Biergarten located at Epcot (as of 8/2017) – This menu covers the top 7 common allergens (gluten/wheat, milk/dairy, egg, peanut, tree nut, fish and shellfish). It does not list soy allergens. Check with the restaurant for modifications and/or other special dietary needs.
*This dining experience took place in December 2014.
Biergarten is one of those places that really transports you to another place when you dine there. The Oktoberfest setting, Oompah band and traditional fare make it an authentic setting for a meal. Last year, I dined at Biergarten for the very first time for lunch as a part of the Candlelight Processional meal package. My family enjoyed it a lot, and so I decided to go back this year with friends for the Candlelight Processional take 2!
Upon arrival, as with our last visit, we were told that we had to check in at our reservation time (and no earlier) and that all of our party needed to be there. With friends coming in to meet up, we ended up being a few minutes past our scheduled ADR. Our party was fairly promptly seated with several other groups — Biergarten seats communal style at big long tables, just like at Oktoberfest. Last year, my family felt a little awkward dining like this, and I recommend dining with a big group. It makes all the difference in the world!
After we were seated, I was greeted by the same chef who assisted me last year. He took me around the buffet and showed me the various options. When I inquired about getting items from the back, he wasn’t very keen noting that everything would be fine on the buffet. Normally, I prefer a mix of options – getting some from the back and a few safe items from the front; however, this chef was pretty clear when he said he wouldn’t get me items – although he agreed (after I asked) to get me an Ener-G roll. Having dined at Biergarten before safely, I felt like I could keep an eye out for new platters and to ask the cast members at the buffet, who were much more amenable to getting new items for me.
I ended up with a similar menagerie of items like last year – mostly meat based (gluten free vegans or vegetarians probably won’t have a great amount of choices here). Bratwurst, “meatloaf” (literally a loaf of meats, roasted chicken, German potato salad, pickles, and coleslaw were among the items I grabbed. All of them were very good, and I tried to load up as much as I could when the fresh platters were coming out (which was frequent).
The Ener-G rolls here were as dreadful as they were the year before. I honestly have no clue what they did to these because they were as hard as rocks. I had my friends test them out after I decided I wasn’t eating them and they were shocked at how bad they were. I’ve had amazing versions of Ener-G rolls at places like the now closed Kouzzina, so I can’t understand how this even happens. Note to self, do not get rolls from Biergarten again.
While enjoying our dinner, we got a chance to catch the live entertainment — aka the Oompah band! They play traditional holiday music and have a lot of fun and spirit. They are a blast to watch and a huge highlight of my Biergarten dining experience.
For dessert, I was given an OMG It’s Gluten Free cookie (and brownie – which I gave to friends since it contains dairy), and I also enjoyed the berry compote found on the buffet, which is delicious. I realized that somehow I didn’t get a photo of this compote 2 years running. Apparently, I am always too full for photos by the end of the meal.
Because of the time we were there, it was full dinner price which was not cheap ($50 as a part of the CP dinner package), and I would highly recommend dining for lunch and doing the early show for the Candlelight Processional. It’s literally the same food at a much cheaper rate.
Unfortunately, there was some cross contamination going on at this restaurant, and despite my efforts at trying to keep myself safe, I did get glutened. It has happened at Disney (even at buffets) only a handful of times — literally, I can count the times on one hand from nearly 6 years of dining there gluten free and dairy free — but it was a disappointing experience. I felt pretty miserable for several days afterwards and can’t even think about eating at Biergarten again.
Of course, we all take risks when we dine out with a special diet, but I would like to see the chefs at Biergraten step it up (or at least this particular chef). The lack of interest in providing safe options was pretty evident. I just hope that they can work to provide safer options and ensure minimized cross contamination risks.
Next year, I will not be going to Biergarten for the Candlelight Processional dinner. It just isn’t worth being sick or uncomfortable (or feeling like a huge nuisance to the chef). I’m thinking La Hacienda de San Angel will be a great choice — they always make safe and delicious options for me!
Have you been to Biergarten? What has been your experience?
*This dining experience took place in November 2013.
The Germany pavilion in Epcot makes you feel like you are in Munich for Oktoberfest. There’s a lot of charm to this spot in the World Showcase and Biergarten, the pavilion’s table service location, really embodies this essence. The restaurant is set to resemble a German Oktoberfest celebration, complete with an Oompah Band and communal dining. I had heard lots of great reviews for vegetarian dining from the Disney Hipsters, Adam and Andrew, and also lots of gluten free diners. Believe it or not, I had never been to Biergarten, so I decided to stop by for lunch as a part of the Candelight Processional Dinner Package (more on that in another post).
Biergarten is set far back in the pavilion. It’s located next to Sommerfest which is the quick service location that serves bratwurst, currywurst and macaroni & cheese among its offerings. I occasionally pop by this location because I really enjoy the bratwurst on a gluten free/dairy free bun (which varies) and sauerkraut (you can read a review about this restaurant HERE). When we went to check in to this location, I saw the prices for meals—for an all-you-care-to-eat location, I thought it was pretty reasonable! Way cheaper when you compare some of the other buffet or family style locations. Plus, if you are a Tables in Wonderland card holder, you get 20% off or 10% off for Annual Passholders.
The restaurant check-in was super busy, and we tried to check in 30 minutes early but were told to come back 15 minutes before our ADR. Wow, that was actually a first for us. So, we wandered around the World Showcase for a bit, and then came back to check-in. The cast members give you the spiel about siting with other diners (which we knew ahead of time) and also climbing stairs. As we saw when we got in the restaurant, it would be slightly more difficult if you had mobile challenges, as there were levels of seating. Once our pager went off, we were taken into the restaurant with a group of 5 plus our group of 3.
I’m not going to lie, seating is a little weird, especially if you have an odd numbered party. We sat towards the railing at our table and our table-mates sat closer to the walk-way. Once seated our server clarified who was in each party and then took drink orders. She also told me she would get the chef for me. The rest of the table went to get in line – which was a good idea because it was crazy busy in there. Evidently the Candelight Processional dinner package meant the 1 p.m. time frame was nutso!
The chef came over and offered to walk me around the buffet. He basically went over the options which were safe and which to stay away from. Pretty much all of the non-breaded meats were safe (i.e. bratwursts, sausage, cold cuts, pates, etc.) Most of the veggies were safe too with the exception of the cold potato salad, macaroni gratin, and some other items. All but one sauce for the carving station were gluten free & dairy free (aka sweet mustard). Soups were definitely out–dairy and gluten filled cream based soups! Dessert basically off-limits except the fruit compote which came in individual ramekins. Then the chef pretty much was going to walk away; but I wanted to ask if they had bread or buns (which I knew they had) and dessert options. He said he could get be a bun and maybe some cookies. I’ve heard really wonderful things about the chefs here from others, but this chef was pretty disinterested. I’m sure he was totally slammed in the back, but I felt like he was just trying to get through with me as quickly as possible.
Heading back to the buffet, I saw several areas that felt like big cross contamination risks to me, especially because it was so busy. I actually waited and asked for fresh plates and serving spoons as they came out because they were replenishing things really quickly. For instance, I scored fresh roasted chicken (which was in between fish in a sauce, meatballs, and schnitzel – a gluten free nightmare!) and also fresh sausages and even fresh German potato salad (my favorite thing of the day). So, it definitely pays to ask. I stayed away from the salad area as much as possible.
While walking back from the buffet stations, the Oompah band started. Did I mention how amazing these guys were? Totally charming and totally awesome. Not only was it great to have some live entertainment, but they also got the audience involved too. Plus, they sang Christmas songs. Talk about getting in the holiday spirit!
|Really bad photo of the Oompah band!|
As far as the food goes, it was actually fairly good. First off, I adored the plates and bowls. How cute are they? Loved the designs, and they very light plastic plates, so you wouldn’t feel too horrible if you dropped one. As you can see from my plate, I had a menagerie of food items plopped into one. This was because I honestly didn’t want to make a second huge trip (although I did go back for more bratwurst and German potato salad).
Here are some of the things I got: Bean salad (which was green beans and other white beans with some type of vinegar sauce), pickles (FYI these were amazing! They were like a spicy bread & butter pickle that they make in-house), German potato salad (can you say lots of bacon?!), roasted root vegetables (parsnips, carrots), sauteed green beans and red onions (I’m still not sure what was in this but wow, it was good), roasted chicken, carved pork tenderloin, Bratwurst, some other type of wurst (which I hated and promptly gave to my family), sauerkraut, applesauce, mustard (not sweet), and curry ketchup (I adore curry ketchup!!). I did got back for seconds on several things, so I was definitely very full by the end of the meal!
I will say that it’s a good thing that I eat meat because I’m not sure a gluten free vegan or vegetarian would have many options. There are good options for vegetarians but add in another special diet and it seemed much harder.
|I love the tea in the “beer” steins!|
The roll that was brought to me was Ener-G and it was not at all heated well. I’m fairly convinced they shoved it in a microwave and it turned hard instantly. Still, smother anything with some curry ketchup and it’s good! (which is obviously what I did!).
For dessert, I sampled the fruit compote (sorry I forgot to take photos), which were really yummy. Sweet but tart at the same time, I found the mixed berries (including strawberries, raspberries, and blackberries) to be really nice after a heavy meal. I also got Enjoy Life cookies and a Boom Boom Bar (which I love) for the road. That Boom Boom Bar was the perfect snack on my drive home from Disney!
Overall, I liked Biergarten for the ambiance and the decor. Our table mates were not at all chatty and really weren’t interested in interacting with our party, so it made for a weird vibe. It would be awesome if you had your whole family there or a big group of friends (which I plan to do). Food-wise, I would say it was OK. I liked a lot of the dishes but I also didn’t love all of them. The roasted chicken was dry and bland and some of the sausages were just plain gross but I did find things I liked. I also wish the chef on this visit would have made more of an effort to help ensure cross-contamination risks by perhaps bringing me more items from the back–though I was able to work around that myself. Of course, the Oompah Band alone makes me want to go back again! We caught not one but two shows that afternoon!
For this visit, I would give it a 7 for ambiance, charm, and fairly decent offerings.
Have you been to Biergarten? What was your experience?