*This gluten free dining experience took place in November 2020. It includes information about dairy free options, as well as fish/shellfish, peanut, hazelnut, cabbage, and chicken & turkey allergies.
Dinner at Tiffins
Tiffins, located at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, is a signature dining location that serves international cuisine inspired by the explorations and adventures of Disney Imagineers. Opening in 2016, both Brandon and I have been wanting to eat at this restaurant for a long time now. We finally decided to make a reservation and enjoy an early evening dinner there before the park closed at 5 p.m.
COVID-19 & Reopening Notes
On this particular visit, we made reservations for the restaurant a few days before we dined there. I used the My Disney Experience app and found that there was a late afternoon seating, which we decided to book (the restaurant closed at 5 p.m.). The app worked as it normally does, and we were able to add in our special dietary needs in the app and alert cast members of our needs when we arrived at the restaurant. The last few months, we have had some pretty big challenges using the app to check-in, but we easily checked in with a cast member at Tiffins.
The restaurant itself featured many mechanisms to provide sanitization, social distancing, and safety for both guests and cast members. We were actually asked to wait outside versus inside before our table was ready to ensure social distancing. All cast members wore facial masks and some cast members also wore protective shields, as well. All servers in the restaurant wore both facial masks and protective shields.
As a note, at the time of writing this review, we have been to several of the Disney Resorts, including the Animal Kingdom Lodge, Boardwalk Resort, Contemporary Resort, Grand Floridian Resort & Spa, Old Key West Resort, Polynesian, and Riviera Resort along with all of the theme parks. All locations have the same protocols, as far as we have observed. Be sure to check with restaurants and the official Disney World website for additional information about current guidelines and recommendations.
Tiffins is inspired by the globetrotting experiences of Disney Imagineers and animal experts who helped build and shape the Animal Kingdom theme park.
The restaurant is named after Tiffins which are little tiered lunch containers are used in many different countries, and most notably, India.
In fact, when you first enter the restaurant, you’ll see several different kinds of beautifully decorated Tiffins on display.
The exterior of the restaurant features some wood carvings and is very welcoming. It’s almost as if you’re entering a lodge.
Inside the restaurant’s lobby area features a beautiful wood carved map of the world. It really lets you know that you’re about to enjoy a global journey through design and food!
There are several unique dining rooms in the restaurant. Each honors the spirit and design of Africa, Asia, and animals from around the world. We were in a room inspired by Africa, and as you can see there were some pretty amazing design elements and pieces of art all around the interior.
I especially loved the tiles and decorative woodwork that you could see as the basis for buildings, sidewalks, and furniture. Though not in our photos, there was also a small baobob tree on the wall that was actually used by Imagineers when designing the park.
Here is a view of one of the other dining rooms — more inspired by Asia. While there are some similar design elements, I love how unique each dining area is. There was a lot to look at and the restaurant’s aesthetics definitely made it feel like even more of a special dining experience.
Like most Disney owned restaurants, Tiffins does have an allergy-friendly menu. You can, of course, always speak to a chef when you dine at Tiffins too to discuss different options, modifications, and any questions that you might have.
On our visit, we not only looked at the allergy-friendly menu, but we also talked directly to a chef. The chef came to the table to discuss options and was very helpful and going through the ingredients on sauces and concerns regarding shared fryers and cross-contamination for products. We were both really impressed at how detailed the chef was when assisting us with our questions.
Both our server and the chef recommended the Tiffins Signature Bread Service. While the dish is normally only marked safe for Peanut/Tree Nut and Shellfish Allergies, the chef walked us through all the components and made versions safe for us.
For me, I was served a plate of papadums, which are crispy flatbreads made of chickpea flour. These are fried in a dedicated gluten free fryer and are also dairy free. But, they are fried in a shared fryer with fish, so they were not a safe option for Brandon. If you’re vegan or vegetarian, you’ll want to consider if you are OK with a shared fryer or talk to a chef about other options.
Both Brandon and I were able to eat the trio of dips served with the bread service. During our visit this included: Red Pepper Hummus, Spicy Coriander Yogurt, and Ginger-Pear Chutney. All of the dips were gluten free, fish/shellfish free, chicken & turkey free, cabbage free, and peanut/tree nut free. Both the hummus and ginger-pear chutney were also dairy free and vegan. The yogurt, of course, contained dairy.
We absolutely loved all of the dips. The red pepper hummus was flavorful and nice — though a pretty standard hummus. The ginger-pear chutney was super flavorful with some nice ginger flavor and very inspired by the flavors of fall. The coriander yogurt was also good but quite spicy. If you’re not a spicy foods fan, you might want to proceed with caution when eating the yogurt! Both of us thought our favorite of the three was the ginger-pear chutney.
While I couldn’t eat them, Brandon was given two of the other breads normally served with the bread service. This included a naan bread and a molasses pomegranate bread.
Brandon said the naan bread was nice and reminded him a lot of the naan from Sanaa. But, he was wowed by the molasses pomegranate bread and ate every last bite of it. It looked and smelled delicious, so if you can have gluten, this bread is sure to impress.
Having not been to Tiffins before, we couldn’t resist some of the drinks there. Brandon opted for the Tempting Tigress, which includes a homemade tamarind syrup. This drink is also available at the Nomad Lounge too. Brandon absolutely loved this drink and said he would 100% order it again.
I decided to get a wine on this visit, particularly because Tiffins has a large collection of South African wines. I went with a South African Cabernet Sauvignon called “Tokara.” The flavors were absolutely outstanding, and I would definitely get this wine again. It also paired beautifully with my entree.
Both Brandon and I ordered almost identical meals. At the recommendation of the chef and our sever, I ordered the Tamarind Braised Short Rib with Parsnip-Potato Puree, Cauliflower, Cipollini Onion, and Medjool Date Vinaigrette. This was marked safe for Gluten/Wheat, Egg, Fish/Shellfish, and Peanut/Tree Nut Allergies.
This was one of the best meals that I have had at Disney in a long time. The short rib itself was super tender, rich, and flavorful. The sauce served with it was incredible, and there was just so much flavor in every bite. The milder parsnip-potato puree and vegetables all paired really well with the rich meat. I can’t recommend this enough. It was so good. Although I want to go back and try other dishes at Tiffins, it would be hard to resist this dish on future visits!
Brandon got essentially the same dish, except his was served with grilled beef tenderloin instead. His dish was also safe for fish/shellfish, chicken & turkey, peanut/tree nut, and cabbage. Sauces are often challenging for Brandon, because they tend to contain chicken broth or stock. So, he was very excited to hear that the sauce served with this dish was veal stock based and that he could have it.
Like me, Brandon absolutely loved the flavors of this dish and everything about it. I think his only complaint was that he wished there were a bit more of the parsnip-potato puree. Other than that, it was a huge hit. And, Brandon said he would be interested in trying the short rib next time too after seeing what mine looked like.
After seeing the dessert menu and some interesting items on it, we couldn’t resist getting dessert. I opted for the gluten free, dairy free & vegan dessert — Passion Fruit Tapioca Creme with Chocolate Crumble, Citrus Fruits, and Coconut Creme. This dish was marked safe for Gluten/Wheat, Egg, Fish/Shellfish, Milk, and Peanut Allergies.
This dish was not at all what I expected. But, it was really tasty. The tapioca was unlike any other tapioca pudding I’ve had. It was almost like boba balls in more of a jam than anything. The dessert was very citrusy, which I liked, and the coconut creme on top was outstanding. Overall, after such a rich meal it was nice to have something a bit lighter to round out the evening. I think I might want to try another type of dessert on our next visit, but I would recommend this dessert and would order it again.
Brandon ordered the South American Chocolate Ganache with Caramelized Banana, and Cocoa Nib Tuile. This dish was marked safe for Fish/Shellfish and Peanut/Tree Nut Allergies. It can also be modified to be gluten free by omitting the cake elements.
Brandon said this was extremely rich and fudgy. In fact, he could barely cut the dessert with a spoon and a knife when he was trying to eat it. So, if you like rich, dense, chocolate, you will probably enjoy this dish a lot. I don’t think Brandon loved it, but he didn’t hate it either. It was a very dark chocolate, which is not his favorite, so if you like dark chocolate this might be a great option for you.
If you want to get more information about our visit to Tiffins, we did film our visit for our YouTube channel.
We were both beyond impressed with both the food and the theme of Tiffins. The food options were interesting, unique, and really high-quality. We also really appreciated how attentive the chef and our server were to our special dietary needs and worked to ensure we had a safe and delicious meal. The restaurant itself is also beautifully designed and elegant — making it a wonderful signature restaurant to enjoy a relaxed meal or special occasion at. We both recommend it highly and are looking forward to going back to eat at Tiffins again.
Have you been to Tiffins? What was your experience dining there?