Review: Flame Tree BBQ: Animal Kingdom
We’ve all done it; we’ve walked through the gates of Disney’s Animal Kingdom, snaked our way through the entrance to the Discovery Island area and as we stop for a moment to marvel at the grandeur that is the Tree of Life we said to ourselves “Wow! That smells GOOD!” We’re not talking about the tree or the tourists, we’re talking about the scent of the slow-roasting BBQ that is Flame Tree Barbecue. Flame Tree barbecue is a counter service restaurant hidden away in Discovery Island, it’s not really near anything and is easy to miss.
I am pleased to say that the food is every bit as good as it smells. After our first bite my husband and I looked up and asked each other why we had never eaten there before. The food is amazing, better than most of the meals I’ve eaten on property, including the sit-down places.
We visited at the peak lunch hour and while the line to order seemed long there were attendants passing out menus and we only waited 6 minutes before placing our order. We have a large family and our orders are often confusing, but Caesar handled our order quickly and there were no mistakes! We waited less than 3 minutes from the time we ordered until our food was ready.
Seating at Flame Tree is a series of open-air clusters of tables and chairs, some of which are covered. The seating areas are shaded, well maintained and there is plenty of room for a family to move around. Each seating area has its own condiment bar.
My children ordered from the kid’s menu, half opting for the two drumstick meal and the others hot dogs. My husband couldn’t decide between ribs and chicken so he ordered a combo meal featuring both, with coleslaw and beans on the side. I ordered the smoked turkey breast sandwich combo, which came with a slice of honeydew melon.
While the kids happily ate their meals my husband and I tried his meal first. The coleslaw and baked beans were pretty standard but the chicken was superb. The chicken thigh had the perfect mix of crispy skin and moist, smoky meat. I snuck a quick bite of a drumstick that came with my son’s meal and it was just as good. While the chicken was great, the ribs were fantastic! My husband was so impressed with the ribs that I practically had to beg for a bite. The meat was perfectly seasoned and smoked and easily fell off the bone, rivaling ribs we’ve had at fancy steak houses. If you’re in the mood for more flavor the condiment bar offers several types of barbecue sauces, we found the sweet and spicy sauce to be the perfect mix of tang and sweet.
My sandwich didn’t disappoint either; it was very, very good. The turkey was thick sliced and tasted like real turkey, not lunch meat. The multi-grain bread was lightly toasted and spread with a cranberry mayonnaise that accented the light smoke flavor of the turkey. Topped with romaine and tomato, it was the best sandwich I’ve had in a very long time.
The food tasted great and the relaxed atmosphere in the seating area was just what we needed on a busy holiday weekend. Two hours later my husband and I were still talking about the food; forget about the tigers and gorillas, we just want BBQ!
Food – Hands down the best counter service food on Disney property.
Atmosphere – Open air seating is arranged so you have plenty of elbow room
Service – Quick and friendly
Tips – You may have a bit of a walk to find a table but the cast members will happily help you carry your trays. Flame Tree is famous for its BBQ but they also have a few vegetarian options.