Epcot: Coral Reef Restaurant Review

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Coral Reef Seating arrangement

Coral Reef Restaurant is a seafood restaurant located at The Seas pavilion at Epcot in Walt Disney World. The highlight of this restaurant is the massive salt water tank with sharks, sea turtles, and many varieties of fish.  The menu highlights what’s available seasonally.  For those that are not seafood lovers a beef, chicken, pork, and vegetarian option is also available.  Coral Reef Restaurant is currently opened for Lunch and Dinner. The menu is the same for both meals so don’t feel like you need to come here for Dinner. This is often a location we will come to for lunch for a nice midday break.

 

Our Experience

Coral Reef has been a family favorite for a very long time. The food has been consistently good and our servers have always been great. The one thing that always got us through the door though is the awesome views from the giant salt water aquarium tank. Having the ability to check out sharks and sea turtles has always been an enjoyable way for us to spend an hour or two.

After checking in at the podium we waited roughly 30 minutes to be seated.  We also requested a table by the Tank so our daughter could watch the fish. They very graciously accommodated our request but made us aware that we would be waiting longer than normal to be seated. Keep in mind that Disney doesn’t have to grant seating requests but luckily if you ask nicely they will often try to seat you where you want to be.

Unfortunately, our table arrangement was probably the best thing about this meal. We have eaten at Coral Reef many times in the past, as well as other Epcot restaurants, and by far this is the worst experience we have had. Our waiter for the most part was great. He was super friendly and polite but there was a lack of attention to detail.

A few of the things we found annoying included not getting refills and plates left on the table. We don’t expect you to refill our glasses when half filled, nor would we want you too. If there is nothing but ice left in the glass though, a refill would be nice. When we received our main dishes they didn’t remove the bread basket, plates, or an empty bowl from the table. This left the table very crowded which is the last thing you want while dining with a toddler. Thankfully for the first time in my daughter’s life she didn’t try to violently chuck the plate sitting in front of her.

After receiving our main dishes we didn’t get checked on again until it was time to place our orders for desert. Our desert was okay but both dishes really lacked the presentation they normally have.  Like I said, there was a lack of attention to detail which we’d never experienced before at Coral Reef.

The Food

Starters: Clam Chowder and Bread Basket 

The flavor was fine. It was a very standard New England clam chowder but I had one very serious complaint about it. There were hot spots in my soup. Initially the soup seemed lukewarm until I was several bites in and then I hit a scalding hot spot and burned my mouth. The chowder also had a grainy texture as the potatoes had broken down too much.Chowder from Coral Reef Restaurant

The bread basket was a standard yeast roll and is complimentary. Bread from Coral Reef Restaurant

Entrees:

  • Children’s grilled fish of the day (salmon),served with Brown Rice, Green Beans, Teriyaki sauce, and a fruit salad, which we actually never received.

    Kids Fish of the Day from Coral Reef Restaurant
    Besides being overcooked the skin was actually burnt.

The children’s dish was pretty standard. The salmon was over cooked but our daughter still ate it, after we removed the skin, so we can’t really complain too much. She mostly stuck to the green beans and rice though.

  • Linguine with shrimp, scallops, mussels and a garlic white wine sauceLinguine from Coral Reef Restaurant

The Linguine had the potential to be outstanding. Unfortunately the linguine was cold as were the mussels. The shrimp were served lukewarm, while the scallops were still hot. I’ve got to say we would have LOVED this dish if everything had been heated evenly. The scallops were particularly tasty and cooked perfectly. The garlic and white wine sauce was really light and fresh, it accompanied the  seafood perfectly. We can’t recommend this dish as it was really all over the place.

 

 

 

  • Seared Salmon with orzo pasta, sweet leek fondue, cassis-braised red cabbage and a citrus-buerre Blanc.

    Salmon from Coral Reef Restaurant
    Empty bread basket and plates were left behind ,leaving a lot of clutter on the table.

The Seared salmon was also inconsistent. The salmon itself was cooked perfectly and was seasoned properly. The Orzo was also wonderfully creamy with the sweet leek fondue. However, the citrus-buerre blanc had not been reduced properly and it tasted like the food had been doused with a glass of white wine. Now don’t get me wrong we love a good glass of wine, just not dumped over food that was otherwise perfect.

Desert:

The Baileys and Jack Daniels Mousse is super good. A light and refreshing finish to any meal. This does have Baileys and Jack Daniels so it isn’t really something to share with the kiddos.

Bailey and Jack Daniels mousse from Coral Reef Restaurant
Bailey and Jack Daniels mousse was damaged during plating, it’s not shown here but the rest of the desert was smeared across the plate.

The chocolate wave is also great and has a good chocolate flavor but the raspberry cream was already melting and falling off when it arrived at the table. Other than that it’s still a solid choice.

Chocolate Wave from Coral Reef Restaurant

Would we eat at Coral Reef Restaurant again?

This is not a cheap meal with entrees costing between $24 to $35 dollars. In the past we have always had great experiences so it seems wrong to write it off because one meal wasn’t great.

That being said, we can’t honestly tell someone to go and spend their hard earned money there. Not after this meal. Especially since Epcot is filled with so many lovely places to eat.

We are going to break up with Coral Reef for about six months to a year and then give it another chance. We’ve loved this restaurant for so long we can’t in good conscience just write it off completely.

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