Rotunda Bistro Review & Menu: 2021 Epcot Food & Wine Festival
Rotunda Bistro is a Global Marketplace in World Showcase during the 2021 Epcot International Food & Wine Festival at Walt Disney World. In this Global Marketplace review, we’ll look at the menu prices, share food photos, and offer thoughts on what is—and is not—worth your money.
This food booth is literally located under the rotunda inside the American Adventure. I’m not quite sure how I feel about that, and have mixed feelings. The recovering EPCOT Center purist part of me feels like this crosses a line, and is an exercise in crass commercialism that desecrates hallowed grounds. Akin to setting up a stand hawking Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter DVDs at the Lincoln Memorial.
The other part of me realizes that’s hyperbolic nonsense. This is Walt Disney World, not Washington DC. The whole place is arguably the world’s biggest exercise in commercialism, just meticulously designed and carefully disguised to suggest otherwise.
Dropping the cynicism, the practical side of me also realizes that the Epcot Food & Wine Festival needs venues that offer a respite for the sun, heat, and/or rain, as the case may be (afternoon showers for us!). Rotunda Bistro is a decent solution to that and is something more visitors to the park will utilize.
The downright optimistic side of me also thinks that maybe Rotunda Bistro gets some guests in the door who would otherwise never set foot in American Adventure. A few of those then likely end up impulsively watching the iconic attraction or browsing the galleries and learning something.
Flip-flopping back the other direction, food and beverage encroaching into attraction space sets a concerning precedent, especially in a park that is already light on attractions, has cut entertainment, and already has a reputation for being a bar and food court that charges admission. Like I said, very mixed feelings about this one.
Regardless of how anyone might feel about it, the Rotunda Bistro exists.
Venues like this and Appleseed Orchard will likely continue for the next few years until Disney builds a new festival center or repurposes another location into one. (Speaking of which, we haven’t heard anything about the Play Pavilion in a while…)
Here’s the food menu for the Rotunda Bistro Global Marketplace:
- Chilled Smoked Shrimp Salad (gluten/wheat-friendly)
- Wild Mushroom and Truffle Tart with Gruyère and Crème FraÃ®che
- Chilled Crab and Avocado Parfait with Caviar (gluten/wheat-friendly)
Rotunda Bistro Beverage:
- Domaine Carneros Cuvée Brut Rosé, California
Now our photos and reviews of each item from this Global Marketplace at the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival…
Chilled Smoked Shrimp Salad ($6.25) – Seafood salads remind me of simpler times. I remember my grandma clipping recipes out of Good Housekeeping and preparing them alongside fruitcakes and Jello molded by Tupperware. It’s probably just me, but I view them as a trendy thing a couple decades ago, and I’d be fine with them staying there.
Now that I’ve knocked it, I’ll admit to really liking this. The salad was mostly a generous portion of quality shrimp with a subtly smoked and refreshing flavor. There was enough of the creamy mayo/mustard dressing for flavor, but the shrimp weren’t bathed in it, either. For what it is, very good.
Wild Mushroom and Truffle Tart with Gruyère and Crème FraÃ®che ($5) – Everything about this dish is squarely in my wheelhouse. I love mushrooms, truffles, cheese, and crème fraÃ®che.
This is the perfect marriage of all of those things, all atop a flaky and freshly made pastry. My only minor quibble would be that the truffle flavor was barely present, but that’s hardly a surprise given the low price point. Otherwise, a fantastic dish with a satisfying rich, earthy flavor. Highly recommended.
Chilled Crab and Avocado Parfait with Caviar ($6.50) – While refreshing, this dish didn’t do much for me. I don’t want to say it’s downright bad, as I think it’s more a matter of personal taste. All of the flavors here were relatively mild and just sort of fell flat. Ditto the texture.
It just all came across as listless, to the point that it was almost a chore to finish. It probably didn’t help that I had just eaten the above wild mushroom tart before this, which had a deep flavor and variety of textures. Again, I think my take on this might just come down to personal preferences (although Sarah also did not care for it), so I’ll refrain from making an up/down recommendation.
Ultimately, the Rotunda Bistro as a concept is still something about which I have mixed feelings…and that likewise extends to the dishes being served inside this “booth” at the American Adventure. What I’d love to see is a Global Marketplace representing America that offers a deep menu with options from several regions of the United States. Merging the best items from Hops & Barley with this would be a start.
Or Walt Disney World could just bring back the pumpkin mousse and I’d never say another bad word about these booths. (As it was a short-lived dessert that’s been gone for almost a decade, I’m guessing the vast majority of you never tried it and don’t even know what I’m referencing, but it was glorious.) Heck, Disney could put the pumpkin mousse booth inside the actual theater for American Adventure and I wouldn’t complain!
Check out our Global Marketplace Booth Menus & Photos for the 2021 Epcot Food & Wine Festival Booth Menus post if you want to see and read more about every menu this year! You’ll also want to read our full 2021 Epcot International Food & Wine Festival Guide before you go to get an idea of what to do, strategy for the festival (yes, you will need a strategy), and much more!
Planning a Walt Disney World trip? Learn about hotels on our Walt Disney World Hotels Reviews page. For where to eat, read our Walt Disney World Restaurant Reviews. To save money on tickets or determine which type to buy, read our Tips for Saving Money on Walt Disney World Tickets post. Our What to Pack for Disney Trips post takes a unique look at clever items to take. For what to do and when to do it, our Walt Disney World Ride Guides will help. For comprehensive advice, the best place to start is our Walt Disney World Trip Planning Guide for everything you need to know!
How do you feel about a Global Marketplace inside the American Adventure’s lobby? If you’ve tried any of the cuisine at the Rotunda Bistro booth, what did you think? Portion-size or quality-wise, did you have better or worse luck than us with what you ordered? Have you tried any of the drinks at this Global Marketplace? What was or was not worth the money? Do you agree or disagree with our food reviews? 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!
Agree with Drew that the review writing keeps me coming back. I’m not planning to go to F&W, but reading the reviews anyway.
Yes to bringing back the pumpkin mousse! I could eat it year-round. Who do I have to talk to to get it on the Festival of the Flower and Wine Holiday Festival menus?
I had the same initial reaction to seeing that space utilized in that way. That space is reserved for the glorious sounds of the Voices of Liberty and nothing else! On the other hand, that truffle thing looks really good……Yes, Disney is missing a huge opportunity to showcase regional foods. Did you know every state has an official pie? So why don’t we have an “American as Apple Pie Shoppe” with a rotating menu of pies from every state? Just my $.02
Oh man. Literally cringed when I saw the black tables set against the beautiful rotunda.
Oh, man, I love Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter.
I share your unease, Tom, about the “Rotunda Bistro.” I’ve attended a wedding reception there, which was classy. A food court is not classy.
Yes, bring back the pumpkin mousse! Unfortunately, I know it would no longer be $1.50.
Even back in 2011-2012, I could not believe it was so cheap. I still suspect that’s part of the reason why it disappeared–because Disney wanted to push more expensive items. So many people loved it–what other reason could there be?
I don’t care if they charge $4.50 for it. I’d happily pay that for the pumpkin mousse!
VoL are performing in the bandshell out front.
“Akin to setting up a stand hawking Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter DVDs at the Lincoln Memorial.”
So good! I must admit I don’t usually love the Food & Wine booth reviews so much. This year you have me reading them for these laughs. Nice work.
Glad you’re enjoying them. I’ve been putting more effort into them this year.
Normally, I dread doing these because there are so many all at once, but this year, I decided in advance to go at my own pace and came up with a schedule for doing them so that it wasn’t overwhelming. It also really helps that Walt Disney World is doing the festival in two phases. I know that’s disappointing to a lot of people, but it’s very relieving as a reviewer!
I too feel a little iffy about turning the rotunda into a fast food place and none of the offerings seem to be particularly from the US. But I am happy the theatre remains intact and I wish that just once they would update a ride without destroying it. The movie needs a bit of updating which could be done without messing with the beautiful song. I am by no means patriotic but this particular show makes me wish we were what we should be.
I’m concerned that the Voices of Liberty won’t return if they make the rotunda a snack center. That makes me sad. I’m looking forward to enjoying the food you liked, but I would like it more served in a different location…