Restaurant Marrakesh - A Hidden Gemby Roan Poulter, contributing writer
Restaurant Marrakesh is not easy to find. Compared to other Epcot restaurants that are front and center, it is only found after winding your way through the pathways of Morocco. There is a small stand in the main thoroughfare to encourage dining guests to seek their establishment, which seems to prove my point.
We have been to Epcot at least a hundred times, and I have never been snared into an impulse dining experience here; even the outside feels more like an ancient military fortification than a fine dining choice. However the wonderful food served in the Tangierine Café convinced me that it might be worth giving the Marrakesh a try—and we were glad for that.
Immediately upon stepping through the front door you are rewarded by towering celings with intricate tile mosaics and coffered ceilings prettier than my best gift wrap. No surface is immune from adornment, almost leading me to a visual pattern overdose. The day of our visit the staff was polite and accommodating to the extreme, while the larger dining room was sadly empty on a Saturday evening.
We were given a table near the center area, which had a keyboard and open area for dancing.
Before we had a chance to order, the keyboard player came out and treated us to a stirring rendition of something I have never heard before. It was melodic, and the words he sang flowed into such a river of song that it sounded closer to prayer.
We ordered our meals just as the dancer came out, a lovely woman wearing finger bells that entranced the crowd with her belly dancing and contagious smile. She got my children to dance with her, but I was forbidden to post a picture of them doing so. My teenage son seemed notably more interested in watching her dance than giving his best efforts—enough said.
How could I say enough about the free bread, which comes in a loaf about the size of a small Frisbee. It's a traditional Moroccan bread, called khobz. The outside was amazingly crunchy while the inside was decadently soft and stretchy, with just the subtlest hint of sweetness. It's the best bread I’ve ever tasted in a Disney park, and one of my top five of all time.
Mussels Casablanca for Two (P.E.I) – The mussels were fresh and well cleaned but the real standout here is the Saffron Cream sauce. A sharp mustardish savory flavor is cut by the generous helping of capers and tomatoes. No sauce survived a second round of the bread to soak it up.
Couscous with Beef – The couscous, which is made from small steamed balls of semolina, was served with steamed vegetables and garbanzo beans. It had a tangy tomato-based sauce that tied it all together; an exotic version of the roast beef and potatoes my Grandma used to make.
Mogador Fish Tagine – The marinated fish is served with olives, lemon confit, potatoes, green peppers, and chermula sauce. The fish was cooked perfectly, holding together only long enough to make the short journey into your mouth. The amount of flavors coalescing here make this a dish best suited for medium to advanced palates, as they are very subtle.
Baklava plate – This item is not shown on the online menu, but a sampling of the walnut, cashew, and pistachio baklavas is available by request. Howeve, I think you get a more generous helping outside at the coffee corner of the Tangierine Café, so you might want to wait to grab a piece on your way out.
Overall I thought this was a wonderful dining experience, combing good food, great atmosphere, and outstanding entertainment. It might sound strange, but the only negative thing I could say is how sad it made me to see the place so empty. When the dancer encouraged people to come up and dance, it truly adds to an experience to have a room full of people enjoying watching the few shed their egos to try something new.
Dad (41): 4.5 of 5 – The bread and the Mussels Casablanca were amazing. Don’t think I would order the beef again, not that it was bad, just not to the level of the fish and mussels.
- Food Quality: 4 of 5
- Value for money spent: 4.5 of 5
- Ambiance: 4.75 of 5
Mom (41): 4.5 of 5 – Beautiful atmosphere with wonderful live entertainment. Great presentation of food, but there was a lack of distinct flavor in some entrees.
Daughter (17): 4.0 of 5 – The theme was wonderful along with the décor. The entertainment was fun to watch and personally be a part of. The food was bland (Except mussels). More seasonings would help.
Son (15): 4.25 of 5 – Amazing aesthetics and the music was nice. The food was decent, but the mussels and especially the broth was amazing. Breathtaking bread as appetizer was heavenly.