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Disney Dining Review: Sanaa

Sanaa: More Than Just The Bread Service

By Sarah Chapman

My most recent vacation to Walt Disney World was a time to try out new things, including several restaurants that have been on my “must-eat” list for a while.  We left the picky eater faction of my family at home, so my oldest son and I were excited to try the exotic menu at Animal Kingdom Lodge/Kidani Village’s Sanaa.  It was the bread service that brought us in, but there was so much more to bring us back.

Sanaa is located in Animal Kingdom Lodge’s Kidani Village which makes it not the easiest restaurant to get to on vacation (unless you are staying at the Animal Kingdom Lodge).  Think of it as a journey like one you would take to get to Africa or India to enjoy your meal.  I would recommend either driving to Kidani Village (if you have a car) or look into a taxi or uber to get you there efficiently.  We took a different route as we planned our Sanaa lunch on our Animal Kingdom park day.  So, from Animal Kingdom we took a bus to Animal Kingdom Lodge (a quick ride) and disembarked at the Kidani stop.  After lunch we took our time looking around at both Kidani and Jambo House before taking the bus back to Animal Kingdom.  Going directly from your resort on the bus you could just go to Animal Kingdom then transfer to the Lodge bus without entering the park.

We arrived a few minutes early for our 12:00 reservation (opening time for the restaurant), so we looked around the lobby briefly and went outside to the viewing areas of the savanna.  I really love the Animal Kingdom Lodge—it is very peaceful and such a unique setting.

Sanaa is downstairs from the main lobby entrance, so we checked in at the desk as they were still opening the restaurant.  We waited less than 5 minutes before we were seated at a table with an amazing view of the savanna.  Sanaa has gorgeous floor to ceiling windows looking out at the animals on the savanna and throughout our meal we watched giraffes, zebras, wildebeests, and birds graze.  Truly amazing.  Not all of the tables have a direct view of the savanna, and as we looked around the restaurant I noticed a few that were in a very dark setting.  While I can see where some people might enjoy that too, I was thankful for our table and probably would’ve felt disappointed if we were seated far away from the “view.”

Disney describes the restaurant as taking inspiration from a spice market, and the décor inside really is beautiful and complimentary to the menu.  A sculpture of an acacia tree spreads out along the ceiling and there are arts and crafts throughout.  Fitting to the name Sanaa which translates from Swahili to trade, handicraft, art or industry.

We were greeted by a very friendly and well informed server who was fantastic throughout our entire meal explaining the menu and giving recommendations.  This was very nice for a restaurant that has a menu unfamiliar to many guests to help interpret the choices.  I was extremely pleased with the service as efficient, gracious and helpful.

Now, the food.  The Sanaa Indian Bread Service is all over Disney social media, so of course that is what brought us in.  We planned to share the bread service with all of the accompaniments.  You have the option to choose three accompaniments, or pay a little more and sample all 9.  The breads include: Traditional Naan, Garlic-Ginger Naan, Spiced Naan, Onion Kucha, and Paneer Paratha.  And the accompaniments available are: Cucumber Raita, Roasted Red Pepper Hummus, Mango Chutney, Tomato-Date Jam, Tamarind Chutney, Coriander Chuntey, Garlic Pickle, Red Chile Sambal, and Spicy Jalapeño-Lime Pickle.  The server presented them and explained which breads were which and went through the toppings that are arranged from mild to spiciest.  I’m here to tell you the internet is not wrong about this dish.  Fabulous.  We had a great time sampling the options—I think I got as spicy as the Coriander Chutney while my son pushed on.  My favorite was the Mango Chutney and the Tamarind Chutney.  And all of the breads were fresh and delicious.  Plan to get this as a starter at Sanaa.

For our entrée we shared the Tandoori Chicken sandwich that was served open face on Naan bread.  I really enjoyed the small portion of this dish that my teenage son allowed me to have.  The flavors and textures blended perfectly, and it was “spicy” but not “hot” so it suited my taste buds.

We chose the Dessert Sampler (very reasonably priced) to top off our meal.  When we dined it included Tanzanian Chocolate Mousse, lemon lychee tart and seasonal kulfi.  All three were really delicious and a perfect taste of each.  And they were beautifully presented as well with a chocolate butterfly to go with the mousse.

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If you dine at Sanaa be sure to ask if you are eligible for any discounts (if you are not on the dining plan) as they do honor several.

This ended up being one of our favorite meals among many great ones on this vacation.  I am looking at returning with the whole family on a future trip—on the kids menu you can find macaroni and cheese, burgers and pizza, so even the picky eaters can enjoy the beautiful setting and allow the more adventurous to challenge their palates.

Have you eaten at Sanaa?

About Sarah Chapman

I am a long time Disney fan since I was hooked on Walt Disney World with my first trip in 1987. Since that time I’ve tried experiencing everything I can in the parks, with a total of 30 visits and counting (I’m always planning my next trip) to Walt Disney World—not to mention Disney Cruise Line and even (shhh!) Universal Orlando and Sea World. I’ve turned my Disney obsession into a profession helping others plan their magical vacations as a Dream Vacation Maker at LBAC Travel. I am a work at home mom to three wonderful boys, and each one has been properly indoctrinated with all things Disney. Walt Disney World is definitely our “Laughing Place.” Look for me on Facebook at Facebook.com/SarahLBAC for updates, discount announcements, tips, tricks and planning advice for your next vacation. You can also find me on Instagram (sarahdreamvacationmaker) and Pinterest (sarahlbactravel).