When planning your visit to EPCOT, you have seemingly endless dining options!
You could check out spots like Garden Grill or Space 220 in the front of the park, not to mention the dozens of restaurants all around the World Showcase. So how do you decide where to eat? Well, it’ll probably depend on what you like to eat, your budget, and a bunch of other factors. And if Nine Dragons Restaurant in the China Pavilion has made it on your shortlist, you’ll definitely want to keep reading!
We recently made a reservation at Nine Dragons in EPCOT to check it out and share our thoughts. This restaurant serves (you guessed it!) Chinese food, and it’s a fairly popular option for those looking in the mid-priced table service range.
So what did we think of our experience? Let’s talk about it!
When you check in at the restaurant, you’ll head inside and speak to a Cast Member at the counter. There’s a small waiting area if you need it, but we were seated immediately.
There’s one large dining area that’s separated by a few decorative walls. In the middle, there are a bunch of basic tables, but there are also sections in the back of the restaurant and over by the window.
The window section is probably where you’ll get the best view, and it wasn’t too crowded when we arrived. You might be able to request to sit in this area if the restaurant isn’t busy.
Our table was set with an appetizer plate, napkin, silverware, and a menu.
We were also given a small tray with sweetener and soy sauce.
So now that we’re settled, let’s take a look at that menu!
When it comes to the menu for Nine Dragons, you’ve got quite a few options in terms of appetizers and entrees. The six appetizers include options like Vegetable Spring Rolls, Crispy Duck Bao Buns, and Chicken Pot Stickers.
For entrees, there are nine different choices, including Crispy Duck Fried Rice, Honey Sesame Chicken, the Kung Pao Duo, Kowloon Spare Ribs, and more.
The backside of the menu has all the beverage options, including wine, beer, hard cider, soft drinks, and mocktails. There are lots of choices here as well.
And on the day that we were visiting, there was a placard on our table announcing the Chef’s Special — an appetizer of House-Made Cheesy Crab Wontons for $10.50. We’ll definitely have to try that!
Now that we’ve seen the choices, it’s time to order and eat.
To start, we’re kicking this off with not one, but TWO appetizers!
First we ordered that Chef’s Selection of House-Made Cheesy Crab Wontons. They’re served hot and fresh with a duck sauce on the side. They’re very cream cheese-forward with a light crab flavor that’s not overwhelming.
The wontons themselves were SO crispy, cooked just a little past golden brown. It was actually pretty perfect because sometimes wontons can be hard to eat when they’re chewy. They were also absolutely STUFFED with filling, which was a great deal.
The dipping sauce was sweet and spicy, and the kick comes a little toward the end. They’re definitely best eaten with the sauce because it adds some depth of flavor.
Moving on to our second appetizer, we had the Crispy Duck Bao Buns, which were $13.95. The buns themselves were simply amazing — light and fluffy and not too much. The duck inside is a rather generous portion, served in one big chunk. The first piece we tasted wasn’t too fatty, but the second one was much more so.
The duck wasn’t really dry, but not overly juicy either. It was best with the barbecue-like sauce because it added some smoky and sweet flavors. The crispy onions on the top help mix the textures and add a tangy onion flavor.
We were genuinely surprised by how well the various textures and flavors worked together here. You get two decent-sized buns with your order, but we did think it was a bit pricey for the portion (likely because it’s duck). The outside of the duck is just a smidge crispy, but not so much that we would call them “crispy duck bao buns.”
Now it’s time for the entrees! First was the Kung Pao Duo, which you can order for $25. It’s made with chicken and shrimp and topped with peanuts.
We found this to be pretty spicy, and the spice lingers on the front of your tongue and might even make your lips tingle. The sauce is a smidge smokey at first, but it’s a chili pepper-esque lingering spice.
The peanuts are pretty hard to get on your fork but add a good crunch and mix of flavor when you do. We liked the shrimp more than the chicken, although it was on the chewy side (by shrimp standards). The chicken comes in decent-sized pieces but has a fair amount of gristle. Some pieces were really hard to eat. If you get a piece with a lot of meat, it’s good — but it’s kind of a toss-up.
There aren’t any veggies that come with this dish, but there is a scoop of rice on the side. It was pretty basic, sticky, and soft. The best thing about this particular meal is probably the portion because you get a LOT of food.
Moving on to our second entree, we got the Kowloon Spare Ribs. These are $30 and come served with some broccoli, rice, and a fair amount of garnish on top.
These ribs were SO tender and easy to pull off the bone. Sticky and sweet, but with an underlying smokiness. (Lots of smoky flavors at this restaurant!) The meat itself was incredibly juicy and would be delicious even without the sauce. Pair it with the garnish on top that was light and fresh, and it’s the perfect combination.
We got four ribs with our order, along with a scoop of rice and some HUGE pieces of broccoli, so the portions are great. The broccoli was pretty basic — not necessarily bland but not a standout either. The same went for the rice.
Those ribs were really the star of the dish, as they should be. We would come back and order them again and again. They might’ve been our favorite part of the meal!
And we can’t leave without trying the dessert! As a beverage to go along with our sweet treat, we got the Shangri-La Slushy, which is made with strawberry and mango and can be purchased for $6.25.
It was mostly mango-forward, and it was definitely an artificial candy-like mango, but it was tasty. The strawberry portion of the slush was sickly sweet and had little strawberry flavor. Overall, this was a straight sugar rush and it made us feel like we were drinking Dum-Dum sucker flavors.
But the real winner for dessert was the Strawberry Red Bean Ice Cream for $4.25. It comes served in a small bowl with a spoon, and you get a fairly large scoop. We found that it had a texture somewhere between ice cream and sorbet. Because of that texture, it feels like it’s not as dairy-heavy as other ice creams…but that’s just based on our tasting.
We mostly get the strawberry flavor from this, and we honestly didn’t even notice the bean. There are no fruit chunks throughout, so it’s all smooth. For the portion size, you could probably eat this on your own if you have room left after your meal, but you might want to split it if you’re getting full.
So what did we think overall?
First, we have to say that Nine Dragons was some of the FASTEST service at a sit-down restaurant in Disney World that we’ve ever had. Everything we ordered was out within 5 minutes of placing the order, which is great if you’re trying to cram a meal into a busy park day. On the other hand, it might be a little jarring and you may feel rushed if you’re trying to be leisurely. (Or, if you’re like us and you take 3673 pictures and videos of your food.)
In general, we had some things we really enjoyed and some that we didn’t. The wontons, spare ribs, and ice cream were all highlights of the meal for us, but the Kung Pao Duo was a tad underwhelming. The Crispy Duck Bao Buns were something we would order again if we had the room in the budget.
So where does Nine Dragons stand with us? It was a good meal and it was relatively fast! We don’t know if it would be our top pick in EPCOT since there are SO many good restaurants there, but if you’re craving some Chinese food, it’s the best choice.
Nosh or Not
Make a pit stop in China if…
- You’re craving some Chinese food. Chinese food tends to be a bit of a crowd-pleaser for large groups, and this restaurant is no exception. We definitely think it’s higher caliber than Lotus Blossom next door, and there’s something o the menu for everyone.
- You LOVE ribs. Seriously, these were some of the best ribs we’ve eaten in Disney World, and we would go back just to try those! If you’re a ribs aficionado, this is for you.
- There isn’t an EPCOT festival happening. If there’s a festival going on in EPCOT (which is most of the year nowadays), we recommend getting some eats from the food booths. But if you’re traveling during the in-between season, this restaurant would be a good spot to try.
Keep on walking around the “World” if…
- You want something you can’t get anywhere else. If your hometown has a pretty decent Chinese restaurant, this is a step above that, but maybe not too far. There are lots of unique cuisine types in the World Showcase that you might not be able to get back home.
- You want a meal with a fun experience. As far as sit-down restaurants go, this was a pretty basic experience. There are no characters like at Garden Grill or Akershus, and there’s not a spectacular view like at Coral Reef. If you want something that’s true “Disney” we recommend visiting one of those other spots.
- You’re in the mood for a leisurely meal. As we mentioned above, this meal moved along FAST. If you’re trying to go slow, you might feel rushed.
That’s a wrap on our review of Nine Dragons Restaurant! We can’t wait to share more dining reviews and thoughts with you, so keep following Disney Food Blog.
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Have you ever been to Nine Dragons? Tell us in the comments!
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