Satu’li Canteen Review
Built in the shade provided by the floating mountains and situated low in the Valley of Mo’ara lie the buildings that were once home to the RDA presence on Pandora. While the RDA no longer inhabit the buildings on the base, the old mess hall serves as the location for the all-new Satu’li Canteen in Pandora at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. Myself and group of fellow Walt Disney World enthusiasts recently paid the restaurant a visit for a sampling of Animal Kingdom’s newest quick serve restaurant offering. Is this restaurant worth the trek all the way to the distant planet of Pandora? Read on to find out!
“At Disney, we’re storytellers”. The company’s long-used tagline continues to be the mantra followed in each and every new restaurant and attraction opened at Walt Disney World, and Satu’li Canteen is no exception. The story here is that the RDA (aka the human military) once used the Valley of Mo’ara as a base on Pandora. Since the Avatar and humans worked out their issues, the RDA fled the Valley in peace, but left behind their old military structures. Hence our setting for Satu’li Canteen is the abandoned RDA mess hall. The building itself is industrial to say the least, with brushed metal struts and glass front.
Inside the building, it’s clear that the citizens of Pandora have added their own personal flares to a once-bland military base. Tapestries with tribal patterns colored with earth tones provide the decoration inside. They are accented by large rope like ornamentations hanging throughout the restaurant. I’m not a fan of the Avatar film, so little details may have been lost on me, but overall the theming is well done and you get the idea. Ultimately, it isn’t the most exciting of restaurants architecturally, but I didn’t go for the decorations! Let’s get to the most important part…the food!
Protein Fueled Dishes
I love to try any new restaurant that WDW deems good enough to open, and Satu’li Canteen is no exception. I’m a runner and like to eat food that fuels my workouts, so when I first heard of Satu’li’s lean towards protein and vegetable filled dishes, I couldn’t wait to give it a try!
The bowls are what I came for, and I was presented with many mix and match options when I ordered my food. Satu’li Canteen is one of the restaurants offering Mobile Order (meaning you can order straight from the WDW app on your phone and pick it up when you arrive) and I was delighted to see the endless options for customization. Basically, you choose a base for your bowl, add a protein of your choice, and customize with your sauce and slaw of choice.
Watch Your Food Being Cooked
I opted for the mixed greens base, grilled chicken, and vegetable slaw bowl. When I entered the restaurant to pick up my mobile order, I was greeted by the sight and smell of an open flame grill. On the grill were delicious looking chicken breasts cooking away. Immediately, the restaurant’s focus on fresh, sustainable, and good-for-you food takes the spotlight as guests can watch their food be prepared in a simple, wholesome manner. I like when I’m able to watch my food be prepared right in front of me because I know it’s fresh and because I know what ingredients are going into it.
I picked up my mobile order at the counter, and while my drinks were not with the order initially (read more on my experience with Mobile Order here!) the food was hot and ready! The homemaker in me smiled when my bowl was served in a bowl…a real ceramic bowl, that is! No to-go containers or plastic silverware here; all of the utensils and flatware are of the same quality you’d expect at a table service restaurant.
Grilled chicken breasts chopped and served over fresh mixed greens with a citrus-y slaw is the type of meal I look for on every restaurant menu. The chicken was grilled so that it was cooked though but still juicy and the veggies in both the slaw and the mixed green salad were crunchy and fresh. The combination of the bitter greens contrasted really nicely with the savory chicken. My only complaint here is that I wished there were a dressing I could have chosen instead of the sauces. This ‘bowl’ of mine ate more like a salad, and a dressing would have been a nice addition. I opted to go sauce less, but another member of my party raved about the onion sauce, so give that a go if you’re an onion fan.
So Many Choices
This onion sauce member of my party went with the beef bowl. He chose to have his served atop grains with vegetable slaw and onion sauce. Since I knew I would be reviewing the restaurant, he knew he would be obliged to give me a taste of his meal. He politely shared with me…for research purposes of course. The beef was sliced in a manner similar to that of lunchmeat. Don’t get me wrong; I am not comparing the beef to lunchmeat. It was tender and cooked to a pink color, marinating the integrity of the meat without being overcooked. When I tasted the grains mixture I almost wished I had opted for that instead of the mixed greens. The grains were flavorful on their own but not so much so that they overpowered the flavor of the beef. Again, everything together was a great bite.
The one thing that jumped out at me with the beef bowl was the temperature of the food. It wasn’t noticeable in the chicken bowl since the accompaniments were cool vegetables, but the beef bowl was not hot. If it were my meal, I would have taken it back to the counter and asked for my bowl to have been remade and served hot.
My overall experience at Satu’li was a very positive one. The selection and quality of food was very good and it succeeds at providing fresh, healthy options to those visiting Animal Kingdom in search of a light meal.
If you’re with a big group, try the Satu’li Sampler Platter! You get to sample every bowl option the restaurant has to offer including 4 bases, 4 proteins, and the 4 sauces. That way, there’s sure to be something to satisfy everyone at your table. If you’re in the Animal Kingdom and looking for a fresh, sustainable meal, I would happily point you in the direction of Satu’li Canteen.
Have you visited the restaurant yet? What are your thoughts on the food offerings? Let me know in the comments!
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Special thanks to Maria Salerno for writing this article: Hiya pal! I am a NYC-based writer/musician thrilled to be bringing you all things Disney! I’m a WDW Annual Passholder, so you can find me in the parks regularly throughout the year. In addition to being a Disney Parks loving girl, I’m also a Disney toy and merchandise collector, a runDisney enthusiast, and Disney music and movie aficionado. You can follow me on Instagram: NYCtoAP and find me on YouTube: NYCtoAP. Thanks for reading, hope to see ya real soon!