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Bill Iadonisi returns with a colorful and impressive review of the Pepper Market at the Coronado Springs Resort. Take it away, Bill!
When guests vacation to Walt Disney World, they are looking forward to going on their favorite attractions, seeing World-Class shows and entertainment, and of course meeting the Disney Characters. A trip to Disney is an exciting adventure for all. But for many, the rides and attractions are just the tip of the iceberg.
I know that for myself, dining at Disney is a whole world of fun! With menu options from around the world and a huge diversity of food choices, the dining scene is a theme park unto itself.
While most guests hanker to dine in the parks, the resort venues are just as impressive. We know the classic restaurants such as Citricos, the California Grill and Jiko, but the resorts are also home to some of Walt Disney World’s “sleeper” restaurants.
These eateries are hidden gems with mostly low crowds, fantastic menus and easy access. Many times when the parks are booked, you can usually walk right in or have just a short wait before dining. Some of my favorites are the Kona Café and the Captain’s Grille. And here we will review; Coronado Springs Resort’s Pepper Market restaurant.
Atmosphere and Ordering Process
Pepper Market is an open food court located in the main building area of Coronado Springs Resort, called “El Centro.” It is a counter-service restaurant, although your drinks are brought to the table by a server.
But what makes this eatery special is its extensive menu and expansive dining area. Even during crowded times, you can usually find a table. It is themed after a south of the border-feel marketplace. Huge and airy, it is also very colorful, bright and gives the feeling of space versus claustrophobia — something we love in Disney restaurants.
As you make your way to the entrance, (next to Coronado’s table-service restaurant, the Maya Grill) you walk on terracotta tiles and past wrought iron fences adorned with green plants. Everything is vibrant and very colorful. It puts a smile on your face before you are even seated. At the entrance is a large, colorful dog holding the Pepper Market sign in his hands, er, paws. Large red chili peppers are used for gates.
The dining area like the rest of the building has brightly-colored everything! Chairs, umbrellas, signs and artifacts on the walls all ooze with bright colors.
Disney’s attention to detail is amazing. I have been to Mexico countless times and our friends south of the border would feel right at home here.
This restaurant is unique in the fact that after you are seated, you order your drinks and are given a ticket. You now can wander around the numerous food stations, pick and choose your favorites, and have your ticket stamped at each station to reflect your menu choices. Your purchases are tallied up at the register on your way out.
The choices here are impressive; the menu has more offerings than many table-service restaurants.
There is a coffee bar right at the entrance to the Pepper Market that serves espresso, lattes, teas and cappuccinos.
You will find a Chef’s Station with daily specials and a fresh salad “Market” station.
There is a Pizza and Pasta Station plus a Hot Sandwich and Grill Station.
The Pepper Market serves breakfast and its stations change offerings accordingly.
And the Pepper Market also has a coffee and pastries take-out window that you can stop at on your way out to the parks without having to be seated.
Today I had lunch with my wife, friend Joe and his wife Barb, and their son Mike. Although we arrived at noon, it was busy, but we were seated straightaway.
After ordering our beverages, it was off to the food stations. I started out with the Cream of Broccoli soup ($3.99). I am a big fan of soup and this did not disappoint. A good-sized portion, rich and creamy with bits of broccoli, it was satisfying and filling.
For my entrée, I am a sucker for salad. From the Market Station I ordered a Caesar salad with white breast chicken meat ($11.95). This had big chunks of chicken and large croutons sitting on a bed of garden fresh lettuce. The dressing was creamy and had just the right amount of zing. You can have the salad without chicken, if desired ($8.99).
My wife Donna ordered Beef Fajitas with grilled beef tips, soft flour tortillas, beans, Spanish rice, onions and peppers, ($11.95). This dish was more than filling, and in addition, a small dish of Pico de Gallo and sour cream accompanied the entree.
Now my friend Joe is a good eater, and at first I thought his selection would not be enough; but I’m happy to report it not only filled him up, but he thought it was some of the tastiest chicken he has ever had. He ordered the Chef’s special Asian chicken with white rice, roasted string beans, and red peppers ($13.99).
He affirmed the grilled vegetables were crisp and flavorful, and the chicken tender. The sauce had a hint of spice, but not overwhelming, he wholly enjoyed his selection.
Barb decided on the half-rotisserie chicken with grilled veggies and French fries. The meal was fine except she thought the chicken could have been a bit more moist.
Mike also decided on a Chef’s special and had the broiled Mahi Mahi with a creamy hollandaise sauce, red potatoes, and roasted veggies ($13.99). The fish was flaky and firm, done just right, the veggies and potatoes were perfect.
The dessert choices are plentiful as well over at the dessert station.
Other than the comment Barb made on the chicken, the entire experience was wonderful. Our server kept the beverages filled and was extremely attentive. The Pepper Market has an extensive menu — add any item to your plate, mix and match selections to customize your meal. A great place for a picky eater.
There is a kids station (9 years and younger) with many selections. A souvenir mug is available with unlimited refills on coffee, tea, soft drinks and iced tea for your length-of-stay at the resort.
The restaurant opens at 7am to 11am for breakfast and 11am to 11pm for lunch and dinner. A 10% service gratuity is added to your bill. Pepper Market does not accept the DVC (Disney Vacation Club) nor Tables in Wonderland discounts. It is on the Disney Dining plan list. Always check for the Chef’s specials before making your final choice!
What are your thoughts on the Pepper Market? Let us know your experiences, likes, and dislikes in the comments section below!