Now that we’re back in Disney World, you know that means we’re basically required to eat our way through the parks (for research, of course)!
And over at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, after we practically WALKED on Flight of Passage and Expedition Everest with the low wait times we’ve seen, we headed back to Tiffins for a lunch date!
Since Disney World has been operating with new health and safety measures in its restaurants after the parks have opened again, we decided to head back to Animal Kingdom to see what had changed at its table-service spots. Tiffins was calling our name with its gorgeous atmosphere and historically high-end food.
As a part of the check-in process at Tiffins, guests can sanitize their hands before waiting for their reservation to be called for the restaurant.
Just like the procedure we’ve seen at other Disney World restaurants, Tiffins is using the Mobile Dining Check-in so there isn’t a crowd of people waiting to be seated inside the restaurant. After you scan the QR code on the sign out front…
…a page will pop up to redirect you to your My Disney Experience app. After going through the check-in questionnaire for your party concerning any special requests, allergies, and other options, you’ll receive a text confirming that the restaurant will let you know when your table is ready.
Guests are distanced from one another outside of the restaurant while they wait (even though it’s not usually for very long)…
…before they receive the return text directing them to the host stand.
We met with our hostess who seated us right away inside.
The atmosphere inside Tiffins is truly unique. The name of the restaurant itself is an Indian term for a mid-day meal or a lunchbox used by travelers (check the sign outside the entrance — you’ll see actual tiffins displayed there!).
Tiffins has three galleries in its dining room based on Asia (the Trek Gallery), Africa (the Safari Gallery), and the animal species found in the park (the Grand Gallery).
The decorations in the restaurant reflect world travel, combining maps, artwork, prayer flags, and more as an homage to the global influences that can be found all over Animal Kingdom. Much of the art and designs directly influenced Imagineers when designing the park and were placed around the restaurant for guests to learn more about their creative process.
Be sure to take a moment to admire the inspiration behind so much of this park. Cards explaining the significance of the pieces can be found near most of the artwork.
The adjoining Nomad Lounge is available for guests to grab a drink or two without a reservation.
The restaurant has noticeably added multiple health and safety precautions around the dining areas with hand-sanitizer dispensers, health notice signs, and plexiglass barriers at the bars (note that you can’t sit at the bar any longer)…
…as well as tables designated as unavailable to promote distancing efforts.
Buuut, enough about how unique this place looks — you’re here for the meal (just like we are)! QR code menus are available inside of Tiffins to take a look at all the menu items available during your visit. Simply open the camera on your phone and point it at the code for it to direct to the menu page. (Remember when you had to download special apps? Not anymore!)
There is a variety of Beer and Cocktails (you can find these drinks in the Nomad Lounge as well!)…
…Entrees and Enhancements (fancy optional sides) for an additional fee…
After we were seated, complimentary Pomegranate Focaccia Bread was brought to our table.
This bread is very moist and we happen to love it, especially when paired with the pomegranate molasses dipping oil it’s served with. This is a bit of a polarizing dip due to its unique flavor — it’s a complex mix of tangy, sweet, and kind of bitter all at the same time. We recommend giving it a good stir right before you spoon it on your bread (the pomegranate reduction settles below the olive oil in the cup)!
Before our meal arrived, we ordered the Tempting Tigress cocktail to kick things off! The cocktail is mixed up with Russell’s Reserve 10 yr Bourbon, St. Elizabeth Allspice Dram, Tamarind Syrup, and Lime Juice for $15.
Fans of Old-Fashioned cocktails will LOVE this sip since the flavors have some pretty heavy Bourbon flavors. However, the Tamarind Syrup and Lime Juice add a kick of citrus to it that makes the drink perfectly refreshing during a hot day in Disney World!
We decided to go with something a little more interesting as an appetizer with the Spiced Chickpea Falafel served with mint-pistachio pesto, cumin-scented garlic raita, and pickled vegetables for $10.
Honestly, we could have gone to Tiffins JUST to get the Spiced Chickpea Falafel. The crispy outside of the falafel had plenty of crunch before biting into the soft filling. The falafels on their own had an amazing amount of flavor, but the mint-pistachio pesto added a nice balance to the appetizer that was super satisfying when the two were combined. Even those averse to the idea of a vegetarian appetizer or falafel in general will likely still enjoy this. The combo of flavors and textures is THAT good.
For the main course, we went for the classic Butter Chicken dish served with chickpea-rice croquette, English peas, cauliflower, and pickled onion for $38.
This isn’t the typical preparation of Butter Chicken you’ll find elsewhere at Disney World (like our favorite one over at Sanaa) or beyond where chicken is stewed in the spiced creamy, tomatoey sauce. Here, the breast meat is served whole with the sauce poured on top. The chicken was lovely and perfectly cooked with a nice hint of seasoning that paired well with all that buttery and delicious sauce!
While the chickpea-rice croquette didn’t have too much flavor, it was a nice counterpart to the other textures in the dish.
Some people might not be cauliflower fans, but it was a nice pop of color next to the chicken (and it’s worth trying when you’re at Tiffins)!
Overall this chicken is good, but Sanaa’s rich and hearty Butter Chicken will still come in at number one for us. Plus — and here’s the main rub with Tiffins for many of us here at DFB — that dish cost $38. $38!!!! For maybe 6 oz of chicken and some veg??? Tiffins has lovely food, and it’s definitely not a “theme park” menu. But the prices for the portion sizes are often unbalanced in our opinion. Something to note when you’re deciding which signature restaurant to spend your money with.
At the end of the meal, we were given a disposable paper folio for our check like we have used at our other table-service meals around the parks, instead of the traditional reusable folios.
As we’ve experienced here in the past, our check came with a souvenir card of Imagineer Joe Rohde’s artwork to take home with us. This is a unique touch you’ll find at Tiffins. Rohde heavily influenced the design of the restaurant (and much of Animal Kingdom) so his sketches are a fitting memento to end your meal here.
They change out the print you’ll receive periodically, so you may receive something completely different! We’ve seen a few different animal sketches in past years.
Nosh or Not
Consider dining at Tiffins if:
- You want to experience a unique, quiet, art gallery-like atmosphere at a table-service restaurant in a theme park (it’s a good escape)
- You enjoy trying food that isn’t necessarily typical of what you’d get at other restaurants around the parks. The menu at Tiffins combines flavors and dishes from multiple regions around the world, so there is a variety of unique options for guests.
- You love a quieter restaurant that gives you a more intimate place to talk to your family and friends during your time in Animal Kingdom.
You may want to skip Tiffins if:
- You’re traveling with a younger group who might want to have more kid-friendly options, like burgers, pizza, and sandwiches.
- You are dining in Disney World on a budget. While Tiffins has some unique eats and drinks, the prices can be a bit expensive ($38 for chicken??). Instead of going to this sit-down restaurant, Pandora has quick-service restaurants that have cheaper meals that are just as special. And remember you can still grab the same drinks over in the Nomad Lounge as well as a few smaller bites for less money.
- You’d rather spend your $$$ at a different signature restaurant elsewhere on property that offers more value for your respective dollar.
Tiffins is a unique dining experience in Animal Kingdom. It’s as much a feast for the eyes as it is your stomach. We were surprised by how much we loved the cocktail and the appetizer here. If we were wanting a smaller meal before tackling the rest of Animal Kingdom, the falafel was very filling and pairs quite well with the Tempting Tigress.
However, the Butter Chicken was tasty, but not anything spectacular (and definitely not worth the price tag). They are operating with a limited menu at this time so we didn’t have as many entree choices as we’ve seen in past visits.
But if you’re looking for an enjoyable chicken dish, there are much better options you can find elsewhere on property. We especially recommend heading over to Chef Art Smith’s Homecomin’ over in Disney Springs since both the baked and fried chicken options are incredible. And, again, if you’re craving Butter Chicken, swing by the nearby Animal Kingdom Lodge for a visit to Sanaa.
If you’ve never been to Tiffins, though, we think you should definitely take the time to visit once (even if it’s just to the Nomad Lounge for a drink)!
All that said, we have many readers who are Tiffins devotees!! They love it, think it’s worth the money, and go again and again. So we admit our opinion on this one is potentially in the minority, and every time we go we hope to have a different outcome. But it’s always the same for us.
What is your favorite place to eat in Animal Kingdom? Let us know in the comments below!