Things in the parks are starting to feel normal for now, obviously still very different, but I guess we’re just getting used to it. With all the big changes we’ve seen a change with dining styles as well. With the current situation with COVID there are no buffets open at Walt Disney World. This means that many of the previous buffets have changed or aren’t open at all. We recently went to go check out one of our all time favorites to see how this change impacted their vegan offerings.
Biergarten Restaurant in Epcot has been one of my favorites for, well, forever. It was a staple on many of my childhood trips and I was hesitant to try it the first time as a vegan, but was impressed with the options they had. Since then we’ve eaten there a few times and have always had amazing meals. Our last time there was around Christmas in 2018 and the chef made us a whole extra plate of Gardein Fishless Fillets, so I had high hopes going into our meal this evening.
Previously Biergarten was an all you can eat buffet featuring German style seating (meaning you sat with other people to fill the 8 person table), and had live music with people dancing near the stage. This trip was a little different. Notable differences were that you no long sit with strangers (fellow introverts rejoice!), they offer you family style food rather than the buffet, the band still plays at certain times, but no one is dancing, the tables were very spaced out, and more importantly, much of the staff was not German.
When we were seated and our server arrived, I mentioned that we needed to speak with a chef, which he knew due to the allergy notice for our son. He took our drink orders then went to get a chef for us. Soon after the chef arrived and told us which buffet items are vegan as is and that he could make us something with Gardein Fishless Fillets and Beefless Tips. He also noted that they have Earth Balance vegan butter for the rolls. Since the food is served family style, you can ask for more food from the buffet (that the server has to get you) at any time.
After the chef left we received our first platter of the two vegan salads offered on the “buffet” and a bowl of pretzel rolls. We were given the Tomato and Cucumber Salad and Beet Salad.
In the past the tomato salad was our favorite thing here, they have now changed it a bit, but it is still a great appetizer. It’s basically just a bunch of cucumber, onion, and grape tomatoes with a vinegar style dressing. It is very light and refreshing. If you don’t like vinegary foods, you probably won’t care for Biergarten.
The beets were great. I don’t know why they call it a salad as it seemed to just be beets, but regardless they were delicious and we destroyed the platter. They were sliced about 1/4″ and were full of flavor.
Our pretzel rolls were delicious as always. We ended up asking for mustard for them out of personal preference. We also asked for a second bowl of them (they were all our son was eating) and the second bowl rolls were so warm and fresh.
Our main entree platter arrived once we said we were done with the appetizers. We were given a massive platter full of tasty looking food. On the platter was Gardein Fishless Fillets, Sauerkraut, Roasted Potatoes, Green Beans, and a Beefless Tips entree with a sauce, onions and grape tomatoes.
The Fishless Fillets were fine. They weren’t crispy like at Rose & Crown in the UK pavilion, but they were cooked like I cook them at home, aka mushy breading.
In a surprising turn of events, they were really good with the sauerkraut. Corey was even enjoying his with mustard and kraut, I would have never put those items together but now I would 100% do that again. Their kraut is always great warmed perfectly, so I was happy to have something to eat with the kraut.
The potatoes were a hit as usual. They’re always well seasoned and cooked just right. They are loaded with onions too which are enjoyable together. If we were to ask for more food on this platter, this would be it.
The green beans were our least favorite part of the meal. They are generally hit or miss but ours were not seasoned at all and a little undercooked for our liking.
The Beefless tips were interesting. They didn’t have a lot of flavor at first until I realized that the sauce the chef had cooked it in had all slipped down to the base. Once I ate some of that it really brought it to life. I have no idea what this dish was trying to be, even with growing up in a German area. Either way, it was good and I would absolutely eat it again.
Dessert here for many years has been lame. There is really no other way to say it. Biergarten is one of the original restaurants to carry anything Enjoy Life. Many many years ago we were given just some Enjoy Life chocolate bars for dessert, then eventually some cookies. This time, and last time we went in 2018, we were given the same dessert; a Berry Compote and Enjoy Life Chocolate Cookies.
The compote is fine but very, very sweet. It is definitely missing something to balance it, which is whatever isn’t vegan to actually go with this. The cookies are fine, but you can get those at any grocery store. I do love throwing them in my bag for later snacks though.
During our dinner we got to enjoy the live band. Almost everyone in the restaurant was giving them their full attention too. It was nice to have some live entertainment, it made it really feel like Epcot. Our meal was pretty pricey, adults were $46 each and children under 9 are $25. We absolutely loved our meal and missed the atmosphere of this restaurant. We will be back again, maybe to see it decorated for Christmas again!
Review from September 2020