*This dining experience took place in February 2014.
The Mara is perhaps one of my favorite quick service locations on Disney property and easily one of my tops for a resort quick service restaurant. I love the African inspired food and the quality of food that is served at this location. This location is also extremely special diets friendly and has a ton of options for guests who are gluten free and dairy free.
On this particular occasion, I stopped by for dinner on the evening before my last race of the 2013-2014 runDisney race season – the Royal Family 5K. I didn’t want to order anything too complicated or outside of my normal realm of food choices, especially so I didn’t upset my stomach for race day.
I will say that this restaurant was packed (around 6 p.m.) that night and there were a ton of other racers also dining there. Of course, there was pasta as a pre-race special but I’m not a huge GF pasta fan, so I skipped that option. Once I got to the front of the line, I asked for a chef and they quickly brought out one to chat with me. I forgot to write down his name, but he was a very friendly older gentleman who was very willing to go over options with me. Here are some options he gave me:
- Angus Bacon Burger with fries (on a GF/DF bun)
- Allergy chicken tenders with fries
- Flatbread minus the cheese
- Oak-smoked Rotisserie Chicken substitute something else for the mashed potatoes
- Mara Salad with Chicken
- African Stew
- Harissa Salmon (with some substitutions – can’t remember what though)
There were a few other options that I can’t recall, but ultimately, I decided to go with the allergy chicken tenders and fries. I know, I know…kinda boring, but I knew they wouldn’t upset my stomach, plus they are just darn delicious!
While I waited for my food I got a chance to check out the restaurant to see if there were any special diets options available, and wouldn’t you know it I found the Babycakes NYC cupcakes. They are the mini cupcakes in a 4 pack, and it’s great that you can find these here.
I also noticed that they had boxes out for runners with bagels, etc. I have to say that it would be really great if they offered some alternatives for guests who have special dietary needs too. It doesn’t seem like it would be too hard to accommodate!
Once I got my chicken tenders (which came out faster than some other people’s non-special diets meals!), I headed back to my villa at Kidani Village. I got to rest up and enjoy my dinner while watching the Must Do’s on TV. The must do’s are simply a must do!
As usual, the allergy chicken tenders were perfect. They actually did a great job frying these (almost as good as Columbia Harbour House!) – though the fries were a little soggy by the time I got back to my room. Either way, it was exactly what I wanted before my race and quite delicious.
Next time I visit the Mara, I’ll have to try something else. It’s been forever since I’ve had the African Stew and the Mara Salad also sounded interesting.
I’d give this experience an 8 out of 10.
Have you been to the Mara? What are your favorite dishes here?