Spice Road Table Review

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Spice Road Table is a new tapas restaurant in Epcot at Walt Disney World. It’s located in the Morocco pavilion in the World Showcase, and offers waterfront views in an open area or indoor eating area. Technically table service, Spice Road Table has a Mediterranean menu and is priced between Tangierine Cafe and Restaurant Marrakesh in Morocco, skewing much closer towards Restaurant Marrakesh. Spice Road Table accepts neither the Disney Dining Plan nor Tables in Wonderland at present, but we anticipate it accepting Tables in Wonderland at a later date.

Spice Road Table continues a recent trend in the expansion of World Showcase dining options. There’s not necessarily anything wrong with this, but when the only additions to World Showcase in recent years are La Cava del Tequila (2009), Via Napolia (2010), La Hacienda (2010), Tutto Gusto (2012), Les Halles Boulangerie and L’Artisan des Glaces (2013), with no substantive attraction additions or overhauls (excluding minor exhibits and games) since El Rio Del Tiempo became Gran Fiesta Tour Starring the Three Caballeros in 2007, it’s a little troubling. This is especially true when the last bona fide new attraction added to World Showcase was Maelstrom in 1988. That’s over 25 years ago. We love some of these new dining options–La Cava del Tequila and Via Napoli are great–but the idea of paying admission to a theme park for the “privilege” of then paying more money for its new focus, dining, is frustrating. If the dining additions were coming step-in-step with attraction additions and plussings, we would applaud these new dining choices.

But we digress; Disney’s focus of increasing upcharge opportunities at Epcot instead of experiences included in theme park admission doesn’t bear on the quality of Spice Road Table itself. While it eats up more prime World Showcase lagoon waterfront space, it’s actually replacing a hodgepodge of “temporary” kiosks and looks far nicer than these kiosks. So at least there’s that small victory.

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To its credit, Spice Road Table actually looks fairly nice for such a simple and small location. There are a number of nice details throughout the restaurant, my favorite of which is the light fixture in the lobby/bar area. Beyond the fixtures, tables, and tile-work, there really isn’t much to see. The restaurant has a very small footprint, and takes a utilitarian approach, with very little wasted space. This isn’t a knock at it, nor is it praise. It looks nice for what it is, which is a small, mostly open-air restaurant. At the very least, it looks much better than what it replaced.

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For those unfamiliar with tapas restaurants, Spice Road Table offers small portions that are meant for sharing. The idea is that you order several dishes and have a bite or two of each, sharing them among your party. Think Food & Wine Festival sizing, except in a permanent table service location.

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Those familiar with Epcot’s Food & Wine Festival will find familiar pricing at Spice Road Table. In fact, the prices are even more expensive! I suppose that you pay a premium for the table service experience?

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Going into the meal, I was prepared for these high prices and small portion sizes for the tapas thanks to feedback from others, so I avoided ordering the single item dishes. Instead, I ordered the Mogador Sampler (consisting of the Mussels Tagine, Salted Cod Croquettes, and Fried Calamari) and the Tingis Sampler (consisting of a Lamb Slider, Harissa Chicken Roll, and Merguez Sausage), which were $16 each. The portions on these are smaller than the individual dishes, but not by a whole lot.

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Let’s start with the Mogador Sampler. The Salted Cod Croquettes were mediocre, definitely doing too much justice to the “salt” in their name. The flavor was on the bland side, with the salt and thick breading overpowering the cod.

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The Mussels Tagine was so-so. The mussels here were pretty good and I have to give Spice Road Table credit here for trying something a little less conventional and tasting a little more nuanced and slightly adventurous, but the end result just didn’t come together too well. Your mileage may vary on this one–I wouldn’t go as far as recommending it, but I wouldn’t recommend avoiding it, either. I think this certainly has potential to be really good.

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The Fried Calamari was the best of the three items in this sampler, but I’m a sucker for calamari. To me, even the worst calamari is still pretty good. In this case, the calamari here actually was pretty good, with light breading and thick, tender rings of meat. Out of everything I tried, this was the clear winner.

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Moving on the Tingis Sampler, I first trip the Lamb Slider here. I have a soft spot for sliders, and this one was fairly good. The Tzatziki sauce and bun were both perfect, but the lamb meat itself left a little something to be desired. It wasn’t downright bland, but definitely could have used more seasoning if they were going for an interesting or flavorful slider. As it stands, it was still pretty good.

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The Merguez Sausage was really disappointing. It was overly dried and oddly spiced. It was also quite small, but I can’t really complain about that given the taste. I’m hoping that mine was just over-cured and incorrectly spiced, as it seemed like a good item in theory.

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The Harissa Chicken Roll was a good size, but just as uninspired. It tasted like a microwaved egg roll, but with chicken. Its Harissa Ketchup was actually fairly decent (it gave a kick to the dish that the chicken roll wholly lacked).

I was still hungry after eating these two samplers, but I was unimpressed by Spice Road Table at that point, so I decided to cut my losses and skip dessert. For my meal, drink, and tip, the total was over $40. Relative to a full meal at a table service restaurant in World Showcase that may not seem like a lot, but this was not table service quality, nor was I full at the end of the meal (add on another ~$10 for dessert snacks I later had elsewhere).

On the plus side, likely due to it not accepting Tables in Wonderland (I’m sure that will soon change if the restaurant doesn’t become more popular) or the Disney Dining Plan, there were only a few other guests in the restaurant during my meal, and the service was spectacular. Also to its credit, they have unique napkins (a nice detail that has gone missing from other Walt Disney World restaurants in recent years), but you know that if you’re praising napkins in a review, you’re really grasping at straws for things to praise.

Overall, Spice Road Table is not a place to which I’ll be returning anytime soon, nor would I recommend anyone else try it unless you are really searching for new places to eat in World Showcase. In its defense, it seems that others have liked it more than I did. Plus, it seems like many of the items tried had the right idea, but didn’t execute it well, or just missed the mark some way or another. Maybe with a bit of tweaking and over time, Spice Road Table will prove to be a better option than it is at present? However, we don’t review based on potential, but on actuality, and right now, Spice Road Table leaves a lot to be desired. For a restaurant that has “spice” in the name (and in its backstory/mission statement), the food is surprisingly bland and uninspired. Even the dishes that are good (Lamb Slider & Fried Calamari) are pretty commonplace fare, which is also disappointing. Add to that high prices for small portions, and Spice Road Table is a real disappoint. About the only situation I can see recommending it is if you must have a waterside table for viewing Illuminations, and you only want to have Mediterranean food. Anyone else who is in the mood for a light, hearty Mediterranean should just split a dish at Tangierine Cafe. It’s cheaper and better.

Overall Score 6/10

To read other Disney restaurant reviews, organized by location, check out our Disney Dining Reviews Index.

Your Thoughts…

Have you tried Spice Road Table? Did you enjoy it? If so, what did you try? Thinking of giving it a try? Please share your thoughts and questions about Spice Road Table in the comments!

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14 Responses to “Spice Road Table Review”

  1. Jaleen says:

    I’ve always been afraid to eat food from the Morocco pavilion. I usually play it safe. Should I take the chance?

    • Tom Bricker says:

      Depends upon your tastes. I don’t really think anything in World Showcase is necessarily adventurous (it’s all varying degrees of Americanized food), but on the full spectrum, Morocco is probably the most unfamiliar to picky eaters.

  2. Jenn Lissak says:

    Wow – that’s disappointing! Thanks for the brutally honest review. I’ve been excited for this place since it was first announced… guess I hope it will get better with time!

  3. James R says:

    Bummer. Really like Marakesh, was pretty psyched about this place. Here’s hoping they right the ship at some point.

    How do you think it would be as a place to grab a cocktail and watch Illuminations?

    • Tom Bricker says:

      Absolutely would be a good spot for grabbing a drink (and maybe even a light appetizer) and watching Illuminations. It doesn’t seem that busy at any time of the day from what we saw.

  4. Don Livingston says:

    I think a 6 is generous. This is the worst of the recent places that have opened during this surge in dining. The cocktails we had were not too exciting either. This is a pass in the future for me. On the other hand that pic of the Spice Road sign is stellar. What lens did use for that? And how do you feel about the recent lounge/dining options that have come to World Showcase? That bakery in France is a favorite of mine!

    • Tom Bricker says:

      It seems like you’re the first person who agrees with me! I was beginning to think I’m crazy.

      The sign photo was taken with the Sigma 35mm f/1.4, at f/1.4, which is why it has a somewhat interesting look (and a bit of natural vignette).

      Besides this and the stuff in Mexico, we’re actually big fans of all the additions. They’ve all been nicely done from a visual perspective, and most have great food. Maybe I just had bad luck with Spice Road Table? I’m not really sure.

  5. Mi Mi says:

    Going in a couple of weeks…to escape the Siberia that is currently Colorado!
    Thanks for the heads up…would’ve tried, but will wait for menu evolution.

    • Tom Bricker says:

      Other reviewers and folks on Facebook seem to (strongly) disagree with me, so maybe you should give it a shot, anyway. Just don’t say you weren’t warned…

  6. Tommy says:

    It seems like the Spice Road has a polarizing effect on reviewers. In theory it sounds like a great place. It appears to be visually interesting. However, I’m a bit disappointed with the menu. All the items on the menu look good to me but it sounds like they can be poorly executed. I find it disappointing because it seems heavy on the “Mediterranean” and rather light on the “Moroccan” (and yes, there is a difference!)

    I recently went to Morocco on vacation. I spent two weeks there before hopping over to Israel. While in Morocco I traveled all over the country, eating as much of the local food as possible, especially regional dishes. I ate a lot of different dishes and ingredients, especially spices, and never once had a bad meal. I even at camel a few times and it was phenomenal!

    My concern is that when I look at the menu for Spiced Road I see a very iffy representation of Moroccan cuisine. My other concern is that you found the food bland, which is entirely not Moroccan. I never encountered Salted Cod Croquettes or Fried Calamari there. Literally the only deep fried items I found in Morocco were French fries at Western themed restaurants.

    The cocktail look… average, boring. Nothing special, no interesting ingredients. However, I’m excited for the Moroccan wine and beer. I loved the local wines in Morocco and drank a fair share of Casablanca beer. I also like the obvious Spanish influence on Spice Road. The Moroccans and the Spanish share a very close relationship and Spanish influence is everywhere.

    BTW, the beautiful, dramatic lanterns hanging near the bar cost about as much as a car. No joke. I visited quite a few lantern makers in Marrakech and Fes to ask about buying one. A real one (not a cheap tourist piece of junk)costs quite a bit of money. A small table lamp could cost around $1,000. A large piece like the one at Spice Road would be at least several thousand. Assuming Disney didn’t cheap out and purchased real, handcrafted lanterns, the four lanterns must have cost over $10,000.

  7. Joey says:

    Tom, that is an interesting take on the World Showcase as a whole, popping up all these new restaurants & dining options but not adding in new attractions. Hard to believe the last new attraction was 25 years ago with the Norway ride. I wonder if WDW just doesn’t find the World Showcase to be the place for rides/shows/etc…with the exception of the couple you mentioned.

    • Tom Bricker says:

      I don’t think it’s that they view it as not a place for shows so much as they see the success of existing dining options and want to capitalize on that success even further. From a short-sighted business perspective, it makes sense–restaurants have an additional cost for guests, attractions do not.

      In the long-term view, I think the strategy will come back to bite them. How many first-time guests do you think leave World Showcase thinking, “that’s it?” with regard to rides. Those first time guests are less likely to become repeat guests because of that.

  8. Maureen says:

    I really appreciate your honest comments. This is disappointing but not surprising, as you mentioned World Showcase is largely Americanized and not truly authentic.

  9. Amy says:

    Love Morocco pavilion, Orange Tangerine is delicious. Been to Epcot 3 times eat there every time.

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