For a look at all of Epcot’s quick service reviews, see this post.
Kabuki Cafe is located in the Japan Pavilion to the left of the large Pagoda. You’ll see it on your right as you exit the rest of the Pavilion and make your way to the The American Adventure or on the left walking to Japan.
Guests are probably most familiar with Kabuki Cafe because it serves the popular Kakigori. For the uninitiated, it’s basically a shaved ice treat that the Japanese traditionally flavor with syrup and condensed milk. You’ll recognize it as very similar to a traditional sno-cone from the county fair. It’s one of my favorite snacks because it’s nice, light, cold, refreshing, and comes in around $5. One can only rationalize so many orders of Fish and Chips each week. Other than high fructose corn syrup and sugar, the Kakigori doesn’t have much to it other than ice.
Here’s what the model Kakigori look like in the window.
And here’s what you’ll receive, in this instance alongside a Ramune (Japanese Soda). I wasn’t too sure what to expect from the Ramune, but I was thirsty. I was somewhat displeased when it turned out to be just over six ounces. Displeasure escalated when I realized there were six steps to opening it. I’m not sure I’ve ever encountered a carbonated beverage that came with an instruction manual any longer than one step.
This is what you have to do:
1. Take off the plastic wrap around the lid.
2. Remove the top.
3. Punch out the opener from the top.
4. Place the opener at the top of the bottle and press down firmly.
5. “Drink with the indented neck side facing down to trap the marble.”
6. Enjoy the drink.
Yes, there is a marble involved. Apparently, when you “press down firmly” in step 4, you are pushing the marble down into the beverage. The marble is then caught in a sort of reservoir in the middle of the bottle. There are odd slits at the mouth of the bottle and it’s indented on all sides, making step 5 somewhat confusing. Apparently, the marble is to block the flow of liquid out of the bottle should you spill it. But keep in mind the bottle is glass. If you drop it, it will shatter. I suppose if you gently knocked it over, maybe the marble would protect some of the 6.76 ounces of liquid inside. At $3.50+ per bottle, the marble must be some kind of insurance.
Personally, I would prefer that you keep your marble and charge me 50 cents less. That way, I can afford to buy a new one for every seven bottles I consume and we can hope that I only knock one out of every eight bottles off a cliff. It’s sort of a fun beverage though and they run about $2.50 in a regular grocery store, so $3.50 isn’t exactly highway robbery in the grand scheme of things. And it is very authentic Japan and somewhat rare to find in stores, unlike a lot of the other beverages around World Showcase (looking at you, Jarritos). If you want to make a kikigori at home, they use this machine – http://www.snowie.com/shavers/shaver_3000.html. It’s sort of fun to say – “The Snowie 3000.”
The edamame is/are an appropriate portion for about four dollars and arrive with a sprinkle of salt. Anyone familiar with edamame is unlikely to be impressed, but it’s a healthy, shareable snack.
Kabuki Cafe introduced an alcoholic version of their Kakigori a couple of years ago.
For about $5 more than the standard version, you can choose from Blood Orange, Coconut Pineapple, or Blackberry. They’re certainly not going to bring about a buzz, but the big martini glass is fun and the snack is satisfyingly refreshing.
If you don’t want to venture all the way up to the Katsura Grill quick service, Kabuki Cafe offers a couple of sushi bites.
The curved “Bite Size” Nigiri topped with Tuna, Salmon, and Shrimp are not a huge portion.
But the quality is just as good as any of Japan’s quick service outlets.
Pricing is in line with what you’d receive up the stairs at Katsura Grill. The nigiri here are merely okay. It’s potentially a quick snack that’s on the healthy side of things, but it isn’t going to sustain most people for very long.
The California Roll and Spicy Roll are similar offerings and exactly the same as what Japan serves upstairs at the quick service.
You can pull up Kabuki Cafe’s full menu at DisneyWorld.com here.
While the country of Japan produces some outstanding beers, you’ll typically find your run-of-the-mill offerings at Kabuki Cafe.
Here’s what the “Kirin Frozen Draft” looks like. The “frozen” aspect comes from a sort of whipped beer topping that tastes like beer. It’s really pretty gross. So much so, that I opted for a straw to bypass the foam. Yes, you can take away my alcoholic blogger card. Since it costs about as much as a regular Kirin Ichiban, you might as well try it if you’re going to buy one anyway. The topping is supposed to keep the beer colder for a longer period of time. Disney Parks Blog gushed:
“The guests were apprehensive, but very curious,” says Miller. “But once they try it, they often come back for another and bring their friends – it definitely makes the beer colder and keeps it colder longer, which is a good thing in the Florida sunshine.”
Yeah, I’m guessing they often don’t do that also.
Nigori (Cloudy) Sake is available. The flavor is sweeter than your typical sake with a fruity aroma and a mellower flavor. That makes it a better introduction to rice wine than the hot or cold versions served here and elsewhere around the Pavilion. It’s served nicely chilled, which makes it all the more refreshing.
Kabuki Cafe also serves unnamed Sake hot or cold, in addition to Plum Wine. If the line is short or you’re in a hurry, then Kabuki may make sense for a drink. There are better options, specifically the Sake Bar in the back of the Mitsukoshi Department Store.
Overall, Kabuki Cafe is a great choice if you’re after a cold, refreshing sno-cone or sushi snack. The various beverages are serviceable, but not unlike whatever you’d find in your grocery’s beer aisle. The Frozen Beer is at least somewhat novel. If you’re not in the mood, the YeSake kiosk at Disney Springs near the Coca-Cola store also serves it.