Friday Feast: Coral Reef Restaurant

001 Coral Reef_SignIf you remember from my New to You series, Coral Reef was on my list of places to try.  Well on a recent trip, I made it a priority and my partner in crime Amanda and I headed there for lunch!

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.

002 Coral Reef_Entrance

003 Coral Reef_Entrance Menu

004 Coral Reef_Entrance Menu2Once 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.

005 Coral Reef_Entrance Hallway

006 Coral Reef_CheckIn

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…

007 Coral Reef_Interior1 010 Coral Reef_Interior4 009 Coral Reef_Interior3 008 Coral Reef_Interior2

I do LOVE the little details in the restaurant though.  Look at these lights!

011 Coral Reef_Detail

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!

012 Coral Reef_TableWe 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!

013 Coral Reef_Menu
Click for a larger image

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…

014 Coral Reef_Reef Amber

015 Coral Reef_Bread

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.

016 Coral Reef_Lobster Bisque

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.

017 Coral Reef_Tostadas

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.

018 Coral Reef_MahiAfter 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.

019 Coral Reef_Fish Guide1020 Coral Reef_Fish Guide2

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? 

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  • I agree, overall this restaurant is overrated. For the money there are much better options elsewhere in Epcot!

  • I’ve eaten here for lunch 3 times and always sat right next to the glass – requested it. Found the lunch prices reasonable and this was a perfect place for my kids when they were younger. It’s not one of my favorite Disney restaurants but a great choice when in EPCOT. We have better seafood restaurants in CT.

    Also, I remember the bread being good. But it’s been a few years.

    • If I go back, I will definitely be requesting a better table and I agree, it’s a great place for kids.
      You’re right…we have much better seafood here in CT! Stonington Reds are now available!

  • Great review! It is kinda awkward at the further back tables…it’s too bad there aren’t more closer to the tank. We’re planning to try Coral Reef on our upcoming trip…will have to keep an eye out for that soup!

  • Aw, sorry to hear you didn’t enjoy it as much as I did when we went! We got lucky and ended up with a table right next to the tanks (without even requesting it!) and our meals were all really very good, plus we had a good server which added to the experience! I’m headed to Disney this weekend and I’m going to Jiko for the first time, can’t wait! (I’ve actually never even been over to AKL!)

    • I think the seating really makes the difference and would’ve made our experience more interesting. We could’ve been anywhere and then I felt strange going to look at the fish while people were eating.
      You are going to LOVE Jiko!! Get the Wild Boar appetizer!

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