Road to Morocco: Dining at Epcot's Restaurant Marrakesh

IMG_016_20171013-054703_1Restaurant Marrakesh
My recent visit to Epcot's 35th Anniversary celebration was fantastic! It was amazing to see how everyone visiting the park that day was embracing Epcot's trip down memory lane by wearing their retro button received when entering the park. The lines to purchase the "I Was There" merchandise were extensive. As I mentioned in my recent post about childhood memories of visiting Epcot back in 1983, a year after its opening, I strive to create new memories each time I go to Disney. Although the International Food & Wine Festival was in full swing, we decided to try an Epcot restaurant we hadn't ventured to before. We ruled out Mexico having recently eaten there for my daughter's birthday visit. And, we skipped over France and Japan, which were both extremely delicious. We used our My Disney Experience app to determine what reservations could be made in the remaining countries and decided on Morocco's Restaurant Marrakesh

I am not as adventurous food wise as my fiancé is, but definitely willing to give it a try. I embraced my love for the movie Casablanca and channeled my inner Ingrid Bergman as we set off to The Western Kingdom of Morocco. For those geographically disinclined, the country of Morocco is located on the northwestern tip of Africa, bordered by both the Mediterranean Sea and the Atlantic. Morocco is a vibrant county and each city is distinctive in character, providing a steady mix of culture, ancient traditions, and modern insight. Although Casablanca is a well known tourist spot, the city of Marrakesh is most popular and what Winston Churchill referred to as "simply the nicest place on Earth to spend an afternoon." And that is just what we did.

As we made our way through the streets of Morocco, we hoped to catch a glimpse of Jasmine as signs indicated she would be looking to meet guests throughout the day. Nestled at the end of the road was Restaurant Marrakesh, and decked in traditional Moroccan clothing were cast members ready to welcome us to the restaurant. The hostess actually looked like a real life Jasmine, with long, black hair and gorgeous facial features. And, as with the all the countries represented in Epcot, all of the cast members were from various places in Morocco. Having not visited Morocco myself, I imagined that Disney spared no expense in making the restaurant feel as though we traveled 4,300 miles to dine in Marrakesh. The ceilings were filled with vibrant colors and ornately designed columns were spread throughout the restaurant.
Couscous M'Rouzia Fassi

We sat at a small table for two and my fiancé ordered the mint tea, iced. Normally, this tea is served hot and it is considered the national drink in Morocco. But with the heat of the day, iced was the only way to go. I chose to re-hydrate with water and the server kept each of our glasses filled. Our server brought us a small, crusty bread with butter. It was warm and the perfect accompaniment to the soup my fiancé orderedthe Harira Soup. It is a hearty soup laden with tomatoes, lentils, and beef. I'm not a soup fan, but had to try it because it smelled amazing. And the flavors didn't disappoint, it was delicious.  

For the entree, I ordered another national specialty, couscous. The dish was called Couscous M'Rouzia Fassi, which the server highly recommended. It's made with braised beef and served with raisins, balsamic vinegar, honey, sesame seeds, and half a hard boiled egg. The only way to describe the first taste is ah-maze-ing! The sweetness of the raisins and honey balanced with the neutralness of the couscous and tangy balsamic vinegar. The beef was tender and broke apart easily with my fork. Couscous is made with semolina wheat and essentially a pasta, a staple in Moroccan cuisine. I wanted desperately to finish it, but it wasn't to be. The waiter was right to warn me on how filling couscous is! My fiancé ordered the shish-kabob, a grilled tenderloin of beef and vegetables that was served beautifully on top of yellow rice. He was gracious enough to give me a bite—the tenderloin was perfectly cooked and rich in flavor. No wonder I only got one taste!

Shish-Kabob

After loading myself up with couscous, I realized I had no room for dessert. Which was a shame, because they had bastilla (also known as Ktefa)—crispy leaves of pastry topped with vanilla cream and sprinkled with cinnamon, powdered sugar, and toasted almonds. And for those foodies who like just a little more cuisine knowledge, the bastilla is traditionally made with chicken as an entree in Morocco—the American equivalent to the chicken pot pie. This is also on the menu as an appetizer. There are definitely many authentic Moroccan dishes to try. I do highly recommend stepping out of your food comfort zone like I did by venturing to Restaurant Marrakesh. 

Additionally, Disney Passholders like us get a 10% discount! So, with the International Food & Wine Festival is going on, we used that savings to grab a dessert in Ireland (after walking off some of that meal around the park). My fiancé and I shared the warm chocolate pudding made with Irish cream liqueur. The pudding was chocolatey dense with the texture of a moist cake. It was pure chocolate heaven with every bite. A perfect ending to our day at Epcot. 



Restaurant Marrakesh Menu
Luxury Neighbor Hotel
Chapter 2 "Remember When"

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