Does Disney World’s Sanaa Restaurant Still Got IT?

Animal Kingdom Lodge is a mecca for unique dining at Walt Disney World.

Whether you’re sampling the buffet at Boma, selecting stellar wines at Jiko, or digging into soulful food at Sanaa, Animal Kingdom Lodge’s Jambo House and Kidani Village have always been destination eating.

And it’s clear to see why. From the moment that you set foot into one of these restaurants, you are embraced by the warm atmosphere and intrigued by the art of Africa all around you. And then there’s the aroma, which you know means amazing eats await.

Sanaa is the newest of the three Animal Kingdom Lodge restaurants, and it’s made its mark on guests since day one. We’ve loved the Indian-Style Bread Service every time we’ve tried it, and the Butter Chicken has stood the test of time.

But I’d been hearing from some of our readers and followers that Sanaa’s time was up. That the experience there wasn’t living up to the hype and the food just wasn’t what it used to be. So I made a reservation and headed over ASAP to experience it again for myself.

Atmosphere

Sanaa is themed and highly visual, with artwork greeting guests from the moment they arrive. The sign outside the restaurant is surrounded by woven baskets of various designs. And while they are stationary, something about their arrangement is still energetic.

Sanaa

Sanaa

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DFB Video: Food Tour of Epcot’s Canada and Norway Pavilions

Happy Weekend! We’re back with another DFB Video today, and we’re taking you on a Food Tour of Epcot’s Canada AND Norway Pavilions!

School Bread from the Norway Pavilion

School Bread from the Norway Pavilion

You may be well aware that Epcot’s Canada boasts Le Cellier Steakhouse, which is home to some terrific Filet Mignon and Signature Poutines. Or perhaps you’ve dined with Disney Princesses in Norway’s Akershus Royal Banquet Hall. But do you know where you can snag some Maple Popcorn? Or where you can find memorable — and memorably named — snacks like School Bread, Troll Horns, and more? We’ll take you to each and every spot to find these (and many more) eats in Epcot’s Norway and Canada Pavilions! [Read more…]

News: Tiffins Talks With Imagineers (Including Joe Rohde) at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Now Available For Booking

April 22, 2018, will mark the 20th Anniversary of the opening of Disney’s Animal Kingdom! And the park will mark the occasion by expanding the annual Party for the Planet for 2018 into a two-week celebration featuring unique PhotoPass opportunities, backstage experiences at Rafiki’s Planet Watch, 20th Anniversary merchandise, specialty food offerings around the park, and more. Tiffins Talks will also be part of the event.

Tiffins Sign

Tiffins Sign

These dining experiences at the park’s signature restaurant, Tiffins, are currently available for booking on select nights from April 22 to May 5, 2018. Guests will listen to animal and conservation experts (including Imagineer Joe Rohde on April 25th) while enjoying a four-course meal comprised of specialty food and beverages that will complement the evening’s topics, which can be seen below!

[Read more…]

The Best Thing I Ate All Week in Disney World Was At Hollywood Brown Derby Lounge.

Brown Derby Lounge is a terrific place to dine if you’re looking for a little Hollywood Flair at Disney’s Hollywood Studios — and the best part is that there’s no ADR required!

That’s right! You can saunter up to Brown Derby Lounge on a whim and experience the understated elegance and tasty menu that so many have lauded in the Brown Derby Restaurant proper.

We’ve enjoyed our visits here, where Margarita and Martini Flights rule and you almost can’t go wrong with the menu of Brown Derby Restaurant-approved eats. And with outdoor seating on Hollywood Boulevard, it’s a great place for people watching!

During a recent visit to the World, I dropped in for a few plates of food — and left having eaten the best thing I ate in my entire visit! I love being surprised by awesome food — even more so when it’s served in such a great location!

Hollywood Brown Derby Lounge Bar

Hollywood Brown Derby Lounge Bar

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Ale & Compass Restaurant Review: Is it Worth A Visit to Disney World’s Yacht Club Resort?

The Yacht Club’s Ale & Compass Restaurant hit the Disney World dining scene just this past November.

But our first visit was for lunch, so it’s time to step back in for our dinner review. And since there are some fairly major menu changes from day to night at this still-new spot, it’s a great reason to check it out again.

Now, before we move forward with the review, just a reminder that the Ale & Compass Restaurant is one third of an entirely new Ale & Compass dining concept at Disney World’s Yacht Club, so it’s not to be confused with the Ale & Compass Lounge and The Market at Ale & Compass (a Counter Service meets Grab-and-Go setup).

The Ale & Compass Restaurant is the Table Service component of this trio, serving Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner (each one Table Service Credit on the Disney Dining Plan).

Ale & Compass Restaurant sign by the entrance

Ale & Compass Restaurant sign by the entrance

And now that we’ve got the details out of the way, let’s check out the digs!

Atmosphere

We have a full tour of Ale & Compass Restaurant available from our first visit, and you can peruse it by clicking here.

[Read more…]

What’s New at Animal Kingdom (Satu’li Menu Updates!) and the All-Star Resorts??

Your pals at the DFB are back with What’s New, and this week we’re back at Animal Kingdom and the All-Star Resorts! We’ve got menu changes (Satu’li!!), new merchandise, and a couple new activities to share. Let’s gooooooo!

Animal Kingdom

Animal Kingdom

Animal Kingdom

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News! The Mighty St. Patrick’s Festival 2018 at Raglan Road Kicks Off March 16!

You already know that Raglan Road Irish Pub & Restaurant is the place to go for innovative and classic takes on Irish cuisine. And that you can listen to rocking tunes while chowing down on fish and chips. And that there’s an extensive drinks menu here, making it a terrific night out for the grown ups.

Raglan Road

Raglan Road

[Read more…]

DFB Video: 5 Best Disney World Snacks for Peanut Butter Lovers

Hello, there! We’re back with another DFB Video to start off your week, and we’re talking about one of my very favorite topics: PEANUT BUTTER!!

Plaza Ice Cream Parlor All-American Sundae

Plaza Ice Cream Parlor All-American Sundae

If you have a passion for peanut butter like I do, then you definitely don’t want to miss out on the 5 snacks we’re sharing with you in our latest DFB YouTube video! We’ve got snacks in the parks as well as the Resorts, because — thankfully — there’s no shortage of peanut-buttery goodness when you’re in Disney World. From sundaes, to brownies, to cookie sandwiches, to pie… well, you may want to grab a glass of milk, because there is a LOT of peanut butter coming your way once you hit play on our next video! [Read more…]

New Eats! at Raglan Road in Disney Springs

Raglan Road Irish Pub and Restaurant in Disney Springs (The Landing, to be more specific!) is a longtime favorite of guests (and DFB!).

And this reputation is well-earned. The whimsical menu is full of innovative takes on Irish classics. And the pub itself is owned and run by two partners from Ireland who have a long history in the pub and food-service business on the emerald isle. So you can be sure — before you even get there — this place is the real deal.

Add to that terrific menu and atmosphere some equally terrific entertainment (live music adds tons of energy to the restaurant every evening and night!) and special events like the Great Irish Hooley,  and — of course! — the Mighty St. Patrick’s Festival being held March 16-18, 2018, and you’ve got yourself a dynamic and exciting dining experience!

And we know, we know: Disney Springs is chock full of new dining spots you want to check out. But Raglan Road is pretty foolproof.

Raglan Road

Raglan Road

Let’s pop into the pub!

Atmosphere

Raglan Road has all the makings of a classic Irish pub — from the design of the menu to the design of the building. The details outside include stately columns and lots of glass for some great natural light inside.

Raglan Road -- Outside

Raglan Road — Outside

The pub offers several seating areas, which aids in making a rather large restaurant seem quaint and cozy in each individual dining room. One of these is stage-adjacent, so if you want some great music (and sometimes some energetic dancing!) with your meal, this is the place! A high ceiling and upper windows create and open and bright space.

Dancing Podium and Stage

Dancing Podium and Stage

Raglan Road also offers some elegant seating perfect for a romantic dinner out.

Romantic Dining at Raglan Road

Romantic Dining at Raglan Road

And the wood paneling and thoughtful decor (like the bars that were actually imported from Ireland) really give diners the feeling that this pub has been here forever. It’s cozy and familiar.

Raglan Road Seating

Raglan Road Seating

Now that you’re seated, you’ll want to peruse the truly entertaining menus.

Eats

Raglan Road has ten thousand menus. Okay, maybe not quite that many. But depending on when you visit, you might see a few. Drinks are prolific, with something for everyone. Seriously. Every. One.

Drink Menu

Drink Menu

The Brunch Menu features all the breakfast and lunch options you could possibly want.

Raglan Road Brunch Menu

Raglan Road Brunch Menu

Then there’s the Pub Grub — it’s small and delicious, with favorites from wings to burgers to fish and chips.

Raglan Road Pub Grub

Raglan Road Pub Grub

The Lunch Menu echoes some of the Brunch options and adds a few others as well.

Raglan Road Lunch Menu

Raglan Road Lunch Menu

Finally, the Dinner Menu offers even more delicious meals. I mean, you might need an appetizer just to get through the menu and make your selection.

Raglan Road Menu

Raglan Road Menu

Raglan invited me in to sample some of the new items, including one of the newer drinks on the menu. First up was PJ’s Poison. This is a bright combination of Gunpowder Irish Gin, muddled orange, rhubarb bitters, lemon juice, orange whiskey marmalade, and fever tree tonic with an orange twist. The fruity flavors are refreshing and the bitters and Gin give a bit of a bite.

PJ's Poison

PJ’s Poison

The Hot Whiskey is a classic drink, featuring a floating lemon slice and cloves. It’s Paddy’s Irish Whiskey, brown sugar, cloves, and lemon.

Hot Whiskey

Hot Whiskey

Hot Whiskey is a classic warming drink, and even though central Florida isn’t exactly known for cold temperatures, this winter has seen some chilly days and this helped on one of them!

Hot Whiskey

Hot Whiskey

You know I’m a sucker for all things cheese, so I couldn’t wait to try the Dub Schpuds from the Pub Grub menu. These are herb-roasted potato wedges with a Smithwick’s and Dubliner cheese dip. WHAT?!? I know!! The dip was kind of an “Irish Queso” situation — with a little bit of spice to it. It was smooth and delicious, and is now a serious contender for my favorite cheese dip, up agains the vintage bacon and cheese!

Raglan Road Pub Menu Dub Schpuds

Raglan Road Pub Menu Dub Schpuds

Serious Steak is on the Dinner Menu, and it’s seriously good. This ten ounce sirloin is served with mashed potatoes, battered onion rings, and whiskey peppercorn sauce. The presentation is cool. Who doesn’t want a tower of steak and onion rings?

Raglan Road Serious Steak

Raglan Road Serious Steak

From above, you can see the variety of greens on top, and the tower of food below is hearty and flavorful. I loved the ideal texture of those potatoes, and the steak was salty and savory — just how I like it. That whiskey peppercorn sauce offers even more flavor, if needed.

Serious Steak

Serious Steak

It’s a Porker is a grilled lollipop pork chop with root vegetable mashed potato, pork crackling, and a port and cider jus. This is a classy dish, y’all. The pork was awesome — grilled to get that crispy outer layer of flavor — and tender, moist, and flavorful. Pork is difficult to prepare in restaurants it seems — like chicken, it’s finicky, and you don’t want to under- or overcook it; but the line between the two is very hard to walk. This version was perfect.

It's a Porker at Raglan Road

It’s a Porker at Raglan Road

The presentation was, again, cool. And the proportion of meat to sides was good. Speaking of sides, the root vegetable mash is super fun. A mixture of parsnips, carrots, and potatoes, the flavors were familiar, but still unique. One of the owners of Raglan mentioned that this was the mash of his youth — it’s what lots of kids in Ireland grow up eating at home.

Raglan Road

Raglan Road

The Proud Porkie is Guinness-braised pulled pork with apple chutney and pork crackling on a homemade bun. The crackling adds such a fun crunch to the sandwich. Proud Porkie has everything to be proud of; it’s meaty and flavorful. The chips on the side are also terrific. I could have used a touch more moisture in the pork, but that’s my only complaint.

Proud Porkie at Raglan Road

Proud Porkie at Raglan Road

Now before we talk about Gnocchi Sea, Gnocchi Do, can we just please pause to appreciate these clever names? It’s one of the fun touches that gives Raglan Road so much personality!

Okay, back to this bowl of yumminess. Gnocchi Sea, Gnocchi Do is comprised of handmade potato gnocchi, seared Georges Bank scallops, crispy pork belly, tomatoes, and kale in a white wine butter sauce.

Gnocchi Sea, Gnocchi Do at Raglan Road

Gnocchi Sea, Gnocchi Do at Raglan Road

Every component of this is beautiful — not just to look at but also to taste. The scallops were cooked perfectly, and actually have some great flavor to them. The gnocchi texture was great, but the true stars for me here were the pork belly (natch) and the sauce!

Gnocchi Sea, Gnocchi Do Close-Up

Gnocchi Sea, Gnocchi Do Close-Up

Dessert was the Chef’s Dessert Flight, featuring four small portions of the restaurant’s desserts. These selections can vary, so your server will let you know what’s on the flight during your visit. On my visit I received Ger’s Bread and Butter Pudding, Chocolate Heaven, Fluffy Lemon Clouds, and Apple Crumble. All were delicious, but the fluffy lemon clouds is the pick for this lemon curd fan.

Chef's Dessert Sampler at Raglan Road

Chef’s Dessert Sampler at Raglan Road

One of my main criticisms of Raglan Road (and there aren’t very many), is that the Ger’s Bread and Butter Pudding — a guest favorite and a classic on the menu — is dry. If you order the large portion, you’ll get two sides of sauce, and I highly recommend dumping the whole thing out on a plate and pouring the sauces over the entirety instead of trying to get the sauce where it needs to be in the service cup. But in this mini-portion, there’s not nearly enough sauce served on top, and so you end up with mostly dry bread pudding. Which is basically just bread. So…here’s hoping they fix that and get a version that looks more like House Of Blues’ Bourbon Bread Pudding or ‘Ohana’s Banana Bread Pudding, both of which are truly epic.

Ready for St. Paddy’s Day??

DON’T FORGET! If you’re anywhere near Raglan on St. Patrick’s Day, you’ll definitely want to make your way there on March 16, 17, or 18, 2018, for the Mighty St. Patrick’s Festival. There will be tons of live entertainment on multiple stages — indoors and out! Plus you can order from multiple menus — so there will be no shortage of satisfying eats and festive cheer!

Stay tuned for a DFB post all about this year’s festival, coming up soon!

Nosh or Not?

You’ll want to navigate to Raglan Road if: 

  • You love a lively dining experience.
  • You’re a comfort food fan — especially if it’s done really well with unique elements.
  • You want to see Irish food done right.
  • You want a guaranteed good experience in Disney Springs.

You might want to make your way elsewhere if: 

  • You don’t care for Irish food.
  • You’re not planning to spend much time in Disney Springs.
  • You want to try one of the many new dining options in Disney Springs.

Overall

Raglan Road has such a terrific vibe — like you’re hanging out in a cozy Irish pub where the servers and staff are some of your good buds. And the food is seriously good. Master Chef Kevin Dundon’s recent departure has not interrupted the quality of the food or the service, and I’ll be back (even with the zillion new dining experiences in Disney Springs).

Disclosure: In nearly all circumstances, Disney Food Blog writers and photographers pay full price for their own travel, hotel, food, beverage, and event tickets. We do this because it’s important to us as journalists to ensure not only that we give you unbiased opinions, but also that you can trust us to do so since we’re paying our own way. On rare occasions, when we are invited by a company to dine complimentary as media, and when we choose to accept that invitation, we will always make you, our readers, aware of that situation. Today, we were invited by Raglan Road to try some of their new and popular offerings. Note that when we attend as media we are 1) Not required to review that event/food on any of our channels, and 2) Not required to review that event/food favorably. You can always count on DFB to give you a 100% unbiased and honest review of any event that we attend, food that we eat, or beverage that we drink. You can see more in our Disclosure Policy. Thank you for reading. — AJ

DFB Video: Food Tour of Epcot’s China

Happy Saturday! We’re back with another DFB Video this weekend, and we’re taking you on a Food Tour of Epcot’s China Pavilion!

Epcot's China Pavilion

Epcot’s China

You may already be familiar with the China Pavilion’s Table Service Restaurant, Nine Dragons, or grabbed a bite at the Lotus Blossom Cafe quick service location (and if not, we’ll share more about those with you today). But you may not know about some hidden gems in this beautiful Pavilion, such as the Joy of Tea kiosk or a unique, tasty beverage by the name of Tipsy Ducks in Love unique to the China Pavilion. So take a tour with us around Epcot’s China to discover what you might like to try there on your next visit! [Read more…]