If you asked me which resort or area in Disney I thought had the best concentration of good food options, I wouldn’t hesitate to say Animal Kingdom Lodge. Over the years, I’ve eaten at Jiko with my parents and Boma twice. Jiko, a signature restaurant, was absolutely wonderful – it was a time where I was very fussy with food and rarely ventured out of my comfort zone, but this pushed me to try some new flavours and potentially kickstarted my love of spices. Boma, a buffet style restaurant, is also good, with a brilliant selection of lots of different dishes from Africa to try as well as some basics for those who prefer to stay with what they know.
Since we’d never tried Sanaa before, we decided this was a priority for our honeymoon. Ben and I are both huge fans of spice and big, punchy flavours, so we knew Sanaa with its African and Indian fusion dishes would be right up our street. It had excellent recommendations from a number of vloggers, so we didn’t hesitate to book.
Sanaa is located at Animal Kingdom Lodge’s Kidani Village – their DVC resort. This means you either need to get off the Disney transportation at a different stop to the main Animal Kingdom Lodge one, or you can walk from Jambo House.
The restaurant is inspired by a traditional African spice market, decorated with handcrafted wares in beautiful colours and shimmering, metallic lamps that hang from the ceiling where the branches of an acacia tree spread above you. You really get a sense of being away from the rest of the world as soon as you enter the restaurant, and the layout with low mud-effect walls offers some privacy while dining.
It’s recommended to book Sanaa before dusk as the restaurant overlooks Kidani Village’s savannah area, filled with over 30 species of African wildlife, including giraffes, zebras, ostriches and more. Our reservation was mid-afternoon and while we could see animals wandering around from our table, we weren’t seated in the window so didn’t see a lot. Not that this was a drawback for us as we were much more focused on the amazing food!
Sanaa came under the table service dining plan option, meaning we could have our main meals, a drink each and dessert. We knew we needed to have the Indian Style Bread Service though after hearing exceptionally wonderful things about it, and when we enquired, we were able to swap our two desserts for the bread service to share. This seems to be quite a common question as they didn’t hesitate to offer it, so fellow dining plan eaters, make sure to do this!
And that bread service. Oh. My. Goodness. Not only the best thing we ate in Disney, potentially one of the best things I’ve had this year!
You receive a selection of 5 soft naan breads: a traditional plain one, a garlic-ginger naan, a chill spiced naan, an onion kulcha and paneer paratha. My favourite was the garlic-ginger option which was so flavourful that I could have happily eaten this alone.
The breads were accompanied by 9 dips: a cucumber raita, roasted red pepper hummus, mango chutney, tomato-date jam, tamarind chutney, coriander chutney, garlic pickle, red chilli sambal and a lime pickle. They are served in order of heat on the board, so no matter where your chilli-tolerance lies, you won’t be taken by surprise! Our server took us through each bread and dip so that we knew which was which, but we also had the menu on stand-by so we could remember.
Every single one of these dips was delicious – there wasn’t a single one I didn’t like. My favourites definitely lay towards the end of the heat scale, with the coriander chutney, red chilli sambal and lime pickle my absolute favourites. I honestly had to restrain myself from eating too much of this before our main courses arrived – there’s a LOT of food here!
For our main courses, we both chose from the Potjie Inspired section of the menu. This allows you to “choose your own adventure” in a manner of speaking, with a Journey dish and Harvest dish, accompanied with a fragrant basmati rice.
For my Journey dish (left image above), I chose the butter chicken – this is a dish I enjoy at home so was very keen to try here in a more authentic environment (which sounds a strange way to describe a dish in Disney!). It was, in fact, very different to the creamy, sweet dish back home – it was far more flavourful with tender, almost pulled, pieces of chicken. My Harvest dish was Paneer Tikka, mostly because I’m obsessed with paneer. This was probably the only part of the meal I would say didn’t live up to my expectations – it was sweeter than I expected and the sauce quite thin, but was still tasty.
Ben’s Journey dish (right) was Spicy Durban Shrimp which he very much enjoyed, alongside a Harvest dish of Lentil Dhal. The only issue both of us had here was simply the amount of food – Ben’s particularly with the lentil dish was very filling.
We left Sanaa feeling so full but very, very satisfied. Sanaa honestly tops our list of Disney table service restaurants and is the one we’d recommend to anyone who likes anything a little more on the side of unusual and is willing to try something different at Disney. Animal Kingdom Lodge is a little out of the way, but it’s so worth the journey over there. I’d go back just for the bread service alone!