The Coral Reef Restaurant in Future World at Epcot soared to the top of my personal "favorite restaurants with a view" list this past year. As a solo diner, I like restaurants which provide me with something to look at while I wait for my food to arrive. This is a beautiful restaurant, inside and out, and feels slightly more "grown up" than many Disney restaurants. The showcase is, of course, the fish aquarium that takes up nearly an entire wall of the dining room. I know some people have said their experiences here have not been stellar, but mine was fabulous. I chose to have lunch here, rather than dinner, and was very glad I did. The restaurant wasn't even half full when I was there. This worked out well for me, as my meal was peaceful and quiet and I was able to get in and out quickly.
I did not have a seat right in front of the aquarium, but that was fine, since you can see it from pretty much the whole restaurant. I was seated in the approximate center of the room. I think I'd have preferred one of these seats with a low wall to one side of me, as seen in the photo below.
Service was efficient and close to excellent (the one glitch was when the server brought me the wrong entree but that was straightened out in less than a minute). My reservation was for noon, and that's when I was seated. I placed my order within five minutes of sitting down, the food arrived at 12:20, and I was out of there by 12:32. (By my own choice, because I had a busy day.)
I have no idea what the menu looks like today, but when I was there (in May 2009), I ordered the blackened catfish with pepperjack cheese grits. They were both so delicious I practically inhaled them. I've eaten grits in Atlanta and in New Orleans before, and I have to say the Coral Reef's grits were the best I've ever had. They were very cheesy, with a good texture. The catfish was rubbed with some great spices that gave it just enough of a kick without being too much, and was topped with a tomato marmalade that was just a little sweet. It was heavenly.
The catfish was $17.99, the iced tea was $2.19. Tax was $1.32. As I was paying my check, the waitress brought me two flat, plastic blue dolphins. I wasn't sure what I was supposed to do with them. She laughed and said I could use them to decorate a picture frame or something. I thanked her and brought them home and gave them to my coworker's daughter. Nice touch. I can't remember the last time I was at a restaurant that gave me a gift for dining there.
In any case, I had a fantastic solo dining experience and highly recommend it to other solo visitors to Disney. I certainly will go back.
One of the best restaurants in Epcot is found, not in the World Showcase, but instead in Future World. The Coral Reef Restaurant is actually part of The Seas With Nemo and Friends Pavilion. Although the restaurant has nothing to do with the Pixar film Finding Nemo, it does take full advantage of the location. The entire seating area shares a glass wall with the 5.7 million gallon salt water tank that is the showcase of the … more
We visited the Coral Reef for the first time in May 2009. That day, after experiencing the Nemo ride and checking out the aquarium for a bit, we decided to head over to the Coral Reef restaurant. We were a bit early but it was fine, we just sat outside the restaurant for a bit and relaxed. We had been looking forward to this meal for so long. I will admit, when we got inside I was a bit surprised, it wasn't the atmosphere I expected. … more
I'm the author of SoloFriendly.com, a blog for solo travelers. I write general advice about solo travel, but I also like to show people what it’s like to travel alone by writing specifically about … more
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