One of the best parts of a Disney vacation, for us, is the food. With so many options for dining, it’s probably the part of our trip for which we spend the most time planning. My family loves to try new dining venues and this past fall we decided that Nine Dragons Restaurant would be the target for this trip’s culinary adventure.
Located in the China Pavilion in World Showcase at Epcot®, this restaurant offers diners authentic Chinese cuisine in a comfortable atmosphere. The first thing guests will notice upon entering the restaurant is the lavishly decorated dining room. Beautifully etched glass and woodcarvings can be found throughout the restaurant and visitors are sure to notice the traditional Chinese lanterns that are suspended overhead. The restaurant is well equipped to handle parties of all sizes, which was a great since our party totaled 15. We occupied the large circle booth in the back corner of the restaurant as well as the two adjacent squared tables. It was a great arrangement since we settled all the kids at the square tables while us grown ups (and the two babies) occupied the booth. The restaurant was very clean and well maintained and our servers were very prompt in taking our drink and food orders.
The restaurant’s menu is quite diverse and guests can choose from variety of well-portioned entrees along with yummy appetizers and desserts. Since our group was so big, we were able to experience a good portion of the menu. Here are some of the dishes we found to be quite delicious.
- Spring Rolls-they are vegetarian and served with sweet/sour dipping sauce. Make sure you order extra as these tend to disappear quickly!
- Vegetable and egg fried rice—another vegetarian dish. Although this is listed as an appetizer, I ordered it as an entrée. It was more than enough to fill me up and still have leftovers!
- Fragrant Five-Spiced Fish. My 13yr old son ordered this entrée, as he is a big fish fan. He thought the fish itself was very good but thought the spices were a bit much on the top and scraped most of it off. He generally likes fish either plain or very lightly seasoned, so if you prefer fish light on the spices, you may want to choose another dish.
- Honey Sesame Chicken—My mom chose this and found it to be very good.
- Nine Dragons Fried Rice—My husband ordered this, thinking it would be a manageable portion. The dish, although very good, was huge and after eating more than his fill he still had food left in his bowl.
- Treasures of the Dragon—This was a special at the time of our visit. Diners had a choice of entree: General Tso’s Chicken Duo, Fish Sichuan, or Happy Family Duet (beef and chicken) along with Chinese Dim Sum and choice of dessert. My dad, who has a hearty appetite, found this option to be not only delicious but also very satisfying.
- Kids Meals: There seemed to be a pretty good variety of entrees for our little diners. Although I was slightly disappointed that they did not offer a vegetarian option on the kid’s menu, our waiter was happy to speak with the chef about making accommodations for our little veg-heads. The portions were good sized for the kids and the food must have been tasty, since there wasn’t a morsel of food left on those plates.
Those in our party who were using the Disney Dining Plan also ordered dessert. Guests could chose from Chinese Ginger Cake, Coconut Rice Pudding, or ice cream (strawberry red bean or caramel-ginger). The treats were mediocre but not unexpectedly so, since Chinese cuisine is not made famous by their sweet endings but rather all that comes beforehand.
Nine Dragons Restaurant was a great experience for our family. We were able to try a new restaurant and some new foods while still having the security of old familiar favorites (when all else fails, you can always order white rice, right?). The portions of the entrees were large, and even though the menu did not offer a child vegetarian option, the staff was very willing to accommodate. That is always a HUGE plus in my book! And even though we like to experience new restaurants during our vacations, we will definitely dine at Nine Dragons Restaurant again on future trips. Reservations are recommended and can be made up to 180 days in advance, so be sure to plan early since this family friendly restaurant is sure to fill quickly!