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Friday Feast: Sanaa

Sanaa Sign

This meal has been a long time in the making.  After reading numerous stellar reviews and given my love of “exotic” foods, Sanaa always sounded right up my alley.  My only barrier was B who HATES anything flavored with cumin (and I mean hates!) and isn’t a fan of Indian spiced food.  So I figured my girls only trip over Princess weekend would be  the perfect time to check it out.  Oh yeah!

After the runDisney meet up and picking all of our things up at the Expo, my partner in crime Amanda and I headed over to Sanaa for a late lunch.  This was my first time at Kidani Village and I was taken aback by how small it was.  After coming over from Jambo House, the lobby seemed tiny but eerily familiar.  We headed downstairs to check in for our 2:50 reservation.  Did you know there is a hidden Mickey  in the woven baskets on the wall next to the check-in desk??

Hidden Mickey next to the check-in desk

Hidden Mickey next to the check-in desk

The restaurant is small, but incredibly detailed to look like an outdoor African marketplace.  There are beads, artifacts and other various artwork scattered throughout the restaurant.  I love the lanterns and really wanted to steal them for my patio set at home!

Sanaa Quote

Sanaa Entrance


To the left when you enter is a really nice lounge area that I didn’t even know was there.  I will definitely be returning here for drinks and appetizers on a future trip.  I think I can probably get B to agree to that!


We were seated at a table right nice to one of the giant windows overlooking the savanna…how lucky were we?!  The restaurant was actually pretty dead at this time, which is really good to know because I’m sure you could easily get a walk up.  We were greeted by a few zebra who hung out with us the entire meal!  Our server was even taking pictures of them because she said it was very rare that they would come this close.  They must have known we were animal lovers 🙂


Whatcha eatin??

Whatcha eatin??

I told the server that I have an egg allergy and was brought a separate egg allergy specific menu.  This was the first time I’ve seen this at a Disney restaurant…super cool!!  I think I was so excited about the menu that I completely forgot to take a photo of it…total fail on my part, but here’s the link to the menu so you can see all of the fun offerings!  The chef came out as usual to consult with me on what I can and can’t eat.  I also can’t have cucumbers or squash, so she pointed out those items I should avoid.

We were there on National Margarita Day (February 22nd), so obviously we both started out with the Malawi Mango Margarita.  This is a frozen margarita with tequila, tangerine liqueur, mango puree and lime juice.  It was tasty, but a bit too sweet for my taste overall.

Malawi Mango Margarita

Malawi Mango Margarita

Margarita with a side of zebra butt??

Margarita with a side of zebra butt??

Earlier that day we gorged ourselves with delicious Kouzzina breakfast, so we weren’t going to order too much food.  I was having a really hard time deciding what to have, but we finally settled on sharing the Indian-Style Bread Service and the Slow Cooked Beef Short Ribs.

When you order the bread service, you have a choice of 3 breads and 3 accompaniments.  Let’s start with the breads.  We chose naan, garlic ginger naan and papadum.

Indian-Style Bread Service

Indian-Style Bread Service

I LOVE naan.  The texture, the flavor…everything!  This was great naan, but I couldn’t really tell the difference with the garlic ginger naan.  Usually garlic naan is incredibly strong, but I could hardly taste it here which was a tad disappointing.  I’m sure Amanda was happy about that though so she didn’t have to smell my garlic breath for the rest of the day.  The papadum was the surprise hit of the group.  It is crisp, cracker-like bread made from lentils and rice flour (gluten-free!) and has caraway seeds throughout.

For our accompaniments, we went with the mango chutney, red bell pepper hummus and tamarind chutney.  Our selection was more limited since neither one of us eat cucumbers and 3 out of the 9 choices have cucumbers, but we were very happy with what we got.

Clockwise from the top: Red Bell Pepper Hummus, Tamarind Chutney, Mango Chutney

Clockwise from the top: Red Bell Pepper Hummus, Tamarind Chutney, Mango Chutney

All 3 choices were on the sweet side, but went nicely with our bread selection.  There are some very spicy choices on the menu, but we decided to steer clear of those.  The hummus and mango chutney went really well with the naan since they were thicker.  The tamarind chutney was more like a thin sauce and was great for dipping the papadum in.  Overall, this was a hit!

As an entree, Sanaa offers a choice of two proteins that are simply slow-cooked in gravy and served with basmati rice or a five-grain pilaf.  Instead of getting two different proteins, we ordered 2 short ribs so we could each have our own little dish…genius!

Short Ribs in Gravy & Basmati Rice

Short Ribs in Gravy & Basmati Rice

Oh. My.  This was INSANELY DELICIOUS!  The short ribs were incredibly tender and just fell apart when you cut them with a fork.  And the gravy…whoa.  This was intensely flavorful with both Indian and African spices incorporated.  At the suggestion of our server, I poured the rice out on to my larger plate and then poured the short ribs and gravy all over it so it would soak up all the goodness.  This is one of the best things I’ve had on Disney property…hands down.

Gravy Goodness

Gravy Goodness

We were pretty full after all of this, so we sat and enjoyed the view while sipping the rest of our margaritas for dessert.  I’m glad we came for lunch so we could see all of the animals out on the savanna.  I would think that the experience wouldn’t be as good for dinner when it is dark out.

I really loved my meal here and can’t wait to go back and try some of the other menu items.  I think the Tandoori Chicken and the Shrimp with Green Curry are next on my list to try!

Have you been to Sanaa?  What is your favorite meal there?

11 Responses to Friday Feast: Sanaa

  1. Hey Sarah, it’s me Jennifer T, we met @ Victoria Falls last week.
    Sanaa is my fav place to dine in all of WDW…I can’t believe, a week ago today, I was there for lunch w.friends….Can’t wait to go back!

  2. Sarah,

    That looked like an incredible lunch. My husband I just returned from a 3 week trip to Africa prior to the Princess Half so I really enjoyed all the details….it is fun seeing animals up close and zebras are really beautiful. Glad you enjoyed yourselves….we may check this place out on our next trip to WDW!

    • Running at Disney

      Definitely go for lunch so you can see the animals. I’d be interested to see what you think in comparison to authentic African food!

  3. […] Running at Disney enjoys lunch at Sanaa. […]

  4. Sarah, it’s soooo hard for me to pick a favorite, I’ve tried almost everything! I think my favs are prob the bread service, and the entree I had last week-the basmati rice w/the shrimp curry and durban chicken.
    Any my fav wine is here, too-Chakalaka

  5. This is a great review! I’ve been very curious about this restaurant!

  6. […] I’ve heard so many great things about Sanaa! It is rumored to have interesting, delicious food for mostly reasonable prices.  I’m particularly looking forward to the bread service, because a variety of bread with various sauces/toppings is pretty much my ideal meal.  Also, you get to dine while watching animals on the “savannah” and it will allow me to explore the Animal Kingdom Lodge, which I’ve never seen.  All in all, I’m deeming this a necessity.  (Sample lovefest review.) […]

  7. […] An awesome overview of Running at Disney‘s recent meal at Sanaa! […]

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