Disney has a lot to offer in the way of delicious dining opportunities at their many resorts around the world, and they are constantly adding more and more. That is why we’re introducing “Laughing Plates,” our new series in which we review those new dining offerings and let you know which ones you’ll have to experience during your next Disney trip.
Epcot is perhaps the best Disney park in the world for those looking for a foodie experience. With so many different cultures present around World Showcase, you can pretty much find anything you’re looking for. And now, Epcot’s Japan Pavilion has added a brand new restaurant called Takumi-Tei, and it is perfect for anyone looking for an upscale Japanese dining experience.
Tucked away beneath the popular Tokyo Dining and Teppan Edo restaurants, Takumi-Tei seems like a little secret. And after dining there for the first time, I would say it might soon become Epcot’s biggest hidden gem.
The entrance (seen above) doesn’t look like much at all, and you could easily walk right past this new location without knowing it’s there. However, the hostesses were very welcoming and really begin your Japanese dining experience before you even walk in the door.
Once you are inside, your hostess will explain the layout of the restaurant, which is comprised of five rooms, each themed to a different element: Wood, Paper, Stone, Water and Earth.
Each room is beautiful, with decor and theming set for each. The Water room in particular was stunning as this room is used for the restaurant’s Chef Table experience which will include a nine-course meal. We ate in the wood room, which was also incredible and made for a very pleasant dining setting.
Everything about the entire restaurant and the experience feels incredibly authentic. You really feel like you’ve completely left Epcot behind and are a guest of someone’s home in Japan. The servers are all incredibly knowledgeable and will help you with anything you want to know about Japanese food and culture, including the pronunciations of the menu items which I certainly got wrong on multiple occasions.
There are even some menu items that come with a little added experience, including a Tea Ceremony to cap off their Omakase Tasting Menu.
And speaking of the menu, we were told that it is not completely finalized at the moment. The team is currently working to make some additions. Which is certainly a good thing because there aren’t many offerings. In fact, I will say if you’re a picky eater, this may not be the dining experience for you. Especially if you don’t enjoy seafood.
Another thing worth noting, and you probably noticed by looking at the menu, this is a pricey dining experience. The tasting menu is $130 per person and the least expensive main course sits at $42. So this is certainly not a spur of the moment, pop in type of restaurant. I will say though that it is certainly worth the price.
Now for the good stuff: the food and drinks. We started off with a cocktail and a mocktail. The Sakurajima is a Japanese take on a whiskey sour and it is made with smoked cherrywood. The smoked cherrywood is what sold me on trying this beverage, but the presentation was far more than I expected. The drink is brought out in a container filled with cherrywood smoke, which smelled amazing when they opened it up at the table. The first sip was loaded with the smokey flavor and it was delicious.
We also tried the Blood Orange Spritzer, which contained blood orange syrup, mint and lemon. It was incredibly refreshing and surprisingly not nearly as sweet as I expected.
We were also brought a complimentary amuse-bouche consisting of two different types of mushrooms. If you enjoy mushrooms, you will like this small dish, however it was unclear if this specific dish would always be offered. We also tried the Dashi as our appetizer, which is a white rice with toasted seaweed served with a seaweed broth. This was a very interesting plate as the broth had a very ocean-like taste. However, just a touch of the broth paired with the rice was actually pretty good.
Next was the best part of the whole experience. The Takumi Gyunkiku or Artisan Beef consists of A-5 Wagyu Tenderloin, a shortrib Gyoza, onion, potato and mushroom and it is presented beautifully. All of the sides are delicious but the crown jewel is that Wagyu. It was the single most delicious thing I have ever eaten anywhere. It was cooked perfectly and just melts in your mouth. I almost wish I never tried it because it has probably ruined all other steak for me. I should mention, it’s also $93.
As tough as that steak was to follow, we did try one of the desserts as well. The Suiren Dani is a Japanese Water Cake with sake-infused rose petals, rose sugar, a Japanese sugar syrup and a soy bean crumble. I know this dish sounds and looks bizarre but I promise it is delicious and surprisingly refreshing for a dessert.
Everything we ate was delicious (with the exception of the amuse-bouche as I am not a big fan of mushrooms). However, as I’ve said, if you’re a picky eater, you may have a hard time finding something you like. It is worth noting though that they do offer a kids menu. This is still Walt Disney World afterall, and there will certainly be some families visiting the restaurant.
Overall, Takumi-Tei is a fantastic new addition to Epcot. It is a dining experience unlike any other inside of a theme park. It is a pricey experience, but I would argue that it’s worth the price. They do also offer Annual Passholder and other discounts.
This one-of-a-kind dining experience is really something special and I think it’s one you’ll hear a lot of people talking about in the future.
Mike is a writer that has covered comic cons, theme park events, video game showcases and other fun events. He is a fan of theme parks, sports, movies, Marvel Comics and is a self-proclaimed “nerd.”