Nine Dragons, located in the China Pavilion in World Showcase, doesn’t usually appear at the top of people’s “must eat here” lists. Guests often bypass Nine Dragons because they consider it to be something they can have at home, but Nine Dragons is not your typical Chinese restaurant, this is Disney after all. Here are five reasons to add it to your list of places to dine during your next visit to EPCOT.
5. The Atmosphere and Decor
Nine Dragons truly is a feast for the eyes. The atmosphere features more modern décor but still weaves traditional Chinese culture and design elements throughout. The rich detail may not jump out at you right away, but once you take a closer look you’ll be hard pressed not to notice it. The intricate woodcarvings throughout the dining rooms bring a subtle elegance to the restaurant. Chinese lanterns hang from the ceiling adding a pop of color against the dark wood backdrop.
When the dining room is full the atmosphere is lively and bustling with energy, but if you happen to dine here outside of the peak lunch and dinner hours, you will find a quieter, intimate setting, especially if you’re seated in a booth or by a window with a picture perfect view of the World Showcase promenade.
4. The Food
If you take a look at the Nine Dragons menu, you’ll find they feature some familiar Chinese restaurant classics, but they also offer a unique spin on some of the favorites. One stand out item is the General Tso’s Chicken Dumplings. These steamed dumplings are packed with flavor and served with a tangy Chinese red sauce. The Shrimp and Taro Lollipops are a fun appetizer inspired by traditional dim sum. For those who would like some more familiar dishes there is Kung Pao Chicken topped with peanuts, Pot Stickers, and Sweet and Sour Pork.
When it comes to dessert, a fan favorite is the Chinese Ginger Cake, or you can be a little adventurous and try the Strawberry Red Bean Ice Cream or the Caramel Ginger Ice Cream. The menu is great at accommodating those who are looking to try something outside of the traditional Chinese fare, but they also offer many dishes that appeal to those who just want the classics.
3. Great for Groups and Families
Nine Dragons is a great place for you to enjoy the company of your group and it’s worth asking the hostess if you can be seated in one of the round booths. The obvious menu choice for families is the Nine Dragons Family Dinner Set, which allows each guest to pick a soup, entrée and a dessert from the list provided. But the menu at Nine Dragons also features a number of dishes that are ideal for sharing. This is perfect if you and your group want to taste a number of dishes without committing to just one entree. What better way to discuss your day at the parks or what your plans are for the following day than over food? There is something about sharing food with friends and family that make a meal that much more enjoyable.
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2. Drink Menu
The drink menu at Nine Dragons has a number of standout beverages, both alcoholic and non-alcoholic. This is the only restaurant I know of that offers the Blackberry Jasmine Iced Tea, which is unsweetened and wonderfully refreshing on those humid Florida days. If you prefer a sweet tea, try the Raspberry Iced Tea, equally as refreshing with just the right amount of sweetness. They have smoothies as well, mango and strawberry or if you can’t decide between those, go with the Shangri-La Smoothie which is a tangy blend of the two.
The specialty cocktail menu features mostly fruity drinks and are reason enough to visit Nine Dragons. What better way to watch Illuminations over the World Showcase Lagoon than from the comfort of Nine Dragons while sipping on a decadent drink called Heavenly Clouds? The Heavenly Clouds cocktail is a cream float with coconut rum, honeydew melon liqueur and pineapple juice. All the cocktails have names that are just begging to be ordered, like the South Sea Breeze or the Jade Beauty. The exotic cocktail names with the delicate blend of fruit juices and liqueurs all add to that feeling of being transported to somewhere else in the world.
1. The Dragons
They’re in the name and they are definitely something to love about this restaurant. The dragons! Take the time to find and admire the dragons here. Upon entering it’s difficult to ignore the stunning green glass etching of two dragons chasing a pearl. As you pass into the dining rooms, notice the intricately carved dragons in the wood room dividers. There are even gold dragons adorning the ceiling, but the most impressive are the nine glass dragon sculptures for which the restaurant is named. Many people miss these, but they are truly exquisite and the collection is worth seeking out during a visit here. Each dragon is unique and distinct, giving instant imagery of the Chinese culture.
If you haven’t had a chance to try Nine Dragons yet give it a chance. You might even find a few more things to add to the list of reasons to love this restaurant.