Sanaa is an African-inspired restaurant with Indian flavors in Kidani Village at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge in Disney World. Sanaa has gained recognition as one of my top Walt Disney World table service restaurants. Seriously, check the wall, I mailed them a certificate of achievement. It should be hanging up. Sanaa is definitely out of the way, as it’s nestled back in the already-secluded Animal Kingdom Lodge.
Sanaa can be a cheap place to eat depending upon what you order, but it’s also one of the best values for using Table Service Disney Dining Plan credits if you order the right items. That means the item ranges pretty greatly in price! Sanaa participates in the Disney Dining Plan, and also accepts the Tables in Wonderland card for 20% off.
Sanaa has a really unique menu–so unique that it seems to scare away some potential patrons. Do not let its menu dissuade you from eating at Sanaa! As with a lot of menus, I think a lot of the descriptions are puffery. Many of the items here are unique, but some of the descriptions of even more standard items make them sound exotic, when that isn’t necessarily the case.
For example, if you enjoy more conservative meals, you may see the heading, “African Cooking with Indian Flavors” and dismiss-out-of-hand everything within that category. If you look a little deeper, you’ll see one of the items is a N.Y. Strip Steak. While its preparation with Chutney may not be the most conventional, a good steak is a good steak, and from what I’ve heard, this is an excellent steak. Just about anyone, regardless of their culinary-adventurousness, should be safe ordering this steak.
Here’s a look at some of our favorites from Sanaa…
Each time we’ve dined at Sanaa, we’ve received great and very attentive service by the staff (it’s rarely crowded). On our honeymoon, we received complimentary champagne, and when we last dined at Sanaa, our server brought out a complimentary Indian Bread Service.
Bread is something I would not typically order as an appetizer because most restaurants provide reasonably decent bread complimentary, but this bread has me re-thinking that position. The bread was amazing, unlike anything I’ve had at Walt Disney World. It was even better than the Le Cellier pretzel bread! The sauces, particularly the Cucumber Raita, were similarly delicious. This is arguably the highlight of a meal at Sanaa.
My favorite dish at Sanaa is the lunch menu’s Grilled Lamb Kefta. This consists of deliciously grilled lamb and the out-of-this world Cucumber-Yogurt Raita. It’s a bit messy, but just think of yourself as a zebra devouring a wildebeest! (One of these is the predator to the other, right? My animal knowledge is a bit lacking…)
At only $12.49, this Kefta was only a bit more expensive than a Quick Service meal, and it was decidedly more delicious, filling, and unique!
Sanaa’s menu is very unique, and may not be for everyone. There have been a couple of times there when I’ve thought a particular item didn’t sound so appealing, but after tasting it, I discovered it was excellent. I would hazard a guess that I could randomly order an item from the menu and would enjoy the cuisine. If you’re willing to deviate a bit from the traditional Disney dining menus, you might consider giving Sanaa a try.
One of the experiences that intrigues me at Sanaa is the opportunity to “Dine with an Animal Specialist.” This is a 4-course meal with an animal specialist during which the specialist explains some of the “secrets of the savannah.” Not many more details than this are known, but I’d imagine it’s comparable to Dining with an Imagineer.
I’d rather dine with an Imagineer, but if you’re really interested in animals, or have a child who dreams of this line of work, this might be a great experience. More details can be found here.
Overall, Sanaa is one of the newer Walt Disney World restaurants, along with The Wave, that despite its excellent cuisine, hasn’t developed a real following and has actually had some trouble filling tables. I hope this improves so the menu isn’t dumbed down, as it’s presently one of my favorite places to eat at Walt Disney World, and probably the restaurant that is the most adventurous at Walt Disney World menus. It combines great cuisine with great prices and great views (second perhaps only to Coral Reef if you’re a wildlife lover) into the unnatural/natural Disney World. I would consider it a must-visit for any Walt Disney World guest, and not a place that should scare away non-adventurous eaters. There truly is something on the menu for everyone, even if it takes examining the menu a bit closer.
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Do you enjoy the diverse menu and ambiance of Sanaa? Which menu items are you favorites? If you’re not a fan, post why. If you have any other questions or comments, share them in the comments.
We have a 7:30 PM dinner reservation. Will we still see the animals outside? (Is the yard lit?)
We dined with an animal specialist and the experience was arguably my favorite meal experience in all of Disney World, and we have done a lot! The meal was an incredible 3 course meal, the chef comes out to share the menu, the bread service and salads were delicious as was the curry chicken and seafood! But learning about how animal kingdom is run (it’s part of the zoological society) and the way zoos work together for animal conservation was fascinating. You also get a special table in a roped off section and meet a tortoise. All in all awesome!
Good insight. I would love to try Sanaa when we have our WDW vacation in Aug.
We are going for dinner during our August trip. My BF & his DDs are Indian & vegetarian, so this seemed like a natural fit. All the reviews that I have seen have been very positive, and since most of our TS meals are buffet’s I am looking forward to a ‘real’ table meal too!
We dined at Sanaa a few years back now but your review sums it up perfectly! We’re from the UK and so the Indian flavours are familiar to us. But the ways in which they are presented are very imaginative and different! It’s a great way to try a variety of things if you choose the taster dishes – 3 smaller portions along a similar theme, great to share too!
We’ve not been to WDW since 2011 but the meals we’ve had at Sanaa still stand out and I’d definitely go again!
We are staying at Kidani in November and can’t wait to try Sanaa! Thanks for the review.
Sanaa was one of two table service restaurants my husband and I enjoyed during our ten year anniversary trip. We had window seats and enjoyed watching the giraffes and exotic birds that live in the “courtyard.” The giraffes stayed at a distance (invisible fence, if I remember), but those big birds would come right up to the floor-to-ceiling windows.
The food was great. It was creative and unique, but still appealing. The bread service with the assortment of Indian-inspired dips/spreads was my favorite.
Hi, just wondering if you think the lamb was gamey. I am oversensitive to gamey meats and wonder if you tasted the lamb as gamey. thanks for your reply.
Love the bread service, we went specifically for this on our anniversary trip. My husband is not one who is too adventurous but he really like it!
I just want to say a serious thank you for this review. My guy and I dined here because of your awesome review and it was the best dining experience we have ever had at WDW.
I have some food allergies, namely wheat, and the chef was AMAZING. He made me gluten free naan bread, which I thought I would never eat again… I cried and hugged him. It was magical.
And we found it really affordable for the quality of food and portion sizes. We usually eat at Boma so this was a perfect change of pace. I could not agree more that it is the most underrated restaurant at WDW.
dined at Sanaa for first time summer 2013. Great in every respect. definitely two thumbs up!!
Wow, this has been very helpful! I just made a reservation for my 13 year old daughter and myself, and I was a little worried about whether she would like the food (and if I would like it, for that matter!) We’ve encountered some real flops at WDW – the Coral Reef being the biggest disappointment thus far- and I’m always worried that we’ll end up having another disappointing dining experience. It sounds like I picked a winner with Sanaa though- I can’t wait to try it!