Zambini Bros’ Ristorante is an Italian restaurant serving pizza and pasta in Tokyo DisneySea’s Mediterranean Harbor. This review features food photos, thoughts on ambiance, and our opinions of Zambini Brothers’ Ristorante.
Like a few restaurants at Tokyo Disney Resort, this counter service spot is sponsored by Meiji. That name might sound familiar to you–it did to me, so I took to Google to solve the mystery. Turns out that Meiji was a Japanese Emperor who died in 1912. Unless Japan’s ghost game is much stronger than ours, I’m guessing a deceased emperor is not sponsoring this restaurant from the grave.
In addition to an emperor, Meiji is also an era, shrine, and many other things in Japan–including a food company. Bingo. That is the Meiji sponsoring this restaurant. Come to find out, they make many glorious and bizarre little snacks. Like…chocolate mushrooms? What kind of sorcery is this?! But I digress…
With a two-level seating area plus outdoor seating, I wouldn’t be surprised if Zambini Brothers’ is the largest restaurant at Tokyo DisneySea. Its size probably works against it in terms of theme, as the style is one that (you’d think) would lend itself to an intimate location.
Let’s start by taking a look at that theme…
As mentioned, size can work against it at times. This is a popular counter service restaurant at the front of Tokyo DisneySea, and it can get busy during prime hours, so its ordering area takes a functional approach, and is quite spacious.
Still, with an abundance of details, decor, and texture, the restaurant feels very “homey” despite its sprawling size. A lot of effort has gone into making the restaurant appear aged and lived-in, and feels like an old winery that has been repurposed into the brothers’ Italian restaurant.
It’s also helped by the fact that its layout is divided and broken up by banisters, ledges, and more, so there is a sense of intimacy despite the sprawling size. It’s not simply a mess hall with some theming thrown on the walls ex post facto to charm the place up–a lot of effort went into making the restaurant feel smaller than it is in reality. Sort of like Disney’s famed use of forced perspective…except in room design, I suppose.
This all works well enough, and like so many other areas of Tokyo DisneySea, it’s a master class on texture in themed design. If this were anywhere else, Zambini Brothers’ Ristorante would one of the top restaurants, thematically. Unfortunately(?), this is Tokyo DisneySea.
In this park, there are several restaurants that offer more novel and unique restaurants from a thematic perspective. Still, sometimes you have a craving for some Italian food…
This is the tomato & mozzarella pizza, and is my go-to item on the standard menu. I’m a total sucker for margherita pizza, and this is a solid fast food take on that classic. I think this is the best item on the menu, and it’s a both a safe and delicious option.
Tokyo Disney Resort does counter service pizza really well. It’s in the style of “regular” pizza in the U.S. parks as opposed to flatbreads, but it doesn’t have that blatant fakeness that makes you wonder if what you’re eating actually qualifies as food, or if it’s some half-plastic, half genetically modified ???
The Japanese tend to favor foods that are mild, which is not necessarily a bad thing because mild doesn’t necessarily mean bland. In the case of the pastas here, both mild and bland most definitely apply. The sauce is watered down and there’s not even the slightest hint of complexity. It’s basically just noodles in a bowl of tomato water. (Although I don’t have a photo, the spaghetti is the same way, albeit perhaps a greater offender as even the meat in it is bland.)
This was a seasonal grapefruit jelly dessert, and it was excellent. I’ve found gelatin desserts to be hit or miss at Tokyo Disney Resort, but they are often included with special sets, so I’ll usually give them a shot. They are never anything earth-shattering, but sometimes are a nice and refreshing treat.
The chicken & olive pizza at Zambini Brothers’ is solid if you’re wanting some added protein, but I don’t think it stands up to the tomato & mozzarella pizza.
One special set of which I don’t have a photo for some reason is the seasonal gratin. It seems like for every seasonal event, either Zambini Brothers’ or Cafe Portofino (sometimes both) have a cheesy gratin. If you can find the seafood version of this, it is glorious (Seafood Doria is currently on the menu). Very rich, but it’s like the ultimate comfort food. Studio Loren once scored the elusive “Macaroni Casserole with Poached Egg and Bacon.” Read the description of that majestical dish and tell me we shouldn’t send Anthony Bourdain to Tokyo DisneySea–this is the pinnacle of all things food.
It’s gone now, but stand on a hill in Fortress Explorations and look west, and with the right kind of eyes you can almost see the culinary high water mark – that place where the wave finally broke, and rolled back. Maybe someday this glorious dish will return. For the sake of future generations, we can only hope.
Overall, Zambini Brothers’ Ristorante is a spot to which we have regularly returned because of its value, not necessarily because it’s winning any culinary or thematic awards. I even noted this in our Tips for Saving Money at Tokyo Disney Resort post, calling it and Pan Galactic Pizza Port two of the best places to eat on a budget (Sebastian’s Calypso Kitchen would be another–and I’d probably take that over Zambini Bros’). I especially love eating here at night, outside on the terrace or with an inside seat overlooking Mediterranean Harbor. It would not be high on my list of recommended restaurants for first-timers, but it’s a relaxing place to grab a safe, predictable meal, and sometimes that’s good.
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If you’ve dined at Zambini Brothers’ Ristorante, what did you think of it? Is this a restaurant at which you’d like to dine? Any favorite variety of pizza here? Share your questions and thoughts below in the comments!