Tokyo Dining Review

DSC_8499 as Smart Object-1 copy

Tokyo Dining is a table service restaurant in Epcot at Walt Disney World. It’s located, unsurprisingly, in the World Showcase Japan pavilion where it shares space on the second floor of the the Mitsukoshi Department Store with the Hibachi steakhouse, Teppan Edo. Don’t let the generic name fool you–Tokyo Dining is a gem of a restaurant. The menu consists of Japanese cuisine, but that includes an array of options from steak to seafood to even chicken. Tokyo Dining is a regular “one credit” table service restaurant on the Disney Dining Plan. Interestingly, Tokyo Dining can be both a good value on the Disney Dining Plan and a good value when paying out of pocket, it all depends upon what you order. The menu options span a range of prices, so plan accordingly. Tokyo Dining also accepts the Tables in Wonderland card for a 20% discount.

Tokyo Dining’s theme fuses form and function for a restaurant that has a sleek, modern aesthetic. It’s not going to knock anyone’s socks off in terms of its visuals, but its look is representative of actual Tokyo dining, where restaurants largely make the best utilitarian use of their limited space. The tables at Tokyo Dining aren’t quite so densely packed, which is a plus, but otherwise it’s pretty spot-on. We like this clean, modern look, but those who go to Walt Disney World to experience fantastical environments might be disappointed by the more understated look of Tokyo Dining. It’s certainly no Sci-Fi Dine-In Theater, that’s for sure!

One thing worth noting about Tokyo Dining that we normally don’t address in Walt Disney World dining reviews because it’s usually too subjective/variable to make our anecdotes useful, and that’s service. Based on our interactions with numerous Cast Members at Tokyo Dining, I am confident in saying that the service is top notch. The Cast Members here reminded us of the traditional, service-oriented types that you’d find in restaurants in Japan. Just be ready to do a lot of bowing during the course of your meal! 

DSC_8495 as Smart Object-1 copy

We’ve only done lunch at Tokyo Dining, which has been relatively quiet, with less than 50% of the tables in use. Likely due to the cuisine being Japanese, it seemed like a relatively unpopular place for families, making for a quiet meal. Don’t be surprised if this all changes at dinner. Tokyo Dining technically offers a view of Illuminations, and any Walt Disney World restaurants that tout fireworks views are typically popular at dinner. The terrace outside the restaurant (which is not a seating area of the restaurant) is my favorite spot for viewing Illuminations, and it’s incredibly popular. Although the restaurant is elevated a bit from the terrace, if you get a window seat, you will have people outside partially blocking your view. And that’s a pretty big “if,” as less than 10% of the tables in Tokyo Dining are window seats. This is one of the reasons we opt to do Tokyo Dining at lunch, rather than dinner.

Listening to the 68 minute

The even bigger reason is the special prix fixe lunch menu, which includes an appetizer, entree, and dessert. This was only $19 during our visit (if you’re reading this after 2013, adjust upward by about 20% each year for ‘Disney Inflation’), and while it was fairly limited, with only four entree options and one dessert choice, but offers great value. Sarah and I each ordered one of these meals, plus an appetizer to split, since we figured the cheap specials wouldn’t be enough.

DSC_8502 as Smart Object-1 copy

We started with the Volcano Roll. This consisted of California Rolls with Spicy Chili Mayonnaise Sauce, Sashimi Tuna, Salmon, Yellowtail, Smelt Roe, and Tempura Crunch. This was excellent. The meat tasted fresh, the tempura added a great texture, and the sauce gave it all a nice kick. It could have used a bit more of this sauce, but otherwise it was great. No complaints as there was a lot of meat and a number of California Rolls. At around $15, it didn’t seem overly expensive for a Volcano Roll at Walt Disney World. I could see ordering this again as an entree.

DSC_8509 as Smart Object-1 copy

For my entree, I ordered the Bento Box, which is a traditional Japanese “lunch box” with a Panko Chicken Cutlet, California Rolls, Salmon Tartar Salad, and Sukiyaki Beef. The Salmon Tartar Salad was my surprise favorite here, as it was meaty and had excellent flavor. The California Rolls were good, and tasted freshly prepared, but could have been more flavorful. The chicken and beef were also good, but not great. The meats were exactly what you’d expect from a $20 lunch box. In the end, I was very pleased with this $20 meal; it was far better than anything I’ve had at Katsura Grill (which has been a letdown each time we’ve dined there).

DSC_8508 as Smart Object-1 copy

Sarah ordered the Beef Yakiniku. This consisted of strips of Fried Sirloin, with Fresh Vegetables and Garlic Sweet Ginger Soy Sauce. Sarah said the steak was fine, but nothing to write home about, and the vegetables were quite good. She said she far preferred the sushi, but agreed that her entree was much better than anything she has had at Katsura Grill.

DSC_8512 as Smart Object-1 copy

A friend who dined with us ordered the Shrimp Tempura and thought it was excellent. When we next dine at Tokyo Dining, that’s likely what I’ll order, as it looked great. Light and airy, yet substantial and not over-done with breading. (EasyWDW also has a look at this in its Tokyo Dining review.) Still, we have no complaints about the Lunch Specials, and would definitely consider doing them again instead of counter service in World Showcase for about the same price. In retrospect, we didn’t need to order the Volcano Roll as an appetizer, but it ended up being the best part of the meal, so no big loss. Ultimately, our entrees at Tokyo Dining were probably a cheaper, better, and more filling option than most complete counter service meals.

For dessert, which was included in our $19 meals, we each got soft serve ice cream. It was a pretty standard vanilla and green tea swirl. Soft serve ice cream tastes just about the same everywhere I think, so it’s really a matter of whether you like green tea ice cream. And we do.

DSC_8518 as Smart Object-1 copy

Overall, Tokyo Dining earns high marks for its inexpensive lunch menu and quality cuisine. Offering relatively mild options and more adventurous fare makes it a restaurant that most people will enjoy if they give it a chance, at prices that make it more like “counter service plus” than normal Epcot table service…unless you want something on the more expensive side. On top of that, it’s a relative unknown in the Walt Disney World dining “scene,” making it easy to score walk-up availability or a lunch away from crowds. In this sense, it’s really tough to find any way to knock Tokyo Dining–you definitely get your money’s worth and can have a relaxing experience. The ambiance is authentic to a reasonably nice modern Tokyo restaurant, but in terms of dining at Walt Disney World, some might find it disappointing. Dinner is a bit more expensive, and although you can theoretically watch Illuminations from here at dinner, the caveats to that are too numerous, so we recommend going for lunch. Although it’s not “Top 10″ material, you’re unlikely to be disappointed with Tokyo Dining.

Overall Score: 8.5/10

Read our other Walt Disney World restaurant reviews and Disney Dining Plan resources

Your Thoughts…

Tokyo Dining isn’t one of Walt Disney World’s highly “hyped” restaurants; do you think it deserves more fans or that it doesn’t have much buzz for a reason? Are you planning on dining here sometime? Your comments are half the fun, so share your thoughts and questions below!

468 ad

18 Responses to “Tokyo Dining Review”

  1. I am a fan of Tokyo Dining! I loved eating there when I was on the College Program whenever I was homesick for Japan :)

    • Tom Bricker says:

      It really is a lot like a restaurant in Japan. From the generic name to the design to the great sushi, it really reminded me of Japan. Much more authentic than Teppan Edo and Katsuri Grill.

      • Barbara says:

        I don’t know what made you unhappy at Katsura Grill but I like the terriyaki salmon very much. I usually get it to go and carry it to America where my husband orders the strip steak.

  2. I love Toyko Dining. It’s our favorite place to go on our Anniversaries and Birthdays! You’re spot on about the service, the level of service is a big reason why we go back so often. We’re learning Japanese and it’s fun to practice with the staff, they get excited about it too and even teach you phrases. Every time we’ve gone for a special occasion they’ve always made a special origami for us, for our anniversary the made an origami “diamond” ring out of green paper and gum wrapper, it was pretty neat. Another awesome thing, without fail, the staff gets super excited when you bring your Duffy along, they’ll even talk to your Duffy, it’s pretty serious. We’ve also come to the conclusion that they do have the best sushi at WDW, and the best dessert – the chocolate ginger cake, it’s just so good. so so good. delicate texture, creamy and chocolately with a subtle hint of ginger…it’s a delight, a fat person’s delight.

    • Tom Bricker says:

      The Duffy thing cracked me up. Not really surprised about that!

      I’ll add that Chocolate Ginger Cake to our list of things to try next time–thanks!

  3. Julie says:

    Thanks for your review. We have dinner reservations in hopes of seeing the fireworks. However, after reading your review we will skip dinner and go for lunch. We will try and snag a spot on the terrace to watch the fireworks.
    Thanks your blogs are always very helpful.

    • Tom Bricker says:

      If you arrive early and are willing to wait, you might be able to get a table with a fireworks view, but otherwise, I think lunch is the better bet.

  4. Max says:

    Maybe a silly question, but I was just wondering how you guys do all these reviews from all different places? I know you’re from up north and you were just in CA but do you just hop down to Orlando all the time or are these referenced from past trips.

    Just was wondering, either way I always enjoy reading them!

    • Tom Bricker says:

      All of the content on the blog is from past trips. A normal weekend trip (which is what we tend to do in Walt Disney World) normally gives me enough ideas for about 10-20 blog posts, and I spread those out over time because I’m also writing about Disneyland, Disneyland Paris, and Tokyo Disney Resort. Then other posts that cover news, commentary, etc., don’t require any trips.

  5. Emily says:

    Tokyo Dining is one of my favorites! I love the fact that it is relatively unknown- such a great place to cool off during a hot day at Epcot! Although, I’m not quite sure how I feel about your review- it might start getting pretty crowded! ;) Next time definitely get the tempura- it’s awesome! You will not be disappointed. I usually get the chicken but I’m sure the shrimp is great, too.

  6. I’ve eaten here many times, largely because my friends and I all LOVE sushi! And while it might not have the ambiance of some other WDW restaurants, its understated beauty and lovely lunch views make it a favorite. :) Although they really need to bring back my sweet potato rolls…

  7. Aaron says:

    Tokyo Dining is an interesting option that I hadn’t considered before. Thanks for the review! The shots of IllumiNATIONS are great, and so are the pictures of the food. I’d be interested to see your top sushi list at WDW in the future (that is, if you haven’t already posted one). How does the sushi stack up to California Grill? So far, California Grill and (surprisingly) Splitsville top my list.

  8. Jeff S says:

    If you go to Tokyo Dining/Teppan Edo right when they open the restaurants, the servers all come out and do a “pre-show” where they welcome you to Japan and the restaurants. I usually prefer dining at Tokyo Dining at night, but occasionally I like to go for this opening experience.

  9. Spirit of 74 says:

    Never tried it. It seems pricey, but I like the different choices, so maybe in the future. It isn’t like Tepan Edo, which is just insane when you can get far better food for better prices without making a PS months in advance at the DD Hilton ( as I just did on my July trip!)

  10. Bryner84 says:

    This was our favorite dining experience when we went in June, maybe not for any one particular thing but for overall experience. We had an 8:00 reservation and arrived at 7:30 so we could request a window table, and the staff was happy to accommodate. We were seated by 7:45 which meant we were finishing up our meal right at the time Illuminations was about to begin. While I am sure all experiences are different, we had very little trouble securing a window seat. I think this restaurant might just be more overlooked than the typical fireworks view restaurants. The service was by far the best we experienced on property and the Chicken Katsu was a stand out dish.

  11. John says:

    …..seems to be another Disney restaurant that use to be excellent and is now just good.
    There seem to be quite a few of these restaurants now where it has become obvious that Disney is cutting back to cut costs….the food is ok….just not as good as it use to be.
    One example….seems whenever you order any dish with chicken in it, you now get these generic batter fried chicken chunks….almost like you would find in a fast food joint.
    You use to get fresh cut white meat strips of chicken….not anymore.
    Worse…you start to see these chicken chunks in more and more restaurants there.
    Order them in China’s dragon restaurant and you get those same dried, over fried chicken chunks!

  12. Kara says:

    Do you have to eat at Tokyo Dining to view Illuminations from the terrace or is it just first come/first served?

  13. Tiffany says:

    I’m planning our January 2015 trip to WDW, and it will be two years since we were last there. Our two daughters (4 and 2) absolutely love sushi, so this is going on my list! I came across this particular post when researching Illuminations viewing sites, so thanks for the tip that this isn’t the best location. Can’t wait to eat here!

    Also, love your blog! I’ve been reading for a while and really enjoying all your insights. We go to Disneyland more often, living in California, but it’s nice to read about all the parks in one place.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>