In our 4th Disney Dining Review we finally step outside of Epcot’s World Showcase; however, we do not travel to far away. Today we will review the Coral Reef Restaurant in The Seas Pavilion in Future World at Epcot. We will review and rate the restaurant on a scale of 1-10 in 5 categories: Atmosphere (the actual theming/appearance of a restaurant), Ambiance (location and extras that boost an experience like firework viewing ect…), Service, Menu Options, and finally the Food itself!
The atmosphere of Coral Reef is one that is quite unique and fits the sea life feel of the restaurant. As soon as you walk in you notice the lights look like shells and corals and the door handles are seahorses, and it instantly takes you into the “under the sea” theme of the restaurant. However, something about the entrance felt cheap to me and I did not feel like I was walking in to a premier restaurant. (can’t quite put my finger on why) Once you are seated there are blue reflections on the ceiling that make you feel that you are looking up at the surface of the ocean and watching water ripple above you. The entire restaurant is a beautiful mash-up of different shades of blue and green. One downside was the tables were very tightly packed together for the most part (we didn’t experience that but noticed some tables were really close together).
Obviously the main draw of this restaurant is obviously dining next to one of the amazing aquarium of The Seas Pavilion. The views are absolutely surreal and time flies as you watch the fish, sharks, turtles, rays ect…The restaurant also provides you with a sheet that helps you determine the species of each fish and that can turn into a fun little game of “find all of the different fish”. We had a great view of the tank being in a large booth only a few feet from the glass. The ability to eat a delicious meal while watching such beautiful creatures is an experience that will please the whole family and shouldn’t be missed out on, I can’t find any reason to dock points here amazing dining “experience”, so unique!
Like we have said before we always expect top-notch service when we are at Disney, but especially when you are dining at one of the parks premier restaurants. This is one of the big areas where Coral Reef failed. We arrived about 15 minutes early for our reservation, and were greeted kindly and told it would be a short wait if we did have a reservation, blah blah blah. After our reservation time came and went we walked back up to the counter and asked if we were getting close to being seated because several families were leaving but nobody was being seated, and again we were told just a few minutes you’re next on the list. Over 20 minutes later we were finally seated with an amazing seat at a booth big enough for a family of 6 for just the 2 of us which was very nice having table space, but waiting 40+ minutes for a table when you have a reservation is completely unacceptable. However, once we were seated we had an amazing waitress and even talked with the store manager about his Disney Career (got to help open Aulani!!!) for a good 10-15 minutes which was very cool to hear about and see all of his pictures opening the resort. The staff was also very courteous when it came to allergies, bringing me out all of the regular bread and foods while
also bringing Victoria her own basket of gluten-free bread. Wait Staff was a 10 but again the service in the lobby was dreadful.
One of the most diverse menus we have seen at Disney, that should please every palate. The menu options vary from one of the best looking stakes on property (we didn’t have the steak but looked incredible), to chicken, pork, vegetarian, and obviously a variety of seafood. Coral Reef also had an extensive wine list (the specialty drink menu looked nice as well) to choose from to go with any of the dishes listed above, again something for every palate. Finally, choosing a desert was near impossible because they all sounded so good. Couldn’t recommend this place enough to anyone with a gluten allergy, there were not many items that needed to be altered in any way.
Finally, the most important part of any restaurant, the food! We started off with Creamy Lobster Soup and Charbroiled Octopus. Victoria went with the soup, which was so creamy and had huge chunks of lobster that were so flavorful and fresh. Absolutely delicious to dip your bread in as well, trust me that bowl was clean when we were done with the soup! I decided to get the Charbroiled Octopus (very different from your usual fried calamari). The octopus was seasoned perfectly but the meat itself honestly just tasted like chicken on its own. The potato and lemon salad underneath added a ton of flavor that we both loved! For entrees Victoria went with the Seared Rainbow Trout and I got the Seared Mahi Mahi.
The Rainbow Trout was a very hearty dish with a unique flavor. The bacon really brought a smoky flavor to the scales that made it taste like a completely different dish (in a good way)! The seared Mahi Mahi was the exact opposite and made it difficult for us to decide which we liked better. The Mahi Mahi was extremely light and tender on a bed of creamy cilantro rice with a nice amount of shrimp to accompany the fish as well. Like I said before I saw a few people get the steak and to be honest it looked as good as any I’ve seen/had at Disney. Last but not least, the dessert. We ended up deciding on a somehow naturally gluten-free lava cake with raspberry sorbet (The Chocolate Wave) and let’s just say we weren’t disappointed with our decision! I can’t give the food a 10 because it wasn’t the best seafood I have had on property (Flying Fish but we will save that for another day).
Coral Reef is a restaurant that can very tough to get a reservation at times, and we can see why. It is an amazing dining experience with great food to match! It was absolutely worth the wait and we highly recommend trying to get that ADR for Coral Reef because of how in demand it is! If you or someone in your party loves fish or loves the sea, this is an absolute must do and it gives you an opportunity to see Future World completely empty after the park is closed if you play your cards right!
Thanks for reading and please share your experiences at Coral Reef Restaurant, what did you like and/or dislike?!
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