*This dining experience took place in March 2017.
Dinner at Sanaa
When it comes to favorite restaurants at Disney, I gotta admit, I keep going back to Sanaa. This table service restaurant, located in Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge is a not-so-hidden gem these days. It seems the word on how amazing Sanaa is has gotten out, and it’s become pretty popular. With African and Indian inspired food that might not seem so approachable for a lot of guests, it’s a pretty big testament to how great the food is! On this particular occasion, we had dinner at Sanaa with friends who were visiting from out-of-town. I knew they’d enjoy the food and the amazing atmosphere.
Sanaa is a gorgeous restaurant with a beautiful theme. Sanaa means work of Art in Swahili, and you can see lots of art and artifacts throughout the restaurant.
The restaurant is set to look a bit like you’re in the African woods. It’s pretty amazing. Plus, even more amazing is the view. If you’re ever wanted to dine with giraffes, zebras, spring bok, and other African animals, Sanaa is the place to do it. Sanaa overlooks the savanna at the Animal Kingdom Lodge, and the views really are amazing.
In addition to an amazing theme and view, the food at Sanaa is delicious. Even though the food may seem a bit exotic, you’ll find that Disney uses these flavors in approachable ways, so you won’t end up with super spicy or totally unappealing dishes. If you’re not sure what might be safe for your special dietary need, do check out the allergy friendly dinner menu for Sanaa. And, if you see something on the menu that isn’t listed, ask to speak with a chef. They can often make easy modifications to dishes (you’ll see that first-hand with my meal on this visit too).
The first thing I ordered on this visit was the African Starr Mint Mojito. It’s my hands down favorite drink at Sanaa. It’s made with rum (typically gluten free), fresh mint, and simple syrup. So tasty and a refreshing alcoholic drink on a hot day.
Up next, our group ordered the Sanaa Bread Service, which is a must do. All of the dips are currently gluten free, and only one dip contains dairy. How awesome is that? Plus, they make gluten free & vegan naan. So, I’m basically in heaven when I get bread service…because…gluten free carbs and dips! The gluten free & vegan naan is made with Cup4Cup Wholesome Flour Blend, which is gluten free and dairy free. If you’re craving it at home, you can even make yourself with this recipe for the gluten free and vegan naan.
The chef served my bread on a separate plate, and before everyone else dug into the dips, I made sure to scoop what I wanted onto a safe clean plate for myself. You can always ask for separate containers of dip too (though this may include an upcharge, depending on how many dips your group orders). My favorite dips still include the roasted red bell pepper hummus, tomato date chutney, coriander chutney, and mango chutney. They are so good (and all are gluten free and dairy free).
For my entree, I asked about the Sustainable Fish. I thought it would be similar to the old version of their sustainable fish dish, which included a light curry broth and vegetables. I was told that they could make it gluten free with a few modifications (I did not ask for it to be dairy free, as I have been reintroducing a bit of dairy back into my diet). So, you can imagine my surprise when the tile fish I ordered arrived.
I gotta admit, it looked nothing like what I imagined. The little peppers included were actually quite sweet and not spicy at all. They added a bit of punch and flavor to the fish and pap (aka grits) which were both a bit bland. The sauce tasted like coconut milk, but since the dish wasn’t listed as dairy free, I’m guessing there was either butter, cream, or milk in the sauce and/or the pap. Everything was tasty, but it definitely wasn’t the best thing I’ve ever ordered at Sanaa. Next time, I’d skip this and go back to some of my favorites like the Durban Shrimp, Goan Seafood Curry, and Grilled New York Strip.
I can’t say enough good things about Sanaa. The restaurant theme is amazing. The view is incredible. And the food is outstanding. There are a ton of gluten free and dairy free options on the menu, and the chefs there are amazing at customizing and modifying dishes. Plus, they have one of the best bread service options for guests with special dietary needs, which is a rarity!
Have you been to Sanaa? What do you enjoy about dining there?