Animal Kingdom Lodge Dining
A fusion of cultures and history, the cuisine of Africa tells an important
part of the story at Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge.
"African cuisine has something for everyone," says Dieter Hannig, vice
president of Walt Disney World Food & Beverage. "There is freshness,
elegance and simplicity -- borrowing flavors from many of the 53 countries
on the world's second largest continent. This is our interpretation of
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 two main restaurants at Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge, Jiko-The
Cooking Place and Boma-Flavors of Africa, are an integral
part of the resort's design, so that the sights and scents enhance
the guests' sensory experience, says Jean-Marie Clement, food and beverage
manager for Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge. The lobby overlooks Boma,
where wood-burning grills create sensational aromas from morning until
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. "Choices can be as simple as rotisserie
grilled chicken, but the fun begins when adventurous eaters add a flavorful
cucumber sambal or a sweet chutney," says Chef Frank Brough, who oversees
the team of chefs in Boma's kitchen.
Soups, from hearty seafood gumbo to curry-infused mulligatawny, are
a highlight, along with salads such as avocado, grapefruit and papaya
or roasted chicken with chili-cilantro vinaigrette. Entrees include grilled
seafood, slow-roasted ribs and whole-spiced chicken accompanied by couscous,
saffron rice or fried sweet potato. 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.
Cultural representatives from Africa serve as hosts and hostesses, greeting
guests as they enter the thatched-roof eatery. "This personal interaction
helps our guests understand African culture," says Clement. "Diners will
find food they're used to, but also new and unusual versions of African
cuisine." For children, there's a separate cooking station with its own
Boma is open daily for breakfast and dinner. Priority seating is recommended;
Jiko-The Cooking Place
The resort's signature restaurant is Jiko-The Cooking Place, featuring
cuisines from around the globe: Berbere-braised lamb shank with couscous
and baby spinach; pan-roasted halibut and vegetables, and roasted chicken
with preserved lemons, olives and garlic. Appetizers are equally imaginative,
like kalamata olive flatbread, or a crispy cinnamon-spiced beef roll.
The restaurant’s children’s menu features everything from
grilled salmon to a peanut butter and jelly sandwich.
Jiko offers exclusive South African wines that are rarely available
in the United States with most of the 65 vintages available by the glass.
South African climate mirrors the northern coast of California, so the
grape varietals and flavors are familiar.
Jiko's artful interior, the work of noted restaurant designer Jeffrey
Beers, is inspired by Disney's "The Lion King," with muted earth tones
and stylistic white birds gracefully suspended from the ceiling. Twin
wood-burning ovens are the centerpiece of the open kitchen in the 235-seat
dining room. For private dining, the glass-walled Cape Town Wine Room
seats up to 40.
Jiko is open daily for dinner. For priority seating, call 407/WDW-DINE.
The poolside express restaurant, The Mara, serves breakfast,
lunch and dinner with everything from fresh soups and burgers to egg
rolls on the menu. "Even in our quick-service restaurant, we want to give guests
the opportunity to try something creative," says Brough. For instance,
the spices and sugar trade in the South African town of Durban inspired
the Durban-spiced chicken skewered on sugar cane. Menu boards explain
new and unusual creations to diners.
The mezzanine lounge overlooking Boma, serves
gourmet coffee, teas, South African vintage wines and international
beers and cocktails.