Konnichiwa! And welcome back to another visit to Katsura Grill!
The counter service spot, located in Epcot’s Japan Pavilion, sits higher than the rest of the elevation in the area. Nestled into a garden behind the temple, this spot offers lovely, serene surroundings.
And in the past, we’ve really enjoyed the food here as well — especially lighter, healthier options, like Steamed Veggies and Miso.
I decided to visit Katsura spur-of-the-moment for lunch recently to see if I could still recommend this out-of-the-way counter service location. Come with me as we check out what I found.
If you haven’t fully explored the Japan Pavilion, then make sure to carve out a little extra time to do it on your very next trip to Epcot. There’s lots to take in.
As you make your way through the Pavilion to the back, Katsura Grill sits to the left. You’ll do a little climbing to get up to it, however.
The building itself demonstrates a simple Japanese aesthetic. Whereas the temple in front of it is a showstopper, Katsura is plain and functional, with dark wood accents and a thatched roof.
Inside, the ceilings are vaulted, and much of the walls give way to windows, so you have views of World Showcase Lagoon, the Pavilion, and the Garden on three sides. Seating isn’t anything fancy, but it really doesn’t need to be with so much to look at. But I do appreciate the padded chairs here.
If you prefer outdoor seating, you’ll find quite a bit of it, and much of it is shaded by large umbrellas. Also — just in case you always wondered — you’ll find the bathroom just off of this area as well. 🙂
The patio overlooks an outcropping of rock where a waterfall provides soothing sounds. And this is why Katsura Grill is one of my favorite spots. It’s so relaxing, and I’ve rarely seen this area crowded.
Follow the tiny bridge and meandering walkway down, and you’ll spot beautiful koi in the pond below.
Paper lanterns strung overhead bid you to return after dark just to see the area in a whole different light.
And indeed, you should return! Because night or day, this is a lovely spot.
After a look around, you’ll probably decide to stay a while. 🙂 So head in and check out the menu.
As I mentioned, Katsura Grill doesn’t often seem to be very busy. I’m alright with that, since it means that I can usually walk up to the small counter and order without much wait.
And I usually have my pick of tables as well.
Katsura Grill is quaintly “old fashioned” — no electronic ordering or fancy food delivery systems. You will find backlit menu boards, however. That’s become pretty common around Disney, though. I do imagine that they make changing the menu items around much easier.
Take a closer look at the menu items, and you may be surprised to find some interesting selections. I mean, Japanese Curry and Udon? Or how about a Kids’ Meal that has ZERO to do with Chicken Nuggets or Mac and Cheese?
I quickly decided on a couple of things to try. I’d heard rave reviews of the Udon during both the Epcot Food and Wine Festival and the Epcot Flower and Garden Festival (happening now, actually!), so my first choice was a no-brainer. I went for the Tempura Shrimp Udon.
But I also couldn’t pass up one of my Katsura favorites, their Teriyaki selections. I went with my tried and true favorite, the Chicken and Beef Teriyaki Combination Platter. It comes with ample side servings of Steamed White Rice and Veggies.
And this is where I have to mention something that I’ve hinted at — Katsura is a great stop if you’re looking to find healthier for you options. Believe it or not, we really enjoyed side orders of Steamed White Rice and Veggies as a snack a while back!
After all of that food, I didn’t leave room for dessert. However, we have reviewed both the Green Tea Cheesecake and the Chocolate Ginger Cake in the past. I’d go for the chocolate ginger cake if I were you.
(The Chocolate Ginger Cake is the same that’s served at Tokyo Dining. You can read our whole review here.) However, they’re teeny tiny portions. Not necessarily a bad thing — but I like you to know before you leap.
After that filling lunch, I was ready to finish my circumnavigation of the (Epcot) world.
Katsura Grill continues to get two thumbs up from me!
And it’s a combination of things that make for the recommendation, really. The food is better than mall food court, which is what you might expect. And the menu proves that you really can find better-for-you options at Disney if you want to.
But in the end, it’s the setting that’s the cherry on top of Katsura Grill. Because when you can find someplace that’s so peaceful and calm, right in the middle of what is arguably one of the most exciting spots anywhere — well, it’s worth mentioning and lingering there for a bit.
Now, I’d really love to hear from you! Is Katsura Grill one of your top spots in Walt Disney World for counter service dining? Leave a comment and let me know what you think!