I had the opportunity on my recent weekend at Walt Disney World to dine at Sanaa twice. I was so excited to even have one chance to eat there, as I love the other restaurants at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge probably more than any other on Disney property – not that I don’t enjoy many of the restaurants.
My first trip to Sanaa was with Brighid, and we were meeting my Disney World Moms Panel BFFs Joanne, Kay, and Cathy – along with her husband. We’ll just call him Manny for the time being 😉
As you ALL no doubt know by now, I’ve had gastric bypass surgery. Unfortunately, the further I get from my surgery, the hungrier I seem to be, so I wanted to order one of everything on the menu. Thank goodness, Brighid is a fairly small eater, so I was able to con her into sharing everything with me. A wonderful feature of the Sanaa menu is the sampler options, which allows you to taste several items without destroying the diet you’re supposed to be on. Alright, the diet I’m supposed to be on.
Sanaa is the Swahili word for Work of Art, and the restaurant is beautiful. There are pieces of art everywhere, on the wall, above your head, with everything seemingly connected by a giant tree. There were vibrant colors mingling with neutrals, and the restaurant just had a warmth about it.
To begin, Brighid and I opted for the appetizer sampler. Had I seen it earlier, we might have ordered the bread service, but the appetizer sampler was at the top of the menu, and allowed us to taste several of the menu items. The first thing we tried was the vegetarian samosa. Potatoes and peas combined with a spicy heat in this fried offering that resembles an empanada. When Brighid commented that it was spicy, I opted not to try it for fear I might not be able to eat anything else. She did, however, inhale her portion.
Next on the platter was a pulled duck in a red curry that was amazing! It was served over a five grain rice, which was crunchy and delicious, but the duck was delectable. I could have made this my entire meal and been a happy girl.
The final offering on the sampler platter was roasted cauliflower, and I have to say, it was good, but it was just roasted cauliflower. We had hoped for something more exotic in the preparation or in the seasoning, but it was JUST roasted cauliflower.
The sampler thing was working for me, so when I suggested we do the same with our entree, Brighid agreed – like she had a choice 😉 We ordered the chicken in red curry and the braised beef short ribs as our entrees, and we decided to try the basmati rice. The ribs were so tender, you barely needed a fork to break them apart. They were flavorful and delicious, and you could eat them with a spoon, they were so tender. The chicken was also very good, but compared to the pulled duck in the red curry, the chicken was like the red headed stepchild of, well, red curry options. The basmati rice was also good, but not nearly as good as the five grain rice we had with the duck earlier.
There is no way I am able to eat anything else, but Joanne offers to do a dessert sampler with Brighid. On the platter was a flourless chocolate cake with a mango sorbet; the chai cream with tea tuile; and another frozen mango pudding type thing that was very light and refreshing. I took a tiny bite of the chai cream, and it was quite good, light, and creamy. The mango pudding was dense and cold, a bit hard to break into with a fork, but tasty. I didn’t try the chocolate cake, but it did look very good. Brighid declared it a winner, but I think the chai cream was her favorite.
The only bad thing about the entire evening was the service. Oh. My. Goodness. I didn’t think we would ever get out of here – and Jellyrolls was waiting for our arrival! Drinks didn’t get refilled, incorrect items that were delivered to the table weren’t replaced very quickly with the right items, and Simon (which rhymes with Timon) seemed just incredibly overwhelmed.
But, when you are surrounded by great company and good food, you can overlook a lot. We did, and Simon got a generous tip regardless.