AAAAAH! It’s HERE! One of the highly anticipated NEW restaurants in Epcot is finally soft opening and we can’t WAIT to bring you inside! Ready to head into Takumi-Tei? Let’s go!
The newest, signature restaurant in the Japan pavilion is soft opening for the first time today, and we couldn’t wait to report for you.
In this post, we’ll take you inside and show you around the space, share some of the menu, and divulge a few of our favorite items. In all honesty, we’re still in the restaurant eating ?, so we’ll share the full review later tonight! This is just a first look, because we knew you’d want to see ASAP!
Takumi-Tei, which means “House of the Artisan,” is a signature restaurant. In Disney-speak, that translates to a high-end, two-credit option on the Disney Dining Plan…and a date night must-do for sure!
As is the case with many Japanese restaurants, the atmosphere and experience of the architecture and decor is as much a part of the meal as the food. In speaking with the manager, we found that that the entrance way at Takumi-Tei represents a passageway between Epcot and Japan.
Once inside, you’ll find that Takumi-Tei has five dining rooms, each inspired by a natural element: water, wood, earth, stone or washi paper.
The Chef’s Table
, which will feature an exclusive menu, is located in the Water Room, a space designed to “immerse diners in a tranquil setting that reflects the balance between nature and Japanese art.”
This room’s centerpiece is a gorgeous, indoor waterfall, accented with a long table seating eight. The table is designed to look almost like the waterfall runs into a river flowing slowly through the middle of the table. You can see what could be red Japanese Maple leaves suspended in the “river” of the table.
The water room will often function as a private dining room and would be booked by parties of four or more diners.
The stone room’s main focal point is the large Japanese Zen Garden art piece.
Primary colors here are the dark greys of the banquettes and stone “wainscotting” anchoring the room, with the beige “sand” tones lightening up the upper levels of the space. Tables are dark wood.
The Earth Room is fascinating! It showcases stratified “earthen” layers atop dark wood paneling on the walls. Lighting hits these just perfectly to make them an art piece of their own!
Installations in this room include insets that hold individual pedestals with art pieces.
Table settings are the same in each room, but chair design differs slightly. Aren’t these gorgeous? I love how they pull the golden colors from the stratified wall design.
The Wood Room returns to the grey wall background, but here there are installations of wood art pieces in a variety of styles.
Along the ceiling boarder you’ll find Japanese wood carvings.
Washi Paper Room
The Washi Paper Room is one of my favorites. This room is much lighter than the others in decor, and features predominantly whites, pinks, and reds. Banquettes here are a rich maroon, and tables are flanked with lighter, white chairs.
Place settings in all rooms features the same kimono-folded napkin style, and chopsticks.
And guests are given table-side poured soy sauce that’s refreshed between each course.
We’re still eating, and we’ll share the full menu in our full review later tonight! But here are a few highlights!
This menu includes Appetizers, Main Courses, Sashimi, Maki Sushi, Nigiri, and Desserts. In addition to the main menu, there is also an Omakase Tasting Menu ($130 per person) and an optional beverage pairing ($75 per person).
The beverage menu at Takumi-Tei includes Sake, Specialty Cocktails, Japanese Beer, Wine (including Japanese Plum Wine), and Non-Alcoholic Cocktails.
One of our favorites from the evening was this Sakurajima, which is named after a volcano and arrives in a glass smoke box.
This one is a Kaiyo Japanese Whisky Sour with Smoked Cherrywood. Like other smoke box cocktails we’ve reviewed here on DFB, the smokey flavors come through very strongly. So if you’re not into that, skip this one.
And check out this origami-adorned Kami cocktail!
Ingredients include Roku Gin, Sayuri “White Lilly” Nigori Sake, Clipco, and Lychee. It’s super sweet, but not “sickly” sweet…like you’d find in a pool bar cocktail. The thick sake sets the stage for this one.
Stay tuned for more cocktails in our full review this evening!
Takumi-Tei Omakase Tasting Menu
One of our team of reviewers ordered the Omakase tasting menu ($130). “Omakase” means “I’ll leave it up to you,” and basically is a Chef’s tasting prix-fixe menu.
Guests can add a beverage pairing for an additional $75.
This included the the Temari Sushi, which offered (bottom to top) Salmon, Toro, Tuna, Sea Urchin, and Yellow Tail.
We’ll be back later this evening with a full review of the tasting menu!
The rest of our team of reviewers ordered from the regular menu, which includes appetizers, entrees, sushi, nigiri, and desserts.
We started our meal off with Nikomi Wagyu. This appetizer consists of roasted bone marrow, braised Jackson Farms Wagyu shortrib, Yuzu Kosho, Wasabi Shiso Bavaroise, and Warishita.
The Bone Marrow is delicious — and the flavor and texture of the meat is excellent. The orange pepper isn’t all that spicy, but does have a strong citrus flavor. The sauce on the meat itself (Warishita) is similar to a teriyaki, and the Wasabi sauce isn’t as spicy as you’d expect.
Another appetizer we ordered, the Hama no Kani, was fabulously…graphic. Our server mentioned that the crabs are meant to look as though they’re coming out of the ocean, crawling up the sand, and onto the plate. Which is more information than, frankly, we needed to know.
This one consists of Ponzu Crab, Toasted Crab, Frisee, Heirloom Tomato, Watermelon Radish Tsukemono, Leek Gel, Sesame Pollen, and Plum Wine Reduction.
This one, according to one of our reviewers, “wasn’t that bad.” So, this is not for picky eaters and if you’re not a seafood fan, skip it. But if you do love crab and seafood, the soft crab was very good — and there was lots of it!
It had the natural sweetness you want in good, fresh crab, and it was perfectly tender. The salad ingredients were all bright and fresh. But the small, crunchy crabs…aren’t our thing.
Thoughts So Far…
So far, this restaurant is just as we expected — absolutely LOVELY inside with a theme that greatly appeals and affects your overall experience of dining.
The menu is high-end and substantial, with signature-level prices to be sure (including a main course that gets dangerously close to $100). Our meal thus far has been a dining “experience,” versus just a meal.
We’ve given you a quick taste, but stay tuned for more later this evening!