*This dining experience took place in January 2017.
Sanaa, located in Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge – Kidani Village, is one of my favorite table service restaurants on Disney property. Serving up African and Indian inspired food, the offerings here are not only delicious but very special diets friendly. Not only do they carry an allergy-friendly menu, but they also have some really great dishes, like the gluten free, dairy free, and vegan naan bread (more on that in a minute!).
Sanaa has recently updated its menu and after a not-so-great experience this summer, I had been wanting to check out the menu changes for a while now. Thankfully, I had a good excuse to visit when Travel Planner Mary Morales invited me to dinner.
On a side note, if you are interested in booking a vacation, I can highly recommend Mary. Her services are free (score!) and she takes care of all the planning and work for you (double score!). You can find out more info about Mary on her Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/MaryMoralesTravelPlanner/
First things first, we decided to get the Sanaa bread service, which is always a winner. We decided to split it, so I was able to get 2 pieces of the gluten free and vegan naan bread and Mary could get the regular naan. Then, I made sure to scoop up some of the dips on my side plate so we could both enjoy without worry of cross-contamination.
I was a little surprised to see the new Sanaa bread service platters, and I can’t say I’m that impressed. I actually miss the rustic boards they used to use with the sauces surrounding the bread. Plus, the ramekins just seem smaller to me. That being said, I know change can be a good thing…just as long as they don’t remove my gluten free and vegan bread option!
Of the dips, all of them are gluten free and dairy free, except the cucumber raita, which is just gluten free. I’m a huge huge fan of the roasted red bell pepper hummus, mango chutney, coriander chutney, and tomato date chutney. The others are good, but these four are my jam! I highly recommend combining the mango chutney and coriander chutney together. They make for a delicious chutney on chutney combo!
The naan itself is made from Cup4Cup Wholesome Flour blend and is gluten free and vegan. The restaurant gave me the recipe, and I’ve since re-created it on my cooking video series, “My Gluten Free Disney Kitchen,” for you to check out! It’s fairly easy to make and is sooooo delicious!
Brandon and I had been at the Epcot Festival of the Arts that weekend to check out the new gluten free options and to enjoy the festival. So, to say I was a bit over-indulgent is an understatement. I was craving something simple, so I asked Chef Fallon if she could re-create the tandoor chicken dish that used to be on the menu. Ultimately, she ended up just making me some rice, grilled chicken with tandoor seasoning and seasonal vegetables.
It was exactly what I wanted for my meal — something simple and easy. I could eat rice for days, and I loved the combo of the flavorful chicken and mild bland rice and sauteed veggies. It wasn’t anything special but definitely was perfect for the evening.
Mary got the Potjie-inspired dishes which has definitely changed some since my last visit. Instead of getting your choice of 2 meat or vegetarian dishes, you are given one meat and one vegetarian dish along with rice. For a $10 upcharge, you can get a second meat item, but you will keep the vegetarian dish, for a total of 3 dishes. Chef Fallon noted that they are doing this to give guests more composed dishes, but I’ll be honest, it feels like it’s an excuse to be a bit cheaper on the entree since typically vegetarian dishes are cheaper to prepare. I like having variety, but I know that a lot of folks are disappointed by this change.
That being said, Mary really enjoyed the Chickpea Wat (which is gluten free and vegan) with her meal. She also got two gluten free options — the Butter Chicken and Braised Beef (which is also dairy free). The dishes are also served with yogurt but it can easily be left off the plate, as it’s served in its own dish.
I will say the portions did seem bigger, so that’s at least an upside to the changes.
For dessert, I decided to get the Chai Spiced Tapioca Pudding with fresh berries. The restaurant always has a gluten free and vegan version on hand made with coconut milk, and it’s delicious. It’s very comforting to the stomach too if you’ve overindulged or have a tummy ache. It was another simple and tasty dish and rounded out my meal nicely.
Overall, you can’t go wrong with Sanaa. I love the flavors and options for all courses the meal here. Plus, their ability to customize and cater to special dietary needs is pretty outstanding. Big shoutout to Chef Fallon who always does a really amazing job there too!
Have you been to Sanaa? What do you love to order there?