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The 7 Best Counter-Service Restaurants The World Showcase Has To Offer

A stroll around Epcot’s World Showcase in Walt Disney World will uncover a multitude of dining options that offer some of the best cuisine from around the world. However, if you don’t want to miss your Fastpass+ window for Soarin’ or your vacation budget tightens a bit, then you’ll need to skip the four-star meal at Le Cellier Steakhouse and choose a counter-service restaurant. Of course, your selection may be affected by pricing, overcrowding, available seating, theming, your personal tastes, the intensity of your hunger, and the quality of food. Naturally, everyone holds opinions about their favorite Disney eateries, and all of them are great. Yet, considering the things previously mentioned, you may find the following seven counter-service restaurants to be the best the World Showcase has to offer.

7. Liberty Inn

Enter Liberty Inn at the American Adventure pavilion, and you’ll be stepping into a spacious dining hall with lots of natural lighting, colorful flags, and colonial period decorations. The ambience has always been inviting, even if the fast food menu with burgers, hot dogs, and chicken nuggets hasn’t. In the past, the food wasn’t spectacular, especially when compared to the menus of competing World Showcase restaurants, and its quality seemed average at best. However, the menu has improved in recent years, so if you haven’t been to Liberty Inn in awhile, perhaps you should give it another try. Not a bad selection for a quick meal.

6. Yorkshire County Fish Shop

Obviously, if you don’t like seafood, then you may not appreciate this restaurant at the United Kingdom Pavilion. Additionally, if you require convenient seating, you’ll be out of luck, since only a few tables are set up outside. So why does Yorkshire County Fish Shop always appear busy? It’s the crispy, battered fish, to be sure; the menu offers no alternatives. Amazingly, this fried filet doesn’t taste fishy, so you may be able to trick your younger kids into thinking they’re eating chicken if they’re squeamish about fish. The outer crust is crunchy and lightly salted, while the inside is hot, tender, and delicious. Of course, batter-fried fish pairs well with a side of chips (thickly cut fries) and a beer. The combination is served on mock newspaper wrapping, paying homage to the traditional manner of serving fish and chips in the U.K. and evoking a sense that you’re ordering from a vendor along the English coast.

5. Kringla Bakeri Og Kafe

As you enter the Norway Pavilion, look to the left, and you’ll notice the replica stave church connected to a small dining area sheltered by a grass-covered roof. Next door, the Kringla Bakeri Og Kafe invites you to enter, not only because of its curious name, but also because the word “Bakeri” appears on the sign. Certainly, this is a place where your grumbling stomach will be satisfied. Inside, the displays feature an enticing array of pastries, ranging from cupcakes, muffins, and cream puffs to the delectable troll horn (don’t let the name fool you). If you’re in the mood for sensible food, then try a Ham and Apple Sandwich, some Norwegian meatballs, or one of their sandwich creations! You can wash down your meal with fountain drinks, beer, wine, or a variety of coffees. Overall, a meal from this restaurant satisfies both your taste buds and raging appetite.

4. La Cantina de San Angel

Mexican cuisine continues to remain wildly popular with Americans, but it also has gained worldwide attention in recent years. La Cantina de San Angel cooks up some of the best Mexican fare that you’ll find from a counter-service restaurant. Grab your tacos, nachos, empanadas, and guacamole at the counter and find a seat overlooking the World Showcase Lagoon. The peaceful ambience beneath the dining pavilion provides your party a welcome respite to the busyness of Epcot and a wonderful, waterside view. Even if you can’t snatch one of the best tables by the lagoon, you’ll still have mouthwatering Mexican cuisine to enjoy. The Tacos de Pescado paired with a mango frozen margarita can be a refreshing choice on a hot summer day, though many other combinations will surely please.

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3. Les Halles Boulangerie-Patisserie

When it comes to pastries and desserts at Epcot’s World Showcase, Les Halles Boulangerie-Patisserie prepares some of the best. Located at the back of the France Pavilion, adjacent to Impressions de France, Les Halles serves classic treats such as éclairs, crème brûlée, mousse, and their popular Napoleon. In addition, this restaurant offers sandwiches made with select meats, classic cheeses, and freshly baked breads. The pastry chefs and sandwich artists at Les Halles certainly create delicious meals that live up to the reputation of French cafés, which is why no trip to the World Showcase is complete without a visit there.

2. Tangierine Café

This Mediterranean style eatery may not appear like much at first glance; the outside looks nice, but the inside feels like a cafeteria with inadequate seating. Nevertheless, the cuisine offered by Tangierine Café tastes nothing short of amazing. If you haven’t tried shawarma, kefta sandwiches, or Saffron chicken, then you need to stop by the Morocco Pavilion and order something. Though lamb isn’t typically found in the everyday American diet, it dazzles the taste buds with savory flavors in their shawarma lamb platter. Of course, chicken and ground beef options are available to those uncertain about lamb; just don’t expect any pork, since it’s not halal (permissible) for Moroccans. After adding sides of couscous, tabbouleh, hummus, and more, you’ll have a plate filled to the brim with nourishment and unusual-but-wonderful flavors. If your kids aren’t too crazy about trying new cuisine, you can always order them the standard chicken nugget or hamburger kids meal. In short, it’s truly difficult to walk away from a meal at Tangierine Café hungry and dissatisfied.

1. Katsura Grill

The peaceful scenery around Katsura Grill proves to be phenomenal. It sits atop a small hill right behind the five-story pagoda in the Japan Pavilion. The restaurant presents a stylish indoor dining hall with a clear view of the pavilion and an outdoor area lit by hanging lanterns and beautified with a garden and waterfall. Whether you crave sushi, teriyaki, or ramen noodles, this restaurant provides mouthwatering options for you. Considering its counter-service status, the menu provides a lot of variety from spices and sauces to selections of beef, chicken, and shrimp. Kids tend to favor the chicken and beef teriyaki entrées, while more adventurous adults may want to try the spicy roll. Being able to enjoy quality Japanese cuisine in a quick fashion and at reasonable prices makes this restaurant a favorite for many Disney foodies.

About D.W. Noonan

D.W. Noonan was blindsided by the magical universe of Walt Disney when he married a dedicated Disneyphile in 1994. His wonderful wife dragged him into countless days of binge-watching great Disney films. As children began showing up in the Noonan home, D.W.'s growing passion for all things Disney led him to vacationing with his family in Walt Disney World each year and taking a journey to visit Disneyland. He is especially proud of his two teenage daughters, who danced for Disney Performing Arts at Walt Disney World in 2015. Though D.W. lives in Maryland, he longs to hear these familiar words when he returns to the resort: "Welcome home."