Jiko at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge (as of 1/2020) – This menu covers the top 8 common allergens (gluten/wheat, milk/dairy, egg, soy, peanut, tree nut, fish and shellfish). Check with the restaurant for modifications and/or other special dietary needs.
*This dining experience took place in December 2016.
Jiko: The Cooking Place, a signature table service restaurant, is located at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge. African inspired, it features an upscale menu with unique flavors. I’ve had hit or miss experiences with Jiko, but I had a wonderful experience last fall when dining at the chef’s counter.
*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?
Jiko at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge, Jambo House (as of 3/15) – This is strictly a gluten free menu. Check with the restaurant for additional offerings
Jiko Salad – Poached pears, heirloom spinach, kabocha squash, and pear vinaigrette with pumpkin seed and black lentil brittle – $15.00
Grilled Wild Boar Tenderloin – With mealie pap, chakalaka, white truffle oil, and micro cilantro – $18.00
Beetroot Salad – petit greens, crispy pancetta, and sherry vinaigrette – $15.00
North African Carrot Soup – sweet potatoes, ginger, pink lady apples, and black garlic ice cream – $19.00
Caren’s Durban Seafood Curry – mussels, shrimp, scallops, and pineapple-coconut curry – $17.00
Maize-crusted Snapper – Sauteed vegetables of the moment and tomato-butter sauce – $40.00
Oak-grilled Filet Mignon – local pole beans, spoon bread souffle, South African red wine reduction – $49.00
Botswana-style Seswaa Beef Short Rib – Cassava-potato puree, sambal and mushrooms – $46.00
Nigerian-spiced Berkshire Double-cut Pork Chop – Braised greens, roasted potatoes, apple butter – $40.00
Lamb Two Ways – Winter vegetables, pumpkin seed duqqa, and mango demi-glace – $39.00
Senegal Scallops – Black-eyed pea salad, heirloom tomatoes, and roasted seafood demi-glace – $40.00
Ghanaian chocolate and Kenyan coffee pot de creme – almond creme with almond crunch and raspberries – $11.00
Coconut Milk Panna Cotta with mixed berries – $10.00
Jiko at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge, Jambo House (as of 10/13) – This is strictly a dairy free menu. Check with the restaurant for additional offerings
Jiko Salad – Heirloom spiced melon, rocket, mizuna, peppered Chevre, and blackberry vinaigrette – $15.00
Taste of Africa – African inspired dips with pappadam – $9.00
Fire roasted oysters on the half shell – Lemon, house made hot sauce, horseradish and smoked tatsoi – $17.00
Mozambique-style Tomato Salad – Heirloom tomatoes, peaches, avocado, mache, and arugla – $15.00
Taktouka Tomato Soup – Vine ripened tomatoes, peppers – $10.00
Maize-crusted Monkfish – Sauteed vegetables of the moment – $38.00
West African “Jerked” Scallops – Basmati Rice, Red Quinoa, and Vegetable Melange – $35.00
Tagine Chicken – Preserved lemon, artichokes, olives, cinnamon couscous, harissa, and saffron jus – $34.00
Seared Barbarie Duck Breast – Potato and spinach masala, royal trumpet mushrooms, and nondairy port sauce – $40.00
Curry-rubbed Lamb Loin – Roasted potatoes, eggplant artichoke “zaalouk”, and red olive-walnut tapenade – $37.00
“Nigerian Style” Pan-roasted Whole Snapper – White sweet potatoes, red sauce, and chili pepper pickle – $46.00
Oak-grilled Filet Mignon – Ancient grain pilaf, local pole beans, and South African red wine reduction – $45.00
Seasonal Fruit with sorbet – $8.00
Vanilla Tofutti Ice Cream with mixed berries – $8.00
Coconut Milk Panna Cotta with mixed berries – $9.00
*This dining experience took place in October 2013. It includes my gluten free & dairy free review as well as reviews from blog readers Linda & Brandon T. with a gluten and soy free review and gluten free review. Thanks again to Linda & Brandon and their friend Andrea for joining me for dinner!
|Picture of open kitchen at Jiko|
Jiko: the Cooking Place is located in Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge Jambo House and offers African inspired cuisine at a signature dining location. The interior is set to mimic the African sunset and the lighting aptly changes throughout your dining experience. This location offers terrific gluten free & dairy free offerings and even has special menus for specific dietary needs, making it much easier to order items off the menu. On this particular occasion I visited with several blog readers who also have special dietary needs and really enjoyed the experience with them.
My previous experience at Jiko had been several years ago, and it was bad. And I mean BAD. The worst dining experience I’ve ever had at Disney. Which is unfortunate for a variety of reasons. You can read that review HERE. So needless to say, I was a bit nervous about dining here. It’s been about 3 years, and I figured at this point, hopefully things had improved. Our server discussed drink options with us and then brought over the chef. The chef was very nice & really knowledgeable. He also brought us out special dietary menus, which was very helpful in making decisions about what we might want. It helps not making decisions on the fly when there are so many choices! We were actually able to keep our menus, and I have scanned versions of the gluten free menu HERE and the dairy free menu HERE. I also enjoy being able to match things up & cross reference the sheets quickly. Very handy.
First up, our table split the Taste of Africa sampler. Essentially this is a variety of dips & lentil pappadums. We also received extra pappadums for the table, so we had a lot! I will say that the dip sampler seems a lot stingier than it used to be. It seemed fairly small for the price, and between 3 of us splitting it, we did OK mostly because our entrees came quickly. We did not get a really good description of the dips, but there was a Kalamata olive hummus and several other spicier dips (I think they still have the chermoula and some others). In my opinion, the dip sampler at Sanaa is vastly superior both in taste and in quantity. For $10 you get all the dips at Sanaa which is a lot!
|Taste of Africa sampler|
For our entrees, both Linda and I ordered the Maize crusted monkfish. Linda is gluten & soy free, so she was able to get the tomato butter sauce that this dish normally comes with, while mine was prepared dairy free and had a rich tomato sauce. All other components to our dishes were the same.
|Gluten free & Dairy free version of maize crusted monkfish|
For my part, I will say that I like this dish very much. It was on the menu at my last visit (and what I ended up ordering) and I found it to be quite good. The vegetables were perfectly sauteed and very flavorful. The tomato sauce was nice and light. And the fish was perfectly cooked and very well seasoned. I like the maize crusted coating on it. This is one of those entrees that I would definitely order again.
|Gluten free & soy free version of maize crusted monkfish|
I know that Linda loved her fish dish and said she really enjoyed it a lot. I was glad that she enjoyed her version as much as I did!
|Wonderful dinner with terrific company!|
Brandon and Andrea both ordered the Filet Mignon on the menu, which has been known to be very good. Andrea doesn’t have a special diet, but she seemed to really enjoy her entree. Brandon didn’t love his filet, but it just goes to show you that everyone has different tastes and food reviews are certainly relative!
|Gluten free beef filet mignon|
Brandon also ordered the tomato soup, which he said had a very smoky almost BBQ sauce flavor to it. My guess is that they roast the tomatoes in the wood fired oven.
For our desserts, I chose the coconut milk panna cotta which was made with soy milk & coconut milk. Linda ordered the flourless chocolate cake. Her dessert looked incredibly rich and delicious!
|Flourless chocolate cake|
|Coconut milk panna cotta|
I will say that I wasn’t wowed by my dessert. I found the taste to be a little strange, and I think they could have made a nice tropical mix of fruit with the mango coulis which would have played better with the panna cotta. The plain fresh berries didn’t seem to mix well, in my opinion. I also had a slight stomach ache after dinner, and I wondered if the soy milk might have been Kikkoman (which I heard later that it used to be) and is not gluten free. In general, I wouldn’t order that particular dessert again.
Overall, I did enjoy the meal. I really loved my entree, and I know Linda did too! The appetizer sampler was good, but I think I have been spoiled by Sanaa way too much and have high expectations of a dip sampler. The only thing I really didn’t love was the dessert.
In general, I would definitely visit Jiko again, but my personal preference both for type of food, price, and atmosphere would be Sanaa hands down. This is a great special occasion place to visit, and I very much thank Linda, Brandon, and Andrea for joining me the night before my first 5k (review HERE). It really made the meal special!