Trying to decide where to eat in Epcot may just be one of the toughest decisions you’ll encounter on a Walt Disney World vacation. There are a multitude of great options scattered all around the World Showcase. Plus, more often than not, Epcot has a festival going. That only increases the tempting food offerings you have available to you. In the midst of it all, I’d like to offer a suggestion for you…Katsura Grill
Ryan and I do have our favourite restaurants. These are the places we keep going back to visit trip after trip. Katsura Grill is one of my personal favourite quick service locations. It’s over in the Japan pavilion. So, while it’s one of the furthest pavilions to walk to from the main entrance, it’s well worth the journey.
Just before we get started. You may be interested to learn that “Katsura” refers to a type of tree found in Japan. This is definitely appropriate, since the restaurant is surrounded by trees and lush greenery.
Now onto the good stuff!
Katsura Grill can be easy to miss. If you’re standing on the walkway around the World Showcase Lagoon, looking into the Japan pavilion, it’s on the left-hand side. It’s across the walkway from building that houses Mitsukoshi and the table service restaurants and it’s just behind the large pagoda building at the front of the pavilion.
You have to walk up some stairs, past a lovely koi pond. It looks like a quaint and unassuming house. It feels like you are in a rural, quiet corner of Japan where you just happen to come upon a little house to stop and relax with a meal and beverage. There are lanterns hanging from the building and over the patio. They’re great in the day, but make for some pretty beautiful lighting in the evenings.
The best part about Katsura Grill is the fact that it feels like an escape from the bustle of the World Showcase. It’s your own serene setting, with an immersive and separate space.
Once you enter Katsura Grill, it’s a simple counter to line up and order from. Sadly, Mobile Ordering hasn’t quite reached the World Showcase just yet (with the exception of the Regal Eagle Smokehouse).
The décor inside is heavy on bamboo and light wood with windows surrounding three sides of the building. It’s simple and sleek.
There is some seating available inside, but not much…only just over a dozen tables. That makes the space inside a hot commodity. It’s especially true when guests are trying to escape the heat in the summer, or anytime it rains, or during the lunch or dinner rush (do you see what I’m getting at?)
The majority of seating is outside on a couple of well-defined patios, under red umbrellas, in a Japanese garden. It’s serene and peaceful. We usually eat outside because it’s shady and a more spacious. We’ve always had luck finding a seat outside. You can even find a spot to eat a little closer to the walkway around the World Showcase and people watch, while you’re eating.
If you can time it just right, you might even get to hear the Japanese Taiko drummers, known as Matsuriza. Shows are about 15 minutes long and take place at the base of the Pagoda.
The prices are typical for what you would expect a quick service location at Walt Disney World to offer.
The sushi rolls range from $8 USD to $12 USD and entrees start at $11 USD and go to $14 USD.
You can find worse places to use your Disney Dining Plan credit in terms of value. You can feel good about using a quick service dining credit on an entree here priced around $12-14 USD. I also like to consider how much I know I’m going to enjoy the food when thinking of value. For me, Katsura Grill is always good value, whether or not we’re on the Disney Dining Plan.
Katsura Grill offers typical Japanese items that are found in North America. There’s sushi available, miso soup, edamame, teriyaki and my personal favourite, udon noodles. I’ve even been known to eat the udon noodle soup on the hottest of hot days in August. I had no regrets.
If I were to have a go-to meal here, it would be an iced green tea (which they always let you know is unsweetened) and the Shrimp Tempura Udon soup. If I’m up for dessert, it would be the green tea ice cream or the green tea cheesecake. Ryan and I are both green tea lovers and you can’t go wrong with any way it’s offered in the Japan pavilion.
Ryan usually opts for the Chicken and Beef Teriyaki, which comes with white rice and a garden salad. There are a few variations of the teriyaki dishes offer as well as a Chicken Curry dish.
In the drink department, Katsura Grill offers Sapporo draft beer, plum wine and Sake (hot or cold). As we mentioned, green tea (hot or iced) is the on the menu as well as your typical pop choices and a couple of specialty cocktails.
The children’s menu offers combinations of chicken, beef and shrimp teriyaki that’s served with white rice, vegetables, a cookie and a beverage.
It’s worth noting that there’s no need to avoid Katsura Grill if you’re not proficient at using chopsticks. They do offer forks, knives and spoons as well. It is, however, a good opportunity to practice your chopstick skills or learn how to use them if you feel up for the challenge!
I wouldn’t say this is the best Japanese food available. The menu is very much a North American version of Japanese cuisine. That being said, it’s a very accessible menu and the food is consistently delicious.
I have to confess that the Japanese pavilion is my favourite pavilion in the World Showcase. Part of that is because of the food. Of all the quick service restaurants on Walt Disney World property, Katsura Grill is definitely in my top 3.
It’s such a nice break from the norm to have access to a Japanese Menu in the parks. While Epcot has so many great quick service restaurants to choose from, I think that Katsura Grill stands out from the rest.
The tempura is delicious and pair it with the oversized udon noodles and you have a recipe for success. The portions are perfectly sized and will give you the boost of energy you need to keep walking around the World Showcase.
Sure, if Japanese food does not appeal to you at all, then skip Katsura Grill. But, if you have an affinity for Japanese food (like I do) or even a curiosity about it, I recommend making a point of having lunch or dinner here during your next Disney vacation.
Disney QUIPS – Katsura Grill
Quick – Katsura Grill offers quick service Japanese food in the Japan pavilion at Epcot.
Unique – There aren’t many Japanese menus available at Walt Disney World. There are even fewer that are quick service. Katsura Grill offers an accessible Japanese menu with delicious food.
Impressions – Katsura Grill offers a tranquil environment to dine, away from the rush of the World Showcase. It can be tough to get one of the limited tables inside if it’s scorching hot or raining outside, but the tables with umbrellas outside are some of the best places to eat a meal in Epcot.
Palate – There’s a little something for everyone here: sushi, tempura, ramen, udon and teriyaki dishes. They are well done, well-portioned dishes that hit the spot.
Skip or Stay – This one’s easy. It’s a stay for us. If you absolutely don’t love Japanese food, then skip it. Just know that you’re missing out on a great little gem of a restaurant in Epcot.