*This dining experience took place in May 2016.
Sanaa continues to be one of my most favorite restaurants at Disney with warm decor, outstanding food, and one amazing view of the Savannah. They also have some of the consistently best (and tastiest!) special dietary needs options on Disney property. You can check out their full allergy friendly dinner menu here on the blog.
On this particular occasion, I met up with Travel Planner Mary Morales for dinner. I don’t know about you but I can’t think of a better place to have a business meeting, can you?
After being seated and taking in the sites, we were greeted by Chef Joe, who is a Disney rockstar chef in my books (his photo above proves his rockstar status!). He was great at discussing options, especially, as I noticed that the regular menu had some options listed that used to be on the allergy friendly menu but weren’t listed there anymore.
Chef Joe also seemed surprised as the Goan Seafood Curry, which I’m a big fan of, was not listed but is indeed both gluten free and dairy free. Additionally, there were a ton of what I figured were vegan items that included: Cilantro-Coconut Milk Seasonal Vegetables and Roasted Okra-Cashew-Tomato Stew that were not on the allergy friendly menu.
Chef Joe assured me that these were all options for me gluten free and dairy free. I was having a hard time deciding but ultimately, based on his recommendation, went with the Roasted Okra-Cashew-Tomato Stew. It sounded unlike anything I’d had there before, and Chef Joe really sold me on this one.
First up though was the bread service. You really can’t go to Sanaa and not get it. Mary and I split this, and I was able to get two pieces of gluten free & vegan naan. This bread was the best version of it I have ever had, and I’m loving that they use Cup4Cup Wholesome Flour in it. This bread is actually pliable, and it really is the stuff dreams are made of.
Because we shared the bread service, Mary kindly let me scoop up all the dipping sauces I wanted onto a separate plate before digging in. Then, I could enjoy safely to my heart’s content.
On my last visit, I tried the braised beef for the first time, along with a standard favorite, the Durban shrimp. This time, I was so excited to get the Goan Seafood Curry again and so curious about the Roasted Okra-Cashew-Tomato Stew.
I have to say, Chef Joe was right. The Roasted Okra-Cashew-Tomato Stew was unbelievably good. Okra can be one of those “love it” or “hate it” kind of veggies, and cooked poorly it becomes a gummy nasty mess. This version was slow roasted and just delicious. With the tomatoes it had a slightly sweet taste to the dish, and the crunch of the cashews on top really pulled it all together. I would definitely get this again.
And, of course, the Goan Seafood Curry was just as delicious as always. Although despite the name, I don’t think the Goan Seafood Curry is very spicy, so don’t let the name fool you.
Mary is allergic to fish and shellfish and was very interested in the Durban dish but without shrimp. Chef Joe was able to make that with chicken instead (which is one of the ways you used to be able to get it in the restaurant), so it’s nice to know that’s an option.
Both of her dishes were gluten free, but the Butter Chicken, is not dairy free. Mary raved about these dishes, especially the Butter Chicken.
We definitely enjoyed a tasty meal and enjoyed the view. One of the resident birds at the Animal Kingdom Lodge joined us by the window. Truth be told, I think he was just jealous of my Roasted Okra-Cashew-Tomato Stew and gluten free and vegan naan!
Overall, I can never say enough good things about Sanaa. It’s always a favorite of mine, and I can literally go there and get something different every time. Except that gluten free and vegan bread service. It’s a MUST every time I go!
Have you been to Sanaa? What do you love at this table service restaurant?