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Guest Review: Boma Dinner Buffet at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge

Today we’re venturing to the exotic Animal Kingdom Lodge. Welcome back guest reviewer Katie McFarland with a review of the dinner buffet at Boma.

Boma restaurant is located inside the Jambo House of the Animal Kingdom Lodge resort in Walt Disney World. If you have never been there before, it really is a magnificent lobby with its thatched ceiling, tribal décor, and torch glass sculpture lights.

But beware: the couches are really comfortable –- especially after a big meal! You run a high risk of awkwardly falling asleep in front of total strangers clutching your stomach and begging “whyyyyy did I eat so much?!”

Animal Kingdom Lodge Lobby

If walking in through the main doors, the restaurant is on the right side of the lobby and is accessible by either the stairs or the elevator. If going by stairs, you will walk right past Victoria Falls Lounge, which is an intimate bar that overlooks the Boma “marketplace.”

Stairs to Lower Level

Atmosphere

Boma represents an open-air marketplace with the “huts” of the buffet lines divided almost by courses: salad, hummus and other dips, meats, sides, and dessert.

Looking down onto Boma!

The eating areas have many thatched panels draped across the ceiling with art glass shades supplying the soft lighting. Every location in the restaurant invites the diner to feel as if they’re in an open-air market in Africa.

Boma Dining Room

Boma Ceiling Decor

However, a seat nearest to the buffet line is always a plus! Like in other buffet restaurants, the two-seater tables do not offer a lot of room for extra plates.

Boma Tables and Buffet

Eats

I must admit that if you are dining with picky eaters, this might not be the best restaurant to visit. Some of the food is authentically African — more ethnic than you’ll find in other restaurants in the parks and other resorts.

But there’s lots for everyone to try, and if you have some truly picky eaters, there is a small children’s area that offers fare like chicken nuggets and macaroni and cheese.

Spit Roasted Chicken at Boma

However, if you are an adventurous eater, then this is an absolutely wonderful restaurant to try! And your picky eaters might just surprise you and love it! This happened with my husband who decided that he wanted a 4th bowl of seafood gumbo for dessert.

The salad bar is absolutely delicious with its pasta, leaf, legume, and fruit options. For my salad plate I chose to try: lentils and hearts of palm, mixed greens with cilantro vinaigrette dressing, Bertina’s pasta salad, and a cole slaw-like side.

The lentil salad was flavorful, but very filling, so I wouldn’t load up on this or you won’t be able to try everything else comfortably! The pasta salad was by far my favorite side. It had a sweet curry dressing and had crisp diced veggies in it (like red bell peppers). I love cole slaw, and this one met all my qualifications; tangy, sweet, crispy veggies.

My dining partner absolutely loved the cilantro vinaigrette dressing and helped herself to a few servings of it while we were there.

Select Salad Bar Choices.

While the salad bar is quite delicious, Boma is known for its soups!

During the two times I dined at Boma this year, I was able to try 6 of their soups. The coconut chicken curry soup (recipe here!) was savory and flavorful with very large chunks of chicken and vegetables. I definitely had more than one bowl of this!

Coconut Chicken Curry Soup.

The carrot ginger soup was a cold soup that to me tasted more like a liquefied sweet potato pie. It was really good, but not necessarily something I would want to eat a lot of.

The cauliflower soup almost tasted like broccoli cheese soup without the broccoli or the cheese …strange, I know. It was a really good soup and I would definitely try it again!

Cauliflower Soup.

The mushroom soup was one of the best soups I have ever had! It was a pureed soup with zero chunks of vegetables or meat and a strong, savory seasoning.

The seafood gumbo was a popular dish with us. It was a very thick stew with very large chunks of seafood and veggies. My husband had four bowls of it! He even went back for a fifth just so he could smell it since he was too full to eat any more!

We tried another soup, and by memory I think it was the Mulligatawny. I guess since I’m not able to remember it, it wasn’t that memorable.

Mulligatawny Soup

In addition to the soups and salads offered, there is a hummus and African bread bar. The hummus offered there are not typical flavors, though I think I remember there being a “plain” hummus as well. If you like hummus, I recommend being adventurous and trying all of the flavors! Red Pepper Hummus is a guest favorite. They were all extremely delicious and could have served as a meal themselves.

Hummus at Boma in Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge

The entrées and side dishes available at Boma are all super fresh and taste like something you could get in an actual African marketplace or eatery.

There is roasted salmon, pork, chicken, and beef available. Of all of the meats offered, I thought that the salmon was the best. I’m happy the greedy kid in front of me in line left me some since he had already taken ¾ of what was left on the serving tray. The salmon was super moist, full of spices, and went wonderfully with the Fufu (mashed sweet potatoes).

I’m not a beef person, so I enlisted my dining partners for each of the two times I dined at Boma this year. Both thought that the steak was good, a little tough but had a good seasoning. However, they were quite impressed with the sauces that were available to eat with the steak –- they said the sauces made up for the slight-shoe-leatherishness.

Buffet Plate Selections.

Hidden amongst the carnivorous entrees are many warm side dishes that are (in my opinion) better than the main courses that they are intended to accompany.

There was a very interesting couscous salad that had figs and sliced almonds in it; I thought it was very good. It had a subtle sweet flavor that went nicely with all of the meat that had sweet spices (like cinnamon) in their dry rub.

The rice with pine nuts was very bland; I don’t recommend it unless you’ll be using it to sop up the flavor of something tasty that has lots of juice! However, I do recommend trying every side that Boma has to offer because chances are you’ve never tried anything like it before! (That is…unless you’ve eaten here before.)

Buffet Plate.

With any meal (anywhere) my favorite course is always dessert, and Boma certainly did not disappoint.

Most people believe that desserts offered at buffets are just “meh – okay,” and unfortunately they are usually correct. Boma soars beyond any expectations that I had for their desserts! I absolutely loved how most of the desserts there were “bite-sized” so you could easily try all of them without feeling super guilty.

And if you happen to get multiple plates with only one serving of each dessert, I’m sure no one will be the wiser.

Dessert Plate Selections.

My favorite dessert at Boma are the Zebra Domes, which are little ganache-y cake-y coffee/Kahlua flavored truffles. They are so incredible! They are white with chocolate “zebra” stripes and are super creamy on the inside — and in my opinion had a hint of almond extract or amaretto flavoring. I confess: I ate 4.

Also available were coffee tarts (meh — not a huge fan of coffee), butterscotch bread pudding with both vanilla and buttered rum sauces (my first dining partner had two helpings of this and thought it was phenomenal), passion fruit desserts (pictured below), peanut butter tarts, cinnamon chocolate mousse (which, if memory serves me correctly, is the chocolate football with the Hershey’s straw pictured), and fresh fruit. During my second trip to Boma this past year they also had pumpkin cheesecakes, which were bite sized like all of the other desserts. Boma usually offers several flavors of cookies as well.

Dessert Plate.

Overall

Since I am still dreaming of Zebra Domes and Mushroom Soup, I heartily recommend this restaurant to anyone with an adventurous palate!

Have you dined at Boma? What’s your favorite dish? Do you prefer breakfast or dinner? Chime in now!

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21 Comments

  1. Ann says:

    I have never been able to duplicate the curry pasta salad at home…though I won’t stop trying! A vegetarian and a picky meat eater, we are a couple hard to please and we love Boma better than any place in the “world.”

  2. Rachel says:

    I haven’t been to Boma for breakfast, but I have had it for dinner. It is definitely my 2nd favorite restaurant (my first being Sanaa because of the green curry shrimp!). I loved the variety and how everything tasted so fresh. I know that when I’ve gone to buffets as a kid (non-Disney ones), the food is stale or greasy and just plain ol’ unappetizing. That wasn’t so with Boma!

    It’s so great to be able to try the tiniest bit of everything and then go back and get more. That curry pasta salad was delicious! I had to get that three times. I also tried all the soups that night, and my favorite was also the mushroom soup because of the strong mushroom flavor. So different than a can of condensed cream of mushroom! The other options included the mulligatawny (nothing special) and the peanut soup (so incredibly thick that it didn’t seem like a soup!).

    The first piece of beef that my husband got was delectable with the tamarind barbecue sauce on it. I ended up eating a ton off his plate. His second piece was decent, but it just wasn’t as tender. I guess that’s hit or miss. The durban chicken was AMAZING. I didn’t expect it to be so good, but it was fall off the bone delicious, and I ended up eating off my husband’s plate once again since I don’t typically get that much meat on my own plates.

    My absolutely favorite part of the buffet was the hummus, particularly the black bean one. I also liked that along with the pita, they had lavosh, which was crispy. As you said, it really could be meal in itself!

    I’m not big on dessert, so I didn’t try much. Plus, my husband and I are lactose intolerant (though we still eat things with lactose in them if we deem them “worth it”!) so there weren’t too many options for us. I did try a zebra dome to see what all the fuss was about, and personally, I wasn’t a fan although I completely understand why others would like it. I would much rather eat a brownie or a cookie and then head back to get more hummus!

  3. Sarah C. says:

    Boma definitely stands out in my mind as a favorite from last years trip! We loved soups, the hummus and the sauces for the meats. Almost everything we had I would try again and can’t wait to go back!

  4. Pardonmyfrench says:

    We love boma and think it is the best buffet. You could make delicious meal of the soups and hummus . The only downside is getting back to your resort if it isn’t ak and you don’t have a car!

  5. A Newton says:

    “My favorite dessert at Boma are the Zebra Domes, which are little ganache-y cake-y coffee/Kahlua flavored truffles.”

    They actually stopped making the Zebra Domes with Kahlua and switched to Amarula which is an African liqueur. They’re still great though! I think I ate a whole plate of them last time….

  6. Tricia says:

    Yumm.. I love Boma for any meal. We have found that a late lunch after a morning in AK is very refreshing.
    Breakfast is by far my favorite meal, as it is full of both different and very american choices.

  7. A Newton says:

    Speaking of Breakfast… ask the right person and you can get Zebra domes. They will probably be coming straight out of the freezer, which actually I liked even better!

  8. Michelle P says:

    And don’t forget – Zebra Domes are also available in wonderful little multi-packs at the Mara. I had a couple lovely evenings at AKL overlooking the savanah with a glass of white wine and a package of zebra domes. :-)

  9. Christa M. says:

    The soups. I could just eat the soups. Now, I’m not a Zebra Dome fan, but I remember liking the rest of the desserts.

  10. Niki M says:

    @Ann – have you asked the Boma staff for the curry salad recipe? They’re usually really good about giving recipes on request.

    I wish more Disney buffets would do the teeny desserts. Nice to know if you take a sampling and don’t like something you’re not wasting much but you can go back for more of your favorites!

  11. Mark D. says:

    I know I am in the minority, but I didn’t love Boma for dinner. Soups were great, but everything else was pretty average for me. Breakfast there was fantastic however.

  12. Jess Ater says:

    I dined at Boma’s for the 1st time last April for my 5 yr wedding anniversary. They did NOT disappoint we were picked family of the day and even the chef brought us a special anniversary dessert plate. It was MOST memorable especially since we were married at WDW. We always go somewhere new for our anniversary. We’ve been back at least 3 times since our 1st visit. I am with you. I LOVED and Dream of the Zebra domes and Mushroom soup. I do wish they posted somewhere their soups for the day. That way when I make reservations I will know my beloved Mushroom soup will be there. I only got it once and had 4 bowls! Funny part is I had a sample of this before when the Disney Chefs came to Whole Foods Store to do a Demo for Food & Wine Festival. Wish they’d do that again too. I have Lots of Wishes. giggles. This year we are celebrating our 6th anniversary at Coral Reef Restaurant so I’m hoping that pleases us!

  13. Shinygirl says:

    Boma dinner is a MUST do for me every trip. It was also my first Disney recipe request and started me on that path. (It was a carrot soup, but a warm soup years ago. So good!) I drag everyone in the group to Boma and if you can get the pickiest eaters to try a bite, you will be really surprised by what they go back for thirds and fourths of! I usually end up having to go back and get some of what they’ve “found” top, having missed it. So good!

  14. Bridgette says:

    Boma tops my list of must-eats! The last time I ate there, I was flying solo while my picky-eating family ate at the Mara. I was five months pregnant and was sure to let my server know that I had come all the way from Oklahoma for some mushroom soup and olive hummus. I then found out the hard way that soups are served on certain days, and I was dining on a non-mushroom soup day :( However, this is Disney, of course, and my server informed the chef who promptly sent out a bowl of mushroom soup! Definitely made my Disney day!

  15. Rob says:

    Carrot Ginger Soup cold? It was hot when we had it. We loved it so much we make it at home at least once every 6 or 8 weeks (more in the cold winter months!) Its so easy to make that we make a double batch and eat off it for a week! It doesn’t freeze well, as most cream soups don’t, but it reheats from the fridge wonderfully!!!!!

  16. Wendy says:

    My picky eaters loved Boma! I was afraid this would be the throwaway meal that only I would enjoy, but I was so wrong! We were the first family there and were lucky to have a hostess give us a tour of the restaurant and tell us all about her culture and traditions. She explained a lot of the foods to the kids and they were excited to try what she suggested. We’ll definitely go back! :)

  17. Dana says:

    This was always one of our go-to restaurants until I had to go gluten-free. It was shocking to find out how much of the buffet I could no longer eat – I felt like I was stuck with just the salad bar, a couple of the meats, and plain rice. The chef did bring out some gluten-free desserts for me (including gluten-free zebra domes), but it just wasn’t worth it to me. My favorites were always the curry dishes and soups, and I couldn’t have those anymore. Major bummer. That being said, I do know that they change some of the dishes on a regular basis, so maybe it was just a ‘bad night’ for someone with my allergy. But we haven’t gone back since. We head over to Sanna instead, which is great if you like authentic African-Indian food.

  18. Rachel says:

    Yes, the carrot ginger soup is a hot soup. It is delicious! Reminds me of Wolfgang Puck’s butternut squash.

  19. Victoria says:

    My husband requested the recipe for the pasta salad when we ate there. We both loved it and got seconds. And the chef was nice enough to email us the recipe! Now I just need to make it!

    I also loved the zebra domes, but I also really liked the peanut butter tarts.

    Boma is definitely a restaurant I’d want to eat at again!

  20. Mike says:

    Funny, I actually LOVED the mulligatawny at Boma. It was so good, I asked for a copy of the recipe (which they were happy to provide). It’s the only time I’ve ever liked something so much I asked for the recipe. I’ve even managed to modify it for my vegetarian girlfriend to great success.

  21. diane alspach says:

    I wish they would still have a bowl of watermelon. The only one of the all you can eat restaurants is 1900 park fair that has watermelon all the time. When we first started going to Boma they had watermelon the last three times we were there they did not.We go to 1900 park fare more then any of the all you can eat for the watermelon.

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