Explore the Tastier Side of Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge
Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge is probably one of my favorite resorts to stay at when visiting Walt Disney World. The attention to detail in the decor, the up close encounters with the wildlife, and of course the food!
A fusion of cultures and history, the cuisine of Africa tells an important part of the story at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge. Because Africa borders both the Indian and Atlantic oceans, seafood is abundant, and the multi-cultural influences — grilled meats from the British, vineyards from the French, curries from India and Asia, stews from the native Africans — create a tremendously versatile cuisine.
The three main restaurants at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge, Jiko-The Cooking Place, Boma-Flavors of Africa, and Sanaa, are an integral part of the resort’s design, so that the sights and scents enhance the guests’ sensory experience.
Boma-Flavors of Africa
The lodge’s lobby overlooks Boma-Flavors of Africa, where wood-burning grills create sensational aromas from morning until night.
Boma in Africa is “an open, natural space that provides safety and shelter in the bush.” The 270-seat “marketplace” restaurant is open for breakfast and dinner, featuring an exhibit kitchen and bakery that allows guests to walk up to a half-dozen side-by-side cooking stations and have their entrées freshly prepared. Curries, chutneys and other Indian and Asian influences add fabulous flavors to grilled fish, meats and vegetables. Diners find authentic soups, stews, tossed-to-order salads and other market-fresh fare on the daily menu.
Soups, from hearty chicken corn chowder to smoked tomato, are a highlight, along with salads such as avocado, grapefruit and papaya, or roasted chicken with chili-cilantro vinaigrette. Entrees include seafood, slow-roasted ribs and whole-spiced chicken, accompanied by couscous, saffron rice or sweet potato pancakes. Add chutneys, a peppery sambal or a sweet-and-sour chile papaya sauce for a delightful international treat. Breads, too, are African-inspired, including golden-brown naan, light and flaky chapatis or a blue cornbread.
Boma is open daily for breakfast and dinner. Reservations are recommended; call 407-WDW-DINE.
Jiko-The Cooking Place
The warm colors of an African sunset create a sophisticated ambience at Jiko-The Cooking Place, with cuisine and wine that celebrate the flavors of Africa.
Hosts in native attire, many in the United States from Africa for a yearlong cultural exchange, welcome guests to a casually sophisticated dining room inspired by Disney’s “The Lion King“. It is also adorned with stylized white birds suspended from the ceiling, beautiful wood-burning ovens and muted earth tones, the work of noted restaurant designer Jeffrey Beers.
Jiko means “cooking place” in Swahili, and the restaurant’s masterful dishes pay homage to the African theme: wild boar tenderloin with mealie pap and chakalaka, piri piri swordfish, Nigerian-spice pork shank. Regulars recommend the African-inspired dips served with naan, lavash and khobz breads.
A winsome array of teas and after-dinner drinks end the meal. For sweets, the indulgent Ghanaian chocolate and Kenyan coffee pot de crème and avocado custard cake with blood orange kulfi are also tops.
Jiko has the largest offering of South African wines anywhere in the United States, with more than 65 of South Africa’s boutique wineries showcasing their vintages at the restaurant. The restaurant has attained AAA Four Diamond status and was awarded Wine Spectator’s Award of Excellence. The restaurant was honored with Nation’s Restaurant News prestigious “Menu Masters Best Independent Operator Award for 2006,” among “industry innovators who have wowed customers with sizzling menu promotions and bold culinary initiatives.”
The 235-seat restaurant includes the private Cape Town Wine Room with seating up to 40 at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge. For reservations, call 407/WDW-DINE.
Guests can experience the art of African cooking with Indian flavors as exotic animals roam the Sunset Savanna at Sanaa, an East-African inspired eatery.
Appetizers such as lamb kefta sliders with goat cheese, piquant peppers and pickled shallots, and a sampler of unusual salads like chickpeas with cucumber and tomato and watermelon, cucumber and fennel start the dining experience.
Entrees include the tandoori-roasted meats, curries and sides such as dahl (stewed lentils), basmati rice, seasonal slaw and coriander khichdi. Indian-style flatbreads including naan, kucha, and pappadum paired with chutneys, Indian-style pickles and raita (yogurt-based dip) are also guest favorites.
Grilled steak and fresh fish are available at both lunch and dinner for guests who prefer more American flavors.
Last but not least, sweets are the final adventure, including Tanzanian chocolate mousse, Indian-style bread pudding and banana cheesecake.
The restaurant is open from 11:30 a.m.-3 p.m. and from 5-9 p.m. daily. An adjacent 24-seat lounge serves African wines, beer and spirits. For reservations, guests can call 407/WDW-DINE.
More Dining Opportunities at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge
The poolside express restaurant, The Mara, serves breakfast, lunch and dinner. It offers everything from fresh soups and burgers to African stew on the menu. Also, menu boards explain unusual creations to diners.
Victoria Falls, the mezzanine lounge overlooking Boma serves gourmet coffee and teas. It also serves South African vintage wines and international beers and cocktails, as well as small plates.
Source Credit: Disney
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