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Guest Review: Tamu Tamu Refreshments in Disney’s Animal Kingdom

We’re welcoming back guest author Melissa Sue Sorrells Galley with a review of Tamu Tamu Refreshments in Disney’s Animal Kingdom. There’s a new sandwich that you’ve gotta try…

I have walked by Tamu Tamu Refreshments a million times. This is probably not an exaggeration. But I’d never stopped to eat there until AJ encouraged me to check out their newest menu item: a pulled beef sandwich. Before I knew it, I was standing in line at the little counter in Harambe.

Tamu Tamu Refreshments offers good eats and cold drinks.

Atmosphere

Tamu Tamu can be a little confusing at first. It appears to be little more than a hole in the wall, serving quick service food to passers-by. But, if you venture behind the building, you’ll find a tiny oasis in the middle of the bustling village of Harambe.

Karibu, painted on the building’s wall, means welcome in Swahili.

The seating area for Tamu Tamu is covered and offers lots of shade for tired tourists looking to take a load off. The chairs and tables all look handmade, as does the pavilion. (This awning was, I believe, added sometime in 2011 because it wasn’t there in December 2010.)

In addition to being a quiet respite from one of the busiest areas of Animal Kingdom, it also offers excellent examples of Swahili artwork.

The seating area features examples of traditional Swahili plaster carving from the 18th century.

Plaster Carving Info

Eats

As I mentioned above, when you approach Tamu Tamu, it doesn’t look like much. The menu is right next to the ordering counter. Once you’ve placed your order and paid, you continue around the corner to pick up your food.

You order your meal from a counter built into the side of the building.

Tamu Tamu’s new menu.

We were here with a very clear purpose in mind: the new sandwich! According to the menu, it’s a spicy beef with mint yogurt cucumber sauce on a pita, served with apple slices or housemade chips.

As a side, I went with the chips, and they’re the standard kettle-style chips that are popping up all over Disney World — with a slight difference. These were a little more peppery than those I’ve had elsewhere. They may not be great for kids, especially if you have a picky eater.

They were warm and crispy when they first came out, but as they sat, they soaked up the beef juices, and then they tasted even better!

The pulled beef sandwich with housemade chips.

The sandwich itself was really delicious. The beef was extremely tender and well-cooked in a slightly spicy tomato-based sauce. The yogurt sauce was both cooling and fresh — a great accompaniment to the kick in the beef.

Inside the new pulled beef sandwich.

Overall, this is an absolutely excellent sandwich and an excellent addition to the menu at Tamu Tamu. Turkey and swiss is a great lunch, but it never felt quite at home in Harambe.

This African twist on a gyro fits right in here among the fruit market, drummers, and busy village atmosphere.

Overall

I’m sorry that I’ve never stopped here for lunch before! The food was delicious, and I really loved how transporting the seating area was. It was much less crowded than the seating area behind Yak and Yeti, though not quite as pretty as Flame Tree.

Make sure to check it out after your next African safari.

Let us know if you’ve ventured to Tamu Tamu Refreshments lately! What’s your favorite counter-service option in Animal Kingdom?

Melissa Sue Sorrells Galley works in higher education communications in upstate New York, where she lives with her husband, Robert, and her cavapoo, George. She’s is the co-editor of Mouse on the Mind.

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28 Comments

  1. Chris says:

    It looks good. I am never in Animal Kingdom long enough to need food.

  2. marcellina says:

    that seating area looks so lovely! When in AK we usually eat table service at Yak and Yeti but on my next trip I’ll be doing all counter service so I might try this one out! I love that the sandwich has a yogurt sauce on it!

  3. Jennifer says:

    That looks pretty delicious! And the tandoori chicken salad sounds interesting. It’s really exciting to see so many great, nontraditional counter service options!

  4. melissa sue says:

    @Chris–definitely try it sometime!

    @marcellina–it is very lovely! Give it a try on your next trip. And try a different one on the trip after that. Animal Kingdom has some of the most fun and least traditional food park food in The World, I think. Absolutely worth branching out!

    @Jennifer–It was yummy!! The tandori chicken likely also has a yogurt-based sauce/dressing. I should have checked. Has anyone tried it??

  5. Alan says:

    We used to grab lunch at the Tusker House, before it became a TS restaurant, and carry it out to the attached Dawa bar to sip a few Safari Ambers, eat and watch the entertainment. It looks like the Tamu counter is becoming a good substitute for a light meal. Spend a leisurely hour or so there and you get a small, small flavor of what eastern Africa must have been like in the old colonial days.

  6. Amy says:

    Thanks for this post. I too have walked by here a million times and never knew you could actually get food there! I will check this out on my trip there next month, that sandwich looks yummy!!

  7. Elizabeth says:

    I had that same meal last time I was at Animal Kingdom and it was so yummy! And I really enjoyed the secluded seating area.

  8. Chris UK says:

    Ok guys… question. I have always eaten at Yak & Yeti Local Foods Cafe (quick service) on my last three visits. This time my partner and I are on the DDP. so we would like to try a table service restaurant in AK.

    Which one should we go for. Tucker? Yak & Yeti? Rainforest Cafe? Or stick to quick service? I’d really appreciate your help, as we’ve decided which TS places to eat at for all the other parks!!

  9. Chris UK says:

    *that should have said Tusker, not Tucker!! Grrr, damn you Apple and your auto-correct!!

  10. georgemoe says:

    Does AJ’s camera play tricks? Love the three main items on the menu but the filling size in the gyro looks paltry. It doesn’t need to overflow but should be more ample than that. Hope it’s just an anomoly. I’m heading to WDW on Thursday and will definately check it out.

  11. Tinkymurph says:

    Looks like we will probably have to try this in Sept or Dec-Jan. Thanks!
    @ChrisUK- we loved Tusker House breakfast.

  12. Melissa Sue says:

    @Amy–absolutely check it out. And keep reading: I have a review of an Animal Kingdom bar coming up soon that not too many people know about, either!!

    @ChrisUK: If you’re looking for a TS credit, I’d do Yak & Yeti. The food is Asian-inspired, and the restaurant itself is completely lovely. We always end up with the same waiter (Hector), and he’s a hoot! I also really love Restaurantosaurus, which is a counter service spot, but it’s indoors and air conditioned, and the setting is amazing!!

    @Georgemoe: My camera wasn’t playing tricks!! That’s how big it is. It may look small, but it was perfectly filling. In fact, I actually split the whole thing with my blogging partner, and we were perfectly satisfied.

  13. Courtney says:

    No vegetarian options :(

    You’d think for an Animal Kingdom, they would have less animals on the menu..

  14. Melissa Sue says:

    @Courtney: I am shocked!! Since when is a chocolate milkshake a non-vegetarian option?? Just joking …

    If you’re looking for a veggie-friendly CS meal in AKP, I’d check out Restaurantosaurus. Last time we were there, Tracy ordered the Vegetable Subosaurus, which was loaded with grilled veggies, mushrooms and onions and topped with provolone. Totally delicious.

  15. Chad says:

    I worked at Tamu Tamu when it use to only sell ice cream items. One of the worst places to work in DAK. The other worst place to work was at Africa Popcorn stand there across the way from Tamu Tamu. Have to try the quick service food one day.

  16. Eric says:

    Ive been reading this blog for quite a while, but never posted. But while reading your review I was shocked to see a picture of my wife and daughter standing in line! I’m not sure what the odds are (I think this photo was from the beginning of March when we were last at AK), but I may buy a lottery ticket today…

    By the way, great review and we also enjoyed out sandwiches – apparently at the same time as you.

  17. Jaia says:

    The turkey sandwich seems like such an odd menu option here…

    I’d love to try a tandoori chicken salad though. It fits the theme a little better and seems light enough to eat in the heat.

  18. James says:

    Tamu Tamu Refreshments won my award for “Worst Meal On Disney Property” from me back in 2008 for a hamburger so awful that even I wouldn’t eat it. I’m so glad to see that they’re serving something else there now!

  19. melissa sue says:

    @Eric: That’s kind of hysterical! The photo was taken on Tuesday, Feb. 28. Hope you win the lotto. If you do, maybe my next AK sandwich is on you??

    @Jaia: The pulled beef wasn’t exactly light, but the yogurt sauce was very cooling. I think it would be good for a hot day, too!

    @James: Give it another try! It’s a whole new world at Tamu Tamu.

  20. Oh I could so go for one of those right now! I think it was a much needed addition to the AK counter service offerings. It’s a bit exotic, which is what I want when in such a beautiful and unique setting. The only thing that could make it better would be following it up with a drink at the Dawa Bar.

    Oh wait–that’s what we did!

  21. Melissa Sue says:

    @Tracy: Yea we did!! I keep telling my husband that we have to head to Dawa Bar. African Margaritas while we watch the parade! It’s on my To-Dis List.

  22. Maria says:

    Looks delish…not sure if I can be swayed away from Flametree..but this may a good snack to split with dh…thanks for great review!

  23. melissa sue says:

    Thank you for reading, Maria!!

  24. georgemoe says:

    @Melissa Sue: Time for my follow up. I had the pleasure of enjoying the Slow-roasted pulled beef sandwich this past Sunday and it was AWESOME. Plenty of filling and I agree it is enough to share as a snack if you choose. My wife got the Tandori Chicken Salad and that was a great choice as well. I really hope guests give this a try. Well worth it.

    - George

  25. Melissa Sue says:

    @George: YAYAY!!! I am so glad that you enjoyed it. Hope the rest of your trip was delightful. : )

  26. Julie says:

    I like that you can get a milkshake as dessert on a hot day.

  27. Blair says:

    I’ve been buy here and noticed some great looking breakfast sandwiches on their menu before as well! It’s on my list to hit on my next trip!

  28. Tammy Tullis says:

    Changed the menu.. The pulled beef sandwich mentioned above sounds delicious but is no longer on the menu. But they do have a vegetariN option. It’s now chicken curry or vegatable curry. Tastes good, thiugh not exciting. We also had the cheicken salad.. Which was very tasty. Not very African… Just a. Good cheicken ken salad. Strange restaurant very limited options for food and no kid menu. I did however enjoy the departure from regular fried theme park food.

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