*This dining experience took place in April 2016.
Sanaa, located at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge, is one of my favorite restaurants in all of Disney World. It used to be a hidden gem but word has gotten out about this Indian and African inspired restaurant, and it’s become very popular among Disney foodies.
I never turn down an invite to Sanaa, and I had the chance to dine with friends visiting from out-of-town recently. They also have special dietary needs, and while I didn’t get photos, they did get some great special diets options that I’ll post about!
Sanaa, like most Disney restaurants, does have an allergy friendly menu. But, I always recommend getting a regular menu in addition to the allergy friendly menu when you dine here, as often dishes that may be safe for you aren’t listed on the allergy friendly menu. This happens a lot with gluten free only items, so it never hurts to double-check and consult with a chef.
On this visit, my friends had multiple dietary needs that included: gluten, dairy, soy, corn, MSG, and Xanthum Gum free. Chef Fallon took care of us, and she did an amazing job making sure everyone had something safe and delicious.
When Alexis from Gluten Free in Orlando and I dined here for lunch back in December 2015, we discovered a new version of the gluten free & vegan naan bread made with Cup4Cup Wholesome Flour Blend. We were both wowed by the pliable texture and taste.
On this visit, I mentioned this to my friends, and we were able to get a customized version of the bread service. My friend who is gluten, dairy, soy, and corn free did eat the naan (xanthum gum is not an issue for him) but his mom who is gluten free, MSG, and xanthum gum free was served pappadums and lentil chips as an alternative. Chef Fallon also made my friend safe versions of the red pepper hummus, coriander chutney, and mango chutney so that he could enjoy them.
Overall, the bread service was a home-run and everyone was happy with their options. My only slight complaint would be that the bread itself seemed a bit less pliable than my previous visit.
For my entree, I chose the braised beef and Durban shrimp with Basmati Rice. I’m super sad that the goan seafood curry is gone now, as I really enjoyed it. The Durban shrimp is always good, though quite spicy. The braised beef was just OK. Some portions of the beef were very fatty and tasted like it hadn’t been braised long enough. I’m not sure I’d get the beef again because of that.
My friend’s mom had the Tandoor Chicken which needed no modifications for additional dietary restrictions beyond gluten.
My friend got a version of the Durban shrimp and the appetizer Boerewor and Slaphakskeentjies (Traditional South African Sausage and Cape Malay Onion Salad) as a main dish with Basmati rice. Chef Fallon made all of his dishes from scratch due ingredients like soy and corn being present. My friend raved about his meal, and it looked delicious too!
After our meal, the group was stuffed, and no one could manage dessert, though, I mentioned to Chef Fallon that I loved the chai spiced tapioca pudding (which they make gluten free and dairy free by adding coconut milk). It was a lovely surprise as we were leaving that she brought a to-go container of the tapioca pudding for me to enjoy at home, which I did the next morning for breakfast!
Huge shoutout to Chef Fallon who did an amazing job at handling so many dietary restrictions and for making tasty and delicious options for everyone. It was a great meal and yet another reason why I love Sanaa so much!
Want to learn more about Sanaa? Check out Podcast Episode 27 where we talk all about the restaurant!
Have you been to Sanaa? What’s your favorite dish there?