First Look: Tori Tori
First Look at Tori Tori
One of Orlando’s most anticipated restaurants is right on the cusp of opening to the public after what has felt like years of waiting. It will sound very cliché to say it’s been worth the wait, but I think once you visit you’ll agree. The new space is gorgeous with dark green hues, light touches of marbling, sleek furniture, and delicate sprays of floral and greenery. Not to mention a very Birdcage bathroom.
The vibe is hip without being pretentious, and the friendly bartenders help add to that welcoming feeling, as it should be within an izakaya style pub. In similar Domu style, hip hop music seeps into the experience without being overpowering, and you can comfortably talk with your friends and communicate with your bartender.
What to know before you go
All service goes through the bar to create a more interactive atmosphere where people can mix, mingle, and converse with other patrons. You have several options for seating. One wall is lined with coveted booths while the other hosts a line of stools with a counter. There is seating around the focal point of the restaurant, which is the expansive bar, and some casual living room style seating in the front. On Florida’s cooler nights you can choose to hang out on the patio where there are a few interactive games to play.
Pick a bartender, and they will handle your drink and food orders for the duration of your experience. You’ll be given a number once you order and you can find your desired spot in the space to hang out. Food runners will find you to deliver your courses. It’s unclear how they will handle a quick influx of patrons all at once, but I would recommend grabbing a drink and being patient as your food comes out as it’s ready.
As with most restaurants on Mills, parking can be tricky. Tori Tori has a dedicated lot, and it’s in your best interest not to deviate from those spaces or street parking. This area is very tow happy. I found the most accessible place to park was on Mills a block up near the Dong-A Supermarket where there are several street spots.
FOOD + DRINK:
Izakaya dining offers a wide variety of menu items, so don’t feel overwhelmed at first glance. Start slow and let each course come to you as it’s ready and not all at once. It’s easy to continue to order more as needed.
I was having such a wonderful time I neglected to make a note of exactly everything that I tried. To my best recollection and the two menu pages I snapped a photo of, this is some of what I tried:
Go cry in the walk-in (best name ever for anyone that has endured restaurant life) - Thai chili-infused tequila, ancho verde, agave, lime tajin
Japanese slip ‘n slide - Midori, Haku Japanese vodka, pierre ferrand curacao, lemon, Lake Meadow natural egg white
Kushiyaki Pork Belly with chimichurri
Flamin’ Hot Corn
Steak tartare with a large sesame “cracker”
I had many other amazing bites as we shared small plates. There was a croquette that melted in my mouth, a bite of some seriously juicy and crispy karaage chicken, great texture from the chicken skin yakitori, and an array of flavors in the okonomiyaki pancake.
Everything that I was able to taste was executed well and made me wish I had the room to try more. It’s important to note that Tori Tori uses organic free-range chicken, and because of that, the popular skewers will be limited based on the availability that day.
Overall, I think Orlando will be quite pleased with our newest addition and will continue to embrace the izakaya experience.
P.S. Shout out to Cat for being the best bartender ever!
This was not a media event. I was able to attend a friends and family night as a guest. All food and drink were paid for personally.