showcase, so how does it rate?
We took a trip out to Morocco earlier today and tried some of the best looking dishes, so read on for our full review and photos.
Spice Road Table promises Mediterranean small plates inspired by the spice trades from Asia, Northwest Africa and Europe, along with wines, beers, specialty drinks, and desserts.
You can certainly have enough food here to constitute a full meal, but the nature of the small plate dining experience means that your dining at Spice Road Table can be as much, or as little as you want. The idea is that you order as you eat, adding on plates until you are done. Sharing is also very much in, with most plates being quite easy to split amongst the table. It is important to realize however, that they are small plates. So expect to order several plates per person. Ordering one plate is not going to be enough for a dinner, even one of the samplers.
For our review and to split with two people, we ordered a sampler, two individual plates, and three desserts - and we did not leave full. We will come back to the food in a moment, but first, more about the restaurant.
Following on from the success of the Mexico waterside additions, Spice Road Table is built right along the edge of World Showcase Lagoon. It is themed as a Moroccan street market
, complete with a shop, juice bar, and of course the restaurant itself (see photos
Aesthetically, it looks great, particularly from the promenade side - and it looks like it has been at Epcot since opening.
We are not so keen on the color scheme used on the lagoon side (see photo here) - the light color seems out of place, and as with the Mexico addition, the scale of the building when viewed from the water looks too large for the pavilion behind it. This is more than likely a result of the inclusion of floor to ceiling windows - so perhaps a necessary compromise.
The location alone with make this restaurant extremely popular during firework time, as both the indoor and outdoor dining rooms will provide a great view of IllumiNations.
Entering Spice Road Table you are struck by the beauty of the lobby and bar. It looks very impressive, and it is great to see that the original water wheel has been kept, and serves as a kinetic background to the bar area. There is no seating at the bar, and so it really serves more as a lobby and waiting area. To the right is the indoor dining room, and to the left is the outdoor patio.
Inside there is seating for around 80 guests, split between tables and booths. The detail in here is very impressive, and is no doubt a beautiful place to dine. Its small size also gives it a quiet and intimate feeling.
Just off from the inside dining room are small bathrooms. A welcome inclusion, even though there are restrooms directly opposite Spice Road Table on the other side of the promenade.
The windows are floor to ceiling, and give a great view of the lagoon. This will certainly be one of the most coveted spots to view the fireworks, joining the Rose and Crown and Mexico's waterfront restaurants.
Moving outside, the patio is about twice the size of the indoor dining room, with a capacity around 160 guests. For an outdoor space it is impressively elegant. There is decoration throughout, with a lot of effort put into the lighting. It will no doubt look great after dark. Most tables are set for four, although there are larger tables, and some that can accommodate wheelchairs and strollers. Overhead ceiling fans will help keep things cooler in the summer. Moroccan music playing throughout the restaurant completes the scene.
Spice Road Table is not on the Disney Dining Plan, nor does it accept reservations. This is great news for those of you who want to just walk up and eat. No discounts were available today, although this may change in the future.
Today we were seated outside, and as always with a new restaurant, the greeters were very eager and attentive and immediately provided us with a menu on sitting down. The actual menu was surprisingly large when taking into account the wide variety of wines, specialty drinks and food items.
Just a quick word about the actual menu, it is beautifully presented, and compliments the theme perfectly.
To get a feeling for what the restaurant has to offer, we ordered up the Tingis Sampler, the Hummus and Olives plate, the Salted Cod Croquettes, and all three desserts - Chocolate Pyramid, Saffron and Lemon Custard, and the Almond and Rosewater Cake. For drinks, it had to be the house specialty - the red Sangria, along with a non alcoholic Moroccan Sunrise. As always at Epcot, value is not the name of the game. The cost of this order before tip was $75 - so how did it fair?
Service is quick at Spice Road Table, the entire order came out no more than 5 minutes after placing the order. The food was plated beautifully. In person it looked a lot more appetizing than the first promo photos we saw a few weeks back. The servers were great, certainly up to the standards set by Disney at all their World Showcase restaurants.
First up was the Tingis Sampler, which consists of a Lamb Slider, Harissa Chicken Roll and a Merguez Sausage. We were impressed by both the Lamb Slider and the Harissa Chicken Roll. Both had excellent flavor, a bit of heat, and would be a definite repeat on a future visit. The sausage was OK, but nothing to really get excited about. The portion size was around a 3 or 4 bites per item, very similar to what you would find at the Food and Wine Festival kiosks. None of the food was excessively hot and spicy, but of course was well seasoned.
Next was the Hummus and Imported Olives, served with flat bread. Again, portion sizes were on the small side, but for those olive fans out there, this dish is a must do. Two types of hummus were served, but we would have liked to have seen more bread served with this dish.
The Salted Cod Croquettes were perhaps a favorite, accompanied by two dipping sauces, and very delicately fried. You get a serving of three, so this is a great dish to share.
The menu offers three desserts, two of which we thought were stand-outs. Our favorite was the Saffron and Lemon Custard - which was somewhat similar to a creme brûlée, but served inside a pastry tart, complete with glazed top. It was quite a light dessert, and certainly did not take much effort to eat. It offered something quite different from the usual dessert offerings, and it was our clear winner as the best dessert on the menu.
In second place came the Chocolate Pyramid served with Almond Ice Cream. It was a lot lighter than it looks, more like a mousse, and a very welcome surprise was a liquid white chocolate center.
Rounding out the dessert offerings was the Almond and Rosewater Cake. The first thing you notice about this is how large it is. This is quite a substantial piece of cake. It was moist, very sweet, topped with almonds, and served with a blood orange sugar sauce. It is an OK dessert, but not in the league of the first two.
On to beverages - the house signature sangria was excellent. It comes in a choice of white, red or sparkling, is certified organic, and can be served by the glass at $10 or by the pitcher at $34. For those of you looking for something non-alcoholic, try the Moroccan Sunrise. It was a great tasting cocktail with pineapple, strawberry and orange water.
Spice Road Table is a very welcome addition to World Showcase, and based on our visit today it would seem certain to be successful. Its location alone will assure it of a considerable amount of passing business. If you are aiming for fireworks viewing - good luck!
As with all other World Showcase restaurants, it is expensive. Plates are on average $10 each, and you will need at least two plates per person to feel like you have eaten. Factor in drinks and a dessert, and you are in the region of $40 to $50 per person. Those of you familiar with the Food and Wine Festival kiosks will feel at home at Spice Road Table.
The restaurant is beautiful, you feel immersed in the country of Morocco, the food itself is very good, and if you can look beyond the cost, Spice Road table will be very likely worth a visit on your next trip.
We have more photos in the gallery, so be sure to check those out. And also see the gallery from yesterday for a look at the gift shop, juice bar, and more of the new area.
The menu is available here.
Jan 11, 2014 / 2:32pm EST