Today, Michelle, host of the The Disney Dream Girls, shares with us her dining experience at Disney’s Animal Kingdom restaurant, Tiffins.
May 27, 2016, saw the official opening of a much-needed lounge and high-end eatery at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, namely The Nomad Lounge and Tiffins. On my last trip to Walt Disney World, I made a last-minute dining reservation to eat there and can’t wait to share everything about my experience. Initially, what struck me was how remote this eatery is! It is tucked next to Pizzafari, and I can’t imagine two eateries any more different. Once Pandora, the World of Avatar opens, it will be on a more well-trodden path, as at the moment it is at the end of a pathway to nowhere.
Once inside, the lounge is on the left-hand side and the restaurant is to the right. The lounge has a large bar area and a spacious range of seats (from quite formal to squishy sofas), both inside and on the outside patio area–but I personally took full advantage of the wonderful air-conditioning and sat inside. I can see in the future the patio will be a great spot to people-watch.
Around the room, guests are challenged with some thought-provoking questions. Hanging above the bar are ceiling tags, and guests are invited to purchase one for a dollar and write their answers to inspire others. This has several purposes: It adds to the rich immersive lounge environment, and 85% of the tag costs are donated to the Disney Conservation Fund.
The menu contains tempting exotic beverages for you to try, mixed in with pictures and mini stories from visits made by the Animal Kingdom Imagineering team when researching the original park. The cocktails are priced around $12-$14. Small plates of food are available and cost around $10. Because I was eating dinner at Tiffins, I did not partake in any of the tempting bar offerings.
When it was time to check in for our dining reservation, a hostess escorted us into the main restaurant. The décor is stunning: I felt that I had left a theme park and had been transported to a distant land. Taking pride of place is the five totem poles that used to be out in the park (sadly, one of the original six poles was too badly damaged to be placed in the restaurant). Along the wall is a modern take on a tapestry with 3-D lit up animals. It’s a joy to sit back and just absorb the details.
Now to the food! We paid for the dining package (which was $67 and included three courses), and, as our server rightly said, it represented excellent value–especially when ordering the most expensive entrée! The wine menu was extensive, but as we wanted to enjoy the theme park attractions later on, none of us wanted alcohol, so we all ordered soft drinks.
In our group, we got a range of appetizers. I chose the Lobster-Popcorn Thai curry soup (priced at $13). It arrived in a white bowl with the lobster popcorn, and the soup was poured in front of me as a wonderful piece of theatre. It had a slight spice but was subtle enough for all to enjoy. However, because the temperature of the soup was a little cool for me, it was swiftly replaced. Others on the table had the Marinated Grilled Octopus ($16) and the Tiffins Signature Bread Service ($10). Everything was delicious, but, if you like a good bread service, you must try this one–perhaps as a sharing dish for the table?
Then, we were on to the main courses. We had heard that THE best item on the menu was the Waygu Strip Loin and Braised Short Rib ($53). It was served with rainbow carrots, roasted Peruvian potatoes, and chimichurri. The beef melted on my tongue, and the accompaniments were perfect—it was a course I never wanted to finish. Other dishes on the menu range from a Roasted Vegetable Curry ($29) to a choice of meats and fish, all cooked with African flair.
For dessert, there are currently five options. For chocolate lovers, you wont be disappointed with the South American Chocolate Ganache ($12). I chose a tasting of sorbets ($9), which was a perfect and elegant ending to my Tiffins experience.
I can highly recommend eating at Tiffins not only for the atmosphere, the decoration, and the attentive staff, but also for the highly flavorful food. My top tip is to get the dining package, as $67 worked out cheaper than ordering a la carte for me. If you get the chance, go, eat, and you’ll be very merry at the end.
If you enjoyed this post, sign up for our newsletter here. For more information dining options at Disney’s Animal Kingdom check out The Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World by Bob Sehlinger and Len Testa.