The restaurant is tucked away on the right side of The Seas pavilion. I had actually never even been over in this area and it was pretty deserted. Aside from the sign WAY off to the side, you wouldn’t know anything was even over here.
Once you enter the restaurant, the lobby is very impressive! You are immediately transported to an undersea environment. I absolutely LOVE all of the light fixtures and the giant octopus at the check-in desk.
Because no one was in the waiting area and it was very quiet, I expected the restaurant to be empty but it was completely full! My immediate reaction when we walked in the dining area was that it was much smaller than I had imagined. It is also very dark and the ceilings are VERY low. I had always imagined that the dining room was large with high ceilings and a larger viewing area of the aquarium. I have to say, I was underwhelmed and a little disappointed…
I do LOVE the little details in the restaurant though. Look at these lights!
Since the restaurant was so full, we were seated all the way in the back of the room. The dining room is tiered, so we still had a view of the aquarium, but we also had this table in the way… Honestly, I felt like a creepster every time I looked toward the aquarium because it was like I was just staring at this family!
We had a big breakfast at Kouzzina that morning, so I knew I was going light for lunch. But honestly, there were a lot of things on the menu I wanted to try!
I ordered a Reef Amber while we were looking over the menu. The waiter told us this was actually the same as the Safari Amber available over in Animal Kingdom…I thought it was just ok. We were also brought some bread, which was not very good. Actually, it was so dry that it was kind of inedible…
For my meal, I ordered two appetizers…the Creamy Lobster Soup made with Tarragon & Brandy and the Fish Tostadas with Napa Cabbage, Avocado Cilantro Cream & fresh Lime. YUM! The soup was very good (not Yachtsman Steakhouse good, but good). It actually had a a great depth of flavor and I would return just to eat this soup.
The tostadas were also very good. It’s no secret I love any type of Mexican inspired food, so this was right up my alley. However, some of the fish, which I can’t recall what it was, was a little too “fishy” and not very appetizing. But overall, I really enjoyed this dish.
When Amanda decided to go with the Grilled Mahi Mahi with Laughing Bird Shrimp, Hearts of Palm, Jasmine Rice, Cilantro and a Coconut-Lime Sauce, I was super excited! This is what I would’ve ordered if I didn’t have my heart set on tostadas, and let me tell you…this is a GREAT dish. The flavors were wonderful and the fish was perfectly cooked. I think this will be my go to dish if I return to Coral Reef.
After we finished our meal, we were too full for dessert, so we decided to study our fish guide. But then started feeling kind of guilty for all the fish we just ate, so we just took off to ride Living with the Land next door to get our veggie on.
Overall, I have mixed feelings about Coral Reef. The food was actually quite good, but the atmosphere didn’t live up to my expectations. I’m glad we went for lunch since the prices are a bit more reasonable and that I didn’t waste a good signature dinner meal here. I might return, but it’s definitely not at the top of my list.
Have you been to Coral Reef Restaurant? What do you think?