OK, I usually really enjoy my meals at Yak and Yeti Restaurant. But this time? I had a blast! No joke; everything was so, so good. Can’t wait to tell you about it!
Yak and Yeti Restaurant
The colorful and beautifully themed restaurant, located in Disney’s Animal Kingdom, is a super hidden gem. This one just doesn’t seem to on the radar of many guests, and that’s a shame. Every time I’ve visited the exotic spot, I’ve had great food and service in beautiful surroundings.
But you know the DFB philosophy. We never rely on a place to stay the same, so we’re always revisiting even the best spots to confirm the quality is still there.
Since it had been a while since my last check-in, I decided it was time to pay a visit once more to Arjun and the good people of Anandapur for some of their warm hospitality.
If you’re on a pilgrimage en route from Africa to Mount Everest to conquer the mountain and the dreaded Yeti, you’ll surely see Yak and Yeti Restaurant. While its flat facade tends to blend in, the vibrant purple/periwinkle paint ensures that you’ll notice it.
And just in case you’re wondering who the heck Arjun is, he owns this house-turned-restaurant. At least according to Disney’s backstory. Once a wealthy merchant, Arjun has fallen on hard times, and now opens his home to travelers in hopes of making ends meet. The restaurant is filled with treasures that Arjun has gathered along his journeys.
Owing to the beautiful, eclectic decor here, the story totally works. Let’s have a look around so you can see a little of what I mean.
In the lobby, you’ll find the luggage of travelers. Are they arriving or checking out?
One thing that I always suggest: when you are in Animal Kingdom, don’t just rush through any part of the Park. This place is a masterpiece, and Imagineers paid incredible attention to detail. Soak everything in and ask questions.
You’ll find a cozy bar located just to the right of the lobby area. Substantial chairs are a little tough to maneuver, but they’re super comfy. This is a GREAT place to hang out and have a drink, even if you aren’t enjoying a full meal (though the full menu is available here). On the day I visited, there was a rain storm starting up and all of the bar chairs were full. The bar is first come, first served.
Seating is comfortable and is located throughout rooms on both the first and second floor of the “home”. Chairs, tables, and even light fixtures don’t match, thus providing further authenticity to the shabby chic decor.
A staircase to the second floor reveals more beautiful lighting and an open gallery that allows views down into the first floor.
Truly, treasures abound here. I always feel as though I’m dining in a museum. This one is fierce!
Embellished room numbers above the doorways indicate the home’s prior use as an inn for weary travelers.
While the whole restaurant is comfortable and interesting, my favorite seating spots are these tables by the windows on the second floor. They offer terrific views, and the light is always nice (especially when you’re taking pics of all of your food. 🙂 )
Now that we’ve had a look around, let’s check out what Yak and Yeti has to offer the hungry traveler.
To begin your meal, Yak and Yeti offers an extensive selection of Beverages. From Beer to interesting Non-Alcoholic concoctions, they have something for every taste. And through it all, they’re committed to staying on theme.
While you won’t find a whole lot in the way of Wine, check out the interesting Sake selection!
The Beer selection is interesting, with Asian choices from Japan, China, and India in addition to Safari Amber Ale, a Disney exclusive that you’ll find in many places around property. Local Craft Beer selections round things out, in addition to a few other popular options.
But Specialty Drinks are the sweet spot here. I always love checking out what new options they’re offering in addition to classics that I just can’t pass up.
While we were still looking over the menu, we decided to indulge in a few drinks. I couldn’t resist ordering an Animal Kingdom classic — the Yak Attack. (I’d never actually ordered it at the restaurant — only at the grab and go downstairs!) This frozen combo of Mango Daiquiri, Don Q Cristal Rum, and Berry Flavors goes down suuuuuper easy — and packs a wallop. It’s seriously delicious and refreshing. (You can also score a Yak Attack at Anandapur Local Food Cafes, the Yak and Yeti counter service spot.)
But we also decided to give the new-to-us Pink Himalayan a try. This curious mix combines Tanqueray Gin and Ruby Red Grapefruit Juice with Passion Fruit and Lemongrass Flavors for a sophisticated cocktail. It’s normally served with a Salt Rim, but I decided to skip that part.
And of course, our drinks came with the trademark paper straws, since plastic straws that go astray may harm the animals in the park. (If you didn’t know, you’ll only find paper straws throughout Animal Kingdom and Animal Kingdom Lodge.) But I was intrigued to note that the brand had changed since my last visit.
While we sipped on our drinks, we looked over the menu, and found many of our favorites, in addition to some new options.
As an appetizer, I chose the Firecracker Shrimp on the recommendation of my server. The Crispy Shrimp are tossed in a creamy, sweet-spicy Sauce, and they’re served on a bed of Slaw. And OH MY GRACIOUS these were heavenly. No kidding, I nearly ate the entire plate myself…and I really wanted to do so. Here’s a tip: I ended up requesting a little dish of extra green onions because the added flavor was so perfect with the shrimp!
For realz. Get these.
After we enjoyed our starters and drinks, it was time to move onto entrees. My friend opted for the Chicken Tikka Masala.
Boneless chunks of Chicken are marinated in Yogurt, Spices, and Herbs, and are then grilled. They’re finished in a creamy, spicy Masala Sauce.
This was divine. I was in heaven — kind of reminded me of the feeling I get when I order the jambalaya at Boatwright’s. I just want to be alone with this dish so I can inhale it without offending my companions. So much goodness in one place.
The dish is served with both Garlic Naan and steamed Jasmine Rice on the side. But I won’t judge if you just dump the rice in the bowl.
We had recently reviewed Kobe Beef Burger options at Yak and Yeti’s counter service location, so I decided to try the Kobe Beef Burger to contrast the two. The 10-ounce burger is “American Kobe Beef”, and comes topped with your choice of Shiitake Mushroom-Scallion Compote or Asian Slaw. I went for the Mushrooms — again at my server’s recommendation. (He was awesome.) It’s also served with Sesame Soy Mayonnaise on the side, and comes with a generous portion of French Fries as well.
This was delicious. Everyone always touts the burger at Yak and Yeti, and I think it’s great. But it’s not the best I’ve had at Disney World, so temper your expectations on this one. It was also a teensy bit overdone for my taste (I’m a fan of medium rare burgers). While all the flavors meshed well, I was just needing a little something more from this one.
The fries, however…hubba hubba!! I couldn’t keep my hands off of these! Thanks goodness I stopped myself from eating the whole basket, but they had some sort of magic sauce or something. They were super skinny, seasoned fries with lots of flavor. So good.
And as a side dish, I asked if I could have a bowl of steamed snap peas. My wonderful server obliged. This another tiny weak spot; they were pretty overdone.
While the portions of our entrees were certainly generous, we couldn’t pass up some after-dinner tea and sweets. We wasted no time ordering several of the offerings.
I was so excited to see my tea arrive to my table in this beautiful tea pot. Here’s my amazing, patient, super kind server. He was so great throughout the meal!
Doesn’t this all look gorgeous?!
I can never resist ordering my favorite Yak and Yeti dessert here — the Fried Wontons. I hadn’t had them in years, and they’re just as worth the calories and price as always. So unique, you won’t find these anywhere else.
This sweet take on classic Asian Dumplings is a combination of Sweetened Cream Cheese and Fresh Pineapple, Vanilla Ice Cream, and a Honey-Vanilla Drizzle.
(You can’t really tell, but that’s the sweetened cream cheese inside!)
We also decided to give the Pineapple Upside Down Cake a try as well. The traditional fruit-topped dessert is served warm with a scoop of Vanilla Ice Cream and a drizzle of Caramel Sauce. This one was gorgeous, and really yummy! But I’d still recommend the Won-Tons.
And though I’d had the Chocolate Pudding Cake before, I didn’t remember having it. Which should have meant something to me. Ha ha! Thick layers of Chocolate Mousse alternate with thinner layers of Chocolate Cake, and it’s all topped with Raspberry and Chocolate Sauces.
This is your standard UBER CHOCOLATE dessert, so if that’s your thing, go for it. I liked it, but not enough to pass up my Won-Tons or even the Pineapple Upside Down Cake on the next visit. This is for super chocolate lovers only.
We skipped the Mango Pie this time out, but it has legions of fans. So if it sounds good to you, definitely go for it!
What an amazing variety! Completely satisfied, we decided to take a loong walk through the Maharajah Jungle Trek to work off some of those calories. 🙂
And, luckily, the rain passed while I was eating lunch! Yay!
Once again, I’ve had a fantastic visit to Yak and Yeti.
For those in the know, you might be tempted to bypass Y&Y because it’s not a “real” Disney restaurant. It’s actually owned by Landry’s, a restaurant group that also owns Rainforest Cafe and T-Rex. But please, don’t let that stop you. After all, Epcot and Disney Springs are also full of restaurants that are owned or operated by third party groups, and they’re some of our favorites. (Oh, and speaking of Landry’s, if you’re a Landry’s Select Member, you can get priority seating at Yak and Yeti even if you don’t have a reservation. Great perk on busy days!)
Anyway — the point is, Yak and Yeti is beautiful, and has consistently turned in good food and service during all of our visits. Whether we’re just stopping in for drinks and small plates, or we’re having a full meal, I’ve never had a poor experience at Yak and Yeti. If you haven’t taken a chance on it yet, I recommend that you write it into your plans on your very next trip.
Yak and Yeti Restaurant is a win for me, but now I’d love to hear from you: Will you be stopping by Yak and Yeti the next time you’re in Walt Disney World? Leave a comment and let us know!