Marimoto Asia is a Pan Asian fusion restaurant headed up by Iron Chef Masaharu Morimoto located in Disney Springs. There seems to be a lot of prestige given to the Iron Chef title, earned on a cookery programme aired stateside. For those of us who aren’t familiar with the TV show suffice to say that Chef Marimoto is what we would term a Celebrity Chef. One who has a great pedigree having been Head Chef at the famous Nobu restaurant in New York. Not all celebrity Chef restaurants are good. It’s not a given that having a great name associated with an eatery ensures a great dining experience. On food, atmosphere, service and decor how would Marimoto Asia stack up?
Marimoto Asia Location
The restaurant is located in The Landings area of Disney Springs and nestles amongst a plethora of different restaurants. Most eateries are of the quick service variety however there are some notable table service restaurants to be found here, amongst them The Boathouse. Marimoto is housed within a large grey monolith of a building. Japanese in feel but modern and uncompromising.
Inside the restaurant continues with the modern theme but is more welcoming and detailed with extravagant lighting. Beautiful chandeliers hang the full two stories into the main dining area. The kitchen is viewed through a glass partition at the far end with prepared Peking duck hanging in neat rows to tempt diners as they peruse the menus. A balcony with additional seating is located on the first floor, a ‘chefs’ table is also to be found here. The main bar, on the ground floor, welcomes diners as they approach the reception desk. The decor is upscale and impressive and the restaurant calm and inviting.
The menu at Marimoto Asia is not extensive but there are enough choices to satisfy most diners. The signature dishes are the Peking Duck and the Spare Ribs. If you only have one thing at Marimoto it has to be the ribs. They are utterly sublime. Cooked to melt in the mouth perfection, still crispy on the outside whilst being mother in sticky hoisin sweet chilli glaze, they can’t be beaten. The ribs can be a starter or main course dish. We chose to commence with them before moving on to entrees.
For our main course we tried three dishes. Firstly the Orange Chicken with Pak Choi. A tasty and well executed dish, though probably not the best to follow a starter of ribs, due to being a second fried dish.
Our other two dishes were the Duck Ramen and the Buri-Bop rice bowl a Korean dish which is prepared and cooked at the table. The duck ramen again were executed perfectly, doused in a mild but flavourful broth. I am always amazed by how tasty a seemingly basic broth can be, this one had great depth of flavour and complimented the noodles perfectly.
The Buri-Bop is culinary theatre. Cooked at the table in an incredibly hot clay bowl. The cooking technique here creates perfectly cooked tuna whilst also managing to produce crispy rice at the bottom of the bowl with baked-in flavour. The bowl arrives table side with raw ingredients within and the Chef then ‘cooks’ everything together in the bowl, placing the seared tuna back onto the rice before presenting to the diner to consume. It’s a really clever and fun dish that turned out to also be totally delicious.
All the main dishes were of a great quality and sufficient for our European portion expectations. We ordered a bowl of sticky rice as an accompaniment. I am not sure this was totally necessary, especially as none of the dishes had sufficient sauce to render the rice interesting or useful.
The desserts, as you might expect of a Japanese restaurant, were mainly underwhelming. Though they were beautifully presented the flavours didn’t quite work as well as the main courses. The best of the dishes was the churros. Though honestly it didn’t seem quite right to be having churros in a Pan Asian restaurant especially given the accessibility of them throughout Disney. It’s probably a better option to skip dessert and focus on the savoury offer which were head and shoulders above the dessert course options.
When to go?
Marimoto Asia is pricey though the food quality does reflect the cost making it ultimately good value. We ate at lunch time which enabled us to use a Disney dining plan table service credit. The restaurant is Signature for dinner which requires two credits. It’s certainly not a good use of two credits. If you want to use the restaurant on the dining plan I would recommend lunch. However, you have to be determined if you want to eat there at lunch. This is because Disney still make it difficult to access Disney Springs before 4pm using the bus transportation system. As a result Uber or Minnie Van is really the only option for most people.
We hopped over to Disney Springs on a day we visited Epcot in the morning and attended Mickey’s not so scary Halloween party in the evening. It’s easy to walk to the Boardwalk hotel from International Gateway at Epcot and catch a Disney bus from the resort. Because we are foodies we wanted to try Marimoto Asia so were prepared to make the journey. Otherwise it would be an evening venue, though not on dining plan.
Marimoto certainly delivered a really good dining experience. I actually couldn’t fault any element of the meal, though desserts scored lower they were still enjoyable. Nothing was bad here and most was excellent. I would definitely return and to be honest I still dream about the ribs! If you like Pan Asian food and want a change from the usual offers at Disney, Marimoto is perfect.
As for Disney Springs I really like it. For shopping it’s a bit meh! particularly if you are from the UK, but dining wise it is great and it’s done really well. As a break from the parks, for a browse (not buying) and for eating it has a lot to offer.