Okay, we’re cheating here. Tiffins hasn’t opened yet (it should any time now), but it’s supposed to be phenomenal, so can we compromise and just put it at number 10 on this list? Thank you, kind reader.
Here’s what we know: Tiffins (named for the Indian lunchbox) will be a safari-themed table service restaurant, and will feature exotic dishes like lobster popcorn, Thai curry soup, grilled octopus, frog legs tempura, black-eyed fritters, cheese and chicken liver pâté, lamb chops, pork tenderloin, miso-glazed black cod, pan-seared duck breast, and braised short rib. No word on prices (although as a specialty restaurant, they will probably be comparable to those at our number one choice, Yak & Yeti), or the exact date it will open, but you know The Daily Meal will be all over it when we get more information.
If we only picked one of the limited snacking options at Animal Kingdom (and we did), it would be Trilo-Bites. The reason is simple: We love waffles. And not just any waffles, but waffles with a lot of stuff on top. At Trilo, guests can get Buffalo chicken waffle sliders, waffle sundaes, and ice cream floats to drink, for only $5 each. There’s no seating, but with your face buried in a waffle, you probably won’t even notice.
There’s really only one reason to go to Tamu Tamu, and it’s for the dish Disney die-hards go wild for: the pineapple Dole Whip cup, which is basically an ice cream float made with pineapple juice. There’s generally one stand selling these in each Disney park, and in Animal Kingdom that stand is Tamu Tamu Refreshments. Not only should you grab this $4 sweet treat to beat the heat, but take advantage of AK’s pro-alcohol policy and add some coconut or dark rum for an extra kick (and an extra $3).
For some of Animal Kingdom’s most unusual food at prices that won’t break the bank, Harambe Market is a solid selection. Order grilled chicken skewers, all-beef gyro flatbreads, chicken tikka masala, beef and pork sausage, and spice-rubbed Karubi ribs for $10-13 each. Seating is limited, but guests can grab their grub and mosey over to the nearby Dawa Bar or Tusker House (see number two) for covered dining.
When it seems like the only alternatives to the exotic foods of Animal Kingdom are barbecue, barbecue, and more barbecue, head over to Pizzafari for personal pizzas (pepperoni, Mediterranean, or meat-lover’s), shrimp flatbreads, meatball subs, baked pasta, tomato soup, and salads at an affordable $10-14 each. Dine in one of six colorful, air-conditioned rooms decorated with animal murals — and head toward the back forfewer people. In the end, Pizzafari is a good place to avoid the crowds and the heat, because it’s a jungle out there.
It’s not so much the food at Restaurantosaurus that makes it a worthy stop — the fare is standard: Angus bacon cheeseburgers, grilled chicken sandwiches, chicken nuggets ($10-17 each) — but instead, the atmosphere. The quick service restaurant is modeled after a paleontology student dorm, with multiple eclectically-decorated dining rooms, and even an Airstream trailer that you can eat in. Other than grabbing a quick bite and checking out the décor, the big draw here is the self-serve topping bar for the burgers and sandwiches — especially for those with dinosaur-sized appetites.
Yelp/ Amy S
Flame Tree Barbecue is the place to go for grilled favorites, as long as you don’t mind dining at a quick-service joint. Dig into its famous half or full slab of St. Louis ribs, a half chicken, pulled pork sandwiches, or a combination of the first two — or even a platter of all three! All entrées are priced between $10 and $20, and include coleslaw and baked beans. Grab a seat near the ordering area, or venture farther into the adjacent park to one of the open-air dining pavilions complete with water views and ceiling fans to keep things cool.
If you’re looking for a nice sit-down breakfast with table service, the Rainforest Café is one of the few (and thus one of the best) options — and luckily, the food is great. Start your day with eggs benedict, French toast, Belgian waffles, Mexican-style pizza, or some other breakfast dish ($11-17), or, for lunch or dinner, go with the “Awesome Appetizer Adventure” for three (which includes chimichangas, crab dip, cheese sticks, and guacamole), seafood like coconut fried shrimp or fish and chips, a variety of burgers, pasta dishes like the Rasta Pasta (cavatappi with sautéed chicken, walnut pesto, and vegetables), or grilled specialties like the steak and shrimp, and pork spareribs — or combine them for the ribs, steak, and shrimp trio ($15-34 for each entrée). Since this is an independent chain with some 29 locations around America and abroad, it’s not really a unique Disney experience, but if you don’t mind a bit of noise and potentially long waits, your kids will still be delighted by the jungle décor and animatronic animals.
Every Disney park has at least one dining experience involving interaction with the iconic costumed characters, and this is Animal Kingdom’s. The Tusker House Restaurant is a safari-themed buffet that offers spit-roasted bone-in ham, spiced corned beef hash, scrambled eggs, cheese blintzes, coconut-sweet potato casserole, Mickey waffles, and an assortment of fruit, cereals, bagels, and all the other staples for breakfast. For lunch and dinner, the choices include peri-peri-marinated baked salmon, Kenyan coffee barbecue pork loin, spit-roasted chicken or beef, seafood stew, and a wide variety of sides. Please note that the characters only appear during breakfast and lunch, so these times are very popular (especially the 8 a.m. reservation slot). Dinner is a bit more manageable. The buffet costs $18 for kids and $30-35 for adults, depending on the mealtime.
At the base of Expedition Everest, you’ll find Yak & Yeti Restaurant, the pinnacle of dining at Animal Kingdom. The purple-exterior restaurant features a Southeast Asian theme on the inside, from the décor to the food, which includes small $10 plates like Thai chicken wings, pork pot stickers, egg rolls, and firecracker shrimp; a selection of soups and salads; lo mein bowls with chicken, shrimp, vegetables, or a combination; and a large number of entrées like the dim sum basket for two, teriyaki mahi mahi, chicken tikka masala, crispy honey chicken, Korean barbecue ribs, sweet and sour chicken or pork, and kalbi steak and coconut shrimp ($18-29 each). For dessert, be sure to try the fried cream cheese wontons with pineapple and vanilla ice cream — or a cocktail, like the signature Yak Attack (a mango-berry daiquiri), if you’re into that sort of thing. The restaurant also offers air-conditioned views of the afternoon parade.