Sanaa at Kidani Village

On the bottom level of Kidani Village at Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge sits a very unusual dining experience in Disney World. Sanaa offers both a very unique view as well as dishes unlike any others you'll experience at Disney World.

View of the AnimalsView of the Animals

In Disney World, ethnic food is only allowed to survive locations where anything else would be ridiculous. This basically means World Showcase (they haven't managed to convince Chefs de France to serve chicken nuggets...to adults, anyway) and the Animal Kingdom Lodge. Anywhere else all "foreign" elements are usually relentlessly scoured from the menu. Thus far Sanaa has managed to retain its Indian and African menu elements.

Sanaa Dining RoomSanaa Dining Room

While we got settled my dining partner ordered a mango margarita, which I promptly stole a sip of. I was really impressed with the flavor, which tasted like a mango smoothie. While I'm not positive there was any alcohol in there, it was great even for a non-alcoholic drink. Very refreshing and sweet.

Mango MargaritaMango Margarita

I also had a Safari Amber just so I could try one out. It was a fine beer, very drinkable and smooth, but wasn't terribly striking. I can't imagine anyone hating this beer, but I also have trouble imagining it being someone's favorite beer.

Safari AmberSafari Amber

If you're like me, you probably miss taking multiple-choice tests in school. Just me? Well if you are like me, you're in for a treat. The menu at Sanaa has choices, choices and more choices. Some might be intimidated by the number of choices they have to make during their meal, but I just got out my #2 pencil and my scantron form. Almost all of the entrees have a wide variety of choices for diners to navigate. For example, we started with the bread service. Before you're allowed to have any bread however, you have to choose 3 of the 4 bread types and 3 of the 8 accompaniments. This is a high-pressure situation.

Bread ServiceBread Service

We chose the naan bread, papadum and paneer paratha. This made me feel bad for leaving out the onion kulcha. It was like the kid that no one wanted on their dodgeball team. I think they should add another type of bread to the menu so that there's not just one type that gets left out. Fortunately for accompaniments you have eight choices, so you have five losers instead of just one. We chose the red chile sambal, mango chutney and roasted red pepper hummus.

Bread AccompanimentsBread Accompaniments

The paneer partha was a very interesting bread that had plenty of flavor on its own, so I didn't put any of the accompaniments on it. It reminded me of a tortilla with something tasty in the middle of it. The papadum on the other hand was more like a "chip." The naan bread was absolutely delicious and is probably what I'll remember most about the meal. I must not be the only one who thinks so either, since they use it pretty consistently throughout the menu. The red chile sambal was spicy and tasty, but didn't go very well with the papadum. It was fantastic on the naan bread however. The mango chutney was sweet and worked well on everything, but wasn't a knockout so I tended to use the other two. I chose the hummus because of how much I love the hummus in Jambo House at Boma and this was similar, if not the same. Overall I highly recommend the bread service. Be sure to ask your server for a cheat sheet, since you have to make so many decisions.

Appetizer SamplerAppetizer Sampler

We also had the appetizer sampler. This was nice since we didn't have to make any decisions. The sampler includes potato and pea samosas, which were one of my favorite vegetarian items I've had at Disney World. The exterior was delightfully crisp and the interior was tasty and not mushy as I feared. I imagined the inside would be bland and mushy but it was the exact opposite. The sampler also had lamb meatballs, which were delicious and very hearty. The third member, cauliflower, didn't have as much taste on it's own, but had a fun texture. The solution was to put a bunch of my sauces from the bread service on it and we had a winner.

Potato and Pea SamosaPotato and Pea Samosa

Lamb MeatballsLamb Meatballs

CauliflowerCauliflower

For my entree I had the Slow Cooked in Gravy, Simple and Well Seasoned...seriously that's the name of the dish. Once again you have to make selections. I chose the shrimp with green curry sauce and beef short ribs. I even had to choose my rice and I went with basmati, rather than the five-grain pilaf.

Entree with a REALLY Long NameEntree with a REALLY Long Name

With my myriad of decisions made I dug into my entrees. The shrimp was a bit rubbery for my taste, but the curry was wonderful. It was tangy and very light, so I enjoyed the shrimp despite any springy qualities they might have had. The short rib comes in a hearty gravy and was very tender. The rice was pretty standard but still quite good.

ShrmpShrmp

Beef Short RibsBeef Short Ribs

Basmati RiceBasmati Rice

My dining partner had the Tandoori chicken, which she disassembled, because that's what she does to food. As you can see, it's already naked in the picture. I got to have some of her food and it was delicious. It was served on naan bread so we were off to a good start. The chicken was well-seasoned, but the bread was the star of the show. It's served with a couple of dipping sauces, both of which were nice additions. Ultimately I'm reluctant to try to think of things that wouldn't taste good on that bread.

Tandoori ChickenTandoori Chicken

Finally we came to our last decision: Dessert. Once again we went with the sampler to save us having to make too many choices. It included the popular chai cream, a chocolate cake and khulfi, which is sort of like an ice cream.

Chai CreamChai Cream

The chai cream is a visitor favorite and I found it refreshing, with a very subtle taste. I was glad I didn't have an entire serving though because I think the taste would have become a bit redundant for me. The khulfi was wonderful with a very strong taste and an icy texture, I could have done with more of it. While my partner wasn't that impressed with the chocolate cake, I really enjoyed it. I'm not typically a huge chocolate fan, but the different tastes and textures of the various layers really hit the spot.

Chocolate CakeChocolate Cake

Kulfi, Like Ice Cream Only KulfierKulfi, Like Ice Cream Only Kulfier

We also had the mango pudding. While it didn't jump out at us from the menu, we figured after the margarita and chutney, this would complete our mango hat-trick, so we had to get it. It had a very strong mango taste and was very refreshing, however it was a large serving and I got a bit tired of the same taste. The cookie that is served with it is delicious and I wanted to trade some of my pudding for more cookie. In the end I felt like I didn't really need that much mango pudding, even though it was quite good.

Mango PuddingMango Pudding

Overall I thought Sanaa was wonderful. If I went again I might just eat naan bread the entire time, but there really weren't any duds among the items that we tried. I probably wouldn't consider it an "every trip" restaurant, but if I was staying in the Animal Kingdom Lodge, I'd probably eat there twice.

katrina1122 wrote on Mon, 03/28/2011 - 13:40:

katrina1122's picture

May have to hit this up next time.

Mase wrote on Mon, 03/28/2011 - 14:28:

Mase's picture

Yeah... we went there last time, but since we went for dinner, it was dark out so we didnt get the view. So I highly recommend either an early dinner, or lunch. We thought the dinner was very good, and will more than likely make our reservations for there again come November.

worldfanatic wrote on Mon, 03/28/2011 - 14:56:

worldfanatic's picture

I'll have to agree with Mase's comment.
We went for lunch, and were thrilled to have multiple giraffes within view during our entire meal.
The food was awesome too!!!
This place is a hidden gem!!!!

bali wrote on Tue, 03/29/2011 - 13:36:

bali's picture

Agreed on lunch over dinner! Thanks for the great review. That dessert trio looks fantastic!

Estelle wrote on Wed, 03/30/2011 - 19:32:

Estelle's picture

Just went here for the first time a few weeks ago, and really enjoyed it. The restaurant was gorgeous, and both of us liked the food very much. We also did the bread service, and I had the sampler for dessert. Delicious. I do think going for lunch would be more fun to get a view, but we did get to go out and view the animals with the night vision googles afterwards, and talk with the cast member for awhile which was very nice.

I was a little dissatisfied with our waitress. I was hoping she would plain the menu more and make the dinner for more like an "experience" but I would definitely go back again.

P.S. My husband and I love the Safari Ale, and we are very experimental when it comes to beer. We look forward to having it every time we go to WDW.

BruceWDW wrote on Sat, 04/02/2011 - 20:13:

BruceWDW's picture

I just loved this restaurant, and I really loved your review. The photos are wonderful. You did a wonderful job of illustrating how special Sanaa is.

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