A New Japanese Pub-Style Sushi Restaurant Is Coming To Disney's EPCOT

Sushi lovers rejoice — you'll soon be able to get one of your favorite things at the happiest place on earth. Walt Disney World in Florida has announced that it will soon be welcoming a new dining experience to its EPCOT park. Shiki-Sai: Sushi Izakaya will be opening this summer in the Japan pavilion of the park's World Showcase area, which is known by Disney fans and foodies as the resort's biggest eating destination. 

Not only does the area permanently feature restaurants, snacks, and cocktails which showcase unique cuisine from 11 different countries, but it regularly plays host to rotating seasonal festivals hosted by Disney which all come with additional special dining options. Some of that festival atmosphere will reportedly be embraced by the new Japanese restaurant, which Disney says will feature seasonal items of its own inspired by Japanese cultural festivals and traditions, in addition to an extensive menu featuring traditional sushi and Izakaya dishes, which are generally small, sharable pub-style dishes.

Some of the featured items on the menu shared by Disney include funamori, a literal boatload of artfully presented sushi and sashimi rolls, and okonomiyaki, a type of savory pancake filled with cabbage and bacon and topped with tangy sauce and pickled ginger.

What customers can expect at Shiki-Sai: Sushi

While the theme and name of the restaurant are news to Disney fans, it's probably not a surprise to EPCOT regulars that something new is coming to the Japan pavilion. Shiki-Sai will be taking the place of another table service restaurant, Tokyo Dining, which WDW Magic reported had been "closed for refurbishment" since November 20, 2022. Although it was not announced at the time that the restaurant was being replaced, the lengthy closure signaled that the location was getting more than a new paint job.

Tokyo Dining was located on the second floor of the Japan pavilion's main building and was known for its views of the World Showcase lagoon where the park puts on its nightly fireworks. Diners at Shiki-Sai will be treated to those same views, in addition to the hand-painted artwork and traditional hanging lanterns that Disney says will also make up the new restaurant's décor. Guests who aren't concerned with catching a fireworks view may also be able to witness another interesting show if they can get seats at the sushi bar, where they will be able to watch chefs prepare sushi rolls by hand.

Shiki-Sai: Sushi Izakaya will start service during the summer of 2023, though no exact opening date has been announced. In the meantime, guests at EPCOT can still get plenty of Japanese quick service snacks or dine at Teppan Edo, a Hibachi-style grill or try the upscale tasting menu at Takumi-Tei.