Satu'li Canteen Restaurant Review - a belly full of Pandora

by Roan Poulter, contributing writer

Opportunities to review newly opened restaurants in Walt Disney World are rare. You can imagine our excitement then when Satu'li Canteen opened in the new Pandora area at Disney's Animal Kingdom. These rare new openings give Disney opportunities to reinvent how they feed their guests, and we had high hopes to find an improved experience.

The entrance to Satu'li Canteen. Photo by Karrie Poulter.

Satu'li Canteen is set within the world of Pandora, more accurately within the former Resources Development Administration (RDA) barracks. Described as a Fast Casual Restaurant serving American cuisine, the dishes have familiar flavors with James Cameron's Avatar-style presentations.

The Na'vi seem to have redecorated the canteen. Photo by Karrie Poulter.

Those searching for an increase in efficiency will be delighted to find that they can order their selections directly from the My Disney Experience App, and pick up their food in a special express lane. Especially in a new land, this might shave significant time off your total dining time. Unfortunately, seating is still first come first serve, though Imagineers seem to have supplied enough tables to keep the crowds moving.

We sampled a variety of items from the new menu on multiple visits.

Slow-Roasted Sliced Grilled Beef Bowl – Slow-roasted, sliced beef marinated in a blend of garlic, herbs, red pepper spice, and red wine vinegar topped with crunchy vegetable slaw and boba balls served with your choice of base and sauce. We had ours with the potato hash and vinaigrette.  The acidity of the vinaigrette set off the rare beef flavor and mixed thoroughly with the potato hash. The beef was a delicious savory entrée.

The beef bowl with vinaigrette gives a colorful presentation. Photo by Karrie Poulter.

The beef bowl with black bean sauce was not nearly as flavorful. Photo by Karrie Poulter.

Cheeseburger Steamed Pods - Bao Buns – The steamed cheeseburger pods are stuffed with ground beef, ketchup, mustard, pickle, and cheddar cheese, and served with crunchy vegetable slaw and vegetable chips. The cheeseburgers were flavorful, if occasionally a little dried out. The vegetable chips were gross.

This is not your father's cheeseburger. Photo by Karrie Poulter.

Sustainable Fish Bowl – Panko-breaded sustainable fish topped with crunchy vegetable slaw and boba balls served with your choice of base and sauce. We had the halibut with sweet potato hash and chimichurri sauce. There was a noticeable serving size reduction when ordering the halibut, but the chimichurri sauce gave this a bold flavor that made it the stand out entrée.

Not all servings are the same size; our fish was much smaller than our neighbor's. Photo by Karrie Poulter.

Chopped Wood-Grilled Chicken Bowl – Wood-grilled chicken thighs marinated with garlic and olive oil topped with crunchy vegetable slaw and boba balls served with your choice of base and sauce. We had the sweet potato hash and black bean sauce. The black bean sauce is just not flavorful enough to carry any of the meats, lacking any meaningful amount of punch or interest.

Chocolate Cake – Chocolate cake with a crunchy cookie layer and banana cream topping. Don't let this clearly stated description fool you; this is much more of a chocolate mousse than a cake. This was a rich dessert, easily shared by a couple.

This dessert appears to be a cake as listed, though still suspiciously absent the banana cream topping. Photo by Karrie Poulter.

A cutaway view shows the inside to be more of a mousse, which was delicious. Photo by Karrie Poulter.

Our ratings are as follows:

Dad (42): Not present

Mom (42): 4.5 of 5 – Visited on two different occasions. The sauce makes a huge difference in the dish as does mixing it thoroughly. Ordering online could be a huge benefit, though it was nil on the times we visited.

Daughter (19): 4.6 of 5 – Loved everything about Pandora, this canteen included. Didn't care for the black bean sauce.

Son (16): 4.8 of 5 – The beef bowl was excellent.