Today we talk about one of our favorite restaurants located at Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge. It's Jiko, The cooking place.
Jiko is a Fine/Signature Dining restaurant at Animal Kingdom with a seasonally changing blend of African, Indian and Mediterranean cuisines. It's open for dinner only Saturday through Sunday 5:30 until 10:00 p.m. Reservations can be obtained up to 180 days prior to your visit. 407-938-4733
According to the number of menus I have this was our 5th time at Jiko. I had four other menus before this visit although I only have two other dates for our dining here. April of 2013 and December of 2015 then again in May of 2019. So there must have been two visits were we either paid cash or were treated to dinner by some loving family member.
First I'll touch on this visit then include the photos of the previous menus so you can compare them if you like.
Jiko is a beautiful restaurant located on the first floor of Animal Kingdom Lodge.
They have a very extensive wine cellar so if you are a wine lover you will be happy here.
They have beautiful art works from the region on display in the restaurant as well as the rest of the hotel.
The decor of the restaurant is breathtaking.
Our favorite place to eat is what's known as "the cooking place" it's the little bar that seats only up to four persons at a time, that overlooks the kitchen where the appetizers are made. You can sit and speak to the chefs and ask questions about what they are making. They are very personable and will answer just about anything. We like the interaction with the chefs so we like sitting there. But we have dined here at the tables and it's a more romantic atmosphere there.
Today we were surprised to see a change in the menu. Now it's presented in this beautiful cover. Previously they were standard paper menus as you will see later.
To begin with we were given a small glass of regional tea. Flavored with peppermint and spearmint. I believe this is used as a palate cleanser in preparation for the meal.
Since it was a special night for us we also enjoyed a little bit of bubbly.
The cooking place eating area is situated on the two big open hearth ovens that they use to cook flatbreads, and regional breads for the evening.
What most people don't know is that one of the largest hidden Mickeys is located here. If you look at the top of the two ovens you will see a classic Mickey on the ceiling.
Our dinner service started with their house bread and whipped honey butter. This bread was wonderful with a little reminiscent of rye bread due to the caraway seeds on top.
The menu this evening consisted of the following...
For our appetizer we chose the Taste of Africa, it is a combination of African inspired dips and Papadum, Sesame Fatir, and house made Flax Seed Naan. The last three are the breads. The one on the left was a pineapple chutney, second is hummus, the third was spicy but I can't remember the name and the fourth was a yogurt that was supposed to have an herb mixture but we asked for that to be left off because it included cilantro. The off white item in front of the dips is actually a goat milk butter. It had more of a consistency of cheese on the tray but as soon as it hit your mouth it melted. The breads were divine, one crunchy, one with seeds and the last a soft Naan bread. We do enjoy this a lot. I believe we get this every time we've been there. It's a way to experience the regional flavors in one dish.
On a previous trip eating here we were given the following card to explain the Taste of Africa. I believe some of the items are still the same but some have changed.
For Entrees we chose the following, each getting our own on this visit.
I had asked if there was anything on the menu that had cilantro that wasn't noted on the menu and was told that the braised items are braised in a liquid that does have cilantro as one of it's herbs so best to stay clear of those.
So I chose the Sustainable Vulcan Spiced Fish, this is a whole fish served with head and tail but the main bones are removed. There are still a few bones at the spine but for the most part they do remove them. This was served with a Green papaya Atchar (atchar means pickle) and tomato butter sauce. The atchar had a nice tanginess. The fish was cooked to perfection. The photo makes it look a bit ominous the fish does't actually have its mouth open it's a shadow. And everyone has asked what the round red item is on the plate, that is a watermelon radish.
Hubby had the Cocoa-Crusted Bison served with Butternut Gnopi (I cannot find any reference to Gnopi so I'm not sure what that refers to), glazed root vegetables, port poached pears and ghana chocolate demi-glace (demi-glace is a sauce reduced by half and strained). I had a taste of this and I say think of Bison as a very intense beef flavor that is tender and has much less fat. It's divine.
Next up is the Desserts menu. Inside is the After Dinner Drinks and Desserts.
From this menu we chose the Malva Pudding. It's a Melktart (Africans for Milk Tart) Ice Cream, Kataifi (thin strands of pastry dough similar to filo shreads in texture), Kanu Tuile (tuile is a cookie) and a Cabernet Gelee. This was a wonderful dessert indicative of the flavors of Africa.
We were also given these two cute little after dinner truffles. By then I couldn't eat another bite so Hubby ate both of these.
On the back of the dessert menu are the Specialty Teas
Here are some of our previous menus from Jiko.
We want to give a shout out to the wonderful server this evening, Benjamin. He did a great job. And the girls behind the counter that entertained our every question. Thank you guys so much.
All in all Jiko as I mentioned is one of our favorites. And I am not a lover of African foods. So this says a lot. Some of their spices aren't to my liking but this restaurant has never let me down in delivering something spectacular. So if you get a chance to visit Jiko by all means do.
Don't forget to check out the...
Blog Posts coming soon
- BJ's Brewhouse
- Grand Floridian Cafe
- Havana's Cuban Cafe
- Wind and Waves
- Woody's Barbecue
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- Tags: Animal Kingdom Lodge, Disney Dining, Disney Dining Plan, Disney Food, Disney Restaurants, Eating at Disney World, Jiko, Tables in Wonderland