What To Eat At EPCOT's New Shiki-Sai: Sushi Izakaya

The latest gem in EPCOT's culinary global tapestry is Shiki-Sai: Sushi Izakaya, nestled in the Japan pavilion. While this Japanese restaurant occupies the space that was once home to Tokyo Dining, it has emerged reborn into a real treat. The name Shiki-Sai references festivals celebrating the seasons, a motif carefully interwoven throughout the restaurant's ambiance and menu.

The Shiki-Sai adventure begins the moment a guest steps inside. Greeting you is not just a hostess stand, but a breathtaking mural crafted by Donella Vitale, an artist from Winter Park, Florida. This masterpiece paints a vivid picture of three iconic Japanese festivals: The summer's firework spectacles, spring's ethereal cherry blossoms, and autumn's serene moonlit nights. Throughout this tableau, animal characters immerse themselves in age-old poetic traditions, each elegantly framed by season-specific flora. These motifs find echoes not just in the decor, but also in the intricacies of the dishes served.

It's not only the artistry on the walls that captures the heart of those dining. Expansive windows offer picturesque views, while screens deeper in the restaurant cycle through scenes from Japanese festivals, further immersing guests in the cultural experience. Of course, the food offers a symphony of flavors that represents Japan's rich culinary heritage. Shiki-Sai's addition expands Japan's already impressive dining opportunities in EPCOT, which include a tasty Disney steakhouse called Teppan Edo, the precision of omakase at Takumi-Tai, the convenience and charm of Katsura Grill, and now, the sushi and myriad delights of Shiki-Sai. Below, what to eat when you're there.

Wasabi Edamame

Those who frequently enjoy Japanese cuisine might find the familiar taste of Edamame to be a preferred appetizer. In most establishments, it's a straightforward preparation: Steamed soybeans lightly dusted with crunchy sea salt, a simple prelude to the rich symphony of flavors to follow. However, Shiki-Sai takes it a step further, presenting three intriguing choices to elevate this humble bean: Traditional sea salt, aromatic spicy garlic, and audacious wasabi.

During our visit, we ventured into the realm of spicy garlic and wasabi flavors. Between the two, the Wasabi Edamame emerged as the clear victor. What caught our palate was the sophisticated treatment of wasabi. Instead of overpowering, as often experienced with sushi accompaniments, this preparation was subtler. The edamame beans were generously coated with the wasabi seasoning, but the punch delivered was more of a gentle nudge. A milder kick, with a whisper of garlic, created a delicate balance, transforming a familiar starter into a gourmet experience. Dive into this dish and let it redefine your Edamame expectations.

Okinawa Wave

Shiki-Aai doesn't just stop at offering tasty foods; it also invites guests into an exquisite dance of both alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages. Among the myriad choices, the Okinawa Wave emerges as a standout, a true celebration of colors, flavors, and textures reminiscent of Japan's tropical paradise, Okinawa.

Visually, the drink is lovely. Presented with a pristine clear soda, the deep blue hue of the Blue Curacao awaits below, mirroring the mesmerizing azure waters of Okinawa. Lying beneath is the Calpico, adding layers of both aesthetics and taste. To add a playful touch, a floating surfboard accompanies the drink, encapsulating the island vibes and perhaps invoking memories of sun-kissed beach days.

But the Okinawa Wave isn't just about visuals. As you stir, the flavors meld harmoniously. The taste journey starts fruity, not overwhelmingly sweet, thanks to the Blue Curacao. Then comes the unique touch of Calpico, which imparts a delightful milkiness to the drink, enhancing its richness without adding any undue thickness.

Violet Yuzu Lemonade

The art of presentation is taken seriously here, not just with Shiki-Aai's dishes but with beverages as well. This emphasis on aesthetics is evident in drinks like the Violet Yuzu Lemonade, which offers an engaging visual spectacle before quenching the thirst.

It presents the diner with a vivid tableau: The translucent hue of yuzu juice, blended seamlessly with lemonade, crowned by the captivating blue butterfly pea flower, contained in a petite glass vessel. The theatrical element is introduced as the pea flower elixir is poured over, creating a stunning gradient as it suspends midway in the drink. Like the Okinawa Wave, this lemonade should be thoroughly mixed before the first sip, blending the stark colors and contrasting flavors.

But beyond its visual allure, the Violet Yuzu Lemonade is a palate pleaser. Dominantly citrusy, it caters to those who revel in sharp, tangy notes. Yuzu, with its unique blend of tartness akin to grapefruit and hints of mandarin, takes center stage. For those unacquainted with this Asian citrus, the Violet Yuzu Lemonade offers an ideal introduction.

Tokyo Negi Roll

Shiki-Sai's menu is a canvas of culinary masterpieces, and among its standout pieces is the tantalizing tuna roll. This isn't your run-of-the-mill sushi offering. The roll commences with a crisp bite, courtesy of expertly-fried green onion tempura, which harmoniously pairs with the luscious tuna layered atop the rice.

Adding to its allure is a creamy jalapeño aioli, drizzled gracefully, presenting a soft hue of green and a hint of zest. The roll's visual appeal is further elevated with a sprinkle of finely-shredded carrot and wafer-thin jalapeño slices. Each component ensures a delightful mix of textures and flavors.

Despite the presence of jalapeño, the roll steers clear of intense heat, offering just a touch of spice. It's this perfect balance of the fresh green onion with the richness of the tuna that makes it a favorite. A feast for both the eyes and the palate, this roll perfectly encapsulates Shiki-Sai's dedication to beauty and flavor.

Kara-age Chicken

When diving into the diverse menu of Shiki-Sai, if seeking a heartier appetizer to kick off the meal, the Kara-age Chicken won't disappoint. It stands out, not just for its flavors, but also for its artful presentation and texture. Unlike more common renditions, Shiki-Sai's take on this classic dish boasts a delicate breading infused with aromatic garlic and ginger.

The chicken arrives beautifully golden, crispy on the outside but retaining an impressive tenderness within. Each bite reveals juicy, succulent meat that contrasts wonderfully with its crunchy exterior. If wishing to further elevate the experience, a squeeze of accompanying lemon adds a zesty brightness, enhancing the chicken's flavors.

In many ways, Shiki-Sai's Kara-age mirrors a tempura preparation more closely than the conventional fried chicken found elsewhere, with its lighter, crispier coating. When paired with the wasabi edamame, it strikes a harmonious balance, offering varied textures and tastes as a preamble to the main courses. The portions are thoughtfully sized; even if sharing, they prepare the appetite without overwhelming, ensuring everyone is primed for the parade of sushi rolls and nigiri to follow.

Grilled Wagyu Gyoza

Shiki-Sai's menu offers a fascinating exploration of Wagyu beef, a meat renowned for its marbling and melt-in-the-mouth experience. Among the diverse Wagyu offerings, there's one that particularly stands out for those who prefer their beef a tad more well-done than the customary sear.

Enter the Wagyu dumplings, three meticulously crafted pockets of perfection. Encased within a flawlessly cooked batter is an incredible offering of beef, the Japanese A5 Wagyu. Each bite reveals a delightfully smoky undertone, enhancing the rich, buttery texture of the Wagyu. To complement this culinary treasure, a subtly-flavored sauce accompanies the dish, allowing the diner to customize each bite to their liking.

While Wagyu, given its luxurious reputation, often carries a steeper price tag, these dumplings (priced at $20 for a trio) offer a unique blend of opulence and tradition. It's a refined spin on the familiar fried dumpling, blending the rustic charm of a classic appetizer with the sophistication of high-end beef.

Fune Sushi Boat

When dining at Shiki-Sai, it's not just about the individual dishes but the grandeur of their presentations. Nothing embodies this better than the spectacular Fune Sushi Boat. An extraordinary display, this sushi spread promises a sensory journey into the heart of Japanese culinary tradition.

The menu indicates this colossal boat is designed to cater to a group of four to six enthusiasts. With its meticulous assortment of sushi, sashimi, and a medley of accompanying delights, it's a breathtaking sight to behold. Each item, from the luscious sashimi fatty tuna to the intricate rolls exploding with flavors, has been chosen to showcase the art and craft of sushi-making.

Complementing this seafood spectacle, diners receive a plate of sharp wasabi and tangy pickled ginger, enhancing and balancing the flavors of the raw fish. While the $300 price tag may initially raise eyebrows, when considering the sheer variety and quality of sushi on offer, and the experience of sharing it among a group of fellow sushi aficionados, it becomes a value proposition.

Tomato Ocean Salad

Even something as seemingly simple as a salad is transformed into a work of art at Shiki-Sai. The tomato salad, for instance, is not just a feast for the taste buds but also a visual delight. Its whimsical presentation offers a nostalgic trip, evoking the enchantment of Cinderella's iconic pumpkin carriage.

Nestled amidst the plate's landscape, this salad seems as though it has been delicately placed in a magical garden. The greenery and mushrooms, mimicking overgrown brambles, enhance the fairy-tale imagery. But it's not just about the aesthetics. The flavor combinations are every bit as captivating. The creamy slices of avocado meld perfectly with the dish, providing a soft, buttery contrast to its juicy tomatoes.

What truly stands out, however, is the goma dressing. Creamy and rich, it envelops the salad components with a nutty sesame flavor that harmonizes particularly well with the avocado. Then, the subtle hint of truffle oil — a touch that threatens to dominate dishes if not used judiciously — is masterfully balanced, adding a luxurious depth without overpowering the salad's other flavors. In essence, Shiki-Sai's tomato salad is an enchanting blend of storybook charm and culinary excellence.

Wagyu Tataki

The menu here is a masterclass in showcasing the finest ingredients, and the presence of A5 Wagyu in three distinct styles is a testament to that commitment. Each preparation, while centered on the same luxurious beef, offers a unique dining experience, making it nearly impossible to declare a singular favorite.

One particularly standout rendition is the Wagyu served Tataki style. This method is a testament to the beauty of simplicity and precision. The meat is bathed in a delightful sauce that walks the fine line between umami and a hint of saltiness. But it's the thickness (or rather, thinness) of the beef slices that truly catches the attention. Each slice is paper-thin, revealing the intricate marbling patterns for which Wagyu is globally renowned. The presence of finely sliced garlic, paired with other artfully arranged accompaniments, only amplifies the experience.

The rawness of this dish might be surprising to some, but it's intentional. The thinness and almost-raw preparation ensures that each bite melts on the palate, encouraging diners to savor the essence of Wagyu in its purest form. It's different from any other steak experience, pushing boundaries and redefining perceptions.

Wagyu Nigiri

For sushi enthusiasts, Nigiri is a familiar favorite. It offers a delicate balance of fresh fish atop a bed of perfectly-seasoned rice. But at Shiki-Sai, tradition meets innovation in the form of Wagyu Nigiri. Here, the conventional seafood topping gives way to a thick, sumptuous slice of Wagyu steak, merging the classic sushi form with the opulence of premium beef.

This preparation is distinguishably different from its tataki counterpart. While the tataki showcases the meat's nuances with thin slices, the Wagyu Nigiri opts for a bolder approach. The steak is cut substantially thicker, allowing diners to truly relish the beef's depth of flavor and rich marbling. Paired with the compact bed of rice, every bite is a hearty mouthful, offering a satisfying fusion of grainy texture and buttery meat.

For those seeking a more satiating experience among the steak offerings, the Wagyu Nigiri undoubtedly stands out. The inclusion of rice, combined with the beef's natural richness, ensures that this dish fills the palate not just with flavor, but also substance.

Wagyu Steak

Among the plethora of steak options at Shiki-Sai, the A5 Wagyu steak indisputably claims the crown. Every bite is a testament to the world's best steak, encapsulating what makes Wagyu so globally revered.

This exceptional steak is accompanied by two distinct accompaniments: A sharp wasabi salt and a savory miso garlic sauce. But exercise caution with the wasabi salt; it has a heavy kick and can be a little too strong. In small amounts, however, it accentuates the steak's natural flavors, offering a contrasting taste. Too much could overshadow the beef's subtle notes. The steak's other buddy, the miso garlic sauce, was an absolute delight. Rich, umami-packed, with a touch of aromatic garlic, it pairs harmoniously with the Wagyu, creating a symphony of flavors.

What truly elevates this dish, of course, is the Wagyu itself. Renowned for its exceptional marbling and buttery texture, the A5 grade promises — and delivers — unparalleled tenderness. At Shiki-Sai, it is prepared to perfection. Each slice is a velvety sensation, almost dissolving upon contact with the tongue. It's an experience that not only justifies but celebrates Wagyu's esteemed reputation. For lovers of Wagyu, this is enough to remind you of why this steak is so special and crave-worthy.


EPCOT has long been a haven for culinary explorers, offering tastes from all corners of the world. The potato pancake, a cherished delight found in the Germany pavilion during the International Flower and Garden Festival, is a testament to this global dining adventure. But at Shiki-Sai, the humble potato pancake is ingeniously reimagined and elevated as the Okonomiyaki.

Drawing inspiration from a traditional Japanese dish, the Okonomiyaki is grand both in size and in the profusion of flavors it brings to the table. Nestled beneath a generous drizzle of umami-rich sauces is the pancake itself, which delivers an inviting smokiness, courtesy of the bacon strips that crown its surface. A harmonious blend of sweet and savory notes dances on the palate, ensuring every bite is a delightful surprise. With smokey bacon and smooth potatoes, it's hard to go wrong here with this dish that's great for sharing.

Ishiyaki-Sukiyaki Rice

Shiki-Sai doesn't merely serve dishes; it orchestrates a culinary performance, and nowhere is this more evident than with the sizzling stone bowl offering. It's not just about tasting; it's about witnessing, hearing, and feeling culinary joy unfold.

As the dish is presented, everyone at the table is captivated by the stone bowl radiating intense heat, signifying the fresh preparation that awaits. The initial sight of vibrant spinach, succulent beef, and pristine rice sets the stage, but the true marvel commences as the sweetened garlic sauce is meticulously poured, commingling with the ingredients. The bowl's extreme temperature interacts with these components, producing an enticing sizzle and a symphony of sounds that celebrates the freshness and authenticity of the dish.

For fried rice aficionados, this rendition is bound to be a delightful revelation. The rice, with its slightly crispy exterior and fluffy core, beautifully absorbs the flavors of the beef and garlic sauce, culminating in a gastronomic experience both novel and familiar.

Vegetable Nabeyaki Udon

When one imagines a sun-soaked Florida afternoon at EPCOT, a piping hot soup might not top the list of anticipated dishes. But Shiki-Sai's Vegetable Nabeyaki Udon defies expectations, proving that some culinary treasures are indeed worth the warmth they bring.

The udon noodles are the heart of this dish. Each strand boasts a delightful chewiness, with a thickness that serves as the perfect canvas for the soup's flavor. Accompanying the noodles is a harmonious blend of vegetables; earthy mushrooms and fresh spinach weave together, creating a profile deeply satisfying and refreshingly hearty. It's the kind of taste you find yourself yearning for, even as the summer sun blazes overhead.

Adding to this allure is the presentation. The soup is delivered in a fiercely hot pot, its contents still bubbling from the heat. The pot's scalding exterior is a testament to the freshness of the meal, but a word to the wise: Approach with caution. It's best to wait a moment, allowing the flavors to meld further, and ensuring you don't get an unexpected burn.

Ichigo Parfait

This dessert doesn't just satiate the sweet tooth; it offers a stunning spectacle that echoes the artistry at play in each dish made at Shiki-Sai. 

The layers of the Ichigo Parfait stand out in vivid distinction. The strawberries, a deep, rich red, are not mere slivers but robust, juicy chunks, each promising a burst of natural sweetness. These are complemented perfectly by segments of cheesecake that are as creamy as they are flavorful, adding a luxurious texture and richness to the ensemble. Yet, it's the vanilla ice cream that binds these elements, with its cool, smooth creaminess creating a harmonious bridge between the tartness of the berries and the indulgence of the cheesecake.

In a playful twist, there are little Pocky sticks playfully jutting out from the top of the parfait. They add not just a delightful crunch but also an element of whimsy, ensuring the dessert is as much a treat for the eyes as it is for the belly.