Top 10 Tokyo DisneySea Counter Service Restaurants
This post ranks our favorite counter service restaurants in Tokyo DisneySea, offering a list of the best quick dining options based upon theme, food quality, and value for money. As with all things Tokyo DisneySea, there’s definitely an emphasis on theme and ambiance in these rankings.
The list includes only quick service eateries, and does not include snack spots (sorry, Sultan’s Oasis) or any spot that does not have a fully-fledged meal of entrees. Note that this list does not cover every counter service restaurant at Tokyo DisneySea…but it has almost all of them.
To be honest, the counter service scene is fairly weak at Tokyo DisneySea. The best dining options in this park are buffets, table service eateries, and bars. In this regard, it’s sort of the opposite of Tokyo Disneyland, which features a formidable slate of counter service options…
In fact, to be totally blunt, once you get past the top 5 on this list, the options are sort of “meh.” If your time is limited in Tokyo DisneySea, we’d recommend making a point of trying the top 2 restaurants on this list, and devoting the rest of your time to table service meals.
With that said, here are our recommendations for counter service restaurants at Tokyo DisneySea. Click the names of any highlighted restaurant to open their full reviews…
10. Cape Cod Cook-Off – I’ll be honest: this is not a very good place to eat. I’d go as far as to say that half the menu is downright gross, especially for those who are used to ole fashioned hamburgers from the U.S. of A.
However, we usually end up here once per trip, either to see the Duffy stage show, or because there’s some random seasonal food that we want to try. Plus, how can you go wrong with super-cute decor, like Firefighter Duffy spraying Tippy Blue with a fire-heart hose?!
9. Yucatan Base Camp Grill – This is a great spot if you love smoked meats but have an incredibly small appetite. Since the Venn circles for those two groups probably don’t even touch, I have a tough time recommending Yucatan Base Camp Grill. The meats here can be good…but I’ve left hungry each time I’ve dined here.
Thematically, Yucatan Base Camp Grill is not too shabby. As the name suggests, it feels like a base camp for some sort of expedition. Probably to save tourists from the perils that routinely trap them inside Indiana Jones Adventure.
8. Horizon Bay Restaurant – In terms of ambiance, Horizon Bay is one of the most boring restaurants at Tokyo DisneySea. It appears to be housed in a sterile, metal building that sort of feels like a mash-up of a hospital, Best Buy, and a fancy kitchen with all stainless steel appliances.
The menu at Horizon Bay Restaurant is pretty approachable, with various meats (things like salmon, steak, chicken, etc.) served with slight Japanese twists as part of a buffeteria style set-up. I wouldn’t go out of my way to dine here unless you want a straightforward meal in a boring environment. (There’s also a character dining “side” to the restaurant.)
7. Miguel’s El Dorado Cantina – The ambiance here is enjoyable. Styled like a weathered cantina in the remote jungle, Miguel’s El Dorado Cantina is aged to look as if it has seen better days. Like most of the Lost River Delta, it seems like nature is slowly reclaiming the land occupied by the restaurant. It’s especially awesome on summer afternoons, when a mariachi band performs on the lower level.
In terms of food, this is nominally Mexican. I’m not sure whether there’s a term for “Japanesized” Mexican cuisine, but that’s probably what you’d call this. It lacks the preparation and spices that you’d typically find of authentic Mexican cuisine, and brings a new meaning to the word “mild.” If you’ve ever thought Taco Bell was just a bit too adventurous, Miguel’s is for you. (Joking aside, it’s not too bad…it’s just not even remotely spicy.)
6. Cafe Portofino – Thematically, Cafe Portofino is another repurposed venue in Mediterranean Harbor. Originally, it was a small, unassuming restaurant, but it became so popular that the owners converted the fishing net repair shop next door into a dining area for their many Guests. As such, you have a mix of fishing stuff and traditional decor you’d find in an Italian cafe.
Sarah and I have differing opinions on the food. I enjoy a lot of what’s on the buffeteria here, from the chicken to the pasta and more. Sarah thinks it’s only so-so. Either way, it’s definitely not the most memorable restaurant at Tokyo DisneySea, but the location cannot be beat.
5. Sebastian’s Calypso Kitchen – This is like the Queen of Hearts Banquet Hall of Tokyo DisneySea, albeit far (far) less popular. This Little Mermaid-inspired restaurant gives guests the opportunity to dine under the sea, and is a pretty popular spot in Mermaid Lagoon, but it does not have quite the reputation of Queen of Hearts Banquet Hall. While the underwater style establishes a nice mood, there’s not a ton of depth to the design.
Basically, Sebastian’s Calypso Kitchen is just “cute.” That’s typically not the word I use to describe the pinnacle of Imagineering’s themed design. There’s certainly nothing wrong with Sebastian’s Calypso Kitchen in this regard, and I could see kids loving it, but it doesn’t not feel on par with the rest of Tokyo DisneySea. On the plus side, the seafood pizza here is excellent (assuming you can get past the morbid idea that Sebastian is cooking other seafood).
4. New York Deli – If you want a Mile High Sandwich, the flagship menu item that literally has posters advertising it all over the American Waterfront, this is a good pick. Beyond that, there are a few other sandwiches, all of which we’ve found to be pretty good (albeit small).
Then there’s the theme. Beyond the obvious deli section, the restaurant also bleeds over into the surrounding storefronts in American Waterfront, with seating areas representing a variety of other small shops and the personality of their proprietor. These seating areas include a pub & tavern, photographer’s studio, tailor’s shop, and more. Placing the restaurant within multiple storefronts is a clever approach to theme, and makes this a standout at Tokyo DisneySea.
3. Zambini Bros. Ristorante – A family-owned Italian restaurant in a repurposed winery, Zambini Brothers is interesting thematically. Since it was a winery, the large size makes sense. However, the sprawling layout is not what you’d expect from a ‘homey’ restaurant in Italy. Details and multi-level seating (including an outdoor terrace), make it work, though.
I’m a huge fan of the various pizzas here. The pastas…not so much. They mostly strike me as bland, with watered-down tomato sauce. Leave the pasta, take the pizza. If you do, you’ll be treated to one of the best values at Tokyo DisneySea, with personal pizzas that are high-quality and filling at a reasonable price.
2. Vulcania – When viewed strictly in terms of theme and ambiance, this is the unequivocal #1 counter service restaurant at Tokyo DisneySea. Built into the side of Mount Prometheus, Vulcania was “originally” a geothermal station carved out of the rock. It’s unclear whether the geothermal station is still active and the mess hall just shares space with it, or if it has truly been converted; given that stuff lights up and moves around, I’m inclined to say it’s a dual space for Captain Nemo’s workers. Thematically, Vulcania is unparalleled.
Food-wise, Vulcania is fairly good, although having a filling meal here can be a bit pricey. I’m a fan of the fried chicken with char sui and egg, as well as the dumplings. Seasonal sets also tend to be fairly good. Even if the full menu of Chinese cuisine does not appeal to you, grab at least a dessert of a drink and spend 20 minutes here relaxing and soaking up the excellent ambiance.
1. Casbah Food Court – Curry spots do well on our rankings, apparently. First Hungry Bear Restaurant claimed the #2 spot on our Top 10 Tokyo Disneyland Counter Service Restaurants list, and now Casbah Food Court tops this list. Unlike the mild, semi-sweet Japanese curry spot at Hungry Bear, this is spiced curry that can have a bit of kick to it. (It’s still pretty mild.) I’m a big fan of the curry sampler here to sample various types of curry, but I’ll often go for whatever is the seasonal special set.
Thematically, Casbah Food Court is also a gem. One side of the seating area is meant to feel like a bazaar where peasants and street rats dine, whereas the other side is more well-appointed, befitting of royalty. Personally, I prefer to take the “Walk in Aladdin’s Footsteps” dining tour and slum it on the peasant side. This area has a ton of texture and details, from fountains and fixtures to trim work and even tables and chairs. It’s particularly gorgeous at night, when the many light fixtures scatter light throughout Casbah Food Court, creating a wonderful mood and texture to the restaurant.
If you’re thinking of visiting Japan for the first time and are overwhelmed with planning, definitely check out our Tokyo Disney Resort Planning Guide. It covers much more than the parks, from getting there to WiFi to currency and much, much more. For more photos and an idea of what we did day-by-day during our first visit, read our Tokyo Disney Resort Trip Report.
Do you agree or disagree with our Tokyo DisneySea counter service restaurant rankings? What are your favorite Tokyo DisneySea restaurants? Any restaurants you dislike? Hearing your feedback about your experiences is both interesting to us and helpful to other readers, so please share your thoughts or questions below in the comments!
I’m going back to Tokyo Disney in October, any chance for a top 10 table service restaurants in Tokyo Disneysea by then? I did Magellans last time and I plan on doing Teddy Roosevelt Lounge and S. S. Columbia, but would love to hear if any others should be added to or above those 2 restaurants. And then one more unrelated topic but I’ve wondered about, do you have any plans to go to Efteling someday? I think you’d love it.
Looks like the counter service options are pretty spotty, though Vulcania and Casbah may be my favorite counter service restaurants at any theme park. Otherwise looks like I’d do the NY Deli when I return.
As a third option, the Chandu’s Tail at Sultan’s Oasis plus Gyoza Dog at Nautilus Galley was the equivalent of a meal for me–both were delicious and the latter I ordered with a frozen Muscat cocktail… SUPER DELICIOUS!!!
Perfect timing – we’re headed to Tokyo Disney today!! Eeek!! Thanks for all of your info
Horizon Bay and Zambini Brothers are without a doubt my favorite spots in TDS. Horizon Bay is the best value in the park IMO. And it’s the only place here that I can leave moderately full. Vulcania is themed better than any of them, but the fried rice is the only thing on the menu I would want and the portion is snack size.