Review: Steamed Vegetables and Rice at Katsura Grill in Epcot’s Japan Pavilion

I bet we caught you by surprise with the title of this post ;).

After all, here at the DFB we’re known for our love of all things fried, frosted, or otherwise fixed up in the name of vacation indulgence! It’s not that we’re opposed to veggies, believe it or not. (I love ‘em!) It’s just that in the Vacation Kingdom that is Disney World, we enjoy showing you all sorts of decadent vacation treats you might not typically encounter.

But sometimes maybe you just feel the need to switch things up for whatever reason… to counteract overindulgence, or just fulfill a sudden craving for more simple, natural foods.  For such times, I’d like to introduce you to one of my (surprisingly, I know!) favorite finds in Epcot: Steamed Vegetables and Rice at the Japan Pavilion’s Katsura Grill.

Katsura Grill

Katsura Grill

Now, the Steamed Vegetables and Rice aren’t sold as a combo – they are each [Read more…]

Review: Teppan Edo in Epcot’s Japan Pavilion

It’s time to go back to a restaurant we haven’t been to in AGES, my friends!!

Teppan Edo, in Epcot’s World Showcase, is often considered a guest favorite. The upscale Japanese show + cuisine is a must-do for many Disney fans.

So why hadn’t we been back in years? Well, due to the pretty consistent menu and often similar Hibachi grill dining experience, it simply made more sense for us to spend our time and money reviewing other restaurants for you. But seeing as how we hadn’t reviewed this place in for-ev-er, it was time to take a look and see if it still held up to the hype.

Hoping that it would still be a fun and delicious experience, we arrived at the check-in booth in front of Mitsukoshi Department Store.

Guest Check In for Teppan Edo and Tokyo Dining

Soon, we were headed up the wide staircase for what we hoped would be another fantastic experience and meal.


Teppan Edo is a teppanyaki-style restaurant. More commonly called a “Japanese steakhouse,” the experience combines cooking and service into one fun performance, I was looking forward to a hearty meal of traditional Japanese favorites.

Once you’re upstairs in the restaurant, you enter the waiting area that’s shared by Teppan Edo and its neighbor —  Tokyo Dining.

Teppan Edo Sign

After you receive  your pager (which you’ll get from the cast members at the top of the stairs once you’re inside the restaurant), it’s time to sit a spell until they’re ready for you in the restaurant.

The decor here is sleek and unfussy. It immediately puts me at ease; there’s just something so peaceful about the uncluttered space, and I love these lights! The indirect lighting behind the benches is warm without being too bright or glaring.

Here, you also catch a glimpse into the other Japanese table service restaurant, Tokyo Dining. For more about their options, check out our recent Tokyo Dining review.

Waiting Area for Teppan Edo and Tokyo Dining

Your pager will go off eventually (it didn’t take long for ours), but because Teppan Edo seats guests at communal tables,  you’ll have to wait until all of the guests sharing your table (even if you don’t know them) have presented at the podium. More on the communal eating later!

The eating area at Teppan Edo is comprised of many small dining rooms, joined together by this long hallway. I can’t get enough of this austere set up! It’s so unlike any other restaurant that you visit here.

Hallway Leading to the Dining Rooms

A peek inside one of the rooms [Read more…]

Review: Tusker House at Disney’s Animal Kingdom

It’s been a LONG time since we’ve talked about Tusker House, so let’s get down to business!

I consider this sprawling restaurant within Disney’s Animal Kingdom to be one of the best-kept secrets when it comes to Disney World character meals.

Yep — Tusker House is known for its bounty of African dishes, but it’s also a character dining destination. BUT — if you’re coming for the characters, be sure to book your ADR for breakfast and lunch. Mickey and friends don’t make an appearance for dinner.

We have a ton of yummy pictures to share with you, so let’s go!


Animal Kingdom is one of my favorite Disney parks due to its truly incredible themeing, and Tusker House takes this one step further.

Tusker House - Outside View

It’s one of the Disney restaurants that doesn’t just incorporate theme on the surface — I could spend hours exploring all of the specialty decor, finishes, and props Imagineers have added to this massive restaurant.

You’ll enter the restaurant through the village of Harambe in Animal Kingdom’s Africa, and Tusker House serves as Harambe’s “open air” market on the edge of the Harambe Wildlife Preserve. The podium for the restaurant was outside during our visit. Once you check in, you have the option to wait at a few outdoor tables that are leftover from the days when Tusker House was a counter-service restaurant.

Outdoor Waiting area

Also, next door is one of our favorite watering holes — the Dawa Bar. This is a great spot to [Read more…]

Review: Bongos Cuban Cafe

At long last, we finally made it to the Downtown Disney hotspot that is Bongos Cuban Cafe!

I’ll admit, I’d been putting off my visit to this restaurant. I hadn’t heard great reviews, and I wasn’t sure I’d like the food. But I’m SUCH a giant loser — what have I been waiting for?!?

I had a great time, I had awesome food…and it’s finally time to peek inside and find out what the Big Pineapple has to offer!


With architecture billed as “Old Havana” in style, this breezy, open restaurant certainly puts you in the mood for a tropical drink and a conga line. ;-) When we visited just before St. Patrick’s Day, Downtown Disney was alive with the excitement of a young, vibrant crowd, ready to get their dance on! The traditional Cuban dance music pouring out from the restaurant beckons you to come take a closer look and listen, and was perfect for a warm, breezy Florida evening.

Bongos Sign

Originally, our Advanced Dining Reservation was scheduled for much later than our 7:30 meet up time. When we checked in at the podium, though, we had no trouble getting a seat immediately. As a newcomer to Cuban food, I wasn’t sure what to expect, but the fun setting hinted of some adventurous eating ahead!

One of THE most amazing features of Bongos is the wide open feel of the place. Seating is available both inside and outside, giving the restaurant an authentic Cuban or Miami vibe. After all, these are places where people “live outside,” and restaurants in these locations really reflect that.

To help with the heat, both inside and out, we noticed high ceilings and lots of ceiling fans. It really lends to the impression of cool, airy spaces.

Outdoor Atmosphere

The upstairs veranda also provides a pleasant view of surrounding hotels, the Characters in Flight balloon, and the lake beyond. VERY cool view, eh??

Upstairs Outdoor Seating

While the walls inside are painted to give an old world, weathered feel (and the stone no doubt lends to a sense of coolness on a sweltering Florida summer day), there are plenty of [Read more…]

New Spice and Tea Exchange in Orlando’s Downtown Disney

More new stuff at Disney!

Well, more specifically, Downtown Disney in Walt Disney World. Without a whisper of notice, Mickey’s Pantry in Downtown Disney launched this incredible Spice and Tea Exchange, full of a wide variety of teas, sugars, salts, and more!

Spice and Tea Exchange in Downtown Disney

Tucked into a corner of Mickey’s Pantry, right next to Earl of Sandwich, the Spice and Tea Exchange looks like an [Read more…]