Tokyo Dining Review
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 steakhouse, Teppan Edo. Don’t let the generic name fool you–Tokyo Dining is a gem of a restaurant.
The Tokyo Dining 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 chic restaurants in Tokyo, where sleek, minimalist designs that seek to optimize their space are popular. 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. We comment on this here because it’s arguably the biggest selling point of Tokyo Dining, and the way (even more so than the menu) the restaurant best achieves cultural authenticity.
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. Regardless of your access to Japanese restaurants at home, it’s doubtful you have ones like Tokyo Dining that feature authentic service. Be ready to do a lot of bowing during the course of your meal.
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.
The even bigger reason is the special prix fixe lunch menu, which includes an appetizer, entree, and dessert. This is one of the best bargains in all of Epcot dining.
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.
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 provided 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.
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).
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.
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.
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 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.
Overall, Tokyo Dining earns high marks for its inexpensive lunch menu, quality cuisine, and attentive service. 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.
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.
Want more dining recommendations? Check out our Walt Disney World Restaurant Reviews. For info on whether the DDP is right for you, read our Ultimate Guide to the Disney Dining Plan. For comprehensive vacation advice, the best place to start is our Walt Disney World Trip Planning Guide for everything you need to know!
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!
Dined here on our last trip, the food and service was phenomenal, I absolutely loved the sushi, particularly the fire cracker roll I had. Unfortunately they lose a few points with service as the waitress made a pretty egregious error on the bill which was irritating (promptly fixed) I would definitely go back though.
I defInitely agree regarding the service; other than our fantastic waiter at Jiko this was by far the best service we’ve had at a Disney restaurant. While the prefix menu seems to be gone during lunch hours, the sushi was quite good and the other items we ordered were all solid.
I am hoping you and Sarah have had dinner here since this review, but inscase you haven’t this is actually a great view for illuminations. We eat here every time we visit, sometimes more than once because we know we are going to get excellent service and an excellent meal. Its like a security blanket at this point. But I did have to come and share that the people on the balcony thing are in no way a disruppter of the view. The balcony is low enough that a man with his daughter on his shoulders (ugh) wasn’t even in the way of the view. There aren’t many tables with a window view, but we just let them know we were willing to wait, and the buzzer thing they hand you to let you know your table is ready works throughout the Japan pavilion. So you can explore the shops while you wait. Easy least, and great view. I wish I had taken a picture. But my face was glued to the glass.
Any recommendation for how much time to allow for a table to free up for an IllumiNations view?
I waited for an hour, while my husband walked around in the shops below. It went by fairly quickly. I would recommend leaving your most tired or cranky member of the party to wait. 😀
We were seated 30 minutes prior to the show, which was when our reservation time was, and the show started right as we were finishing our meal.
Has anybody tried this restaurant who has been to Japan? I’m just curious if the food is authentic and on par with the quality that you’d find at an excellent Japanese restaurant, which are rare in the US as is.
I’ve been to Japan a few times, and I would not describe Tokyo Dining as on par with an “excellent” Japanese restaurant, but it’s good. Everything in World Showcase is “Americanized” to at least some degree, and that’s true with Tokyo Dining, too.
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.
Do you have to eat at Tokyo Dining to view Illuminations from the terrace or is it just first come/first served?
…..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!
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.
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!)
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.
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.
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…
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
I am a fan of Tokyo Dining! I loved eating there when I was on the College Program whenever I was homesick for Japan 🙂
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.
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.