Tiffins at Disney’s Animal Kingdom is one of those places that was never really on my radar. Plenty of my clients had raved about it and I’ve heard very positive reviews on various podcasts I listen to, but with 2 picky kids and a less than adventurous husband I never really thought it would be someplace I would try. Then the occasion came up to eat at Tiffins with a Rivers of Light viewing package during a recent Travel Agency meeting in Orlando, and boy am I glad the opportunity presented itself.
For various reasons including road construction we were running way behind for our dining reservation, but luckily they held it for us. Once we were inside the restaurant it was not very busy, so that may be the reason they granted us the long grace period. With its ideal location right at the entrance of Pandora both Tiffins restaurant and the Nomad lounge are increasing in popularity.
The theme of the restaurant is the travels of the Imagineers as they planned Animal Kingdom—particularly the notes of Joe Rohde. You’ll find sketch books, artifacts, architectural elements and more that helped shape the ways various areas of the park were designed. And one of the things I love the most about Animal Kingdom park is the attention to detail and the immersive design. I could’ve spent a lot of time just touring this restaurant as though it was a museum. The room we were seated in focused on the Asian areas of the park, but all of the rooms were quite beautiful and fascinating when considering all of the work the Imagineers went through to get everything just right. All of the details were perfect for this restaurant right down to the leather bound menus that resembled a travel journal or artist sketchbook.
But the reason we are here is for the food! We had an excellent server who did a great job making suggestions and timing everything very well through our meal, there was just one minor misstep through the meal. We were there for the Rivers of Light package so we each got an appetizer, an entrée and a dessert. We also had a bottle of wine based on our server’s recommendation for the table. I also chose the one non-alcoholic specialty drink available with the Rivers of Light package, the Passion Fruit Vanilla Tea. It was very good and refreshing!
For my appetizer I chose the Selection of Artisanal Cheeses, if you’ve read my reviews before you know I can’t pass up a cheese plate. This one did not disappoint with four delicious selections, the bleu being my favorite. Around the table we had the bread service, the flash fried mussels and the lobster bisque. All were declared as excellent.
As an entrée I just couldn’t resist the Whole Fried Sustainable Fish. One nice thing about the dining package for Rivers of Light is that none of the entrees were excluded, so we were able to get anything from the menu. The fish was very well prepared, with a great texture and flavor. I was very happy with my choice. The accompanying sides (Fermented black bean sauce, Som Tam, peanuts) were not as much to my liking but I think it was more of a texture and personal taste issue. And the fish was more than enough for me. Two of my table mates enjoyed the Heads-On Prawns (requested heads off which was granted), and our fourth person had the grilled swordfish which looked very good and she declared it was. That one misstep in service was that the two people with the prawns wanted to split that dish and the Berkshire Pork Tenderloin but I think our waiter forgot this detail when submitting the order to the kitchen so they each had the prawns.
Now it was time for dessert. Most of us around the table when with the South American Chocolate Ganache with caramelized banana, cocoa nib tuile. It was to die for fabulous. So rich and the combination of flavors perfectly complimented each other. Our fourth got the Calamansi Mousse (Mango Lava, Swiss meringue) which she said was very fresh and refreshing. It was certainly very pretty.
After completing our leisurely meal we were presented with our tickets to enter the reserved seating area for Rivers of Light—there are separate areas for FastPass+ and Dining Package holders. For the Dining Package the entry is near the Finding Nemo theater. We were told to arrive about 30 minutes prior to the show but we noticed people already there at least an hour ahead of time. We did wait until 30 minutes prior and on the night we were there plenty of seats remained-I would not say we had a perfect view, but we did enjoy the show.
I would give Tiffins a very high rating for service, atmosphere and food. It was really delicious and definitely a departure from most of the restaurants where I eat at home. For my family I am not sure that I would go with my children—I’m just not sure they would appreciate the menu and the atmosphere, it has a very upscale yet relaxed adult atmosphere. Of course this is Walt Disney World so children are welcome and the kids menu does have friendlier choices for them. For some families Tiffins would make a great dining destination where the parents could enjoy fine dining while the kids are still happy.
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Have you eaten at Tiffins? What are your thoughts?