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Sanaa | The Art of African Cooking with Indian Flavors

Experiences and travel provided by Disneynature & Disney Parks. As always, all opinions stated in Sanaa | The Art of African Cooking with Indian Flavors are all my own.

I like food. All types and kinds of food. But it hasn’t always been like that. Growing up I was a very picky eater, but as I’ve gotten older matured my palate has changed and I like foods I hated when I was younger. But at home, I kind of live in a little bubble and don’t venture out of my comfort spots very often. So that means I visit the same grocery store for groceries, the same stores for clothes, and even the same restaurants when we eat out. And since my husband’s palate hasn’t matured all the way yet, our choices are pretty slim. So when I was in Florida a couple weeks ago for the Monkey Kingdom Event, I got out of my comfort zone and had the opportunity to try Indian flavors at Sanaa in Kidani Village at Disney’s Animal Kingdom.

You can 'Dine with an Animal Specialist' at Sanaa in Disney's Animal Kingdom.

The restaurant is situated in the middle of the savanna with an extraordinary view of the animals. It is beautifully decorated with handcrafted wares, reminiscent of a traditional spice market. The servers were all exquisitely dressed and I felt like I’d walked into an eatery in East Africa.

You can 'Dine with an Animal Specialist' at Sanaa in Disney's Animal Kingdom.

During my meal at Sanaa I did not have the opportunity to browse the menu because I was with a large group and they had a predetermined menu lined up for us. We started with a bread service that included three different kinds of breads along with an assortment of accompaniments. I could have made a meal of the bread service alone. The different accompaniments ranged from sweet to get-me-a-fire-extinguisher hot, but I enjoyed each of them. My favorite was the Roasted Red Bell Pepper Hummus.

You can 'Dine with an Animal Specialist' at Sanaa in Disney's Animal Kingdom.

After the bread service we were served a trio of fresh salads including Chickpeas with Cucumber and Tomato; Watermelon, Cucumber and Fennel; and what looked like a Caprese Salad, although I don’t see it mentioned online. I had a healthy serving of each salad and liked the flavors of each one. My favorite was the Chickpeas with Cucumber and Tomato.

While we were eating at Sanaa, we were also talking with Greg Peccie about the Dine with an Animal Specialist dining experience, and Dr. Sanjayan about Monkey Kingdom, so during our conversations I forgot to take a photo of the main dish. But, I do know we had the Basmati Rice served with Butter Chicken and Goan Seafood Curry. I was a fan of the Butter Chicken and the Basmati Rice, but the Goan Seafood Curry was different from anything I’ve eaten before. I did eat a few bites, but it wasn’t my favorite.

You can 'Dine with an Animal Specialist' at Sanaa in Disney's Animal Kingdom.

After the entrees were eaten and plates removed, a trio of desserts arrived at the table. And although I was ridiculously stuffed at this point, I still ate them (or at least took a bite of each one). The Dessert Trio includes Tanzanian Chocolate Mousse (with a chocolate butterfly on top), Coconut Cheesecake, and African-inspired ice cream that I can remember the name of. Surprisingly, although to me chocolate is its own food group and what keeps my soul happy, my favorite was the ice cream.

Eating at Sanaa provides a fun, themed dining experience for the whole family. Reservations are strongly encouraged and can be made up to 180 days in advance. The restaurant is open for both lunch and dinner.

If you haven’t already seen Monkey Kingdom, go see it! It’s such a good movie and will give you an up-close look into the life of a monkey. And you just might fall in love with Maya and Kip.

About Crystal

Crystal Reagan, the owner and founder of SimplyBeingMommy.com lives in Small Town, Texas with her husband and 3 children. Crystal and her website have been featured on local and national news stations including Channel 2 Houston and ABC News. She has also appeared on BetterTV as a Mommy Expert for VTech.


  1. 1

    I have heard great things about this restaurant, but have not been there yet. My kids are picky, so I was waiting until they got a little older.

  2. 2

    That sounds like such an amazing restaurant. I love trying nee exotic flavors like this.

  3. 4

    EVERYTHING that Disney does is perfect! I think that it is great to step outside of our comfort zone – it’s one way of discovering things that we just might like after all.

  4. 5

    This sounds like an adventure worth doing with the family. The food looks good too. I am sure many people love this place.

  5. 6

    It sounds delicious! I will be sampling some Indian food tomorrow evening. I’ve never really had it. From what you features, it sounds delicious. I like stepping out of my comfort zone every now and then.

  6. 7

    Wow – these dishes look amazing and this is definitely someplace that I would love to eat! I haven’t had Indian food in forever and I’m not sure I’ve ever had African food so I’m sure it would be a tasty experience!

  7. 8

    I have always wanted to try out Sanaa! The food looks scrumptious, and I bet the flavors are wonderful! And we can’t wait to see Monkey Kingdom, my daughter adores all things animals and I love that the film is a chance for her to learn more about them.

  8. 9

    My favorite part of that meal was the dessert trio. Simply amazing!! I want to take the fam back there. 🙂

  9. 10

    This place does sound like a really cool place to eat. I definitely have to a meal there!

  10. 11

    Oh everything looks so good. I would like to try that chickpea salad.

  11. 12

    This restaurant sound wonderful! I love trying new foods, my son and husband not so much. I wish they were as adventurous as me!

  12. 13

    This looks like such a fun place to eat! The food sounds delicious.

  13. 14

    I’m going to have to try them the next time we’re in AK! Everything looks delicious and I agree with you about the bread service!

  14. 15

    This looks awesome! Everything looks so good! Been hearing great things!

  15. 16

    I love the view of the savanna from the restaurant too! What an amazing meal and amazing Disney experience!

  16. 17

    I’m in the same boat as you when it comes to my expanding palate. Now I embrace trying new foods! The entire Sanaa experience sounds amazing from start to finish. I’d love to eat there someday!

  17. 18

    Some times it’s more fun to NOT choose your meal. The food looks amazing. Glad you had such a great tie.

  18. 19

    Oh, wow – I need to eat there. Everything looks delicious and the desserts look really pretty too!

  19. 20

    All that food looks so good! I’d love to visit one day.

  20. 22

    I know you guys had a blast, that food looks amazing. I really need to visit.

  21. 23

    Wow that was a beautiful meal! It paired so beautifully with the Monkey Kingdom trip.

  22. 24

    I find I run into the same problem – always cooking the comfort foods, always going to the same restaurants. It’s good to get out of our comfort zones once in a while and this looks like an awesome place to do it!

  23. 25

    That all looks amazing! Yum!

  24. 26

    I love that basket wall! The food looks great

  25. 27

    I am willing to try most any food–but have to watch out for too spicy or greasy or I end up in literal agony all night long. I really do want to see that movie!!

  26. 28

    It sounds like such a unique experience. Not only does the food all sound amazing but you get to know a little more about the animals around you.

  27. 29

    What a fun dining experience! I love trying new foods and encouraging my girls to do the same. It’s important to nurture that curiosity and keep expanding our palates.

  28. 30

    MMMM!! Sounds like a fun restaurant! My palate has matured, too, but not as much as I would have liked. The chocolate mousse would be my top pick!

  29. 31

    I would love to try all these foods! My family is so picky though I’d have to go without them,

  30. 32

    The little trio of desserts looks amazing. So cute and pretty. I am all over that Naan. I love going to Indian and Mediterranean style restaurants that serve homemade Naan. Its best with hummus.

  31. 33

    I’m excited to see Monkey Kingdom! I’d love to go to this restaurant- we studied Africa in elementary school & there was a day when we all had to make African foods & there was a party- and I was sick that day and missed it. I’m still bitter about it {obviously} almost 20 years later!

  32. 34

    I do want to see the movie. The previews make it look really cute.

  33. 35

    I was insulted when my Aunt told me that “I didn’t know what I liked” and that one day m y”palette would improve.” Young Yolanda could not imagine me eating things like shrimp and sushi. LOL Sanaa sounds like a great place to test out my mature palette.

  34. 36

    I am such a wimp when it comes to trying new foods. It all looks pretty delicious.

  35. 37

    This looks like an amazing place to eat! I love that food so much!

  36. 38

    All of that food looks delicious! I can’t wait to try out Sanaa when we visit Disney next year!

  37. 39

    I love trying new foods. This meal looks amazing!

  38. 40

    I’ve eaten a few places at the Animal Kingdom, but not Sanaa. Sounds like I need to put this on my list for our next visit!

  39. 41

    We haven’t seen the movie yet, but hopefully this weekend. And oh my, that food looks ah-mazing!

  40. 42

    That bread looks good. What a nice place.

  41. 43

    Sanaa looks really nice. I would love to experience the atmosphere and the flavors of the food.

  42. 44

    I can’t wait to try Sanaa! I like to try new foods but even more my princes would love it here!

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