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Guest Review: Boma in the Animal Kingdom Lodge

Welcome our Guest Reviewer Andrew Serio, who takes us to dinner at Boma inside the exotic Animal Kingdom Lodge. Let’s sample the flavors of Africa with him!

Boma, which is nestled down the stairs from the lobby of Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge, is among the most popular “non-character” buffet restaurants at the Walt Disney World Resort. After a several year span away from Boma, my wife Joy and I tried it again on a Thursday night in late February.

Atmosphere

Because Boma shares a common exterior area with Jiko, things can get a little hectic when approaching the podium. This was the case on this evening, as there were a good many people milling about. However, when we approached the host stand, we were greeted immediately and cordially by James and Anna. Our ADR was verified, and we were asked to wait briefly while being handed a pager.

Welcome to Boma!

After a very short wait, we were ushered to our table, which was situated by a big window, though we could see nothing through it, since it was dark.

Soon Victor, our server, arrived, and took our drink orders and explained the buffet procedure.

Eats

On to the food and drink! Though I associate it with a morning beverage, I couldn’t NOT order a glass of Frunch. Victor, our server, said they had Jungle Juice, which is similar. I’m still unsure of the difference between Jungle Juice and Frunch, but in any case, this juice on this evening really hit the spot. Joy ordered a glass of South African red wine.

Jungle Juice

The buffet at Boma is organized in sections called pods. Each pod contains several choices arranged by course (salads, grains, meats, desserts, etc.). There is also a children’s section, which contains popular and less daring choices for the little ones.

Soup Pod

It would be an incredible achievement to try everything at Boma, but we sampled more than one dish from each pod.

From the salad pod, choices include Watermelon Rind Salad, Kool Salaai, Curry Salad, Apple and Jicama Salad, Chick Pea and Edamame Salad and Shrimp Couscous Salad. We found our favorites to be Chick Pea and Edamame Salad and the Curry Salad.

Salads

If you are fond of recipes that use curry, this last salad is for you. Strong on curry flavor, Joy reports that the crunch of the celery in concert with the curry flavor, makes for a very nice precursor to a meal. While the Watermelon Rind Salad piqued our curiosity, it didn’t live up, in my opinion, as it didn’t have the fruit flavor I expected. Joy liked it, and says it reminded her of pickled ginger.

The next pod in which we indulged was one that contained breads and spreads. These included lavash and pita bread, and the spread choices were hummus varieties such as white bean, black olive and sun-dried tomato. Neither of us had a complaint about any of them, and under different circumstances, they could’ve been a meal by themselves. Very highly recommended!

Breads and Hummus Pod

The pod which contained the “main course” choices contained dishes like Nut-Crusted Salmon, Lamb Curry, Bourbon Spiced Chicken, and a carving station serving Carved Chicken and African Carved Strip Loin.

Entrees

Meats

The loin was lean and tasty and was accompanied by a variety of dipping sauces. Joy says that the Lamb Curry was her favorite dish of the evening.

And of course a few photos of the delectable desserts:

Desserts -- including Zebra Domes

Warm Desserts

What’s your fave dish at Boma?

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28 Comments

  1. Catherine says:

    I have an ADR to eat here for the first time in September !! I am so excited after seeing this review, as my DH & I love trying different things !! Yay !!

  2. Christa says:

    The nut-crusted salmon is divine, and I don’t even like fish.

  3. Tony says:

    Boma is out favorite restaurant on property and we visit each time we are in orlando whether visiting the parks or not.

    It’s worth pointing out that the buffet does change (with the exception of deserts which have been identical each time we’ve visited) but most of the dishes mentioned here are generally there.

    I enjoyed the watermelon rind salad and mustard sauce at the carving station was so good I asked for the recipe and make it often at home.

    Dont miss the opportunity to do a little cultural education with the kids and dont let them just eat chicken fingers and mac-n-cheese. You’ll find yourself comparing many dishes to Indian (subcontinent not Native American) and some American southern favorites (like the watermelon rind salad which I’ve enjoyed in many a church basement in my days).

  4. Christina says:

    Love Boma! Won’t be doing it on our next trip. However, if they still make it, the carrot-ginger soup is amazing! It’s been three years since we last had dinner here so unsure if it is still on the rotation.

  5. Adam says:

    I loved the fresh cut meats, they were excellently prepared and on the lean side. But the desserts were what my entire family and friends were talking about

    My wife is a vegetarian, and she loved the black bean soup so much that our friends bought a Disney cookbook with the recipe in it so I could make it at home for her.

    We would eat at Boma again in a flash.

  6. Holly says:

    Boma is one of our favorites at WDW – we always have dinner there on our first night in Disney! The Fufu (spiced mashed potatoes) and Bobotie (lamb and beef with raisins and spices) are some of my favorites, along with the apple and jicama salad!

  7. I enjoyed the Lamb Curry on our last visit also….Now I’m hungry…

  8. DSDan says:

    One word of advise on Boma: When I ate there with my family last year, there was no warnings for possible food allergies. There’s no notation on any of the labels up at the buffet, nor is there a printed card of some sort that they can give you.
    Your only option is to have a chef walk you through the buffet (which they are happy to do) and tell you which items you shouldn’t eat. But there’s such a great selection at the buffet that it’s very difficult to memorize in one pass which of the items are which.
    While I was there, I saw numerous people being talked through the buffet for various allergies, and they all looked confused in the end.
    So keep in mind that if someone in your party has food allergies, they won’t have nearly as much fun at Boma as they should .

  9. Andrew says:

    Hi everyone, guest reviewer Andrew here! Thanks A.j., for publishing this, and I hope it was an enjoyable read. Because of space limitations, I wasn’t able to talk about the atmosphere, but I’ll say a few words about it here if I may. The vibe at Boma tends to get chaotic. The noise level can get a bit high, to say the least. At times the whole space is permeated by the beat of African drums, which actually is a nice touch. Tables are spaced pretty close together, so you’ll be near your neighbor, and at times things can get pretty tight when maneuvering between your table and the buffets. While the atmosphere can be described as exotic, it definitely is not intimate or romantic. It is, without a doubt, an experience, and one you’ll want to discover if you’ve never been. It had been years since our last visit, and it may be years till our next; it’s definitely not a “must-do” for us. Boma does have a lot going for it though, and all in all it’s a good time with some excellent food choices, despite its shortcomings.

  10. Eric says:

    I loved the lamb curry over basmati rice and a small helping of the peanut soup. The peanut soup was great in flavor but it was more like a sauce then a soup. Oh and the mulligatawny was like a hearty chicken soup but still excellent. The only downside to this restaurant was, like most wdw eateries, the price.

  11. Karen says:

    We make recipes from Boma at home to satisfy our cravings. All Ears has many recipes listed, like the Curry Pasta Salad, Fufu and Nut-Crusted Salmon.

  12. jeffrent says:

    About six years ago, we went there for breakfast. The service, food, and atmosphere were so good that we made an ADR for dinner the next night. Again, the food was outstanding! Everything we tried was amazing. I haven’t been back since (there’s just too many places to try!), but I think I’ll go again my next trip. For the price, you won’t find a better meal in WDW.

  13. Meg says:

    Boma was tied for our favorite place to eat on property (we also loved Biergarten, but that could be because we’re very used to German food) – we ate there twice last visit. After our first visit, we moved around a bunch of our ADRs so that we could eat there again.

    They had this amazing artichoke salad while we were there and I still think about it. Our next visit (in 2013) I’m already planning to have at least 2 meals there!

  14. Va says:

    I love Boma but for those looking for a similar, less expensive choice the lunch buffet at Tusker House may be a good option.

  15. Amanda says:

    mmm I love Boma. That was quite an undertaking reviewing it though, and very organized! I would have just jumped in with a plate of jumbled mush right away because i tend to pile up and overdue it at buffets. I was impressed by your discipline.

  16. Sandra says:

    We were so taken with the soups at Boma that we could have happily had just those and a dessert and felt well-fed. Loved the carrot soup, Christina! We enjoyed the nut-crusted salmon as well as the couscous, dips, and desserts. So many adults were turning up their noses at the wonderful selections and eating just chicken nuggests, mac and cheese and dessert. We felt sorry for them missing out on some interesting but not too exotic food. It was a bit noisy and crowded, the service was very good, and even our son, who has autism, ate well from the kids’ selections, plus he enjoyed wonderful strawberries for his dessert. All and all, we felt it was worth the experience and the expense for our family.

    I think it would be nice, but probably impossible, for them to list all the ingredients for each dish on a sign next to them, especially since the cooks may very well substitute or add ingredients as needed, so as a suggestion for those with allergies, take a small notebook and pencil with you if you plan to eat at a buffet. Make quick notes of the “safe” dishes as you walk along. Some people also call ahead and chat with a staffer about their particular needs, which would help you with the challenge of trying to remember everything onsite.

  17. Rod says:

    For those with allergies in the party, if you are able to do so, stop by and get a walk through before dinner starts at 5:00. We had done this intially a few years ago, a lot less crazy without all the people around and the chef actually wrote a list out as we walked of ”ok’ foods for my son. Also, even though it is a buffet, don’t be afraid to ask to have something appropriate prepared if you need an entree or salad done without one or two ingredients.

  18. Heather says:

    I have to say that Boma is much improved recently. We had several meals a few years ago that were not great, but we tried it again in April and were very impressed. I have a tree nut allergy and there were very few things on the buffet that were off limits (as opposed to a few years ago when there were very few things that I could eat!) The Chef here has changed recently and I have to say that everything is for the better.

  19. Melissa says:

    Animal Kingdom Lodge has mastered dining at Disney. Every trip I take, I will dine at one of their restaurants because the quality and service is exceptional. Not to mention you get an amazing view of the animals outside.

  20. Mark D. says:

    I have to say I was actually a little underwhelmed by Boma. Perhaps it was all the hype surrounding it. We have tried it twice in the last year. Loved it for breakfast, not as much for dinner.

    I was good, but not great. Lamb Curry and some of the soups were outstanding, but nothing else really stood out to me.

  21. Zoe says:

    We’re staying at the AKL in Nov 2012 so will definately make sure we check Boma out – Have never visited before but definately looks like something we would enjoy :-)
    Great review!

  22. Cleo says:

    The reports about the noise level have me leaning towards getting the zebra domes and soups from Mara instead but the recent review of 1900 Park Fare sound much noisier and uncomfortable.

  23. Teresa says:

    Thanks for all the info! Have a ADR for Boma the night we check in at Animal Kingdom Lodge next month. I can’t wait!

  24. tammy tav says:

    We ate at Boma on Christmas day 2012. They have reduce the selection from last year. However still found the dining experience okay. Very loud, and well, the food was OK. No African curries at all. A focus on profitability is above the patrons happiness. Food quality is still good, but the reduction in selection makes it less desirable. For the price paid $39.99 plus tax you would expect much more.

  25. Amanda says:

    I’ve never eaten dinner here but we had breakfast on our last trip and it was absolutely delicious! There is so much variety, and probably the most of any breakfast buffet I’ve been to. The bread pudding is amazing and there is truly something for everyone. After one time my family is hooked and we will be going to Boma on every trip from now on! We can’t wait to try the dinner as well!

  26. Tammy says:

    we ate there once again on our Christmas trip 2012. The place was packed. Food was good, but they have took away alot of the choices. Last year this same time they had so many more on the buffet. I missed my turkey and sides, I love the african foods and the desserts are to die for. But the price you pay you should get more choices. And the waiting use to be worth it. Now not so much. I will be going to the new one in Magic Kingdom more often now. Lovely atmosphere and prices are so affordable.

  27. Kathie Price says:

    We eat at Boma every t ime we go to Disneyworld, every year. That is the first reservation we make as soon aswe know which dates we are going. I am a very picky eater, usually meat and potatos, nothing green, but atBoma I I easy to feel like you’re not eating your veggies!! I usually try something new each time and have never been disadisappointed! Even the kids, 6 and 9 ate like there was no tomorrow! They ate things that I never dreamed they would. Keep up the good work, Boma, we’ll be back in September!!

  28. Shelley says:

    Boma was my favorite Disney restaurant all week last fall. Three of the four in our party had food allergies/diabetes. Mat, the chef, was AMAZING! He created the best salmon my son ever had (and he has had a bunch) since the one on the buffet had lactose. The gluten-free and sugar-free desserts he brought were spectacular. His knowledge of each and every dish on the buffet was superb. Have no fear in trying Boma even with food allergies, etc. It was incredible! After dinner, stroll out to see the animals and relax on a chaise lounge surrounded by lush landscaping. Paradise!

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