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REVIEW: Sanaa Restaurant in Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge

Sanaa ReviewRecently we went to one of Walt Disney World’s best and most underappreciated restaurants: Sanaa.  Why is it underappreciated you ask?  I think for 2 main reasons: Location and Cuisine.  Sanaa is located at the Animal Kingdom Lodge in the Kidani Village which quite frankly is a bit out there, so unfortunately many people don’t give Sanaa a chance simply because of its location.  Secondly many people are scared off when they hear: “African or Indian Cuisine”.  My mother I’m pretty sure imagines they serve only the unwanted animal parts (or Mystery Meat as I like to say) and them being so spicy you can’t even eat them.  Luckily this is not case at all, and while yes the food does have an authentic African/Indian flare to it, most people will find it absolutely delicious and most definitely worth the trip it takes to get there!

Sanaa is a Table Service Restaurant again located in the Kidani Village part of the Animal Kingdom Lodge and yes it serves an amazing selection of authentic African/Indian Cuisine.  It offers gorgeous views of the Savanna with Zebras, Giraffes and all sorts of other animals as well!

It’s a 1 Dining Credit option if you are using the Disney Dining Plan, if not it offers an excellent price/quality ratio and we found the food quite filling with decent portions.  It won’t break the bank by any means and a good place to bring the whole family, especially for the atmosphere.  It does participate in Tables in Wonderland which gives you a %20 discount on your food and drinks, which was very helpful to us as we had a decent sized group.  It accepts ADR’s 180 Days in advance and even though it’s not one of the very first restaurants on property to book up, I still recommend getting one as soon as you can.

Since Sanaa offers one of the most unique experiences I wanted to do a Sanaa Review to see if it’s quality in both atmosphere and food are still excellent.  Come with me to the African Savanna for a dining experience you won’t soon forget!

Atmosphere:

Sanaa Review

Sanaa Savanna

Sanaa no doubt offers one of the most beautiful and unique dining experiences in all of Walt Disney World, eating right on the African Savanna!  Ok, your really inside a restaurant and it’s located in Florida, but Sanaa has awesome views of the outside and all the animals that are roaming about!  However to have that remote feeling also requires compromise and therefore it’s a little remote also in proximity to other Disney World locations and takes a little planning to get to.

It’s located at the Animal Kingdom Lodge      in the Disney Vacation Club section called: Kidani Village.  In order to arrive you have to take a bus to the Animal Kingdom Lodge which is only available from one of the parks or Disney Springs, or take a taxi, Uber or your car.  Once you arrive at the Kidani Village Main House, make your way to the back of the lobby and head downstairs.

When you reach the bottom you will see the Sanaa Welcome Desk:

Sanaa Review

Sanaa Front Desk Entrance

I love the details there are in the Front Desk, feels like an authentic African-style design:

Sanaa Review

Close-up Sanaa Front Desk

The detail on the beads is fantastic too, I wonder if they are hand-painted..

Sanaa Review

Beads on Front Desk

If you turn down the hall you will find a waiting area with the restrooms as well:

Sanaa Review

Sanaa Lobby

Everything is so cool even down to the decorative holes in the wall…

Sanaa Review

Decorative holes in the wall

Love this:

Sanaa Review

Sanaa African proverb

You’ll even find a Hidden Mickey if you look hard enough:

Sanaa Review

Sanaa Hidden Mickey

Heading in from the entrance you will see the beautiful Dining Room:

Sanaa Review

Check out the awesome ceiling!

Yes the ceiling really draws your attention as it’s made to look like your eating under the trees!  Love the light fixtures as well:

Sanaa Review

Sanaa ceiling

Sanaa offers a variety of seating options including normal tables:

Sanaa Review

Seating area

Half booth, half chairs:

Sanaa Review

Seating area

And my personal favorite, the Round Booths:

Sanaa Review

Sanaa Booth

Sanaa Review

Sanaa Table

The best seat in the house though is one with a view:

Sanaa Review

Table with a view!

Here is our happy bunch:

Sanaa Review

Our Table

The table is set and we’re ready for Lunch!

Sanaa Review

Place Setting

Food:

Sanaa has an awesome menu which brings together “African Cooking with Indian Flavors.”  That pretty much describes the food to a T.  However I want to bring out that while many of the dishes are seasoned well or even spiced, there are also many options that will coincide well with a blander palate too.  So if you don’t like spicy or you had a bad experience once with curry, don’t let that stop you from trying it.  In fact my sister who hates curry went into Sanaa being really negative thinking she wouldn’t like anything and instead she loved it!  It has a cuisine with delicious flavors you won’t be able to try anywhere else on property.

Sanaa has some nice choices for Cocktails or even African Beers:

Sanaa Review

Sanaa Drink Menu

There are some really nice Appetizers with the Indian-style Bread Service and the Samosas always being favorites, and there are a ton of great Sandwiches both closed and open-faced.  One of the best items you will find too is the Potjie Inspired Bowls, more on that later….

Sanaa Review

Sanaa Menu

Just like any good meal, let’s start with some drinks!

First up was the Malawi Mango Margarita:

Sanaa Review

Mango Margarita

A frozen blend of Tequila, Van der Hum Tangerine Liqueur from South Africa, Mango Puree and fresh Lime Juice, This was a smash hit and my favorite of the drinks.  It was nice and thick and super refreshing, you could taste the freshness of the mango, a definite fruity flavor.  Not overly strong with alcohol.  Excellent!

Next up was the African Starr Mojito:

Sanaa Review

African Starr Mojito

Starr African Rum, Van der Hum Tangerine Liqueur from South Africa, fresh Lime Juice and Mint.  Everyone loved this, except for me because I’m not a fan of Mint in my drinks.  However I did recognize how fresh everything tasted so if your a Mojito fan give it a try!

Our first Appetizer was one thing you have to try, and that is the Indian-style Bread Service.  It’s a choice of Five Breads and either 3 or 9 accompanying salsas and sauces to dip your bread into.  It was easily one of the highlights of the meal for me.  This is very authentic and something you will find in Africa.

Sanaa Review

Indian-style Bread Service

The breads are: Traditional Naan, Garlic-Ginger Naan, Spiced Naan, Onion Kulcha and Paneer Paratha.

The Sauces to choose from are: Cucumber Raita, Roasted Red Pepper Hummus, Mango Chutney, Tomato-Date Jam, Tamarind Chutney, Coriander Chutney, Garlic Pickle, Red Chile Sambal and the Spicy Jalapeno-Lime Pickle.

Sanaa Review

Indian-style Bread Service Salsas

Everything was so good, all the breads and salsas!  My favorite bread was either the Traditional Naan or the Spiced Naan, and my favorite salsa was the Red Chile Sambal, but all of them were out of this world!  They are aranged in order from least spicy to most spicy, starting from the back of the photo with the white Cucumber Raita all the way to the closest one which was the Spicy Jalapeno-Lime Pickle.

The bread was so soft and chewy:

Sanaa Review

Close-up of the Naan Bread

Absolutely recommend the Indian-style Bread Service, it’s great for a big group to share, and for $2 more I absolutely recommend getting all 9 of the sauces which you can use with other courses later on in the meal.  You can also add a couple more pieces of that amazing Naan Bread, which I recommend doing as 5 wasn’t really enough for our group.

Our other appetizer was the Lamb Kefta Sliders:

Sanaa Review

Lamb Kefta Sliders

They were little sliders with Lamb, Goat Cheese Piquante Peppers and Pickled Shallots.  These weren’t as good as the Bread Service but solid nonetheless.  Lamb was nice and tender, but it definitely tasted like Lamb, so if your not a fan of “Gamey Meats” then I might pass.

For our Main Courses we started with the Tandoori Shrimp:

Sanaa Review

Tandoori Shrimp

This is an Open-faced Sandwich served on that yummy Naan Bread with Minted Greens, Tomato, Onion and Cucumber Raita.  You can get it with Chicken or Shrimp, we chose the later.  This was really good and was FULL of Shrimp!  It was a big size and had great flavor, only wished there was a little more of that amazing sauce…so I improvised, I used some of the left-over sauces from the Bread Service with the Tandoori.  I recommend it for sure!

We also tried the Peri Peri Chicken Sandwich which was a more classic style sandwich but also very good:

Sanaa Review

Peri Peri chicken sandwich

This was Roasted Chicken Breast, Rocket, Pickled Red Onion, Tomato and Sambal Mayonnaise.  This came served on a Naan Bun (which was similar to a Ciabatta)and with Sanaa Chips and a Pickle spear.  The Bun was outstanding as again it was made from that delicous Naan Bread (can you tell I’m addicted to Naan?)  We got it without Mayo and again instead opted to use the leftover Bread Service Sauces.  This too imo is very big and easily shareable.  Chicken was really moist.  The homemade chips were great and had a kick to them so if you don’t like spice, watch out!

My Sanaa Review wouldn’t be complete without what was in my opinion the Star of the Show, or in this case the King of the Jungle…the Butter Chicken and Braised Beef Potjie Inspired Bowls:

Sanaa Review

This and the Bread Service are the two best things bar-none at Sanaa.  Basically you get a choice of two Meats or Veggies which are slow-cooked in a unique gravy and served in bowls with the special sauce they are cooked in.  You then get a bowl of either Basmati Rice or the Five-Grain Pilaf and you can mix them in together with the rice.

Sanaa Review

Braised Beef and Butter Chicken! Mmmmm

This was heaven in a bowl, or two bowls that is!

Sanaa Review

Just wanna dive right in to that Butter Chicken!

There are many choices but I of course went with the Braised Beef and Butter Chicken.  They give you a decent amount of both meats and the dish was quite filling.  You kinda throw them in there with the rice and go to town!

Sanaa Review

Close up of Braised Beef and Butter Chicken

First up was the legendary Butter Chicken.  I had heard stories of the famous “Butter Chicken,” it was a bigger legend than the Yeti, so I had to do it, and I’m so glad that I did!  The gravy is made from a combo of Butter, Tomato puree, Garam Masala, and Cream…unreal!

Sanaa Review

Close up Butter Chicken

The chicken was of course moist and literally there are no words for how good this stuff is, incredible!  Highly recommend it!

However not to be outdone either was the Braised Beef:

Sanaa Review

Close up Braised Beef

Based on the hype, I expected the Butter Chicken to totally blow the Braised Beef out of the water but it wasn’t the case at all and it was just as good imo.  The beef was super tender and flavorful.  And I loved the gravy it was in, just the right spices and a really unique tastes that all blended well together!  Look at how the whole thing just fell right apart with my fork.  Both excellent choices!

I have to mention how great the service at Sanaa is.  Our waiter was extremely knowledgeable about the African/Indian, he himself having spent quite a bit of time in South Africa.  He made all the recommendations for us, the food was served promptly and literally any question we had he answered.  So the service was right up there with the amazing food and atmosphere as a reason to visit Sanaa.

We were extremely stuffed at this point, I really couldn’t move, so unfortunately this visit we didn’t get dessert.  I wouldn’t want to do a dis-service to my readers so I guess that just means I’ll have to make a return visit in the near future to give you the scoop on how good they are! 🙂

Summary:

Sanaa is for sure one of the best dining experiences available anywhere in Walt Disney World and a place that goes unnoticed by the majority of visitors.  It’s a place where you are sure to have excellent food and drinks and at the same time be completely immersed in a unique atmosphere which gives you the incredible opportunity to see wild animals in their habitat.  It’s a must-do if you are staying at the Animal Kingdom Lodge and worth a side-trip from anywhere in WDW.  If you are at the Animal Kingdom then why not make a stop by either for Lunch or Dinner before or after your visit to the park?

The Potjie Inspired Bowls and the Bread Service are 2 of the best dishes anywhere on property.  You can’t go wrong with any of the Sandwiches either, open-faced or regular.  The prices are very reasonable with all the Entrees between $16-26, not to mention they are all good size portions.

Sanaa is a place your whole family will love and will appeal to adults and families as well as picky and more adventurous eaters!  And for the exact 2 reasons that you might hesitate, I believe are the exact 2 reasons you need to go: Location and Cuisine!  If you haven’t been yet, you need to go!

Sanaa is a Lunch/Dinner restaurant and is open from 11:30 am – 3:00 pm and from 5:00 to 9:30 pm Daily.  The Disney Dining Plan is also accepted, it is a one credit dining restaurant.  Reservations can be made via the Disney World website or by calling (407) WDW-DINE.

I love to write Restaurant Reviews of Walt Disney World and I hope you found this one to be informative and helpful.  If you liked this review then please visit my Disney Dining Reviews Page where I have many other Restaurant Reviews.  I’m happy sharing with you what I love doing best…eating! I try to bring you the most thorough and unbiased reviews about the food and restaurants at Walt Disney World, so that as you are planning your vacation, you know the “can’t be missed” places, and where you shouldn’t waste your time.  Hope you enjoyed this one and will enjoy many others in the future!! ?

If you enjoyed this article, as always I appreciate it if you’d share it with others via social media.  I work hard at making this website into a useful resource for you and your family to plan your visit to Walt Disney World, and I hope it can help you! Thanks 🙂

Your Thoughts:

I want to know what you think about my Sanaa Review and your experiences there.  What’s your favorite food there?  What do you think of the atmosphere?  Is it worth the trek it takes to get there?  Let us know in the comments section below! 🙂

 

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Saturday 8th of September 2018

[…] Bread is amazing!!  In fact, Sanaa over in Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge has a ridiculously delicious appetizer with different […]