Set deep in the underbelly of Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge, Sanaa is one of the most unique dining affairs on Walt Disney World® Resort property. Framing the windows that border one of the resort's savannas, the theming meshes with creative food offerings that make this yet another must-do restaurant.
Quaint Atmosphere, Grand Service
A staircase leads to Sanaa's front desk, with massive, winding tunnels directing guests to the restaurant itself. The tables, with many bordering the windows adjacent to the savanna, are set apart from one another, giving a fair bit of space for a party to enjoy their meal in relative seclusion. Though make no mistake, the gorgeous interior leaves way for echoing and voices to carry, making this one of the louder dining experiences I have had on property.
That rapid conversation around us did make sense, as the food was such a departure from everything else available on property that each bite begged discussion. Our waiter was essential here, flawlessly explaining every dish on the menu and making it approachable. At offset, this might seem a restaurant picky eaters want to avoid, but our waiter's explanation of each item (along with simpler menu items, like a steak), made everything easy to distinguish.
Our waiter was among some of the most attentive I've had anywhere, and catapults Sanaa right to the top of best service restaurants at Walt Disney World Resort.
The Star of the Show
As with just about any restaurant, the food is what everyone goes there for, and this is especially true with Sanaa. The restaurant blends Indian flavors with African-style cooking, and everything has spice. This does not make everything spicy—those with a sensitive palette should be fine—but rather flavorful in ways less experienced eaters will find unique and foreign.
Under no circumstance should you go to Sanaa without trying their Indian-style bread service. I've raved previously about the bread services at other restaurants, and while this one comes with a price tag of $18, it is leagues better than what I have loved everywhere else.
The five breads—traditional naan, garlic-ginger naan, spiced naan, onion kulcha and paneer paratha—come with nine accompaniments—cucumber raita, roasted red pepper hummus, mango chutney, tomato-date jam, tamarind chutney, coriander chutney, garlic pickle, red chile sambal and spicy jalapeño-lime pickle. The last two accompaniments are genuinely spicy, but everything else was relatively mild (and they were all exceptionally flavorful). The onion kulcha and garlic-ginger naan made for our favorite breads, while we had a range of favorite accompaniments. They were all so unique that it was hard to choose, but we were completely out of mango chutney, hummus and spicy jalapeño-lime pickle by the end of the night. They all deserve to be tried, with so many different flavors and combinations making this one of my singular favorite dishes in all of Walt Disney World Resort. I would travel all the way to Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge just for this on any day of the week.
For entrees, my friend has the African-inspired biryani, which is fragrant rice with seasoned vegetables and a sauce. This vegetarian-friendly option can have chicken or shrimp added to it, and was one of the most uniquely spiced items we had all night. We thoroughly enjoyed it, but the better of the two entrees was my potjie inspired.
You choose one protein, one vegetable and get a rice. Potjie is typically stewed in cast iron pots on long legs over a fire, with the dishes here being each served in an individual bowl. I normally hear of the butter chicken being the standout protein, but I instead went with the goan seafood curry and cilantro-coconut vegetables.
And it was outstanding. I combined the contents of the three bowls in the provided plate, making for one of the most flavorful dishes I've had on property. The seafood was perfectly cooked, with the shrimp being tender and the fish falling apart to the touch of the fork.
Sanaa early joins the list as a must-do experience, with its bread service alone catapulting it to the top of Walt Disney World resort restaurants. If you're looking for a unique, conversational dinner, this should be in immediate consideration for your next vacation.