by Brittany DiCologero
The Lotus Blossom Cafe, located in Epcot’s China pavilion, is a quick service restaurant offering typical Chinese-American fare. This restaurant is located right in the middle of the China pavilion, between Nine Dragons, the table service restaurant, and the expansive gift shops. Menu items at the Lotus Blossom cafe include egg rolls, orange chicken, and a variety of rice bowls.
While the style of the food at the Lotus Blossom Cafe is nothing out of the ordinary, the quality is definitely still there. The menu items themselves are your basic fast food/food court style Chinese food, however I would definitely rank the Lotus Blossom Cafe far above my local Master Wok.
The seating area at the Lotus Blossom is decently sized, especially compared to other Epcot quick service locations. The marble tables are wider than your usual restaurant tables, making plenty of room for numerous plates of food and finding seats for large parties. It can be difficult to find a table there during the lunch rush in a peak season like school vacation week or 4th of July, but in general this is a pretty safe bet for a less crowded lunch spot.
We’ve tried a couple of dishes at the Lotus Blossom Cafe, and through my research on the menu before writing this review I’ve noticed that some of the menu items seem to change on occasion. Whether these changes are seasonal, or just to meet demands, I’m not quite sure, but in any case you’ll notice a couple of staple items that are always offered, and a couple that come and go.
One menu item that comes and goes is the spicy chicken with steamed rice, that I can only described as a deep fried, lightly sauced version of Kung Pao chicken.
It’s not my favorite thing on the menu (when it’s offered) but it’s not bad either. If you’re really in the mood for something spicy, but you end up eating at the Lotus Blossom Cafe, this entree is going to be the way to go. I think it could use a bit more sauce, however everyone I’ve seen with this dish has doctored it up a little bit on their own using spicy sauce from the condiment station.
My go-to lunch choice from this location is the orange chicken with steamed rice. Obviously this dish is very similar in theory to anything you might get from Master Wok or Panda Express, however I would say the quality at the Lotus Blossom Cafe is significantly higher.
There are a couple of basic expectations I have when it comes to this kind of chicken, and the Lotus Blossom Cafe meets both of them: the sauce can’t be too sweet- I strongly dislike any food that is so sweet that it tastes sickening and super processed, and there is enough sauce to mix some of it in with the rice and still enjoy it with the chicken.
Away from the poultry side of things, the Lotus Blossom Cafe also offers a beef rice bowl, which on occasion becomes a beef noodle bowl. The version of this dish I have tried is the noodle bowl, which I would strongly recommend. Again, the idea here is very similar to typical Chinese-American fast food however the higher quality makes it more of a standout dish.
Although this is a fairly basic dish, the meat is well seasoned, and the onions and noodles are tasty, so if you’re not in a chicken, rice, or veggie mood, this dish is never a bad choice.
We’ve also tried the egg rolls, which are made with a mixture of pork and vegetables. Personally, I really enjoy the egg rolls here, and will sometimes order them if I’m in the area and want more of a small snack. They have a little bit more of a kick to them than the egg rolls at your local Chinese takeout restaurant would, but I actually really enjoy them.
We give the Lotus Blossum Cafe a score of 75%. Points were earned for the atmosphere, and exceeding our expectations in terms of quality, however we deducted points because the dessert (ice cream) and specialty beverages (beer, and a couple of fruit flavored drinks) are not as interesting as other quick service locations. We’ve also deducted some points simply because of the style of food. While the quality of the food is high, the style of the food is so similar to food we can order at home, we do not end up going to the Lotus Blossom Cafe all too often. However, if you have picky eaters, or are just really into Chinese food, consider our score to be 80% because the food is delicious, it just isn’t very unique.