One of our favorite table service restaurants in EPCOT and one of Walt Disney World’s most underrated eateries literally hiding in plain sight is Spice Road Table. With it offering same-day Candlelight Processional dining packages, we figured it’d be worth revisiting our most recent meal to offer you an idea of whether Spice Road Table is worth it.
For starters, we’ll quickly recap the ‘saga’ of Spice Road Table in the last few years. Shortly after reopening, Walt Disney World took over operations of the Morocco pavilion from Marrakesh Moroccan Restaurant LLC. That third party operating participant that previously ran all of the restaurants and retail in the pavilion was no longer financially viable, with the closure and low crowds post-reopening being the last straw.
Walt Disney World immediately began making changes to the Morocco pavilion, most of which have actually been improvements. More color, design details, and thematic flourishes have been added to a number of locations to give them more personality and depth. It hasn’t all been perfect, with the beloved Tangierine Cafe transforming into a permanent festival “booth” and questionable merchandise choices made in some of the shops.
However, fan concerns that Disney would “Aladdinify” the Morocco pavilion have largely been unfounded (for now). Instead, it’s more like Imagineering was eager to get in and make a number of little changes that had been bugging creatives for years. Oh, and they also removed a distinct phallic shape on one wall that had become a popular photo spot. So that was probably a bummer for the youngsters who enjoyed selfie shenanigans.
About the only thing we view as plausible is a concept change is for Restaurant Marrakesh (pictured below). As we’ve mentioned elsewhere, we expect that to be one of the last restaurants to reopen at Walt Disney World, and I’d bet money on it becoming a character dining experience. Between its tucked away location and cuisine that was previously too adventurous for average guests, I don’t see how Walt Disney World can increase that restaurant’s popularity without turning it into a character meal.
Even as a (recovering) EPCOT purist and one who loved the old Restaurant Marrakesh, that doesn’t bother me in the least. Just imagine a hijinks-centric “street rat” character meal during which Aladdin and Abu run around the restaurant playfully pickpocket from guests or take from their plates. Families would probably pay big bucks for that experience, and Chapek is salivating at the idea of charging guests more to steal from them. (Not that he hasn’t been already doing it for the last two years!)
But I digress. This is a review of Spice Road Table, not armchair Imagineering about Chapek’s dream to rob guests and have them like it. In the case of Spice Road Table, no theft of any sort is occurring–just a good meal at relatively reasonable prices (by Walt Disney World standards). Let’s take a look…
The last time we reviewed Spice Road Table, the restaurant had introduced a menu of more substantial entrees consistent with other table service restaurants at Walt Disney World. When it originally opened in early 2014, it was a Mediterranean small plates or tapas restaurant.
When Walt Disney World resumed ownership of the Morocco pavilion, they reintroduced the Mediterranean small plates concept. What’s old is new again. The only real difference was a (slightly) different and more limited menu, with the more adventurous options removed.
For our first plate, we ordered the Naan Spreads: Hummus, Chermoula, Marinated Olives, Za’atar.
This is basically a tale of two dishes. Even as I look at the photo now, my mouth is watering. Both the hummus and za’atar were superb, with the hummus being smooth, creamy and rich while the za’atar had an addictively strong savory and piquant quality (I liked it a lot more than Sarah did). The olives were also a nice touch in rounding out the dish.
Unfortunately, the naan tasted like someone went out to Publix or Costco and bought the stuff in bulk. It was dry and one-note, inferior to the stuff we buy from the freezer at Trader Joe’s. The spreads were enough to mask this–and I’d get this again because of that–but it was a bit disappointing that the naan couldn’t stand on its own. This has the potential to rival the bread service at Sanaa, but for now, it falls short.
Next, the plant-based Pomegranate-Chili Crispy Cauliflower: Red Pepper Aleppo Sauce.
Regrettably, more and more menus at Walt Disney World now have cauliflower in place of chicken or an actual fried food. This means my cauliflower consumption, once confined to the home, has increased at restaurants. In both cases, I don’t have much say in the matter.
While I do not like this trend, I can’t fault this specific dish. It was fantastic. Between the crisp exterior coating and the sauce, a lot is working hard to mask the cauliflower flavor–and quite successfully. I wouldn’t order this voluntarily if dining on my own, but I won’t complain the next time Sarah wants to get it. I guess that qualifies as an endorsement?
Our final tapas plate was the Spice Road Table Sampler: Lamb Kefta, Spiced Chicken and Tiropitakia. (Pictured above with the hummus–the sampler is only the bottom plate.)
If you’re doing the Candlelight Processional dining package, this is an obvious pick if you want the best bang for your buck. Not only is it the most expensive of the options, but it’s the largest one with the most variety.
Even under new management, the lamb kefta is exactly as good as it has always been.
This has been a staple of the Morocco pavilion’s various restaurants and food booths for years–including at Spice Road Table. The meat is mouth wateringly delicious, juicy, and flavorful with just a hint of mint to balance out the mild gaminess. This is my favorite thing on the menu.
I don’t recall spiced chicken previously being on the menu, but this is another strong dish.
It’s not incredibly spicy, but there is a bit of kick here with the ras el hanout spice blend in the sauce soaking into the naan and chicken. Sarah definitely liked this a bit more than I did–she’s a huge fan of butter chicken and tikka masala, and thought this could hold its own against ‘real world’ restaurant versions of those dishes.
The last of the dishes in the sampler is the Tiropitakia.
Although I love the lamb kefta more than anything else, this is a very close second. The flaky phyllo pastry had just the right amount of doughiness coupled with that cheese-filled center…it was just pure bliss. The cucumber-tomato relish was also fantastic, and could’ve been a nicely refreshing relish to offset the savory pastry, but I preferred to enjoy them separately and let each speak for themselves.
This cross-section photo doesn’t even begin to the do the Tiropitakia justice.
If it were up to me, I would order this and the lamb kefta as standalone dishes. However, Sarah loved the sampler and found each of them to be worthwhile. (Unsurprisingly, she didn’t love the Tiropitakia as much as I did, so our rankings here would differ.) Bottom line, though, is that everything on the sampler is a standout. It just so happens that I love two of the dishes and “only” really like the other.
During a previous meal, we had also ordered the Fried Calamari with Rémoulade and Harissa Sauce.
This was one of my two favorite items on the previous menu of Spice Road Table, and it holds up. In fairness, there’s only “good” and “great” calamari in my book, but this definitely skews towards the latter. Hearty portions of flavorful seafood plus a comparatively light amount of batter is a winning combination. Highly recommended.
We’ve also done the House-made Hummus Fries with Citrus Chipotle and Preserved Lemon sauces many, many times.
This dish is a sore subject for me. These hummus fries debuted at one of the EPCOT festivals about 5 years ago, and were twice the size and half the price. No joke. They were an instant smash success because they taste great and offered great value for money at the time. Even though I still enjoy them–the texture and refreshing zest make the dish a winner–I can’t get over the value now versus then. Without this “burden of knowledge,” I’d probably just order and love the current version.
To conclude the current meal, we ordered the Dessert Platter consisting of assorted Moroccan pastries.
This selection changes seasonally, or perhaps more frequently. The Karithopita (Greek walnut cake) is the staple, but the other two vary depending at the pastry chef’s whim.
The Greek walnut cake was absolutely fantastic, a cinnamony and syrupy dense dessert that was sweet but not overpoweringly so. Like so many Moroccan pastries, it offered incredible range and nuance thanks to the spices used. The almond cookie was dry-but-good, and grew on me with each bite. The Kataifi roll was another fantastic dessert, with a similar among of textural and flavor range as the walnut cake (and totally different flavors).
The dessert platter is really good and highly recommended. Even with the only okay cookie, we absolutely loved this and would eagerly order it again just to try a different set of pastries.
All in all, a great ending to a great meal. The tapas we ordered cost us only a little more than dining at a counter service restaurant, and probably were about equal in price to grazing around festival booths in World Showcase–but with everything delivered to our table rather than standing in a bunch of separate lines.
As for whether Spice Road Table is worth the money as a Candlelight Processional dining package, that really depends upon how much you value your time. Given that all of the Advance Dining Reservations for Candlelight Processional dining packages booked up within minutes of being released, this is really your only option other than Regal Eagle Smokehouse.
If you want the certainty of seats for Candlelight Processional and don’t have any desire to wait in the standby line, doing the Spice Road Table Candlelight Processional dining package could be a good idea. You’ll also likely end up with a better view than via standby, unless you line up well in advance. (If you’re a tourist, your vacation time is too valuable to do that. Camping out in standby is largely a local’s game.)
While you still might be able to score an ADR for the Candlelight Processional elsewhere, you’ll be reliant on cancellations or more capacity being added; Spice Road Table and Regal Eagle Smokehouse are the only two same-day Candlelight Processional dining package restaurants. Of course, since you can only do these day-of, you can always keep trying for Advance Dining Reservations until the very last minute. (As always, we’d recommend checking ADRs late at night the day before.)
For our part, we were shut out of the Candlelight Processional dining package ADR sweepstakes. I’m still holding out hope for a cancellation, but failing that, we will probably do the same-day dining package–it really depends on how bad lines are for the 8:30 pm performances on weeknights. If we do the same-day package, we’ll choose Spice Road Table over Regal Eagle.
Just keep in mind that you’re paying a significant premium as compared to the regular menu at Spice Road Table. Honestly, though, the same could be said about literally every restaurant that offers the Candlelight Processional dining package–and the rest sold like hotcakes.
The cost of the Candlelight Processional dining package at Spice Road Table is $52 per person (the photo above is from last year, hence the lower price displayed). That’s for 2 small plates, a non-alcoholic drink, dessert platter, and guaranteed seating. The minimum out of pocket value of the food is $28; the maximum value is $45.
Ultimately, whether it’s worth it to pay a premium of $7 to $24 per person for the guaranteed Candlelight Processional seating is a personal question. The consensus among Walt Disney World vacation planners is clearly that these packages are worth it, but we’d contend that FOMO drives way too much of that.
Our meal at Spice Road Table–for both of us–cost under $50 and we left reasonably full, but not stuff. I could easily see doing a large lunch here and spending $40 per person. That seems like a reasonable amount to spend at Spice Road Table. Our more measured, FOMO-free perspective is that Candlelight Processional dining packages are worth a $10 to $15 per person premium. To each their own on that, though.
What we can conclusively say is that Spice Road Table has good cuisine and is a worthwhile dining option amidst the sea of solid cuisine in World Showcase. It’s not the best restaurant or even as fun as grazing EPCOT International Festival of the Holidays booths, but it’s a nice, relaxing experience on the water with tasty and inventive-but-approachable food. We can’t give a definitive answer as to whether the Candlelight Processional dining package is worth the money, but hopefully we’ve given you the information necessary to draw the conclusion for yourself!
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Have you dined at Spice Road Table since Walt Disney World took control and restored the tapas menu? What did you think of the meal? Do you think Spice Road Table is “worth it” as a same-day option for the Candlelight Processional dining package? Anything you ordered that you particularly liked or disliked? Where do you think Spice Road Table ranks among the restaurants that are currently open at Epcot? Any questions we can help you answer? Hearing your feedback–even when you disagree with us–is both interesting to us and helpful to other readers, so please share your thoughts below in the comments!