Gochi Japanese Kitchen

Written By Scott Joseph On August 3, 2023

Gochi Japanese Kitchen Winter Garden exterior

When we think about restaurants in Winter Garden we immediately think of Plant Street and the downtown area. And by we I mean me.

That’s very short-sighted, I agree. And I’m bound to expand my thinking after a very pleasant lunch at Gochi Japanese Kitchen, which indeed has a Winter Garden address but resides on Colonial Drive.

It occupies a surprisingly large space in the Winter Garden Regional Shopping Center. It doesn’t open until noon, and while I was waiting for the doors to be unlocked, I watched a man come out and sweep the sidewalk in front, even though it really didn’t look like it needed it. A few moments later I was seated inside and that same man turned out to be our server. (And a gracious and competent one at that.)

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Token Ramen

Written By Scott Joseph On March 23, 2023

Token ext

Perhaps there is some obscure meaning to the word token that I don’t know about, but I’m at a loss as to why someone would name a restaurant Token Ramen. But that’s what has taken over the Mills Park space that was previously occupied by Too Much Sauce. But now that I think about it, I don’t know why anyone would name a place Too Much Sauce, either, so let’s just move beyond the name.

Token Ramen, which shares the address with Kung Fu Tea, is a quick-serve concept out of Largo. The Orlando store is its 10th, with all others within the Sunshine State. Another Orlando location is planned for Lake Nona.


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Takumi Ramen

Written By Scott Joseph On May 5, 2022

Takumi ramen

I wonder if the landlord of the building at 486 N. Orange Ave. in downtown Orlando has a stipulation in the lease that the corner unit must be occupied by a ramen shop. Previously, it was the home of not just a ramen restaurant but The Ramen.

And now is it Takumi Ramen, which opened only a few weeks ago but is already serving delicious food even while finishing touches to the decor continue. Even more impressive than the food was the warm and gracious greeting the staff gave me when I walked in to place an order. Granted, there were no other customers in sight so they may have just been delighted to see anyone.


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Soupa Saiyan

Written By Scott Joseph On August 17, 2021

Soupa ext

If you’re not familiar with the terms manga, anime or Dragon Ball Z, you may find the surroundings at Soupa Saiyan a little odd. Actually, even if you know about those things you may find the surroundings odd. But you might understand them a little more.

Soupa Saiyin (pronounce it like you’re sayin’ sayin’) is a hole-in-the-wall noodle house, the wall in question being in a sketchy looking mini strip mall on Vineland Road. The decor is based on manga (either comic books or graphic novels depending on your level of devotion) and anime, the Japanese animation style, usually based on manga sources, used in films and television shows. One such show is a franchise known as Dragon Ball Z and images and merchandise from the series fill the place.


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Da Sun Ramen

Written By Scott Joseph On June 29, 2021

Dasun ramen

Perhaps it’s telling that the best thing I had at Da Sun Ramen, a Japanese restaurant that took over the Chinatown space previously held by Sapporo, was not ramen.

That’s not to denigrate the ramen in any way. The broth in the tonkotsu ramen was luscious and full, with tender slices of pork, mushrooms, peppers, scallions and of course noodles. It was a fine ramen.


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Written By Scott Joseph On June 24, 2021

Illume orchid view

The nightly fireworks shows return to Walt Disney World on July 1, but if you can’t witness them at one of the parks, you should definitely try to see them at Illume, the gorgeous new rooftop venue at the JW Marriott Bonnet Creek. From the moment you step off the express elevator to the ninth-level restaurant and lounge, everything is a WOW.

Illume deck

Beginning with the view. Step out on the terrace and you can start identifying the Disney landmarks. Walk to the far end and you’ll have a full 180-degree vantage, east to north to west.

The wowness doesn’t end with the view; it’s extended through the inventive cocktails and Asian-inspired menu overseen by chef Myra Buerkle. David Tsan, formerly with Kabooki, is the sushi chef.


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Maki Hibachi Downtown

Written By Scott Joseph On June 1, 2021

Maki tuna

The best thing I had at Maki Hibachi, a new sushi and Japanese restaurant uniquely situated in a self-storage complex in Downtown Orlando, was something called Drunken Tuna.

It featured loosely chopped raw tuna on wafers with a slice of avocado in between. Atop the tuna were dollops of spicy mayo and a bit of fish roe along with artistically placed micro greens. The tuna was cool and fresh and the wafers – menu called them crackers but these were less crispy – added a different texture. And although I couldn’t detect anything that would warrant the drunken designation, I liked the bit of spiritedness in the spicy mayo. It was a delicious appetizer.

Unfortunately, what followed was mostly mundane.


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Tokyo Ramen Fusion Cuisine

Written By Scott Joseph On April 15, 2021

TokyoFusion ext

Tokyo Ramen Fusion Cuisine is one of the newer tenants in the repurposed strip mall on the west side of Orlando known as Chinatown. Despite the name, the businesses there represent a panorama of Asian countries and even a few with no connection to the East (unless the Island Taste restaurant’s menu is eastern Jamaica).

Orlando’s Chinatown doesn’t have the allure of the neighborhoods in New York, San Francisco or even London. It isn’t a place to stroll about. But if you’re a fan of Asian cuisine, it is a place you need to visit. Several times.

You may want to include Tokyo Ramen Fusion Cuisine on one of your trips. There isn’t anything particularly fusionistic about the menu, although it does feature poke and a couple of Korean specialities. But that’s not what fusion means. However, I found the ramen part quite enjoyable.


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Written By Scott Joseph On February 11, 2020

 Takumi exterior

After so many years of a trend leading away from fine dining and toward more casual, even quick-service, restaurants, it’s nice to see some more upscale restaurants come online recently. And Walt Disney World is responsible for a few of them, notably Toledo at the Gran Destino Tower at Coronado Springs Resort and the just-opened Topolino at the Riviera Resort.

Add Takumi-tei to that list. Opened in July, this elegant dinner-only occupies a previously under utilized space at the Japan pavilion in Epcot. As with the other restaurants at the pavilion, Takumi-tei is operated by Mitsukoshi, the Tokyo-based department store.


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Todo Sushi

Written By Scott Joseph On January 21, 2020

Todo exterior

I don’t think a whole lot more could go wrong with my meal at Todo Sushi than it did.

First I ordered the Sashimi Combo and got the Sushi and Sashimi Combo. Because I had ordered only sashimi, or so I thought, I also ordered a separate yellowtail nigirizushi by the piece.

Regardless of which item I had ordered, or the server thought I had ordered, it was to come with both salad and miso soup. Neither arrived.


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