I’ve visited Jiko a few times over the years, but I have recently discovered a love for this restaurant. Not only is it located at one of my favorite hotels, the Animal Kingdom Lodge, but the food is just beyond amazing. B and I ate here once and he wasn’t as big a fan as I was, so who better to bring back for an amazing meal than your best girlfriend. Enter Amanda….my foodie partner in crime! We had 2 amazing meals here this year and now Jiko is our favorite dining location in Walt Disney World. In fact, Amanda is celebrating her Mom’s birthday there tonight…Happy Birthday Mom!
Our favorite place to eat at Jiko is the Chef’s Counter. There are six seats here that overlook their partial show kitchen where they make all of the appetizers. This includes the flatbreads which are cooked one of the super hot brick ovens. The ovens get up to 685 degrees and only take 5 minutes to cook the flatbreads! The chefs (most of them) are very friendly and happy to answer any of your questions. If you’re a foodie, this is a great place to become more immersed in your meal.
Ok, some of the ingredients might be strange and unusual, but just give it a chance. How can you go wrong with this amazing bread and butter to start?! There are two kinds of bread, honey wheat and rye focaccia with flax seeds, and the butter is a sundried tomato butter combined with cilantro, turmeric and ginger. Yes, it’s amazingly delicious. Oh and if you have an egg sensitivity like I do, let them know and they will separate the bread for you…pretty cool!
On both visits, Amanda and I split the same appetizers. After having the Grilled Wild Boar Tenderloin for the first time, I’ve pretty much been dreaming about it ever since. The meat is insanely tender, the pap (a traditional African corn porridge) is amazingly creamy and the spices are insane. This tiny little appetizer packs a flavorful punch!
Amanda and I are cheese addicts…if there’s a cheese plate on the menu, we’re getting it! Jiko has a great one with some interesting accouterments, including a date and mango jam, ground pumpkin seeds, plum gelee and a honey crisp.
Mouth watering yet? Let’s move on to the entrees. The most famous entree at Jiko is their Oak-Grilled Filet Mignon. When the restaurant first opened, it came with an amazing Mac & Cheese. The menu was changed to the current Spoonbread Souffle, which I’m sure is good, but no comparison to the Mac & Cheese. Good news, you can still request it and the kitchen is happy to oblige!
If you’re a fan of beef, you might also like the Short Ribs. These are perfectly tender, but beware that they are quite spicy. Amanda ordered this on our first visit and while I thought the beef was good, it was a bit too spicy for me.
On our second visit, we both went the seafood route at the suggestion of our amazing waiter Hassan (who we had both times!). I was ready to get the Filet Mignon again, but was also intrigued by the Yellow Snapper. And I’m so glad he convinced me to go with that! The Pan-seared Yellow Snapper with Tea-smoked Lentils is beyond amazing. I’m going to go out on a limb and say that it was probably the best dish I’ve had in WDW. The sauce is a Citrus-Curry Beurre Blanc and if I could put this on everything I would. Basically, order this dish….
Sigh…I want that right now. Amanda ordered another delicious seafood dish, West African “Jerked” Scallops. Girl likes the spicy stuff! These were very good and I particularly enjoyed the Coconut Curry Sauce. However the baby carrots were very underdone and hard to eat…boo.
Well there’s always room for dessert, right? Jiko has a very interesting dessert and after dinner drink menu, and me, I’m more partial to liquid desserts.
Most of the desserts have eggs, so I steered clear of those. But Amanda raved about both the Coffee Creme Brûlée and the Chocolate Cake. They look delicious!
I did try their sorbets, Coconut and I can’t remember the 2nd flavor!, which were quite good. Great egg-free option!
Now the after dinner drinks…I tried both the Zebratini and the Nutty African. YUM! The Zebratini was a bit too sweet for me, but the Nutty African was right up my alley!
Yowza…that’s a good meal! I wish I was there right now! Look how happy I was after my last meal there…
Have you eaten at Jiko? What is your favorite dish there?