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Review: Tokyo Dining in Epcot’s Japan

Craving sushi or just need a relaxed and elegant spot for lunch or dinner? It’s time to book Tokyo Dining!

Although we have recommended Tokyo Dining a number of times as a decent spot for catching Illuminations, I’ve never posted my own review of this restaurant. So we made it a priority to head over and dig in — for the sake of the blog. ;-)

This spot is located on the second floor of the Mitsukoshi Department Store building in Epcot’s Japan, adjacent to the Hibachi-style Japanese steakhouse, Teppan Edo.

And while we know it’s a terrific place to stop by for sushi (and it’s rarely crowded), they’ve got plenty on the menu for non-seafood palates as well. Let’s take a look!

Atmosphere

Like a growing number of World Showcase restaurants, Tokyo Dining and Teppan Edo now have an outdoor check-in area for busy days. On our visit, it wasn’t that crowded; so the cast member told us to head on upstairs to check in.

Check-in Desk Outside Teppan Edo and Tokyo Dining

We were met by two very gracious Japanese cast members, signed in, and directed to wait in the lobby of the two restaurants.

The quiet, sleek, and spacious waiting area is a welcome respite from the relative activity of the theme parks. It’s very restful.

Waiting Area

Once your name is called to be seated, you’ll be directed to one of two main dining rooms at Tokyo Dining.

The first room features an on-stage sushi kitchen, where you can watch chefs as they prepare dishes for guests.

Additional Seating and Open Sushi Kitchen

The other dining room features some seriously cool indirect lighting, plus plenty of natural lighting and panoramic views of World Showcase.

Here’s a weird tip: the tables by the windows have super cushy padded chairs, while the others are less comfortable. Just an FYI…and one good reason to request a seat by the window.

Another good reason? Illuminations. Yep; you really can see the fireworks from here (albeit they can be slightly obstructed by trees or people standing on the balcony outside).

Dining Room Seating

We were here during the day, however, so I was happy to take in the views from my cushy window seat. ;-)

View From Dining Room

We had lots of items to choose from, so after taking in our surroundings, it was time to settle down and decide what to order.

Eats

When it comes to all the variety of Japanese cuisine, Tokyo Dining offers a plethora of choices. If your party can’t decide between sushi, tempura, or grilled meats, this spot might work well for all of you.

Also, be sure to ask your server for a recommendation — especially if you’re new to Japanese food. Also, photos on the menus help a lot in determining what looks good to you.

Tokyo Dining Menu Cover

Well-known for its sushi, the restaurant offers a small but well-rounded choice of nigiri, inside-out rolls, and maki, in addition to combination platters.

Sushi Menu 1 -- Click to Enlarge

The sushi menu also includes some really beautiful Decoration Sushi, as well as a fun and informative history of the preparation of sushi. It was one of the original fast foods!

Sushi Menu 2 -- Click to Enlarge

Tokyo Dining also offers a special prix fixe lunch menu, similar to what we’ve seen at Nine Dragons (read a review of the China Pavilion table service spot here.)

For a set price, you can choose from a list of appetizers, entrees, and desserts. The choices, especially for apps and desserts, are pretty limited, however.

Special Lunch Menu -- Click to Enlarge

The main menu is far more varied. With its wide scope of choices, as well as interesting combinations, it drew our interest over the sushi-only menu and prix fixe options.

Appetizer Menu -- Click to Enlarge

Entree Menu -- Click to Enlarge

Entrees Continued -- Click to Enlarge

Children's Menu, Desserts, and Beverages -- Click to Enlarge

We began with a few different beverages. It’s fun to see the Frozen Kirin Beer on the menu here, as well as at Kubuki Cafe and Garden House.

The head is aerated and super chilled, so it stays frozen for quite some time. While it’s a little hard to maneuver around, it definitely keeps the temperature of the beer cool and crisp.

Frozen Kirin Beer

We also enjoyed a non-alcoholic frozen cocktail of tropical fruits.

The Mikan, a combination of pineapple, mandarin orange, and lemon juices was a refreshing combo of tart and sweet, and the color was gorgeous!

Mikan Pineapple Juice Non-Alcoholic Cocktail

But one of my favorite refreshers in all of Epcot is the Iced Green Tea. There is nothing quite like it on a hot Florida day.

And since it’s unsweetened and full of antioxidants, it’s practically health food! ;-)

Iced Green Tea

I decided to start my meal with one of the chef’s recommendations, the Kakuni.

Braised pork belly is slow cooked in sake, soy sauce, and ginger, and is served with spicy yellow mustard. But really, they had me at pork belly. Some folks will remember this from past Epcot Food and Wine Festivals, and this was flavorful and delicious.

The portion was perfect for each of us to have a taste.

Kakuni

My friend chose the Ginza combination from the Gozen portion of the menu — a recommendation from our server.

A tempura and sushi combination, all Gozen options also include Miso Soup, Somen Salad, Sunomono, and Steamed White Rice.

Ginza -- Tempura and Sushi Combination

Everything looked delicious and freshly-prepared. My friend gave kudos for the crunchy, light tempura-battered shrimp and veggies, as well as the beautiful (and delicious!) sushi presentation and flavor.

Ginza Sushi -- Up Close

When it came time for me to choose, I wanted to sample something for the landlubbers out there and went with the Japanese-style Grill side of the menu.

I ordered the Filet Mignon, served with Grated Daikon and Ponzu, and accompanied by Steamed White Rice and Seasonal Vegetables.

Filet Mignon

While my food was fine, the steak was decidedly overcooked. What should have been a medium-rare temperature came out more like medium to medium well-done. And overall, this didn’t really meet my expectations for a $29.99 filet mignon.

I think that next time I’ll go with one of the tempura meals or the sushi to get a bigger bang for my buck.

Filet -- Cross Section

While we weren’t wowed by the dessert choices, we decided to go ahead and try the Chocolate Ginger Cake just to round out the meal.

And, believe it or not — we were bowled over! The dark chocolate ganache covering the cake was the best part — a thick, rich, blanket of wonderful!

The cake itself was moist and flavorful, and the thing really had some substance! I was very impressed. It was just enough sweetness to end the meal perfectly.

Chocolate Ginger Cake

Overall

If you love sushi and are looking for a relaxed and calm break from the theme parks, Tokyo Dining is perfect for you. Also, if you’re traveling with a group and can’t decide on one specific culinary direction, its varied menu might be just what you’re looking for. Where else can you get mixed grill, raw fish, and deep fried options?

Having said that, I would definitely say that Tokyo Dining is a better destination for the sushi lover than the steak lover. If it’s Japanese-style grilling that you’re after, I’d stick to the show and fabulous food (and truly amazing filet mignon!) of Teppan Edo next door.

Also, a quick word on service. The servers at Tokyo Dining — nearly all women when we were there — were incredibly helpful and gracious. But be prepared: they may bow during their interactions with you, which is customary in Japan. This might be upsetting for some, as it can be hard to figure out how to respond: do I bow back? Just say thank you? Trust me, they’re used to it. Just do what you feel comfortable with and all will be well. ;-)

What’s your take on Tokyo Dining? Leave a comment and tell us your favorite dishes here!

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13 Comments

  1. Alan says:

    This is one of those less talked about restaurants that sort of get overlooked with all the newer and hotter places that have opened over the last few years. Even if Japanese fare is not on your usual food path, this is worth a try. I think WDW is about experiences that are outside what we usually do in our everyday life and this is, for many, one of those things.

  2. Victoria V says:

    My husband and I ate at Teppan Edo our last trip to WDW and I had the chocolate ginger cake for my dessert and LOVED it. My husband got the green tea cheesecake and that was pretty darn tasty, too. :)

  3. Cindy Kay says:

    This was my favorite restuarant. I’ve eaten at Tokyo Dining at least a dozen times. I LOVE their food. Sadly, we ate there December 6th, were handed a paper menu (not in the usual book-style) and the prices were at least $6.00 more per entree (2 entrees, a glass of water, a glass of wine, plus tip… was $85). I went solo last September for lunch, was given the dinner menu and not offered the ‘lunch special’ that I am used to. So… if you choose to eat at Tokyo Dining… be prepared to pay whatever for whichever menu you end up with.

  4. Jon says:

    The food at Tokyo Dining is quite good, but I found the service to be almost perfunctory at times. To be fair, it was quite busy in the dining room. A good test for Japanese restaurants that serve sushi/sashami is the quality of the maguro and harumaki…buttery texture with a hint of sea salt. As for bowing, I say smile, nod your head, and utter thank you, hello, etc. The only time I bow is in a dojo which is standard protocol.

  5. AJ says:

    Alan — Great point. Lots of folks pass this one by, but it’s actually a great representation of non-stereotypical “theme park food” available in Disney World!

    Victoria V — Ooh, I’ll have to try the cheesecake!

    Cindy Kay — Very interesting about all of the different menus. I wonder why that happened?! Our visit was in November of this year, so perhaps they’re back to the regular style?

    Jon — Thanks so much for sharing your experience and your advice!

  6. Brian says:

    My wife and I love this place! The Volcano roll is the best roll I’ve ever eaten in the US!

    AJ, here’s another tip: Come 30 minutes before the first service of the day and watch the wonderful welcome ceremony the staff performs!

  7. Shaun says:

    Do you know if they offer a soywrap substitution on the sushi rolls? I like sushi but can’t handle the nori wraps.

  8. Galloping Gourmand says:

    I love that when it comes to Japanese food style counts. They spend more time making their meals look beautiful than any other culture (sorry, France).

    Tokyo Dining window seats are an underrated spot for Illuminations. It’s not an uninterrupted view but if you’ve seen it before you get a nice new perspective on the show. I can’t say much about the food because I haven’t eaten there since the year it opened.

  9. Chrissy says:

    This doesn’t really have anything to do with the food, but I know that when I shop at Mitsukoshi and the woman behind the counter bows after I made my purchase, I bow back to them as a sign of respect and thanks. I absolutely love other cultures, and try to pick up on some customs whenever I go to Epcot.

  10. Brenda says:

    On our annual trip to Disney, we eat our way around the countries, ordering a few items and sharing between the four of us who go. Toyko Dining is our must stop (and favorite) their sushi is wonderful. Serve is wonderful and even in mid July this restraunt never seems crowded. I am not sure about the menu’s though because we have had both the paper menu and hard book menu on different visits.

  11. Scott says:

    My wife and I ate here a couple of years ago. We were both wearing birthday pins as we were both born in November. The waitress brought us a free piece of chocolate ginger cake. I am soooo happy she did, because I wouldn’t have ordered it otherwise. Now I wouldn’t eat here without ordering it. One of my favorite desserts at WDW.

  12. Marlene says:

    You missed my favorite drink at Tokyo Dining – the Saki Rita!!!
    Can only get it there or Teppan Edo.
    It’s made with Saki and Grand Marnier.
    Yum yum.
    It is still on the menu?

    P.S. Also the ONLY place your kid can order a meal served in a monorail car/plate!

  13. Andrew says:

    I had the worst meal I’ve ever had in WDW here. Cold steak, soggy oily tempura, horrible service and a whopper of a bill. Food quality here is on par with a Japanese Buffet style restaurant. Not to mention our servers breath was so bad it lingered around the table. I’m serious. Won’t be returning here. Maybe I’ll try Tepan Edo. Great view though.

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