I’ve always loved the Morocco pavilion of Epcot’s World Showcase. It is easily (for me) the most attractive and photogenic “country” in Epcot. The exotic architecture is stunning, the courtyard fountains lovely, and no matter how long I spend poking around the alleyways and nooks and crannies, I always find the most amazing attention to detail.
But I hadn’t eaten there until my May trip to Disney World, when I found myself in need of a cheap place to eat on my last night. While I am not a vegetarian, I do enjoy eating vegetarian meals once in awhile, which makes it difficult to find a counter service restaurant that will please me. (I don’t like to be restricted to just a plain old salad when I choose to go vegetarian, and while technically, they’re vegetables, french fries really don’t count when I’m in the mood for something healthy.) Before I left on my trip, I had scoured the Disney restaurant menus and decided I really liked the looks of the Tangierine Cafe. I also read so many positive reviews about the food online that it made a favorable impression.
Here’s an interesting factoid for you: Did you know that tangerines, the citrus fruit, were named after Tangier, the Moroccan city? Tangerines first made their way to Europe from China via the port of Tangier. However, tangerine already existed as a word before that; it meant “of or pertaining to Tangier”. I just thought I’d throw that out there, since the spelling of the name of the restaurant had been bugging me (Tangierine as opposed to the common spelling of the fruit, Tangerine), and I had to check on it.
The Tangierine Cafe was fairly empty when I arrived for dinner. I can’t recall what time it was, but it was later than I usually eat, so I’m assuming it was around 7pm. The process of ordering and paying was pretty straightforward. It is set up cafeteria style, where you order in one location and then move down the counter to where you receive your food. There is a separate counter for specialty drinks. I ordered the vegetarian platter and a frozen pina colada punch (non-alcoholic). I selected one of the many free tables inside the restaurant (they also have outdoor tables) and settled in to see if the food was as good as I had heard it was.
The food doesn’t look as good as it tastes, I have to say. Presentation is not a priority here. But the quality of the food was good. The vegetarian platter I ordered comes with falafel bread, olive salad, hummus, lentil salad, tabouleh, and a tangierine couscous salad. The marinated olive salad was a nice touch–I am a big fan of olives. Everything was very good, I felt great about eating such a healthy meal, and I walked away full, but not overstuffed. Cost of the veggie platter was around $9 and the drink was around $4.
This is a lovely restaurant to dine in, a real feast for the eyes. The decor is gorgeous, from the tile mosaic on the walls and tables, to the stained glass and light fixtures, to the open doorway views of the pavilion–including the photo to the right of a waterwheel and flowers. Another thing I enjoyed about this restaurant was that the staff were very pleasant and smiled a lot. If you time it right, you can eat here and enjoy a session of live music and belly-dancing by Mo’ Rockin‘, the live band that plays in Morocco. They are very good as well.
As far as solo dining goes, I felt very comfortable here. Maybe if it had been packed with families (as counter service restaurants at Disney tend to be), I might have felt differently. But I did not feel out of place dining alone. In summary, the Tangierine Cafe gets a big thumbs up from me. I recommend this as a very healthy counter service dining option at Epcot.