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Sunday Brunch

Sunday Brunch: Tangierene Cafe

by Reuben Gutierrez

22 September 2013

Albert likes tangerines, a great breakfast or snack food. We conclude this week's salute to my brother Saturday Matinee writer Albert with a look at the Tangierine Cafe. The name of the restaurant actually does not come from the fruit tangerine, but describes a Cafe from the seaport city of Tangier in the northern region of Morocco. The word 'tangerine' actually evolved from the adjective used to describe things from the region of Tangiers. So the title 'Tangierine Cafe is more in reference to the city and less to the fruit. Despite the title not referencing the fruit nor offered on the menu, the famous fruit decorates the restaurant's sign.

Tangierine Cafe
Ornate entrance

The restaurant itself is a quick service location, operated by a third party Moroccan restaurateur. While a third party operator has not always been the greatest decision at Epcot, this operator's efforts in authenticity and value for your dollar makes Tangierine Cafe a must stop for theme park foodies. Their menu includes Shwarma platters, wraps, Moroccan side dishes, and other Mediterranean specialties. The platters and wraps come with a variety of side dishes such as Tabouleh and Couscous. Tabouleh is a delicious Arab salad made with bulgur (a common old world grain) or coucous, vegetables, greens (parsley and mint), garlic, and a lemon olive oil seasoning.

Tangierine Cafe
Sample platters on display show the plentiful platters

Epcot Morocco restaurant
Shwarma Platter with Lamb and Chicken covered in a yogurt sauce with Moroccan Bread.
Sides include Hummus, Tabouleh, and Tangierine Couscous Salad

Morocco food
Lamb only Shwarma platter

Falafel Wrap Epcot
Falafel Wrap with Couscous and Lentil Salad

The wraps and platters are not uncommon in the US these days, though at Epcot I first encountered these delicious dishes. My favorite is the chicken wrap with just a little bit of yogurt sauce to help chill out your palate while encountering the spiced and seasoned chicken. The coolest part about the meat is that it is roasted on a spit rotating inside an oven. It simulates roasting over a fire without the wood and carbon fumes.

Morocco restaurant epcot
Moroccan rotisserie?

For the culture shy guests, there are still some great options like Moroccan sliders, meatball platter, and the Kefta Sandwich. Made of chopped and grilled ground beef and seasoned, this dish is basically a Moroccan hamburger and fries. Adventurous guests could add spicy Harissa ' Tunisian chili sauce ' to kick up the heat.

Morocco Epcot
Kefta Pocket with French Fries ' the most Americanized item on the menu

The restaurant may seem small in size, but is able to seat dozens of guests. Indoor and outdoor seating give ample space for guests to feast, full of atmospheric elements that transport you to the majestic realm of Morocco. Recently, one section of the dining room was converted into a gift shop while the area where that gift shop was originally is under refurbishment to make way for a new restaurant. While this reduces the number of seating, it indirectly gives a feel of a cramp Morrocan marketplace.

Tangerine Cafe
Indoor seating by the counter

Tangerine Cafe
The same area as above, though with the back section overtaken by the Moroccan merchants

Though the best part about the Tangerine Cafe is that it also houses a small bakery and pastry shop! Middle Eastern desserts are very rich and heavy with strong flavors, typically less sweet than one usually expects from dessert. The best example is Baklava (reviewed here) during my Food and Wine Festival series), a flaky, heavy dessert sweetened by honey and flavored with nuts. Baklava and half a dozen other desserts can be found at Tangerine Cafe.

Tangerine Cafe

Though there are no tangerines, it's quite easy to see why Albert's favorite restaurant is Tangerine Cafe. The menu features an amazing selection of Moroccan specialties and Middle Eastern spins on familiar favorites. The atmosphere exhibits grand and ornate architecture and design. Together, the two create an experience so close to traveling to a foreign country that at some points guests and myself believe we're actually there.

 

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