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Disney Dining Review of Yak and Yeti at Animal Kingdom

Disney Dining Review of Yak and Yeti at Animal Kingdom

One of my favorite things in life is finding a “hidden gem”.  My husband and I love finding holes in the wall and watch food network to see if there have been any places near us with unique and delicious treats.  I consider myself a “foodie” and never miss the newest hot spot or timeless treasure.  Imagine my surprise when I found out that a restaurant had gone under my radar for several years at Disney’s Animal Kingdom.  I have been to Animal Kingdom about 4 times a year since it has opened in 1998 and it has quickly become my favorite park due to the fact that I love animals, LOVE.  So, how the heck did I miss Yak and Yeti if it sits literally at the base of Expedition Everest?  I guess you can call it coaster blindness.

Opened in 2007, Yak and Yeti is definitely one of the most interesting restaurants I have experienced on Disney property.  Walking in, you immediately feel like you have been transported to Nepal.   Meticulous effort has been put into the decorations, mismatched chairs and tables, lighting and feel.  This place is also huge, with two floors and tables literally everywhere, so I have never needed a reservation to get a table and the longest we have ever waited for a table for two was 10 minutes.  One consideration when visiting is that the lunch and dinner menu are the same and Animal Kingdom closes earlier than the other parks typically do, so a lunch visit will satisfy those that want to get good value on the dining plan and those of you that still consider Animal Kingdom to be the “half-day” park.

Earlier this week, we were very lucky to get a table on the second floor with a window to people watch below.  We found it pretty interesting how many people walked right by the entrance and didn’t even know that a restaurant was inside or took a double look.  Coaster blindness strikes again.  Once we sat down, it was really hard to pick the appetizers we wanted.   In my opinion, the appetizer selection might be one of the best offerings in any restaurant, as many of my favorite options were there.

We finally decided on Pork Pot Stickers (Pan seared or steamed with soy lime dipping sauce $8.99) and Seared Ahi Tuna (Chilled, sesame-crusted ahi tuna with wasabi aioli and sweet chili slaw $11.99)  Hubby also decided to have the Wonton Soup (Pork wontons, clear chicken broth and vegetables $4.99).  I can only say that everything was delicious.  The Ahi was absolutely perfectly chilled and paired nicely with the sweet chili slaw.  The slaw also seems to accompany many of the menu choices.  The pot stickers were pan seared by choice and we loved the crispy edges and the soy lime dip was so good we considered sipping it.  Easily, we could have ordered the  Thai Chili Chicken Wings (Fried chicken wings tossed in a sweet Thai chili sauce, spicy Asian pickled cucumbers $9.49) which seemed to be on many tables,  Dim Sum Basket for Two (Pork pot stickers, shrimp siu mai, cha su boo and pork siu mai steamed on a banana leaf, soy lime dipping sauce $13.99) or Wok-Fired Green Beans (Battered green beans with sweet Thai chili dipping sauce $8.49)  What did I tell you about the appetizer selection?

My entrée selection was an easy choice.  As soon as I saw the Baby Back Ribs (Slow-cooked pork ribs covered in hoisin BBQ sauce with sides of chicken fried rice and sweet chili slaw $25.99), I was totally sold.  Our server also told us that they “fall off the bone” which was an understatement.  I couldn’t even pick up a rib due to this and had to dig in with my fork and fingers!  The hoisin sauce is totally unexpected with its sweetness and barbeque-y goodness.  I loved the chicken fried rice as a side which made me feel more Asian inspired than the typical fries that would be alongside ribs.  Hubby ordered the Kobe Beef Burger (10 oz. grilled American Kobe beef burger with sesame-soy mayonnaise, crispy shoestring fries. Topped with choice of shiitake mushrooms and scallion compote or Asian slaw $18.49).

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Now, normally I would freak out over a burger that expensive.  But, I took one bite and the burger was literally the best burger I have ever tasted.  It is sweet and Asian inspired and I want to know how to make the sesame-soy mayo to slather on my food daily and it also melted like butter in my mouth.   After one bite, which is all my husband allowed me to have of that glorious burger, I forgot the cost and could only think about going back to Yak and Yeti for more. Something that really helped us decide what to get for our entrees was that there is a quick food service next door to Yak and Yeti called the Anandapur Local Food Cafes and some of the menu items can be found much cheaper next door.  It is an outside venue, but if you can deal with that, you will save up to $9-$11 dollars on favorites like crispy honey chicken, sweet and sour chicken and beef lo mein.  So, for the lower cost, I’d go next door.  Other choices that got my attention on the menu were Crispy Mahi Mahi (Filet of mahi mahi in Japanese bread crumbs with Cantonese sweet and sour sauce, jasmine rice, stir-fried vegetables $23.99) and  Shaoxing Steak and Shrimp (Skirt steak, tempura-battered shrimp, jasmine rice, stir-fried vegetables and chili plum dipping sauce $25.99).  Honestly, I can ‘t pick anything off the menu that I think wouldn’t be fantastic.  I even asked the 4 tables around us if they loved their food and I got enthusiastic yesses from all!

After all of that food, I was really stuffed, but could not leave without trying the Fried Wontons (Skewers of fresh pineapple and cream cheese wontons, vanilla ice cream, honey-vanilla drizzle $7.99).  I was only able to eat two and had to give my hubby the rest, but we both loved it.  The sweetness of the honey, crisp wantons and vanilla ice cream is what dessert dreams are made of.  Hubby also ordered the Sorbet (A trio of mango, lemon and raspberry $6.99) because we have been eating a lot of sorbet lately due to our newest kitchen purchase.  We have been obsessed with sorbet and this sorbet was better than what we made at home, especially the lemon! They also have NY cheesecake, a chocolate pudding cake and a mango pie.  All sounded interesting and will be tried in future visits.

I highly recommend a stop into the Yak and Yeti restaurant in the Asia portion of Animal Kingdom Park,   A hidden gem that will not be forgotten about long after you journey back home.

5 out of 5 stars for high quality food, magnificent décor and outstanding selection.

F.A.S.T. Review

Food: Incredible selections with some of the most eclectic choices on property.  Incredible Asian, Fish and even American selections.  Some menu choices are offered at a lower price next door at the quick service location.  Have been here 3 times in the last 2 years and have never had anything that is not incredibly fresh, delicious, and different.  Some of the best ribs I have ever had and the Kobe burger is among the finest I have ever tasted.

Atmosphere: Items are actually brought in from Nepal and you will have fun looking at all of the incredible artwork adorning the restaurant.  Even the restrooms are beautiful! Chairs are mismatched to give the feeling that you are in a favorite place where you can just enjoy yourself and fill your belly.

Service: Very happy with the service and cooking times were pretty quick.  Server was attentive to our drinks and personable.  From observation, the people around us were enjoying themselves and I did not witness any complaints or unhappy customers.

Tips: A great place that is not very well known, so try walking in!  Due to Animal Kingdom closing early most nights, stop in for lunch and walk the meal off while you explore.  Offers an all day menu with yummy apps that you can sample instead of ordering a full entrée.   I do not drink alcohol, but everyone was telling me that the Yak Attack is one of the best drinks offered!

About Lauren Wallis

Lauren Wallis was destined to love Disney. Her Mother found out that she was pregnant with Lauren after her honeymoon at WDW. After moving to Florida in 1990, every school trip, family vacation and weekend getaway was at Disney World! Lauren attended the University of Central Florida and spent her weekends looking for the most delicious restaurants on a college budget. She and her husband have relocated and now live in Central Florida, just minutes from Walt Disney World. She has stayed at every single resort and is currently working on eating at every single restaurant! She has been on WDW property over 400 times…lucky Floridian!