Best Restaurants to Eat at in Animal Kingdom

By Christina

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Animal Kingdom is the largest park in Orlando’s Disney World. While it can be easy to overlook dining reservations when fastpasses, character meet and greets, and Safari finds are at the forefront of the magical experience, they’re equally as necessary. Any sit down restaurants in the Animal Kingdom will open for reservations on Disney’s website 180 days in advance. Believe it or not, some of those restaurants will fill up within hours of opening slots that are six months away. Planning is essential when traveling to Animal Kingdom, and planning for food is especially important when traveling with a group.

8 Best Places to Eat at in Animal Kingdom

There are a total of six table service restaurants and 23 quick service stops where you can find park-themed drinks and snacks. Below you’ll find the top destinations to eat within the Animal Kingdom for all your needs, wants, and cravings.

Satu’li Canteen – Health Conscious or Vegetarian

Satu’li Canteen Entrance in Pandora – The World of Avatar.
Satu’li Canteen Entrance in Pandora – The World of Avatar.

The Satu’li Canteen is located in the World of Avatar. It is categorized as a fast casual stop that accepts mobile orders. Think of it as a step up from Chipotle, as the concept is similar when it comes to creating your own bowls by picking your own base, sauce, and protein. With that being said, the presentation is much more upscale and unique.

For the vegetarians out there, fried tofu with chili-spice is one of the many options. Another must-try is their iconic “pods”. These bao buns are stuffed with either hamburger meat or vegetable-curry filling, making for a delicious meal. For the less adventurous kiddies, options include traditional foods like quesadillas, hot dogs, and hamburgers.

The coolest non-alcoholic beverage on the menu is called the Pandoran Sunrise. It’s a combination of pineapple, mango, lime, and melon juice with the options of it being served in a Na’vi flute cup and a glowing “unadelta seed” to make it bioluminescent for an extra charge. As for alcoholic beverages, the menu gets cretive with craft beers and sangria.

Even though it’s a quick service spot with counter service and trays, they do serve their food on real plates with real utensils which is a step above. The atmosphere overall is really nice and there are plenty of seating options to choose from once you have your food.

Satu’li Canteen reviews on Yelp

Harambe Market – Quick, but Ethnic

Harambe Market at Disney's Animal Kingdom
Harambe Market at Disney’s Animal Kingdom

The Harambe Market features four different walk-up windows with different offerings, making for a great lunch stop for a group with different cravings. While you will find a vegetarian bowl including roasted vegetables, rice, salad and salsa, the main draws are the African-style spiced meats, most notably the ribs bowl and the chicken and lamb gyro. The kid’s menu offers uncrustables, corn dogs, and chicken bowls.

The best sweet choice on the menu is their “Most Beautiful” coconut cake topped with coconut mouse and a pineapple center. Less unique are the shaved ice options, but even better are the alcoholic shaved ice options on the menu. The Pina Colado shaved ice is perfect for a hot Orlando day.

*NEW* Circle of Flavors: Harambe at Night is a new dining adventure coming to Animal Kingdom. Guests are able to make reservations for the activity-filled buffet night. The welcome reception is features ethnic appetizer-like foods where your party will receive their boarding passes to get on the train to travel to Rafiki’s Plant Watch (where more food awaits). All along the way to the main course, which takes place at Harambe’s Market, adults can find specialty drinks. There will be a total of six entree stations, a dessert station, and a drinks station. This night costs $125 per adult and $99 per child. Though a bit pricey, it seems like a night filled with adventure both physically and culinary.

Harmabe Market reviews on Yelp

Yak & Yeti Local Foods Cafe – Quick Breakfast in the Park

Yak and Yeti Local Foods Cafe at Disney's Animal Kingdom.
Yak and Yeti Local Foods Cafe at Disney’s Animal Kingdom.

The counter service Yak & Yeti cafe has some excellent options for both lunch and dinner, but is one of the only, and best fast breakfast finds in the park. Here you can get the most traditional breakfast sandwiches with eggs, cheese, bacon, or sausages. You can even opt out of the sandwich route by going with a breakfast bowl. Try the hash browns as a side!

As for lunch and dinner, there’s not many options for the non-meat eaters out there, so this wouldn’t be your spot. Some of the standout options on the menu are the Kobe beef hot dogs, honey chicken, and teriyaki beef bowl. Note that all of the seating here is outdoors, so if it’s raining, plan on stopping by another day. Like many of the other themed spots in the park, the cafe has a small bar that offers specialty drinks, specifically the Animal Kingdom’s Safari Amber beer.

Yak & Yeti Local Foods Cafe reviews on Yelp

Yak & Yeti – Sit-Down Asian Food 

Yak and Yeti Restaurant at Disney's Animal Kingdom
Yak and Yeti Restaurant at Disney’s Animal Kingdom

This Yak & Yeti isn’t to be confused with with Yak & Yeti counter service cafe. This sit down restaurant is a two story table service with eclectic and detailed decor. From the outside of the building, you wouldn’t expect much, but once you’re seated, it’s actually a very relaxing setting with a great presentation of food.

While this might be an underrated restaurant, it’s more popular than you would think, and definitely requires advanced reservations. There’s nearly always a line out the door of people waiting to be seated in a queue for diners who put their names on the walk up list.

As for the food, the options are pretty lengthy so a good suggestion is to order a few things for the table to share. Potentially with this in mind, Yak & Yeti has a section of their menu categorized as shareables, which are plates meant for two people. This includes the famous ahi tuna nachos, an excellent twist on a popular plate. You’ll also find noodles and bowls, specialty meals that are for the more adventurous foodies, wok options, and traditional grilled choices.

If you’re dining with a picky eater, but want to spend the day in Animal Kingdom, this is one of the best places to sit down for a good meal. You’ll find that other sit down restaurants stick quite closely to the African and pan-Asian theme.

Yak & Yeti reviews on Yelp

Tiffins – Exotic Food / Upscale

Tiffins is the only fine dining location in the Animal Kingdom. It will be one of the best surprises of your Disney dining experience if you choose to give it a go. Let it be said that if you’re looking for any of the typical American food finds, you’re in the wrong spot because practically everything on the menu is uniquely eccentric. Even though some of the dishes sound pretty traditional, like butter chicken or surf & turf, you’re in for a whirlwind of fantastic flavors.

For starters, make sure to check out the signature bread service and the spiced chickpeas falafel. All of the options are truly great in their own way and the variety of entrees serves diners well. Choose from braised lamb shank, pan-seared halibut, shrimp and grits, spiced tofu and more. There are actually some really unique options for vegetarians too. For dessert, the Tiffins Trio is a no brainer. Try three of their signature desserts including chocolate ganache, whipped cheesecake, and caramel mousse.

Like all fine dining restaurants, the drink list is long and thorough. For a chance to explore the different flavors, try a wine flight that includes three different wines at 3 oz. each.

The overall atmosphere of the restaurant is special, too. If you ask your waiter about the design of the place and how the decor and artifacts fit together with the theme, they’ll be armed with the background story. Most all of the statues, paintings, and wall hangings are taken from other places and retired attractions from the rest of Disney parks. Some of the artwork is research-turned-decoration of imagineers that gathered information on places around the world as they traveled to get a better understanding of what Disney’s Animal Kingdom should encompass.

This is a restaurant you need to go into with an open mind and allow yourself to be pleasantly surprised. The prices are somewhat high, but you’re paying for quality food and a quality experience.

Tiffins reviews on Yelp

Tusker House – Character Dining

Tusker House Restaurant at Disney's Animal Kingdom.
Tusker House Restaurant at Disney’s Animal Kingdom.

Tusker House is one of the cheapest character dining experiences you’ll find in Disney World. It’s a great option is you’re not paying with a Disney dining plan. For breakfast, adults pay $41, and kids pay $24.00. For lunch and dinner, adults pay $54.00, and kids pay $32.00. A really great option for dining with families, Tusker House includes a good amount of authentic food but also offers enough traditional foods for anyone to enjoy their experience.

For breakfast, some of the options include bacon, sausage, waffles, frittata, potatoes and cereal. For lunch and dinner you’ll find slightly more African-themed dishes like tabbouleh and hummus dips, curries, roasted pork, roasted chicken, and basmati rice. Overall, there’s something for everyone and because it’s a buffet you can fill your plate as much as you want.

Tusker House is also offering a special dining option for the nighttime Rivers of Light show with a front and center view. Because those seats are first come first serve with a voucher, if you’re going this route it’s suggested to show up 15-20 minutes early.

Tusker House reviews on Yelp

Flame Tree Barbecue – BBQ

Flame Tree Barbecue at Disney's Animal Kingdom.
Flame Tree Barbecue at Disney’s Animal Kingdom.

Flame Tree Barbeque is a counter service bbq joint with some delicious dishes. There is only outdoor seating for this somewhat hidden gem, which is odd because of how popular the food is. However, there are plenty of outdoor seating options with canopies, so unless it’s pouring rain, you have some shelter.

It’s location in Discovery Island is somewhat secluded and so it’s even better at night because of the dark ambiance, especially when the nighttime show is going on. There is a single plant-based sandwich offering, but the bulk of the menu includes meals like mac & cheese with pulled pork, chicken, and ribs. As a side, try the cheese fries with pulled pork!

Flame Tree Barbecue reviews on Yelp

Pizzafari – Cheap Family-Style Dining

Pizzafari restaurant at Disney's Animal Kingdom
Pizzafari restaurant at Disney’s Animal Kingdom

Pizzafari is the most basic restaurant in the Animal Kingdom because it’s not themed to fit the park overall, rather just its Dino-Land section. The very traditional American-Italian menu includes baked ziti, garlic knots, meatball marinara, and pizza. It’s probably your best bet if you’re dining with young children or particularly picky eaters.

The casual dining spot isn’t anything over the top special, but it’s a good choice for the price and quantity of food you’ll get. The way the family style portions work is by choosing two entrees, paired with miniature cannolis, and appetizer choices. For adults, the cost is $22, and for kids, it’s $12.99. Pizzafari is a great bang for your buck.

Pizzafari reviews on Yelp

Honorable Mentions

Karibu! sign cold drinks at Disney's Animal Kingdom
Karibu! sign cold drinks at Disney’s Animal Kingdom

Some honorable mentions for the Animal Kingdom include the RainForest Cafe, which you’ll find upon entering the park. Although it was left out of the above list because it’s not unique to Disney, it’s a great experience and atmosphere for those who have never been to one elsewhere in the country. Eight Spoon Cafe is another quick service spot located in Discovery Island that serves nothing but creative mac & cheese dishes.

The Animal Kingdom is probably the best park to explore the flavors of the land, so while those who are willing to try new things will find the dining experiences here exceptional, those with a less risky palette won’t be as pleased. Regardless, there’s something for everyone in the park, you just have to do a bit of digging.

harambe fruit market snacks at Disney's Animal Kingdom
harambe fruit market snacks at Disney’s Animal Kingdom

What’s your favorite restaurant at Animal Kingdom? Let us know in the comments below.

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