The Best Thing I Ever Ate at Disney's Animal Kingdom

by Roan Poulter, contributing writer

Disney's Animal Kingdom Park is for many visitors a half-day park. Because of that thinking, and the multiyear policy of closing before dark, some of the wonderful dining options might get missed by the general public. An early note: I haven't ever eaten at Tusker House (don't do buffets), Tiffins (just too expensive) and, after too many bad experiences over the years, I don't eat at the Rainforest Café. However, I still find tasty bits around nearly every corner of the park. Honestly, it's one of my favorite places to eat. I will break our favorites into the following categories:

  • Best Dessert
  • Best Atmosphere
  • Best Drink
  • Best Counter service appetizer
  • Best Counter service entrée
  • Best Fine Dining appetizer
  • Best Fine Dining entrée

Best Dessert

The now replaced Chocolate Mousse makes me think the Blueberry Mousse is pretty good. Photo by Roan Poulter

I love sweets, but honestly if this park were lacking in one area, it's dessert. Now to be fair, it could be just that I'm always too stuffed to fit in any dessert. Having said that I did enjoy the Chocolate Mousse at Satu'li Canteen in Pandora—The World of Avatar (before it became the more colorful Blueberry Cream Cheese Mousse).

I'm not sure these guys go together, but whatever it takes. Photo by Roan Poulter

This is the view from the second floor dining area. Photo by Roan Poulter

Best Atmosphere

This is going to be a recurring trend on this list, because we truly love just about everything about Yak and Yeti Restaurant in Asia. There must be enough decorations for 10 restaurants packed within its walls. But our favorite part is to watch people cross the bridge while we sit at a second-story window table. Watching overheated tourists melt down in public is our guilty pleasure, no wonder we skip dessert.

Beautiful decoration at Satu'li when your gaze wanders up. Photo by Roan Poulter

Honorable Mention

Satu'li Canteen is extremely well done and ties in so well with Pandora. My only drawback is the cavernous structure makes it very loud.

Best Drink

It's hot at Animal Kingdom, I try not to drink at the park. But those well-hydrated and searching for a good drink should head over to Satu'li Canteen, where a decent selection of beers and wines may be had. Going much further than the regular Bud and Bud Light options, several microbrews (some local) may be had.

Believe it or not, there's Mac and Cheese under that mountain of pulled pork!! Photo by Roan Poulter

Best Counter Service: Appetizer

Now we're talking. Here is where the Animal Kingdom really shines. The plethora of kiosks offering sumptuous bites may lead you never to even find a table. Best of the best is the Baked Macaroni and Cheese served with Pulled Pork from Eight Spoon Café in Discovery Island. Crispy burnt edges of cheese, succulent pulled pork. I know that's a lot for an appetizer, share it. But get one.

Really, these are magical fries. Photo by Roan Poulter

Honorable Mentions

  • The Teriyaki Beef Slider with Pickled Cucumber from Caravan Road in Asia.
  • Mr. Kamal's Seasoned Fries – so much more than what comes in the name. Typical fries ladled with tzatziki sauce and Sriracha ketchup create a whirlwind of taste (located in Asia across from Caravan Road).
  • I also have to call out the roasted corn here next to the queue for Kilimanjaro Safaris, pricey but delicious.
  • And Heaven forbid if I didn't mention the watermelon salad at Flame Tree BBQ near the Discovery Island bridge. Nothing tastes better on a hot day.

This Beef bowl was a full meal for two of us. Photo by Roan Poulter

Best Counter Service: Entree

I was too torn to decide between two, so I'm going with two choices. The Baked Macaroni & Cheese with Pulled Pork from Flame Tree BBQ (yes I can have baked mac as an appetizer and then as an entrée); and Satu'li Canteen's Slow-Roasted Sliced Grilled Beef Bowl, which is 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—plus you get to choose your carbohydrate of choice.

Greatness awaits you to open your Dim Sum basket. Photo by Roan Poulter

Best Fine Dining: Appetizer

The Dim Sum basket at Yak & Yeti is a cacophony of deliciousness. Pork pot stickers, shrimp siu mai, cha su bao and pork siu mai steamed on a banana leaf served with soy lime dipping sauce. More than enough to share, though not a bad option as a light lunch.

My favorite Server with my favorite meal, Chicken Tikka Masala. Photo by Roan Poulter

Best Fine Dining: Entree

Yak & Yeti is my favorite restaurant at Animal Kingdom, possibly at the whole of Disney World. First and foremost I like that I can get a table pretty much any day without a reservation. I don't recommend it during busy days, but I have walked in and been seated within 15 minutes. But there is one dish that brings me back time and time again. The Chicken Tikka Masala: Boneless chicken breast marinated in yogurt and freshly ground herbs cooked in a traditional masala sauce, jasmine rice, garlic naan bread. So impossibly delicious. The masala sauce cannot be wasted. My only complaint is that I need more naan to ensure that not even a milliliter of sauce is left clinging to the bowl. I blame this dish for making it impossible for me to get the Kobe Beef burger, which I watch go to other much ballyhooed tables as I wait for my once-again-ordered masala.

The Lo Mein is properly prepared with respect and not too much salt. Photo by Roan Poulter

Honorable Mention

The Lo Mein at Yak & Yeti is also excellent and serves as a nice clean counterbalance to the very robust masala. Tender and delicate, it's cooked with the respect it deserves and makes for a fun family dining experience.

If you need something to cool off on those hot days, may I suggest a Watermelon, feta, vinaigrette salad? So good. Photo by Roan Poulter



  1. By DisneyGator

    For me at AK, everything "food" revolves around Flame Tree BBQ. Is it the best BBQ? No. Is it the only place you can really find good BBQ at WDW? Yes. And so you can find me there on every trip to AK.

  2. By Dave1313

    Love eating at Flame Tree and getting one of the tables that looks across the water at Everest... That's a really nice view while enjoying the meal.

    I tried the mac and cheese at 8 Spoon after someone recommended it (possibly here on MP), though I've only tried the one with the shrimp so far (I like it enough I might find it hard to shift over to the pulled pork version, but I will try one day!)

    My only complaint with some of the small kiosks like 8 Spoon and Mr. Kamal's is that they often have somewhat limited hours. If you are looking for a quick bite later in the day, you may be out of luck. (luckily Flame Tree is pretty much always open )

    For non-alcoholic cool down drinks, I've got to admit I like the Night Blossom (slushie type drink) they have at Pongu Pongu snacks in Pandora. There is an alcoholic version too called the Rum Blossom, but I've not tried that version.

  3. By carolinakid

    We are Yak &Yeti and Tiffins fans.

  4. By stan4d_steph

    Yak and Yeti is not fine dining. Also, there didn't seem to be a recommendation for a drink. If the best drink you have ever had is Bud Light...

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