We had the pleasure of dining at the newest restaurant in EPCOT at Walt Disney World, Shiki-Sai: Sushi Izakaya. I am excited to share our review of this new Disney dining experience. Here, visitors are promised an authentic Japanese dining experience intertwined with innovative twists. This space was previously home to Tokyo Dining, which had a menu that combined traditional food culture dating back to the Edo period with the spirit of modern Tokyo. August 28, 2023, was the restaurant’s official grand opening, and we enjoyed being there.
Shiki-Sai: Sushi Izakaya serves Japanese dishes such as Kobore Sushi, Tokyo Negi Roll, Funamori, and The Monster Roll. Teppan items and an open sushi bar and grill are also on the menu. Guests at the sushi bar can watch the chefs making sushi first-hand. One of the best qualities of the previous restaurant was its gorgeous views of World Showcase, which was an excellent spot to watch fireworks. I am happy to report that there are still tables near the windows, and the beautiful scenery can still be seen.
Before we jump into the food we ordered, I want to touch on the restaurant’s interior and theme. Disney made some minor changes, but it overall improved the space from what it used to be. I love that almost anywhere you sit, guests can see the food being prepared; in my opinion, this makes a dining location even better.
The restaurant’s theme revolved around Shiki-Sai, the Festival of the Four Seasons. This is an Izakaya-style dining location. Izakaya is a traditional gastropub where friends and family come together to share the joy of one another’s company and various dishes. On the menu, it says, for an authentic Izakaya experience, select an assortment of delicacies, all crafted with the finest ingredients reflecting the flavors of each season.
The summer festival is called the Tanabata Festival. In Japan, people celebrate this festival by making decorations, attending parades, eating noodles, and making wishes. The heartfelt wishes are written on colorful paper strips and hung on bamboo branches. Our server brought us colorful pieces of paper resembling bookmarks at the end of our meal. She told us to write our wishes down, but she also offered to write them in Japanese. We took her up on that offer, which is a moment we will never forget.
As for the food, it’s not served in the traditional style of appetizers and entrees. Here, the food comes out based on when it is done being prepared in the kitchen. This reminds me of tapas-style dining, which I enjoy.
Food We Ordered
Craig, Ryno, and I wanted to order something from each menu section to ensure we tried everything.
The most impressive item we ordered was the Hashi Bridge, which is $100 and serves 2-4 people. This bridge is filled with sushi and sashimi that the chef selects. Our assortment included Tuna rolls, Cucumber rolls, Tuna sashimi, Yellowtail sashimi, Salmon sashimi, Scallop nigiri, Octopus nigiri, Shrimp nigiri, Eel nigiri, and of course there was ginger and wasabi.
Ryno and I ordered a side of spicy mayo because we love to dip our sushi in it. The spicy mayo was not complimentary; it was an extra charge. For a dollar, we got a portion that wasn’t enough for us, but we made it work.
The sushi and sashimi were fresh, and I got to try new things I’ve never pushed myself to try. I had never eaten eel or scallops before, and I was hesitant to try either, but with the help of Ryno and Craig, I was able to muster up the courage. I was not a fan of the scallop. The texture was not something I loved. Surprisingly, I enjoyed the eel; it didn’t taste extremely fishy. Craig kept saying it tasted like chicken, which I slightly agree with. The texture is very reminiscent of a flaky fish like tilapia.
I ordered the Vegetable Okonomiyaki ($25), a Japanese pancake filled with veggies and covered in sweet and savory sauces. Ryno did not care for this dish, but I absolutely loved it. It’s a large serving perfect for sharing, but if I were to go back, I’d order this and not share it with anyone. There’s another version of this dish filled with bacon, and I think Ryno would enjoy that one.
Craig ordered the Grilled Wagyu Gyoza ($20) with three pieces. These are pan-fried dumplings filled with smoky A5 Japanese wagyu beef. He loved these, and so did Ryno. Craig mentioned that the meat’s taste was reminiscent of a hamburger but in a good way.
Ryno ordered a show-stopping food item called Kara-age Chicken ($12), Japanese-style fried chicken flavored with garlic and ginger, served with lemon. This was delicious. I would return and order this in a heartbeat, and everyone at the table would agree. This is an excellent option for anyone who might be a less adventurous eater.
I also ordered the Agedashi Tofu ($14), deep-fried tofu with shimeji mushrooms in a flavorful broth. This wasn’t the best dish in my opinion, but I think it’s a great option to have on a menu. For any of our vegan friends, if you want this, ask for it without the sauce because it’s made with fish broth. I tried it without the broth first to see what that would be like as a vegan option, and it was just okay. It would be better if the tofu were just a bit crispier. Once I added the broth, it elevated the dish and made it better flavor-wise.
Craig ordered the Unagi Don ($38), a grilled freshwater eel served over tamagoyaki on a bed of steamed rice, drizzled with a savory sauce. He said this dish was very filling and that it was delicious. The portion isn’t huge, but the rice is very thick, and so is the cut of eel.
Ryno ordered the Ishiyaki-sukiyaki Rice ($28), grilled strips of beef in a hot stone bowl cooked tableside along with spinach, and rice in a sweet garlic sauce. He loves it when anything is cooked tableside, so he had to order it. I loved watching the dish be made at our table. It added a fun show element.
Unfortunately, there were no dairy-free desserts on the menu, so I couldn’t participate in this round, but Craig and Ryno ordered some delicious-looking sweets to end their meal.
Craig ordered the Mango Mousse Cake ($10). This dessert consists of mango mousse with a sweet mango glaze. He absolutely loved this dessert. Ryno tried it, too, and thought it was the perfect way to end the meal.
Ryno ordered the Yuzu Cheesecake ($10). This dessert is a creamy delight with a hint of tangy citrus zest. He mentioned that this treat had more than just a hint of the tangy citrus zest, which made this dessert second place to the mango mousse.
We had a wonderful experience at EPCOT’s newest restaurant. It was a beautiful venue, the staff was out of this world, and the food quality was phenomenal. At the end of our meal, we realized that even though this may not be listed as a signature dining location, it should be treated like one. We say that because the food presentation was gorgeous, and the cast members went above and beyond. The restaurant’s overall feel was just better than any other “normal” table service location at EPCOT.
This restaurant is on the pricier side, and the bill can add up pretty quickly, but we agree with the price point on most food items because of how fresh everything was. It’s also easy to see how much work the kitchen puts into each dish, which we don’t always see in theme parks. We’d all return here again, especially since the menu and restaurant change with the seasons.
You can watch the video version of this review below.