by Ray Keating
September 18, 2021
Enjoy a delicious meal while looking out large windows at assorted wildlife, including giraffes and zebras, on the Sunset Savanna. Yes, Sanaa at Disney's Animal Kingdom Villas – Kidani Village checks off all of the boxes for a great dining experience, that is, food, service, atmosphere and location.
Let’s start with location. Whether staying at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge or simply visiting to stroll around and take it all in, this is a magnificent resort. There are four savannas, home to some 200 hoofed animals and birds, according to the resort’s website. As a resort that is also a bit off the beaten path, the crowd level is often lower, making for a relaxing dining experience. It’s possible to wander the pathways along the savannas on your way to the restaurant, watching the four-legged residents, and only run into a few other guests along the way.
And what about the atmosphere? Well, how can you beat looking out at African wildlife roaming about while eating African and Indian cuisine? For good measure, the resort at Animal Kingdom Lodge houses one of the largest collections of African art in the U.S. The décor and theming of the restaurant ties in seamlessly with the food and view.
How about the service? It’s hard to have a bad experience at Walt Disney World in terms of customer service. But the wait staff at Sanaa were particularly friendly and engaging, exhibiting extensive knowledge of the menu and having nice senses of humor.
And now we get to the bottom line. How is the food? In one word: Excellent.
Before going to Sanaa for the first time, everyone we spoke to said that the Indian-style Bread Service appetizer cannot be missed. Five breads – Traditional Naan, Garlic-Ginger Naan, Spiced Naan, Onion Kulcha, or Paneer Paratha – are ready to be torn apart and then await various additions. That is, each tray offers nine accompaniments – Cucumber Raita, Roasted Red Pepper Hummus, Mango Chutney, Tomato-Date Jam, Tamarind Chutney, Coriander Chutney, Garlic Pickle, Red Chile Sambal, or Spicy Jalapeño-Lime Pickle – ranging and arranged from sweet to spicy-hot. Depending on your preferences and tastebuds, everyone will have certain favorites in terms of both the breads and accompaniments. Half the fun is trying all of the combinations, and discovering which you like best. The Indian-style Bread Service ranks as an adventurous appetizer to begin one’s meal, and indeed, it shouldn’t be missed.
As for the entrée, the Potjie Inspired option offers three main alternatives – Goan Seafood Curry, Butter Chicken, or Braised Beef. Each one is quite tasty, but the beef ranks as a star with a light pot-roast-like taste, and you could choose Chickpea Wat, Aloo Masala, or Cilantro-Coconut vegetables as a side. We chose the Cilantro-Coconut vegetables, and our server suggested that we flip our accompanying scented Basmati Rice out of its individual serve bowl and onto our plate, and spoon our protein and coconut veggies over the top.
And on the dessert front, the Kheer – a coconut-rice pudding with cashew streusel – was quite satisfying, and offered varying textures. It’s also an excellent plant-based option for diners choosing that direction. The African Triple Chocolate Mousse, with Nyangbo Dark Chocolate from Ghana, Tanariva Milk Chocolate from Madagascar, and Orelys Blond Chocolate, was deliciously feather light and creamy.
Finally, I have to mention one cocktail – the Kande Coconut Cooler. Why? Because with vanilla ice cream and orange juice, along with coconut and rum, it’s like a ramped-up creamsicle. And I’m always up for a creamsicle.
Sanaa ranks in the top tier of restaurants in Walt Disney World, one that this diner will not mind returning to time and again.
Ray Keating is the editor, publisher and economist for DisneyBizJournal.com, and author of the Pastor Stephen Grant novels and assorted nonfiction books. Have Ray Keating speak your group, business, school, church, or organization. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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