This past week I traveled to Orlando for work. While most of my time in Florida was spent working 12+ hour days, my coworkers and I did manage a visit to Epcot for what we had hoped would be a nice, relaxing dinner. I use the word hoped because while the dinner was nice, the journey through Epcot to get said dinner was not the most relaxing. Let’s start at the beginning…
*For those of you who have not been to Epcot – the theme park is divided into two parts: Future World and the International Showcase. The International Showcase has a bunch of different “countries” that offer dining, shopping, and some attractions. The plan was to have dinner in one of the countries.
After working an extra long day, my coworkers and I bounded over to Epcot with hopes of putting delicious food in our bellies along with a bottle (or two) of wine. The park seemed a bit crowded but we made our way in and headed straight over to the International Showcase with visions of delicious food dancing through our heads.
The realization has sunk in that we are smack dab in the middle of Epcot’s Food and Wine Festival, so finding a place to eat might be challenging, as the park is pretty crowded. Onward we march to Canada.
The nice hostess at the Canadian steakhouse kindly informs us there is no room at the restaurant as they are at capacity and closing soon. She suggests we try sushi in Japan.
Make the long walk over to Japan. Get distracted/annoyed by all of the food and wine festival guests who are stopping at various food vendors along the way. Consider getting a gyro from a Greek stand and calling it a night.
Stop over in France to see if they have any seating availability. Have a confusing/frustrating conversation with the French Host that went something like this:
Me: Do you have a table available for a party of 5?
French Host: Oui. What is your name?
Me: Is there a wait to be seated?
French Host: I don’t know. Maybe? But we do have a table.
Me: Can you check? (French Host disappears and then returns)
French Host: Well I have good news, I can seat you! But not your friends.
Me: Umm, that’s not going to work. So you don’t have a table then.
French Host: No we do have a table. I just don’t know when it will be open.
Me: Ok, thank you (starts to walk off).
French Host: So you aren’t waiting?
Arrive in Japan. Are informed it is a 20-30 minute wait. Everyone is about to gnaw their arm off. One of my coworkers and I decide to take matters into our own hands.
Arrive in Italy. Beg the host at Tutto Italia to seat us even though they are ending seating in 10 minutes. Host says we can sit as long as we have our entire party. Frantically call other coworkers and tell them to come down immediately.
Finally seated for dinner without a moment to spare. The Host assumes we are a soccer team because we are all wearing green shirts (from work). Promptly order a bottle of wine and glasses of prosecco.
Are you all still with me? Now let’s get to the important stuff, like the food.
As I mentioned above, we started our meal off with some wine and prosecco and some freshly baked bread which was promptly devoured.
For the appetizer course I went with the roasted eggplant. I was so hungry that I neglected to take a photo. It was good, but nothing super exceptional. Just nice, Italian comfort food.
For my entrée I rolled with the Caprese Pasta that had penne, tomatoes and mozzarella.
This was actually a lot better than I expected! The pasta was cooked perfectly and the mozzarella was nice and creamy. For theme park dining, this was pretty decent.
While the food at Tutto Italia is definitely overpriced (thank goodness I was not paying), the dishes are definitely higher quality than your typical theme park food. Plus, the decor was all cute and cozy and reminded me of being in Italy, so that was an added bonus.
We left the restaurant in a happy carb-filled coma, and promptly passed out upon returning to the hotel. Thanks, Epcot, for saving us from dying of hunger.
Random Fun Fact: All the employees in the International Showcase have to be originally from the country they work in, like our server at Tutto Italia who was born in Milan but now lives in Florida. Learn something new everyday I tell you.