Sapphire Review: Epcot Holidays Festival
World Showcase’s Morocco pavilion is our next stop at 2019’s Epcot Festival of the Holidays for the Sapphire booth. In this review, we’ll share photos of the snacks and desserts on the menu, and offer our food reviews & tasting notes of Moroccan holiday favorites.
When it comes to Walt Disney World dining, few places are as underrated as Morocco. I know we previously said something similar with China, but the difference there is China is good food with a poor reputation. By contrast, Morocco has restaurants offering largely excellent cuisine with a “where’s that?” reputation.
Tangierine Cafe is the best counter service restaurant in World Showcase…that also happens to have the shortest lines. Spice Road Table is a gem hiding in plain sight. Restaurant Marrakesh offers some of the best cuisine and lunch specials in Epcot, and is so unpopular (in part due to its tucked away location) that there’s a greeter standing in the front of the Morocco Pavilion. Suffice to say, if you’ve been sleeping on the Morocco pavilion’s dining options, you need to correct that ASAP.
Morocco festival food has always been a different story. Some years, the offerings at Epcot’s Food & Wine Festival have been fantastic. Other years, things have been a bit more dicey, with some good and bad. (That was the case this year.) Always fans of Moroccan cuisine, we were eager to give the new Epcot International Festival of the Holidays items at the Sapphire booth a shot.
Here’s what’s on the food menu at the Sapphire Holiday Kitchen:
- Grilled Lamb Kefta Kebab with Whole Wheat Pita, Cucumber, Olives, Tomatoes, Mint Yogurt Sauce and Harissa-cilantro Dressing
- Confit of Chermoula Chicken Drum with Cinnamon Granny Smith Apple, Toasted Almonds, Brussels Sprouts and Pinot Noir Glaze
- “Sfenj” — Warm Beignets with Cream, Cinnamon Sugar, Toasted Almonds and Chocolate Sauce
Now our photos and reviews of each item…
Grilled Lamb Kefta Kebab – This kebab consists of spicy lamb with cucumber, olives, tomatoes, mint yogurt sauce and harissa-cilantro dressing served on a whole wheat pita. The portion of lamb is solid and perfectly prepared with a light spiciness and great flavor. The refreshing flavors of the vegetables and mint dressing contrast nicely with the slight kick of the harissa-cilantro dressing, making this a filling dish that isn’t exactly a heavy one.
It’s an easy winner if you’re on the Disney Dining Plan and have a snack credit to burn. If you’re paying out of pocket, the $8 price makes it a bit less of a slam dunk, especially with Tangierine Cafe offering very good value (comparatively speaking).
Confit of Chermoula Chicken Drum – This is a really interesting dish thanks to the cinnamon Granny Smith apple, toasted almonds, brussels sprouts, and a pinot noir glaze that all liven up relatively ordinary (but tasty) chicken.
In terms of our recommendation, the story is pretty much the same here as with the kebab. This item is also $8, making it a no-brainer on the Disney Dining Plan but a ‘maybe’ if paying out of pocket. For what it’s worth, we think both are delicious, but this is the more inventive item without an analogue (to our knowledge) offering every day at the Morocco pavilion.
Sfenj – These ‘warm beignets’ are Morrocan donuts, and they are spectacular. Addictively good, in fact.
The portion is a bit on the small side as compared to other desserts at the Epcot International Festival of the Holidays, but the second you bit into the warm, creamy center of one of these things, you won’t help but think to yourself that it was all worth it. These are a must-buy.
Here’s Sapphire‘s drink menu:
- Casa Beer
- Kasbah Prestige Red Wine
- The Andalusian “Poinsettia” Cocktail: Sparking Wine, Orange Liqueur and Cranberry Juice topped with Orange Blossom Water
- Walnut Spiced Coffee with Walnut Liqueur and topped with Cinnamon and Whipped Cream
Overall, Sapphire does surprisingly well. It’s not the best booth at the Epcot International Festival of the Holidays, but it’s near the top. We enjoyed everything we tried, and felt the portions were fair given the ambitiousness of the dishes. The pricing on both savory items “feels” about $1 too high, but given the quality, this is a minor quibble. At an event where most of the best items we had tried (up until this point) were straightforward comfort foods, Sapphire offered an excellent change of pace. Most importantly, it all tasted great.
Check out our Food Guide to the Epcot International Festival of the Holidays if you want to see and read more about every Holiday Marketplace this year, what to eat & avoid, and other tips for making the most of the culinary side of the event. As this event isn’t just about the cuisine, you’ll also want to read our full Epcot International Festival of the Holidays Tips & Tricks post for info about the non-culinary side of the festivities. That covers Candlelight Processional, the Illuminations: Peace on Earth tag, Holiday Storytellers, and 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!
What do you think of Morocco’s Sapphire Holiday Kitchen? Have you tried any of the food items or drinks at this booth? What did you think of them? Are you as enamored with the Sfenj as we are? 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!
Try this booth/area, delicious! Ever since the trip when our son was 12yo & enjoyed tasting everything Morocco had to offer, we always stop for booths, ADRs, platters or sliders. He actually bought a Fez and wore it the rest of that trip. The belly dancer is fun but his focus was on the fresh and complex flavors.
We even tried our local Marrakesh in NJ, similar menu but more cozy & lively than Disney’s. We recommend them all.