Review: Jiko — A Cooking Place at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge

On a recent trip to Walt Disney World, I made it a mission to revisit one of my favorite restaurants, Jiko.

The restaurant is your top-of-the-line, signature dining option at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Resort, and I’ve been a big fan of the spot since my very first visit.

With a combination of wonderful ambiance, exotic flavors, and a killer wine list, it’s sure to please any adventurous food lover, and it always surprises me that it tends to fly a little under the radar. This may be because the food is a bit less mainstream, or because the restaurant is a hike to get to.

As regular readers know, though — no matter how much I like a restaurant, I insist on visiting and reviewing them time and again to make sure that I can still recommend them. Fortunately, that’s nearly always a pleasure to do.

Come with me as we take a look around and see what’s new at Jiko.


If you’re looking for Jiko, head down from the main lobby of Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge, past Victoria Falls Lounge, until you get to the bottom floor. Boma is below Victoria Falls, and then you can access The Mara and the resort’s pool here as well. Jiko is to the right.

Jiko Sign

Jiko Sign

Enter the refined space, and you see immediately that wine is given a place of prominence here. Jiko boasts the largest collection of African wines outside of the African continent. If you’re a wine lover, you’ll want to check out their suggested pairings. [Read more…]

UPDATE: New California Grill Menu with Photos

As we mentioned in our update on the California Grill renovation, this popular restaurant at Disney’s Contemporary Resort will be unveiling new dishes when it reopens.

California Grill is expected to start taking reservations within the next few weeks for its end of August opening. But right now, in an off-site kitchen, California Grill Chef Brian Piasecki is creating delicious new dishes!

In our earlier post, I reviewed the three-meat meatballs — a new addition to the appetizer menu at the restaurant. They were delicious…

Oak-Fired Three Meat Meatball.

“We’re really trying to think of creative new ways to use our wood-fired oven,” says Piasecki. Those meatballs are one way, with pork, lamb, and veal spiced with house-made harissa.

An oaky, crispy crust makes them perfect for dredging in Meyer-lemon-scented chimichurri with a side of marinated picholine olives and a little orzo. “Perfect for sharing,” says Piasecki.

Three Meatball Appetizer.

Sourcing as much as possible locally is a priority for Piasecki. The Cape Canaveral prawns are a great example. He roasts them head on in the wood-fired oven and serves with oven-roasted tomatoes, charred lemon, and a handful of peppery baby arugula. (And he’s using the shells to make prawn oil.)


He’s also creating house-made duck charcuterie – prosciutto, sausage, rillettes, butter, and mousse, all made with duck and served with [Read more…]

Review: The Territory Lounge at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge

Bars and Lounges around Walt Disney World and Disneyland are often family friendly spots to grab a table-service bite or meal with no reservations needed.

You know that one of my favorites is Crew’s Cup Lounge in the Yacht Club Resort in Walt Disney World, but another fantastic spot to nosh is Territory Lounge in Wilderness Lodge.

Disney's Wilderness Lodge

I am a huge fan of all things food at Wilderness Lodge. Whether you’re whoopin’ it up at Whispering Canyon Cafe (go ahead…ask for ketchup!), having a refined and relaxed meal at Artist Point, or grabbing a bite to go at Roaring Forks, it’s pretty much always good.

But with a robust and interesting menu of cool pub food, The Territory Lounge is another must-try!

Lanterns and Menus Carry the Theme of the Bar


Step into the Lounge, and you’re immediately enveloped by dark woods, leather trim, and low, lantern lighting. You’re also likely greeted and welcomed by the awesome cast members here!! A big shoutout to LouAnn!

Rich Colors and Comfortable Seating Make the Space Inviting

The bar is rarely crowded, and there is comfortable seating throughout. I love the padded and backed barstools, and the [Read more…]