PHOTOS, VIDEO, REVIEW: Trying the ENTIRE MENU at Kinopio’s Cafe in Super Nintendo World Yields a Mixed Bag
The media embargo has finally ended for Super Nintendo World, which means we’re finally allowed to show you all of the incredible things about the most exciting theme park expansion in Universal Studios history! If you’re feeling a bit peckish while collecting coins and racing on Mario Kart, fear not! Kinopio’s Cafe (Kinopio is the Japanese name for Toad) has over a dozen delicious dishes (and a few duds) ready to stifle that grumbling stomach. And if you watch our YouTube video review below, you can find out what’s worth your hard-punched coins, or you can keep on reading to hear our more detailed thoughts!
Kinopio’s Cafe is located on the lower level of Super Nintendo World, housed in a giant mushroom structure.
Outside, a number of menu options are displayed, but are by no means exhaustive.
Just above the entrance are two gifts—one large and one small. Guests can touch their Power-Up Bands to the left of the front door and receive a special gift, but only one per Guest!
The entire cafe, even down to the floor, is decorated with a wood motif. It has a very warm and natural feel, as if you’re dining in the Mushroom Kingdom itself!
That motif extends to the menus given by Crew Members at the entrance.
There’s quite a number of choices, with options to suit almost any taste.
A large video screen window along the foyer wall shows Chef Toad hard at work creating dishes for the hungry visitors to Super Nintendo World. The square screens on the side rotate between stock images of different dishes served at Kinopio’s Cafe.
In the ordering area, more video screens show stock images of dishes while large versions of Super Mario power-ups adorn shelves behind each order station.
The garbage can in the queue also features a banana peel, a nod to nearby Mario Kart: Koopa’s Challenge.
This Crew Member was kind enough to allow us a photo of the Kinopio’s Cafe costume. We have censored their nametag for privacy.
After ordering, Guests proceed over to the drink station. Above the drink station, a pipe is visible showing Toads and penguins working together to fetch ice for the cafe. Every now and then, they toss a cube into the pipe, and it ends up in a Guest’s drink!
After, Guests are guided to their table by Crew Members. The dining area is massive, yet still feels homely thanks to the mostly-wood composition and warm light. You can take a tour of Kinopio’s Cafe on our YouTube channel below:
Panels on the ceiling show off various Super Mario power-ups, all centered around a pipe and Super Mushroom at the very center.
Tables and booths all are made of wood and feature mushroom-esque dots throughout.
Lighting accents include these pipes above. As with the rest of Super Nintendo World, remixed versions of classic Super Mario songs play in Kinopio’s Cafe, including Gusty Garden Galaxy and the Comet Observatory from Super Mario Galaxy, Bob-Omb Battlefield from Super Mario 64, and Delfino Plaza from Super Mario Sunshine, among others.
Around the cafe, video screen “windows” look out both on the Mushroom Kingdom and the Kinopio’s Cafe kitchen. There’s even some mayhem involved, with a few baddies making a surprise appearance!
Orders are tracked via these blocks, which guide Crew Members to your table.
Even the restaurant’s napkins are themed!
But now onto the most important part—the food! Are you ready to find out what’s scrumptious and what belongs in that banana trash can? Let’s dig in!
King Bowser’s Hamburger Steak – ¥2100 ($20.00)
King Bowser’s Hamburger Steak is pretty much what it says on the menu—a hamburger patty surrounded by demi-glace sauce. The thing that makes it special is the cracker border and spinach underneath to create a sort of shell similar to Bowser’s iconic look. The carrots create a tail, and a Bowser flag is pitched into the side of mashed potatoes.
Hamburger steak (also called Hamburg steak) is a popular dish in Japan. Personally, I’ve never seen the appeal. It was cooked fine, with light juciness remaining, although I certainly wouldn’t want to pay $20 for a hamburger patty and some vegetables. The carrots were cold as well, despite being in lukewarm demi-glace sauce. Perhaps I’m too used to Tokyo Disney Resort-level prices, but this felt like too much for mediocre food. You won’t be disappointed if you order this, but you may not feel like you get your money’s worth either.
Mario’s Bacon Cheeseburger – ¥2000 ($19.04)
Mario’s Bacon Cheeseburger comes with a side of tomatoes in a small dipping bowl as well as a few French fries.
Plus that Mario hat stabber is allowed to be taken home, as a souvenir for conquering this burger!
I’ve had a lot of terrible theme park burgers in Japan (it’s the one thing Tokyo Disney Resort almost always fails to get even somewhat right), and Universal Studios Japan’s burgers can also be pretty hit-or-miss. With that out of the way, I can talk about how much I enjoyed this burger! The patty was cooked well done, but still had a bit of juice to it. A fair warning that if you’re looking for crispy bacon a la American diners, you will be disappointed. The bacon is closer to the floppy Japanese style of bacon, but still hits most of the notes you’d want. And as for the mushrooms, I hardly tasted them, and this is coming from someone who despises mushrooms. The Mario’s Bacon Cheeseburger is absolutely a slam dunk!
Luigi’s Green Curry Chicken Sandwich – ¥2000 ($19.04)
Fear not, spicy food haters! There’s hardly any kick to this curry, which was a relief to me. Just like his brother’s burger, the Luigi’s Green Curry Chicken Sandwich comes with fries and a strange side of olives in a dipping tray.
There’s also a Luigi hat stabber here to both keep your sandwich intact and serve as a trophy for digging in!
While a bit heavier on lettuce than the Bacon Cheeseburger, the Green Curry Chicken Sandwich still tasted excellent, with perfectly cooked and juicy chicken surrounded by a savory, delicious curry sauce. The lettuce, while a bit more than on the burger, still is crisp and fresh. Plus, still no mushroom taste! While you may balk at “curry” because you imagine “spicy”, it’s not so here. Even to a sensitive palate like mine, I noticed hardly any kick in the aftertaste, leaving this a safe choice for those opting out of the burger. I absolutely recommend this, particularly if you’re not a fan of red meat.
Fish Bone Meunière – ¥2100 ($20.00)
Although it has “bone” in the name, there’s no bones to be found in this slab of fish, except in the burned-in design on top. Unfortunately, the cuteness of that design is where my merit for this dish ends. The fish is rather dry, and the cream sauce surrounding it leaves only a mild (but mostly bland) taste that lands this on the no-swim list for me. Combine that with bland spinach and cold carrots, and you’ll find yourself praying for dry land once more. Those looking to avoid red meat should definitely stick with the Luigi’s Green Curry Chicken Sandwich than take their risks with the Fish Bone Meunière.
Fire Flower Spaghetti & Meatballs – ¥1900 ($18.09)
You would think that a themed land dedicated to Italian plumbers would have a half-decent plate of spaghetti, right? Well you would be wrong. By far the worst item we tried at Kinopio’s Cafe is the Fire Flower Spaghetti & Meatballs. The pasta is very dry and has a tendency to stick together, leading to a bit of a tough chewing situation. On top of that, the spaghetti sauce has hardly any taste. Barely a hint of tomato, but even then it’s faint. The only plus to the culinary experience is that the meatballs are alright. Not great, but not as bad as the pasta itself. For the same price at Tokyo DisneySea, you could get a full set of the best quick-service theme park pasta in the world at Cafe Portofino, along with appetizer, drink, and dessert. Skip this, there’s absolutely no good reason to eat it.
The only truly endearing thing about this dish is the cracker with a Fire Flower printed on it.
Yoshi’s Spinach Carbonara – ¥1900 ($18.09)
Continuing the trend of terrible pasta is the slightly more visually endearing Yoshi’s Spinach Carbonara. I’ll give this one’s pluses first—the bacon is excellent, much closer to the crisp taste I expect since I’m American. Plus the Yoshi Egg containing actual egg yolk is absolutely adorable, and helps tie the dish together.
On to the negatives—namely the fact that just like the Fire Flower Spaghetti & Meatballs, the noodles are extremely dry and are tough to chew. On top of that, the carbonara sauce has virtually zero flavor, and dried rather quickly, causing even more pasta to stick together. What was left had a very watery taste to it that left me finished after only two bites. Hard pass, don’t even bother.
Teriyaki Chicken & Super Star Rice – ¥1900 ($18.07)
Credit where credit is due—the food team at Universal Studios Japan did an excellent job creating cute food items. The rice is super adorable, and it almost hurt having to actually eat it! Fortunately, it tasted as it should—like rice. It was somewhat sticky and tasted fresh. An excellent side dish (I’ll get into why I specified “side” in a moment) and one for the Instagram feed!
As for the chicken, it came out perfectly warm and ready to eat. The teriyaki sauce had an excellent tang to it which left a good impression and complimented the chicken well. Although only slightly dry, I still felt satisfied eating this. It won’t blow your mind by any means, but the Teriyaki Chicken is certainly a safe choice if anything else on the menu gives you anxiety.
I shudder at the thought that this is what Crew Members are supposed to recommend to Guests. It even has a “recommended” sticker in the menu, and yet it’s just such a misleading and awful choice. For one, what I was served looks nothing like the menu picture, a rarity in Japan. Significantly more space is devoted to the mushroom cream stew than appears in the picture.
The bright side is that the Chef Toad burn-in on top is pretty adorable!
The downside is that omelet rice (or omurice) is always awful, particularly in this case. The sauce has a light mushroom tang (the first time I’d tasted actual mushroom in these dishes), plus the rice and egg are both bland and unseasoned. Remember how I mentioned that the Super Star Rice worked as a side? It doesn’t work as the entree, especially paired with a bland scrambled egg on top. Another pass from me, thank you.
Super Mushroom Pizza Bowl with Mushroom Tomato Sauce – ¥1500
Not only is this dish completely adorable, with a bread bowl top (and tons of little seeds that fall off and quickly make a mess across the table) and Mushroom face, it’s also by far my favorite thing at the Kinopio Cafe. For those who lost faith in the Italian fare at Kinopio’s Cafe due to the godawful spaghetti, this pizza bowl full of cheese, meat, and tomato sauce should restore your spirits! The bread top is perfectly cooked and crispy enough to rip up and dip into the pizza bowl (but again beware those extremely messy seeds on top), and the pizza itself is greasy and delicious, just like how I want pizza to be. Five stars, and I mean Super Stars!
Piranha Plant Caprese – ¥1300 ($12.38)
Caprese has been one of my favorite appetizers for years and years, so seeing caprese made to look like Super Mario’s iconic Piranha Plants absolutely made me squeal like a kid! The olive oil sauce on the left pairs excellently with everything on the plate, with two large, juicy, and ripe tomato slices dotted with mozzarella cheese to create the Piranha Plant, a fresh and juicy strawberry, and two heaping slices of mozzarella smothered in basil make this an excellent appetizer (despite its somewhat high price tag) that everyone at the table can enjoy!
Mushroom Soup – ¥800 ($7.62)
Although the Mushroom top is not a souvenir (unlike the Mario & Luigi hat toppers), the adorable presentation still makes this irresistible if you want something cute to enjoy! Couple that with the fact that the soup has an excellent and rich cream of mushroom taste to it and you’ve got another excellent choice for an appetizer!
Portobello Mushroom Pizza Topped with Bacon & Vegetables – ¥1500
At this time I would like to take a moment and express my disdain for portobello mushrooms. With that out of the way, you can probably tell exactly what direction this review is headed in—even with the bacon, cheese, and vegetables on top, the overwhelming taste to me still was portobello mushroom. Bright side, the bacon that I did get was crispy, the cheese was warm and melted overthe rest of the pizza, and the vegetables were cooked quite well. While it’s a reasonably decent size, I can’t recommend this for anyone other than those who really, really love portobello mushrooms. A for neat idea of putting pizza in a mushroom cap, but D- for taste.
Yoshi’s Favorite Fruit & Veggie Salad – ¥1300 ($12.38)
You really can’t go wrong with the Yoshi’s Favorite Fruit & Veggie Salad. Topped with ranch and consisting of peas, mushrooms, cucumbers, honeydew, spinach, lettuce, kiwi, pineapple, and a strawberry for some color, the salad tastes absolutely spectacular! All of the greens are fresh and crisp, the fruits are juicy and ripe, and the sauce compliments everything to create a semi-healthy choice for those wishing to keep their calories low on a visit to Kinopio’s Cafe. But even if you’re not, the Yoshi’s Favorite Fruit & Veggie Salad is a win!
One of the pluses of Kinopio’s Cafe is that all drinks are served in these adorable plastic cups, adorned with items from the Super Mario series and labeled “Super Nintendo World”!
Super Star Hot Yuzu Lemonade – ¥600 ($5.71)
It can get a bit chilly in Osaka this time of year, so naturally you might want to warm up with a toasty drink as you dine! Kinopio Cafe’s choice is the Super Star Hot Yuzu Lemonade.
Topped with whipped cream, a Star cookie, and a little jelly star, it certainly hits every note on the cute factor!
The rest of the drink is fairly average-looking, and sadly doesn’t come in a special cup. Personally, I wasn’t a huge fan of this one. It felt too watered down to be decent lemonade, hitting that unpleasant spot between watery and tangy that left me completely unsatisfied. Plus you’d better drink it quickly or that entire topper will melt into the rest of the drink!
On the bright side, the coaster served with the drink is pretty cute!
Super Star Lemon Squash Soda – ¥600 ($5.71)
Much more satisfying was the Super Star Lemon Squash Soda. While it was little more than lemon squash sode along with some jelly on the bottom, it still tasted quite excellent, with a nice balance of lemon tang you’d want from lemon soda. Plus the fruity jelly cubes add a nice extra mile to the drink.
Plus get a load of this cup! How adorable is the Chef Toad and the Super Stars?
Goal Post Cake – ¥800 ($7.62)
The Goal Post Cake bears a striking resemblance to Mount Beanpole just outside, or really any hill from the New Super Mario Bros. series. Featuring a chocolate Star, a flagpole you can take home, a raspberry, and a plum, there’s quite a bit to accompany this neapolitan dessert. And like all good neapolitan cake, the three layers of vanilla, strawberry, and chocolate compliment each other exquisitely. Plus how adorable is this thing? The cake is fluffy and moist, as one would hope. Plus the raspberry is fresh and juicy, and the plum adds a nice final touch to a truly excellent dessert.
? Block Tiramisu – ¥700 ($6.67)
First shown off to us during Shigeru Miyamoto’s Nintendo Direct, we’d been dying to give this one a shot from the moment we saw it! The slice of tiramisu is surrounded on all sides by cookies printed with ? Block designs on them, and are topped with one of three chocolate power-ups—Super Mushroom, Fire Flower, or Star! First off, the cookies themselves are little more than your typical butter cookies (although that doesn’t necessarily mean they’re bad by any means. The tiramisu inside has a light coffee taste that will likely satisfy those who love or hate the taste of coffee, although feels too encased in the surrounding mascarpone. Mixing a spoonful with the raspberry sauce on the side only adds even more flavor, particularly if your first bite is just mascarpone. There’s no going wrong with this one!
Double Cherry Chocolate Cupcake – ¥700 ($6.67)
While this is probably the simplest of the four desserts, it doesn’t bother me to say at all that cupcake was my favorite of all! There’s nothing particularly special about the presentation, ubt the combination of dark chocolate and milk chocolate icing on top with the dark chocolat ein the cupcake itself simply made this a delight for a chocaholic like myself. Combine that with the rare sight (in Japan) of seedless maraschino cherries and excellent, vanilla-infused whipped cream, and you have a recipe for a sweet and satisfying end to your meal!
Princess Peach’s Cake – ¥2800 ($26.66)
Remember at the beginning of Super Mario 64 when Princess Peach invites Mario to her castle, since she has baked a cake for him? Well, this is that cake, ready to share with a friend or two! The menu recommends 3-4 people, but 2-3 should be enough depending on how much of a sugar rush you want.
The cake includes a special note from Princess Peach herself that says “Dear Friends, I poured my heart into this cake I baked for you. I hope you enjoy it! Yours truly, Peach”. Naturally, it’s printed on a delicious cookie, but the cuteness of the print makes it hard to actually bite in!
The cake is topped with little apricots and raspberries, all of which are fresh and taste excellent. As well, there’s two of the chocolate stars from the Goal Post Cake and a Star cookie from the Super Star Hot Yuzu Lemonade.
The cake itself is comprised of strawberry sauce, a bit of actual cake, and a lot of whipped cream. It’s so incredibly easy to cut through in fact, because it’s probably 70% whipped cream. While it definitely falls into the “fluffy” side of Japanese cakes by its pure nature, Princess Peach’s Cake is still delicious, and a good choice if you’re celebrating something special on your visit to Super Nintendo World!
There sure is a ton of food at Kinopio’s Cafe in Super Nintendo World! Be sure to let us know what you’re most interested in trying in the comments below, or on social media. And stay tuned to Universal Parks News Today for the latest coverage on all things Super Nintendo World!