Coral Reef in Epcot has been one of our go to restaurants for years. They have had a vegan option on their menu pretty consistently for over 5 years. The irony of having a vegan option at a restaurant inside of an aquarium isn’t lost on us.
The last time we ate here we didn’t know that the menu would be changing soon after. About a week after our meal the menu changed and they added a vegan appetizer, entree, and dessert to their menu! We heard mixed reviews of the meal so we had put it on the back burner for a while.
We finally decided to try it the other day while making plans to go to Epcot. I was able to get an early dinner reservation for the three of us. Once seated we alerted the server of our sons peanut allergy and our vegan diet (even though they have vegan options on the menu I always make sure to mention it as this restaurant and many others because they serve bread and butter). We asked to speak with a chef to figure out something for our son too.
When speaking with the chef we ordered Finn a kids pasta with marinara (he said they don’t often keep that there but he could make one too), and some broccoli. I asked about the rolls and was told they still have the gluten free vegan rolls, but are looking into switching to Miyoko brand rolls instead.
Since they have a vegan appetizer now we ordered one to share. The Mushroom (Lobster-Style) Salad is vegan as is on the menu. It looked like it would be good.
The Mushroom Salad was just, odd. I have never had seafood salad before, but I know it is typically mayo based, as this was too. The mayo was fine, but the salad was super cold. The textures were just weird throughout. It was a layered salad of hearts of palm, mushrooms, tomatoes, and avocado. I struggled to eat this due to the lack of flavor and textures just all being very mushy. I would skip this personally.
For the entree, we both got the Grilled Garden Vegetable Skewer. The dish is made up of a vegetable skewer (surprising right?), eggplant salad, Impossible “kefta”, and rice with lentils.
The dish looked and smelled great. Unfortunately the only good parts were the rice and lentils and the sauce on the vegetable skewer. The vegetables weren’t cooked.
The skewer had eggplant, zucchini, peppers, and onion. The eggplant on the skewer was hard and white, the zucchini wasn’t cooked all the way, but that was easier to manage not fully cooked. The asparagus on the plate was only partially cooked as well.
The kefta balls were weird. First off you only get the tiniest ball which has been cut in half. The balls themselves just tasted like basil and were super mushy. I had hopes that they would be similar to the ones on the Felucian Garden Spread at Docking Bay 7, but they were not even close.
The eggplant salad was not something I enjoyed. I love eggplant and this was not a win for me. It was super tangy and cold as well. We’re not sure what it was supposed to go with, as it was just on it’s own on some lettuce.
Really the rice and lentils with the sauce was the best part. Just eating that and the peppers was good, but the whole dish was a huge letdown for us.
Last we got the vegan dessert, Baileys Almond and Jack Daniel’s Mousse. This was the best part of the meal. The mousse was very creamy, it was on top of a thin cake layer. The chocolate ganache was very thick and flavorful. The dessert was good, but nothing I would run back to get. It does have alcohol in it, but you can not taste it at all.
This was a huge bummer for us. We always loved this restaurant but we won’t be returning anytime soon for this option again. I applaud Coral Reef for their innovation each year with the vegan options, I just don’t think it was executed very well.
Review from September 2019.