There’s a lot to explore — and a lot to love — at Animal Kingdom.
First, of course, is an entire new land, Pandora, and its new quick service restaurant Satu’li Canteen. And there’s Pongu Pongu, where you can snag fun and colorful drinks to sip on while you wait seventeen hours to ride Flight of Passage.
But before Pandora welcomed the masses to a whole new world this past May, the new kids on the block were Tiffins, the park’s first Signature Restaurant known for its creative dishes and incredible theming, and its next door neighbor, Nomad Lounge.
Nomad Lounge quickly became a guest — and DFB! — favorite, from our very first visit due to the peaceful, travel-inspired atmosphere and creative drinks. But Nomad Lounge also serves up small bites alongside beverages like the Leaping Lizard and Hightower Rocks. And the food offerings simply didn’t wow us the way the beverages did in the early days.
But when we heard of a recent addition to the menu — namely, House-Smoked Kobe-Style Brisket Poutine — we knew without a doubt that it was time to grab another bite at Nomad Lounge!
Nomad Lounge is as much a destination for exploration as it is a destination for refreshments. For starters, the decor is designed to evoke stories of travel and includes fantastic banners that celebrate journeys taken by the WDW Animal Kingdom Imagineers themselves.
Once you look down, you’ll discover some suuuuuper comfy seating located both inside and outside the lounge.
The outdoor patio is my new house. Seriously I want to move here. It’s peaceful, chill, comfortable, and there’s alcohol, and why wouldn’t you want that to be your house?
The views? They ain’t bad.
AND you’re just a bridge away from Pandora!
But, before (or after) you rush off to Disney’s newest land, be sure to take some time to unwind at Nomad Lounge. Really. Relax. It’s OK to do that while you’re on a Disney vacation.
As with any Disney bar, Nomad Lounge is a destination for drinks. And here, the list is extensive (just click the image below to enlarge).
And though it’s not quite as large, the Small Plates Menu does change from time to time. So the Butter Chicken Wings we enjoyed on our first visit aren’t on the menu anymore — but Asian Barbecue Wings are, along with the intriguing Snake River Farms Beef Posole.
But we were on a mission. And I’m sure you understand why with that final item listed under the Small Plates: the House-Smoked Kobe-Style Brisket Poutine.
When have you known me to turn down any version of Poutine? From The Daily Poutine’s classic (and beyond) take of thick-cut French fries, cheese curds, and brown gravy delicacy to Le Cellier’s Signature offerings, I’ve tried ’em all.
But Nomad Lounge’s version is… insane.
It’s a sentence all on it’s own: House-Smoked Kobe Style Brisket Poutine. It’s ALL the Buzz Words! AND it’s everything you want in a poutine and then some: from the beef to the steak fries to the house-made mozzarella (check out that MELT!).
Trust me; you’ll want to get up close and personal with that Brisket. It’s Kobe Style, so this is high quality stuffs. Smoked for hours, it’s just insanely flavorful. If you love smoked meat, you will not be disappointed with the flavor here.
The caramelization on the meat is really impressive. We were also happy with the sheer amount of it — especially considering that portion size for the items was our biggest complaint with the Small Plates dishes previously. (I mean, there’s small and then there’s… Seasonal Fish Bites small.)
And there’s also that fabulous House-made Mozzarella melting everywhere. Not only did it top the whole pile, but we were excited to find that it covered most of the bottom of the bowl, too! MORE cheese to love!
And the Steak Fries are absolutely terrific: golden brown, thick, and slightly crispy on the outside, and soft on the inside. The best part? They can withstand the weight of all that meat and cheese!
But I know you’re wondering: where’s the gravy, AJ?!??! Don’t worry, friends. YOU POUR IT YO’SELF! In this case, Pan Sauce. Rich, dark pan sauce that’s served on the side.
It’s CRAZY flavorful. Use. it. all.
Seriously, I can’t say enough about the flavor and quality of the House-Smoked Kobe Style Brisket Poutine. Every single component was fantastic. And the lot of them combined? We’d travel the world to get it. Which goes nicely with the whole travel theme of Nomad Lounge!
By the way, a little menu heads-up here: if you’ve been wanting to get your hands on the Lotus Glow Cube that debuted along with Rivers of Light earlier this year, you can now get one here! You can add it to any cocktail at Nomad Lounge for $2 (typically $4 – 4.50 to add it at most of the kiosks), or you can get it included with the Annapurna Zing.
Nosh or Not?
You’ll want to travel to Nomad Lounge if:
- You love semi-adventurous eats and drinks.
- You are fascinated by the level of detail in Animal Kingdom and want to check out this stellar space, which tells much of the story of the park’s creation.
- You want to grab a relaxing bite and beverage during your day at Animal Kingdom and just escape the World for a while.
You might want to voyage another way if:
- You prefer to grab a quick service meal in Animal Kingdom so that you can spend more time exploring the park. Or you’re traveling with little ones who — while welcome in the lounge — may not appreciate the more refined, but not stuffy, atmosphere.
- You aren’t big on variations of bar food (even if it’s done really well, as is the case with the Poutine).
- You’d rather make time for a table service option (like neighboring Tiffins, which is connected to Nomad Lounge!).
Nomad Lounge is a must see — even if you only stop in for a quick drink and a walk around the space. But honestly, you’ll probably want to linger. And that’s okay! Because the Animal Kingdom is all about taking the time to embrace the atmosphere and adventure. Go on, wander in!
Are you a Nomad Lounge-r? Let us know what you’ve discovered at this special place!