Voting for the Best Theme Park Restaurants

November 21, 2020, 1:44 PM


I am doing a series of year-end surveys to determine the winners of this year's Theme Park Insider Awards, as well as to determine which restaurants will be recommended on our theme park listing pages in 2021.

The surveys are going out in our email newsletter, which you can subscribe to here. The survey links are unique to each recipient, which is how I am controlling having just one entry per person. However, for Theme Park Insider readers who do not wish to subscribe to the newsletter for any reason, I am taking nominations here on our Discussion Forum, too.

If you are a newsletter subscriber, please follow the link in your email to nominate your favorites. That's the easiest way for me to keep track of nominated locations - and it keeps your entry anonymous. But if you're not a subscriber, you can submit your nominations by responding to this post.

We will start with Best Restaurant. Please nominate your favorite theme park restaurants, up to 20, starting with your top pick.

Thank you!

Replies (13)

November 21, 2020, 6:54 PM

Mythos ... always! I’ve never had a bad experience there with either service or food; the atmosphere is wonderful; and the fact that you can easily dine there without making reservations six month in advance is just the icing on the cake. I know that Disney has several restaurants that are probably better than Mythos (for instance, I think the restaurant inside the Mexico pavilion at Epcot is one of the most beautiful I’ve ever seen...), but the amount of planning required to visit one just kills it for me.

(That said, I DO love Yak & Yeti ....)

November 23, 2020, 11:25 AM

Le Cellier, Epcot
Rose & Crown, Epcot
Tappan Edo, Epcot
Chefs de France, Epcot
Crystal Palace, MK
Mythos, IOA
Be Our Guest, MK

Those are just off the top of my head, haven't been to enough in California or Europe to judge.

Edited: November 23, 2020, 11:55 AM

I would nominate the "Izba" buffet restaurant, in Pairi Daiza, the multiple award winning animal theme park in Belgium.
It's themed Russian-Siberian in every detail.
The location and it's architecture is bejond description, the grandest handcrafted wooden building in any theme park. Building, rooftops, interiour with the furniture and the giant chandeliers, all are crafted in authentic old Russian countryside style.
The cuisine is 100% authentic as well. Russian-Siberian.
Nothing fake in there. A total-theming experience of high level, especially value for money as well as it is aimed at being a family buffet restaurant. (Under 30€ per person, which is considerably less then similar buffet restaurant options in Disneyland Paris)

NOTE : for the people who still don't know this theme park (Pairi Daiza), it's the Belgian/European quality competitor for Disney Animal Kingdom. Ranks in my personal TOP 5 of European independent quality theme parks.

November 23, 2020, 4:49 PM

Yes — you don't need to limit yourself to restaurants in our "usual" parks. Thanks.

November 24, 2020, 9:12 PM

Sci-Fi Dine-In Theater! We always look forward to the burgers, shakes and cheesy film clips.

November 25, 2020, 6:37 AM

It's very rare for me to eat at the parks, but if I had to pick one place, it would be the Fish 'n Chip shop at Epcot. Ah yes, it's not a restaurant :), but it's the best place to eat in all of WDW

Although I have eaten at Narcoossee's at the GF, so maybe that could be my pick

November 25, 2020, 10:56 AM

I'm assuming Disney Springs and Citywalk restaurants don't count? If they don't count, I don't think I can name twenty that I've enjoyed enough to be worth being on a list. The only ones I really enjoy:

1. Le Cellier - Epcot
2. Mythos - Islands of Adventure
3. Rose and Crown - Epcot
4. Sci-Fi Dine-In - Hollywood Studios
5. Biergarten Restaurant - Epcot
6. Tutto Italia Ristorante - Epcot

November 25, 2020, 11:56 AM

1.) Polles Keuken (polles Kitchen) - Efteling
2.) Mythos - Islands of Adventure
3.) The Flaming Feather - Toverland

November 25, 2020, 5:17 PM

Just to throw in a bit of diversity here, I'm going to stick to five outside the US. (Although this would have been pretty close to my starting 5, anyway.)

1. Explorer's Club, HKDL
2. Magellan's, DisneySea
3. Ristorante Cavallino, Ferrari Land (PortAventura)
4. Roller Diner, Dreamland
5. Het Wapen van Raveleijn, Efteling

Can we have places owned by the park, but outside the berm/gates? If so, Cinque Ports at Dreamland sits on that list, too.

November 25, 2020, 6:30 PM

If a restaurant is "on property" and you wish to include it on your list, go ahead!

November 25, 2020, 11:29 PM

1. Wine Bar George
2. Sanaa
3. Tutto Gusto
4. Nomad Lounge
5. Biergarten
6. Hollywood Brown Derby
7. Homecomin'
8. Epcot Festival Booths?
9. Boathouse
10. Zambia Smokehouse: BGT

November 27, 2020, 3:03 PM

Hmm, let's see. This will range from great to just ok:

1. San Angel Inn-Epcot (The interior atmosphere and free chips & salsa make this an easy first pick)
2. Via Napoli-Epcot
3. Kohola Reef-Volcano Bay (I'll love any restaurant that serves jerk/blackened seafood over the deep fried stuff)
4. Satuli Canteen-Animal Kingdom (Used to be my favorite counter service until the menu was changed a couple years back and not for the better)
5. Carthay Circle-California Adventure
6. Voyager's Smokehouse-SeaWorld Orlando
7. Columbia Harbour House-Magic Kingdom
8. Zambia Smokehouse-Busch Gardens Tampa (Would be tied with Voyager's if there was more indoor seating with AC)
9. Plymouth Rock Cafe-Holiday World
10. Mythos-Islands of Adventure
11. Be Our Guest-Magic Kingdom (Counter-service version)
12. Three Broomsticks/Leaky Cauldron-Universal Orlando (The menus are so similar that I pretty much just lump them together)
13. Lombard's Seafood Grille-Universal Studios Florida
14. Fire Eater's Grill-Islands of Adventure (The gyros are way better than the ones served at Morocco in Epcot; just wish the seating was better)
15. Biergarten-Epcot
16. Tutto Italia Ristorante-Epcot
17. Ronto's Roasters-Hollywood Studios (The wraps are great, but the small menu hurts for repeat business to try something new)
18. Sharks Underwater Grille-SeaWorld Orlando (Love the atmosphere, the
19. Sci-Fi Drive In-Hollywood Studios (Another case of great atmosphere and ok food)
20. Fast Food Boulevard-Universal Studios Florida (Love the authentic menu, disappointed with the so-so food)

Edited: November 28, 2020, 4:12 AM

It's just FUN, such a voting !

But it will not reveil the truth. Tastes differ so much...
For instance, fast food lovers, who have never been cultured (from toddlers age...) into 'daily fine and healty dining' will never vote for a high class/quality restaurant (regardless of the price) as they do not have such references in memory and they will stick to industrial induced taste until they move to the afterlife.... :-)

I could introduce "all full service and buffet style" restaurants of Puy du Fou theme park (France). ALL. I would be discriminating if I was choosing one. ALL of them, rank above the far majority of restaurants in the far majority of all other theme parks in the world. Problematic when considering a top-10/20 or so, isn't it ? :-) The individual exceptions then confirm the rule.

Many parks are trying to install a few 'bottom-level' culinary venues, alongside with the industrial fast food fare which for sure makes up 90% of all offerings. This movement to upgrade a little bit the bad imago of theme park food, is still not mainstream however.

Eating in theme parks is a big issue, and a hot running topic on dedicated "FOOD" discussion seminars on the IAAPA shows. Year after year again. However acting very polite, the 2 camps (industrial fast food vs chef-made quality food) re-enact the theme parc foodie civil war, on stage, in those seminars. The opposants would kindly kill each other. But they remain in the same industry, and thank each other for the insightfull contributions to the discussion.

Fact is that in Europe, countries from the 'latin & gallic influence side' (France, Spain, Italy, Belgium..) are taking the lead, while the northern countries (basically 'germanic & anglo-saxon') are still pushing hard on the brake. When offering a few upgraded options, the quality and limited choice do not even touch the most basic standards of what customers can find outside the theme parks, on the corner of the road.

However, the upgrading movement started running, since 10/15 years. I think, there is no way back.
The biggest problem still, would be to educate the eaters... How to convince a 40, 50, 60 yo customer, who has always devored fast food since he/she was a toddler, to just as well develop delicate-rich FOOD leisure experiences?
The palate could mentally already have been destroyed ... :-)
To the younger generations, there are great opportunities, however.

Best eating greetings to all !

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