Restaurant Marrakesh - A Hidden Gem

by Roan Poulter, contributing writer
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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.


The Restaurant Marrakesh is in the very back of Epcot's Morrocco pavilion. Photo by Roan Poulter.

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.


A beautifully decorated interior awaits curious diners. Photo by Roan Poulter.

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.


The dance floor beckons willing participants. Photo by Roan Poulter.

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.


A dancer twirls into a blaze of red inside Restaurant Marrakesh. Photo by Roan Poulter.

The Food

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.


The free bread might be the best item on the menu, it's that good. Photo by Roan Poulter.

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.


The Mussels Casablanca served in a savory sauce. Photo by Roan Poulter.

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.


Large pieces of beef accompany the couscous and vegetables. Photo by Roan Poulter.

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.


The fish cooked in a tagine is delicate and flavorful. Photo by Roan Poulter.

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.


The baklava sampler is topped with sliced almonds and dusted with powdered sugar. Photo by Roan Poulter.

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.

Our ratings:

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.

 

Comments

  1. By xezat

    I've always enjoyed the chicken skewers and...I forgot what they're called, but basically they're the ground beef filled fried pastries with a dusting of cinnamon on top. And of course, can't forget about that bread. My pops and I always make a note to eat there whenever we visit Epcot, but we've actually never tried the Tangerine Cafe yet, guess we should give it a whirl when we go next year.

  2. By ralfrick

    We had a good meal here, although it's been a while. Shame they replaced the traditional instruments with a keyboard player, but I guess it's better than a DJ.

    A bientot

  3. By danyoung

    I eat at this restaurant every 3 or 4 years. While the food is fine and the entertainment is fine and the décor is fine, it all just never works for me, and I'm not sure why.

  4. By mikedoyleblogger

    Define "forbidden."

  5. By petesimac

    It has been a while since I've eaten here, but your pictures have planted a seed for the next trip. As for bread, go eat dinner at the Kona Cafè and then get back to me on the bread debate.

  6. By Roan Poulter

    Quote Originally Posted by mikedoyleblogger View Post
    Define "forbidden."

    My children threatened to change their names and adopt disguises.

  7. By cbarry

    Love this restaurant. To me it's the whole point of World Showcase to try something ethnically unique. The Tangierine Cafe is my favorite counter service in Epcot and one of my favorite on property. I'm a huge fan of the Moroccan Mint iced tea. And yes those beef things with the cinnamon on top are delicious!

    I'm pretty sure the reason it's always uncrowded is because people feel they're going to walk into the dinner from Temple of Doom or something. Chilled monkey brains and snake surprise. Chinese, Japanese and Italian are safer bets for people. Meanwhile, the food is great and all things considered it's not so exotic that people should be hesitant.

  8. By mikedoyleblogger

    Quote Originally Posted by Roan Poulter View Post
    My children threatened to change their names and adopt disguises.

    Ah, got it!

  9. By JButt

    We have eaten at Marrakesh in the past and considered it a top option in Epcot. When we ate there a year ago the chicken was dry and service was lackluster. The prices are high for the food quality. Most important the one of us with a gluten allergy had a reaction to the meal, and the overall approach of the restaurant did not give confidence that the gluten free meal was handled with care for cross contamination, particularly given the high standard for this in most Disney restaurants.

  10. By cstephens

    We've eaten there a few times and love the place. I like getting one of the samplers so I can have tastes of different things. The food, the décor, and yes, the entertainment are all wonderful. The first time we were there, we were seated in an upper section, and as we were people-watching, we noticed Jasmine and Aladdin come in, presumably from a meet-and-greet somewhere outside. They took a seat at an empty table and pretended to wait to be served. It was too funny.

    Love all three eating establishments in Morocco.

  11. By nickjandrews

    I am the stereotypical white man from these USA. I eat burgers, steaks, potatoes. But I love this restaurant, and not just because I have a thing for belly-dancers either! Eaten there several times and always really liked the food. Maybe we'll eat there again when we go in December! I've eaten here, at the counter service eatery outside, at Spice Road Table, and at the Morocco EF&WF booth. All are excellent. The food is always expertly prepared and delicious. And yes, they have belly-dancers!

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