Kicking off our booth-by-booth reviews and menu info for the 2019 Epcot International Food & Wine Festival booths, we begin with Coastal Eats. As with all of the Next Eats marketplaces, this is located in Future World somewhat near Journey into Imagination and the Land pavilions, behind the former Innoventions construction zone.
Before we get to the meat of the review, I want to share that my plan with the Epcot Food & Wine Festival Global Marketplaces is to start with the booths that are new or we’ve missed in the past, that interest me the most, are really good or really bad, and do as many of those as possible before I start to lose steam and you all start to lose interest.
As much as I’d like to promise a review of every single Global Marketplace, I know that’s unlikely to happen. I’m mentioning this up front in case there’s a booth of particular reader interest–let me know. If there are some consensus picks, I’ll absolutely make a point of reviewing those booths. I have a 7+ hour playlist of classic EPCOT Center jams (okay, more like relaxing BGMs) lined up, am fully caffeinated, and ready to churn out as many Global Marketplace reviews as possible today…
Walt Disney World touts Coastal Eats as being a booth for savoring the ocean’s finest flavors along with wines grown near the Pacific coastline. (Personally, I think it’d be cool if Disney picked an actual coastal nation or even state for “the seafood booth.”) Per DisneyWorld.com’s Global Marketplace page describing the booth, “you can almost feel the sea breeze!”
Normally I give Disney’s marketing team a lot of leeway with the advertising puffery, but I’ve gotta firmly dispute that “feel the sea breeze” line. As I stood in line for roughly 20 minutes at Coastal Eats, all I could feel was the sunlight reflecting off the concrete. It felt more like a desert–with added humidity–and absolutely nothing like the coast. But I digress…
Here’s the food menu for Coastal Eats Marketplace:
Lump Crab Cake with Napa Cabbage Slaw and Avocado-Lemongrass Cream
Baked Shrimp and Scallop Scampi Dip with Sourdough Baguette
Pacifico True Striped Bass Tostada with Slaw and Fire-roasted Tomatillo Sauce
Now for our reviews of the food items at the Coastal Eats Marketplace…
Baked Shrimp and Scallop Scampi Dip with Sourdough Baguette – This is one of our favorite items at the 2019 Epcot International Food & Wine Festival. We’ve remarked in the past that Epcot always tends to do scallops well, and that’s especially true this year as these scallops are hearty in size, semi-crisp on the exterior, and tender inside. The char and light smokiness are just perfect.
However, what takes this item to the next level is the rich shrimp scampi dip, which is oozing with butter, garlic, herbs, shrimp, and cheesy goodness. The “sourdough” is more like white bread, and nothing remotely special, but it doesn’t need to be since the dip is so good.
This ends up being like two excellent items in one, which makes sense as these were two different items last year. The two things don’t really end up meshing, which I guess could be criticism, but I’m a big fan of the two-fer at a fairly modest price by Epcot Food & Wine Festival standards. Highly recommended.
Pacifico True Striped Bass Tostada with Slaw and Fire-roasted Tomatillo Sauce – Another really good offering from Coastal Eats is the Bass Tostada. The fish here is flaky, tender, and perfectly prepared.
Meanwhile, the tomatillo sauce adds a certain acidity and tang, while the slaw underneath adds a nice crunch to the dish. The toasted tortillo on its own is well seasoned and tasty, but it’s more like a plate for the fish than a singular dish. (Nice idea, though.) Recommended.
Lump Crab Cake with Napa Cabbage Slaw and Avocado-Lemongrass Cream – This one is all a matter of expectations. If you look at the under $6 price, assess how that compares to most Food & Wine items, and realize what the crab to filler ratio is likely to be, you won’t be too disappointed. If you’re expecting something on par with the ~$25 crab cakes served at the Boathouse or other Walt Disney World Signature Restaurants, you’re setting yourself up for disappointment.
We more or less like this dish. For the surprise, there’s typically a surprising amount of crab, nice texture from the slaw, and the herby, avocado cream adds some depth. In some cases, we’ve found these crab cakes to be too dry (thankfully, the cream also can help conceal that). Overall, we give this item a tepid endorsement.
This Pacific coastline inspired booth has a few alcoholic options from the region, plus Michigan. (I was born and raised in Michigan and can assure those of you who don’t own maps that it’s not along the Pacific coast.) Here are those alcoholic options:
ROCO Gravel Road Pinot Noir, Willamette Valley, Oregon
Overall, Coastal Eats again delivers one of the best booths at Epcot’s Food & Wine Festival. For each of the last several years, this has consistently been a marketplace that has delivered high-quality seafood dishes at fair (by Walt Disney World standards) prices. The execution of the dishes that contain that seafood has been spotty (see above), but it’s hard to knock the ambition level here. We tend to be of the mind that it’s worth ordering the full menu at Coastal Eats, enjoying the seafood for what it is, and having all of the accompaniments be a bonus.
What do you think of the Coastal Eats marketplace? Have you tried any of the three food items at this booth? Do you agree that the seafood here is generally top-notch? 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!