*This dining experience took place in August 2015.
Jiko, located at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge Jambo House, is the signature dining location of AKL. Set to resemble an African sunset, the restaurant is a gorgeous place to have a celebratory meal or romantic evening. Even more amazing is that the lighting in the restaurant subtly changes throughout the evening to reflect the actual African sunset. How amazing!
On this particular occasion, I dined at Jiko but wanted to sit at the open air chef’s table, which is a lovely and approachable way to dine solo at Disney. I also knew I didn’t want a full meal, so getting a glass of wine and a gluten free flatbread seemed like a great option.
I haven’t been to Jiko in a few years, and a recent stay at the Animal Kingdom Lodge gave me the perfect excuse to visit. One of Jiko’s amazing features is that they have the 2nd largest collection of South African wines in the world (the first location is actually IN South Africa), so if you are a wine lover, this is a restaurant for you.
If you’re dining solo, I can highly recommend the Chef’s Table. You get a chance to watch the action and even interact with members of the culinary team.
Since Jiko is known for their South African wines, I ordered the Black Pearl which is a mix of Cabernet Sauvignon & Shiraz. It was delicious and a great red wine to order with my meal.
Though the restaurant does have an allergy friendly menu, I did ask to speak to the chef, as I was hoping they might be able to make me a flatbread gluten free. As the chef noted, they don’t normally carry the Udi’s gluten free pizza crusts at Jiko anymore, but he offered to get one from the Mara so that I could have a flatbread. He said this might take a bit of time, so he brought me some Udi’s Gluten Free rolls with extra virgin olive oil, and I ordered a salad.
I opted for the Jiko Salad which was Poached Pears, Heirloom Spinach, Kobocha Squash and Pear Vinaigrette and marked gluten free and dairy free on the allergy friendly menu. I can’t say I loved this salad. It seemed underdressed, a little too bitter, and bland.
For my flatbread, I ordered the Roasted Cauliflower flatbread which had Bhuna Masala, Roasted Cipollini Onions, and normally comes with Lamb Chopper Cheese. I have been trying to experiment with non-cow’s milk cheese, so I asked if they could add a small amount of goat cheese to the flatbread. The Purple Haze goat cheese worked really well with this dish, and I’m excited that I am being able to add some sheep and goat milk into my diet successfully on occasion.
This flatbread was outstanding, and one I wouldn’t hesitate to order again. The flavors were so good, and if you loved roasted cauliflower (like I do), you will love this. Hands down a big winner for me.
I love going to Jiko for an appetizer and drink. It’s such an affordable way to experience the restaurant without breaking the bank. As a DVC member, I also saved 10% which also helped with affordability. You can read Gluten Free in Orlando’s full dinner review on her blog.
Have you been to Jiko? What did you order when you dined there?