Over at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge things are pretty quiet as only the Disney Vacation Club Villas are open. The whole Kidani Village section of the resort is open in terms of rooms, and the villas at Jambo House are open, but dining here right now is extremely limited. Currently (as of November 2020) the only dining options at this resort are Sanaa and the Maji Pool Bar. This leaves several table and quick service locations closed at this resort.
We recently went to Sanaa for lunch as it had been a few years since our last visit. Since Sanaa is at a resort (you do not need to be staying at a resort to dine there), you check in on the My Disney Experience app, but before you are seated they take your temperature. After this they lead you to your table, where they are offering limited seating and have the tables spaced out.
Sanaa is using the QR code digital menus like everywhere else, but unlike some other restaurants, this one actually shows what is plant-based on the menu, with the exception of one item. The Indian-Style Bread Service can be made vegan and gluten free, but the digital menu doesn’t reflect that.
We decided to order most of the vegan options that are offered during lunch. First to come out was the Indian-Style Bread Service.
When you get this vegan, you get a vegan and gluten free bread, as opposed to the normal naan options. Additionally, the Cucumber Raita isn’t vegan, so instead you can pick one of the dips to have two of as you get nine dips in total.
The dips range from sweet to hot, starting at a Mango Chutney and ending with a Red Chili Sambal. The dips go in order from the top right, to the left, then left to right. On our board is the Spicy Jalapeño-Lime Pickle (our extra dip which is spicy), Mango Chutney, Tamarind Chutney, Tomato-Date Jam, Roasted Red Pepper Hummus, Garlic Pickle, Coriander Chutney, Spicy Jalapeño-Lime Pickle, and Red Chile Sambal.
Our favorites with the bread are the Garlic Pickle (which is basically a bunch of pickled garlic cloves), the Coriander Chutney, and the Jalapeño-Lime. These all offer a great flavor, and not too much spice. If you are on the hunt for the heat, go to the Sambal.
The bread itself is always just okay. It was thick, pretty dense, but had a decent flavor. In terms of working as a vessel for dips, it does its job. I just wish we had a lighter more naan like option, but I’ll take this over the old days when they just gave us falafel chips here.
We ordered the Samosas as another appetizer. These big guys are filled with spices, potatoes and peas. They offer a nice amount of heat, but are also flavorful. They are pretty large too.
The samosas come with the mango chutney and tamarind chutney that are also on the bread service. Neither of the samosas were very crispy, or that hot, but they were still good.
The other vegan appetizer offered is the Salad Sampler. The Salad Sampler comes with Berbere Black-Eyed Peas, Watermelon and Pickled Fennel, and Tunisian Beet Chermoula.
We strictly got this as an option to show on the blog, as none of this sounded that appealing to us. I am not a big fan of fennel, so I decided to go head first with the Watermelon and Pickled Fennel salad. The watermelon at first had a nice sweetness and flavor then you got punched with the flavor of fennel. If you don’t know what fennel tastes like, it’s basically black licorice, which is not something I enjoy. One bite of this was enough for me. Corey enjoyed it the more he ate it but he too is a bit turned off by fennel.
The Tunisian Beet Chermoula was our favorite of the salads. We enjoy beets, so it was a heavy beet flavor. It had another strong note of something that we couldn’t quite put our finger on. It also had some type of nut in it, which added a good texture change. Corey said if he could get just the beet salad he would order that.
The Berbere Black-Eyed Peas didn’t taste like anything. It was just a dry flavor of black eyed peas. As a whole, this appetizer is something I would pass on.
For our entree we went with the Potjie Inspired dish and chose the Chickpea Wat and Aloo Masala, you can only choose two to go with your basmati rice, but there are three vegan options. The other vegan option is the Cilantro-Coconut Vegetables, which we’ve had before and you can see here.
This option is always a good one. The chickpea wat had a nice flavor and slight sweetness to it. It has a hearty amount of chickpeas (as it should with the name), and other vegetables in it. It does have a slight heat to it, but it’s a good warm one and not a spicy one.
The Aloo Masala this time had sweet potato in it, which I don’t recall it having before. It had a nice flavor but wasn’t anything special. I always want these dishes to be more flavorful, as they seem to be kind of one note.
They do have another option that is vegan at lunch, we didn’t get it though. The Quinoa Vegetable Tabbouleh Salad sounds like a nice light option though! At dinner they have a different option (they still have the Potjie Inspired dish), which is a African-inspired Biryani. I think I’ll give these a try next time I go here.
For dessert here they have a great option that is vegan. The Kheer is a rice pudding made with coconut milk, and it is topped with a cashew streusel and saffron-poached fruit.
When we first got ours they left off the cashew due to potential cross contamination for Finn’s peanut allergy, we told them he probably wouldn’t eat any and asked for it on the side.
The serving of this was massive. The bowl was large and deep, we didn’t even make a real dent into this dessert with two people. The flavors were delicious, it wasn’t overly sweet, and the cashew streusel added a much needed texture to the dish. This is a dessert I will absolutely get again!
Since they don’t have any vegan kids options here, for Finn we just got a side of rice and fruit. They did also have seasonal vegetables available for kids too, but we went with the guaranteed he will eat choices. I do wish they made a simple chickpea curry of some sort for vegetarian/vegan kids though, as the only non meat option is a cheese pizza.
Sanaa is currently trying a Sanaa To Go option where you can order the food to pick up and take wherever you want. This is a great option if you can’t get a reservation, just look up “Sanaa To Go” on the My Disney Experience app to order.
Sanaa is one of those spots that everyone seems to absolutely love. I always leave feeling good about my meal, but it’s not somewhere I head to often. It has plenty of options with good flavors, but it isn’t one of my favorites.
Review from November 2020.