I love to use resources for my blog, and one of the best resources is other Disney Bloggers. I can’t visit every resort, restaurant and snack stand. I always look to others for a hand. This week we have an amazing review of Sanaa at Animal Kingdom Lodge by my friend Brooke from the site Jambo Everyone. If you haven’t visited that site I would HIGHLY recommend it, especially if you wan’t to know everything about Animal Kingdom Lodge and Theme Park. You can visit them at http://jamboeveryone.com
Unless you are staying at Kidani Village in Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge, Sanaa can be difficult to get to, but is well worth the journey. Located on the ground floor of the resort, Sanaa serves up African style cooking with Indian flavors. Unlike the restaurants at Jambo House, Sanaa offers diners a view of the savanna, as well as being only a doorway away from an outdoor overlook. Which makes waiting for a table enjoyable for any animal lover. In fact, guests are encouraged to visit the bar and take a drink out onto the overlook while waiting for their tables. There are rocking chairs and benches set up around an outdoor fire pit. Night vision viewing of the animals is also available here on most nights from sundown to 9:30 p.m. using the provided night vision goggles.
The word Sanaa translates from Swahili to “work of art” and it is indeed just that. The theming and decor alone are amazing to see. There are brightly painted columns around the dining area that look almost like pots stacked on top of each other. Many of the tables that do not feature the savanna overlook, have museum-like pieces of art on display in nooks along the walls. Make sure to look up at the intricately crafted colorful lamps that adorn the dining area. They are fashioned after the African weaver birds’ nests and are truly a unique sight. These lamps also take on a whole new romantic atmosphere when dining later at night.
Sanaa offers a lunch menu similar to its dinner selections with sandwiches available as well. They also feature a cultural tour; giving guests a detailed showing of the various museum pieces found throughout the hotel and the restaurant. The tour concludes with a sampling of their famous bread service. Guests must sign up for this tour at the front desk of the hotel.
As for the dining experience itself, the staff here is extremely helpful. The menu is certainly different and our waiter was well trained on getting the right meal to meet each person’s tastes. For a starter, we had the Indian style bread service with mango chutney, roasted red bell pepper hummus, and red chile sambal as our choice for dipping sauces. There are 9 in total to choose from.
For our entrees we opted for the Slow Cooked in Gravy. This was a pick and pair combo that you could build your own meal. Diners can pick 2 of 6 available slow cooked meat choices paired with their choice of rice. We had the butter chicken, braised short rib and the shrimp with green curry sauce along with basmati rice. While the braised short rib is not as good as the one in Jiko, the butter chicken, was tender chunks of chicken in a sweet and buttery reddish-brown gravy, and the shrimp in green curry sauce, which was another sweetly spiced dish, was out of this world. Our son had the tomato soup with paneer cheese as his meal and really enjoyed the smoky flavor of it. For picky children, there is more basic fare. Our daughter enjoyed her grilled chicken and fruit combo. Although I have yet to try the dessert options here, I have heard many good things about the Chai Cream and it is a definite must do for me when I go back.
I have to say the bread service is unlike any appetizer I have ever tried. It is a crave-worthy option and one that I am happy to say is served up until 11:30 p.m. at the bar. On our last visit, we had an evening flight and as soon as we boarded the Magical Express to take us over to Kidani, both my husband and I were planning what type of dipping choices we were going to get, as this was going to be our first stop. We arrived at 10:45 and quickly left our bags with the bellhop the hoofed it downstairs for that late night snack. And it was perfect!
Have you dined at Sanaa? What is your favorite dish?