Review by Kevin Klose
I should begin this review by letting you know that I am not an expert on Moroccan food. I have almost no experience with this type of cuisine other than having had couscous on occasion. With that being said, we decided to have lunch at Restaurant Marrakesh.
Upon entering the Morocco pavilion at Epcot, it is easy be transported to another place.
It’s an immersive experience and as there are no sight lines of Spaceship Earth or the Cast Members setting up Illuminations, it’s easy to forget where you are.
We had no trouble getting a “same day” ADR for Restaurant Marrakesh and arrived approximately 25 minutes prior to our allotted time. The hostess let us know that this would not be an issue, but we would have a 5 minute wait..
As the temperature outside was roughly the same temperature used to bake bread, this allowed us a chance to freshen up and cool down.
The restaurant is a large open space with sections on each side involving a few stairs. The tile work is wonderful and gives the space a cool feeling. Not cool as in “Fonzie” cool, but more of temperature cool.
We were greeted immediately with ice water and our menus. The server noted that he knew we would need drinks because of the weather outside. It was a simple act found in most restaurants, but the speed and acknowledgement was welcome.
As we looked over the menu, we realized that we really had no reference point other to make our selection based on ingredients. If I go to a deli, I know what to expect when I order a Reuben sandwich. I was out of my element here.
To start our dining adventure, we decided to try the Appetizer Combination for Two ($15.95). This included two beef brewat rolls, one chicken bastilla and jasmine salad.
Beef brewat rolls look like small egg rolls and are thin layers of pastry filled with minced beef and then fried and sprinkled with cinnamon and powdered sugar.
The chicken bastilla is a similar dish with a different shape. Where the beef dish was egg roll shaped, the chicken dish was shaped like a hockey puck. You receive one chicken bastilla with this appetizer, but it is cut in half so as to share.
I didn’t care for the beef and John didn’t care for the chicken. This was just personal taste and not a judgment of quality.
The only description I can come up with is “chicken or beef donut”. As I stated earlier, I have little experience with Moroccan food, but cinnamon and powdered sugar are tastes that I associate with breakfast and dessert. It was an unusual taste combination, mixing savory and sweet. It didn’t taste bad, nor was it badly prepared, but it’s not a taste I would return to with any regularity.
The jasmine salad was cool and refreshing and consisted of mixed salad veggies. The dressing reminded us of ranch dressing with a touch of mint. You receive a very small portion.
We enjoyed trying our appetizer, but at $16.00, it’s wildly over priced. With two of the beef rolls (about 2.5 inches) , one of the chicken bastilla (cut in half) and approximately ½ a cup of salad, it is stretching it to call this an appetizer for two.
We also tried the Harira Soup ($5.95) which is a tomato based soup with lentils and lamb. It was rich, flavorful and delicious.
On to the entrees…
John ordered the “Taste of Morocco” ($27.95)
and I ordered the “Sultans Feast” ($21.95).
Both dishes included a grilled chicken skewer, Vegetable couscous, and another beef brewat roll. John’s dish also included a small lamb shank.
The grilled chicken skewers consisted of approximately 6 small bite sized pieces of chicken (approximately 2-3 ounces) and were marinated and grilled.
The couscous included chick peas, a cabbage leaf, a small slice of green pepper, onions and apparently 3 other veggies I couldn’t identify. Again, I would guess that we received 2 tablespoons of couscous.
John’s lamb shank was pronounced “tasty” and it was gone at the end of the meal. I can assume that he liked it. Not being a lamb fan…I’ll take his word for it.
My only real complaint about this meal was that the serving sizes were tiny. I would compare them to the portions served at the Food and Wine Festival. My issue with this is that the Food and Wine portions are between $2 and $4 each. If I total that up….my meal would have cost approximately $8 - $10 dollars instead of the $21.95.
Now….I do need to add that there is entertainment while you eat. Every 40 minutes or so, two musicians play Moroccan music which accompanies a belly dancer. It was interesting to watch and listen for a few minutes but it became wonderful when the dancer asked the young girls in the audience to dance with her. She gave the girls a brief lesson and they all danced. It was fun to see.
After our entrees, we had dessert. John’s was included in the price of his entrée and his only choice was fresh fruit, I chose something exotically named “The Moroccan Symphony” ($5.95). This is a selection of Moroccan pastries.
My symphony included a one inch square of baklava (or the Moroccan equivalent), something I can only describe as a small damp cookie and half of a small circular pastry containing chocolate. The last had obviously been cut in half.
John’s fresh fruit was another story. It was a small bowl of fruit salad which, after tasting, he described as “fruit topped with Raid bug killer.” The fruit had an awful liquid topping that had a chemical / perfume odor. It was dreadful.
The service at Restaurant Marrakesh was fast, efficient and top notch.
The food was an experience I’m glad I’ve had but it’s not something I’d really enjoy again. And the prices and servings sizes do not match up at all. In fact, after lunch, we went and got something else to eat.
Lunch for two was $75.00 which included everything listed and a soft drink.