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Sanaa Restaurant Guest Review

Sanaa is almost a year old (!!), and it’s settling in nicely with a couple of new menu items and one of Disney World’s most incredible views. Amanda Tinney from DisneyEveryDay.com dined at the Animal Kingdom Lodge’s newest restaurant recently and was kind enough to share this rockin’ report. Take it away, Amanda!

Sanaa

Sanaa means “Work of Art” in Swahili, which is fitting because the food artists at Disney’s Kidani Village are crafting unique dishes for Disney Guests in their flagship restaurant… Sanaa. As the menu professes, Sanaa is “The Art of African Cooking with Indian Flavors.”

I had the privilege of dining here last week during a lunch meeting. I consider myself an adventurous eater, but I had my doubts once seated and presented with the menu. Luckily, I was dining with friends who had experienced Sanaa previously, and I let them take the lead when ordering appetizers.

We started with the Indian Style Bread Service ($8.99), which gave us a choice of three breads and three accompaniments. For the bread, we selected Naan, Onion Kulcha, and Paneer Paratha. The Naan was the mildest of the three, and the Paneer Paratha was the spiciest.

Bread Service

Bread Service

For our accompaniments, we chose the Red Chile Sambal, Cucumber Raita, and Roasted Red Pepper Hummus. The hummus was outstanding…smooth and robust. The cool cucumber raita was perfectly paired with the spicy Paneer Paratha bread. I was too much of a chicken to try the hot sambal. Maybe next time. :) Overall, I think the bread service is a winner.

Bread Accompaniments

Bread Accompaniments

We also ordered the Appetizer Sampler for Two ($14.99), which came with potato and pea samosas, lamb kefta, and roasted cauliflower. I was so busy talking with my companions and eating the bread that I only tried the lamb, which I would describe as a flavorful meatball.

Appetizer Sampler

Appetizer Sampler

The main course selection was a tad bit difficult for me. I was wavering between two different dishes. I settled on the section of the menu titled African Cooking With Indian Flavors and selected Today’s Sustainable Fish ($18.99), which was served with seasonal vegetables in a light curry broth.

Sanaa Fish of the Day

Sanaa Fish of the Day

The broth in this bowl was delicious! I wish that I could have drank it straight from the dish. I wonder if my friends would have been embarrassed… . The veggies were cooked perfectly. The fish was (it pains me to have to say this)….meh. It looked like salmon but had very little flavor, so I have to give it a rating of meh.

My companion’s dish, on the other hand, was savory and delicious. It was the menu item that had lost out when I was wavering in my decision. This, my friends, is “THE” dish to order when dining at Sanaa.

Beef Short Ribs, Rice Pilaf, Shrimp in Green Curry Sauce

Beef Short Ribs, Rice Pilaf, Shrimp in Green Curry Sauce

What you see above is a dish from the section of the menu titled Slow Cooked in Gravy, Simple and Well Seasoned. You get a choice of two items served with basmati rice or five grain pilaf ($18.99). On the right is the Shrimp with Green Curry Sauce and on the left is the oh-so-savory and delicious Beef Short Ribs. If I had it to do over again, I would order this plate and choose the beef short ribs x2. They were that good. The meat was fork tender and the gravy tasted more like a gravy-barbecue sauce hybrid with a hint of cinnamon. The chefs truly created art when crafting this dish.

We couldn’t leave without trying dessert, so we asked the server to recommend the most popular dessert item and he brought us the Chai Cream ($5.49). This was a surprise hit for me. I do not like the consistency of puddings or custards and avoid these types of food items altogether. This dessert was like an intensely thick mousse. It was extremely creamy and had a touch of cinnamon. It was garnished with chocolate and a wafer thin snickerdoodle’ish’ cookie.

Sanaa Chai Cream Dessert

Sanaa Chai Cream Dessert

…but let’s face it…the true pleasure in dining at Sanaa is the VIEW….oh the view is magnificent. Here’s what we witnessed from our table…

Sanaa View of Giraffe and Zebra

Sanaa View of Giraffe and Zebra

Have you eaten at Sanaa? If so, what did you order? What did you think?

Thanks again, Amanda!

Disney Food Blog readers, stay tuned for some great Sanaa wine list recommendations tomorrow! You can also see my Sanaa review from the restaurant’s opening days — luckily, I got the short ribs! :-) For more information and links to full menus for Sanaa, click here.

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20 Comments

  1. I love Sanaa and think it’s one of the better values to be found at Disney World. I love the fact you get food you can’t really get elsewhere at WDW and it’s tasty and well priced. Also a great place for last minute reservations.

    Great review!

  2. AJ says:

    Great point on the last minute reservations, Matt! This is one of those under-the-radar restaurants that has incredible food and decent prices, but small crowds because of its location. Thanks for the comment!

  3. Sarah says:

    I have yet to try Sanaa, but am a fan of Jiko. I love naan, and the accompaniments looks tasty. Looking at their menus, their prices are very reasonable, especially at lunch. Thanks for the review, Amanda!

  4. Always been intrigued with Sanaa, but not something for us to do with the little kids. Love the adventure and options of Boma for now. Can not wait to try Sanaa one day. Thanks Amanda for the review :)

  5. Michael K says:

    So this eatery is in a DVC resort right, but not exclusive?

    We love the lodge, but have not been since they opened this resort (expansion I guess).

  6. Stephanie says:

    I love Boma and have been wanting to try Sanaa. Perhaps next go round! Thanks AJ and Amanda for sharing!

  7. Elisabeth says:

    I fell in love with the shrimp in green curry sauce. I tried the chicken in red curry as well as the shorts ribs, and I have to agree that the dish everyone has to order is the shrimp and the short ribs. Something a lot of people may not know is that you can sub smashed potatoes for the rice in any dish. I did that and it was even better with the short ribs than the rice was. I want to go back just for the green curry sauce, it was that good. I really don’t think you can go wrong with anything there, everything I tried was so good.

  8. AJ says:

    Sarah — I prefer Jiko, but Sanaa is a wonderful, mid-priced meal — we try to save Jiko for special occasions! Let me know what you think if you go!

    TAF — Good point; Boma’s probably safer, and the kids can try a little bit of everything. They’ll find things they like at Sanaa, too, in a few years :-)

    Michael — Yep, it’s in a DVC resort, but is not at ALL exclusive to DVC members. You’re welcome to make a reservation or pop in anytime!

    Stephanie — Let us know what you think when you get there!

    Elisabeth — Thanks for the confirmation on the shrimp/short ribs! It’s always good to hear from a few folks what their favorites are — then you KNOW you’re going to get a great meal.

  9. Shayne says:

    Great review! I’m laughing because when my husband and I dined there in January, we ordered almost exactly the same stuff! I was interested to see that the appetizer for two must have changed to reflect available ingredients — instead of lamb, we had duck in red curry sauce. The samosas were really yummy and, even though I’m not a fan of cauliflower generally, the roasted cauliflower had a unique taste that I liked.

    I also ordered the beef short ribs and shrimp with green curry sauce, on the recommendation of our waiter. Like Amanda, I vacillated between that and the fish (which was an Arctic char the night we were there), but really couldn’t make up my mind and so asked the waiter for his input. I was so glad I listened to him because those short ribs were TO. DIE. FOR!

    And the only downside to being there at dinner? No view! We’ll go back at lunchtime the next time we make it out there.

  10. Of all the Disney research I have done in preparation for our trip (coming next week), your web site with photos and details of adventures in food has become my favorite. It’s funny that excitement of tasting different foods and indulging has become one of the highlights I look forward to, yet from these photos I am certain that even part of any appetizer would fill me right up. It will be interesting to see how I work out the ongoing, week long tasting festival, a challenge I will enjoy, no doubt! I suspect I will continue to enjoy your blog even after our trip.

  11. AJ says:

    Shayne — GOOD POINT on the being no view during dinner! Yeeks — I’ve only been for lunch, so haven’t ever experienced that!

    Rachel — Thank you SO much for that compliment! I’ve been writing this blog for almost a year now, and my adventures in food at Disney get more and more enjoyable every day. I just love everything about it! :-) Now, tell me, where are you eating on your trip?! I can’t wait to hear your personal reviews!

  12. Watch Me Eat says:

    I’ll need to try this place for lunch next time I’m near Disney early in the day. The lunch prices seem pretty equivalent to what some local Indian restaurants charge. Although a $15 Tandoori is normally a dinner price off of Disney property…

  13. Rich T. says:

    I went to Sanaa when it first opened and was disappointed in the curries. However, I later learned that you can request they adjust the spiciness. So, when I returned in December, I not only requested they kick it up as hot as they can, but learned that they had changed the way they prepared the curry. Previously, they had strained it at some point in the process, but stopped doing so. Between those two things, my chicken in red curry was incredible. I was sweating profusely and downing Kingfishers. I can definitely say I am a fan now. I just hope that Disney doesn’t try to homogenize this distinctive cuisine.

  14. AJ says:

    WME — Would love to hear (and see) your review.

    Rich T — Thank you for that added info! That’s one of those little tidbits that make all the difference the first time you try a restaurant. Agreed on the hoping that Disney doesn’t try to homogenize the cuisine; I’ve already seen a couple of menu changes toward the “center,” and am hoping they stick with what they’ve got now for a while.

  15. Elisabeth…Good suggestion! Now I want to go back and get double ribs and taters! YUM!

    Shayne…Dude…I would have never thought about the fact that there would be no view at night. Sheesh…Lunch it is then…

  16. Emma says:

    Hey everyone! I recently dined at Sanaa as well, about a week ago and was absolutely amazed! THe food was fit for any true foodie to partake. We began with teh bread service with the red chili sambal, roasted red pepper hummus and the green mango pickle. My faovrite was most defenltely the red chili sambal with the naan, fantastic! My friend had the Tandoori chicken and we shared a roasted corn, potato and spinach salad, and I had the vegtarian platter with stewed lentil, basmati and palak paneer. THe food was incredible. I’ve had the opportunity to try my favorite Indian foods from different kitchens around the globe and this was right near the top of my list of favorites. (My favorite in north america being Basmati In Ottawa!) THe waitstaff, of course, in true Disney fashion were wonderful as well, out server, Michael, was what truly made the experience worth it. DIsney really hit the nail ont he head with this one, the view, the atmosphere, the authentic feeling all around, it really is as the name says, a work of art!

  17. AJ says:

    What an awesome review, Emma!! Thank you for sharing your experience with us!

  18. Laura says:

    We enjoyed a delicious dinner at Sanaa recently.
    I would love to get the recipe for my entree, “African-spiced Chicken Breast with Turnips and Cherries” – can you help?! Thanks.

  19. Tank says:

    I realize I’m, like, WAAAAAAAY behind on this site…I’ve started wandering around after AJ’s appearances on WDW Today…it’s great to see visual representations of all these dishes. The sustainable fish was what was jumping out at me today.

  20. ShaeLee says:

    I just ate there on 6/25!!! Although I didn’t eat the red bell pepper hummus there (I had it at AKL Concierge level) I have been craving it so badly!! The short ribs and green curry shrimp were SOOOOOOO GOOOOOOOOOOD!!! It was definitely a surprise that Sanaa was one of my favorite meals at Disney! I would recommend this place to anyone!

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