Monday, June 6, 2016

Nomad Lounge - Disney's Animal Kingdom

This post was last updated June 13, 2017

Last Friday, we had dinner at Nomad Lounge at Disney's Animal Kingdom.

Nomad Lounge is located next to Tiffins, Disney's newest signature dining restaurant.

You can find Nomad Lounge and Tiffins behind Pizzafari, just outside the entrance to Pandora, which opens next year.

Nomad Lounge, which does not accept advance dining reservations, serves small plates and drinks from around the world.

We arrived around 5:00, and as you can see, there was plenty of available patio seating.  

We chose to sit inside, because it was over 90 degrees on Friday, and we were happy to have a chance to sit and relax, and enjoy some air conditioning.

When I asked our server James about gluten free options, he said he would get a chef for me.  Nomad Lounge and Tiffins, which are Disney owned and operated, currently do not have allergy-friendly menus, because they both opened within the last two weeks, but hopefully that will change in the near future.  The chef I spoke to told me that I had come to the right place, because everything on the small plates menu is gluten free.  He mentioned that they use gluten free tamari instead of soy sauce, and ingredients like corn starch instead of flour.

If you are concerned that Nomad Lounge's menu is not kid friendly, there is no need to worry, because you can order off the Kids' Menu from neighboring Tiffins.

The drink menu at Nomad Lounge is huge, and features beer, wine, and specialty cocktails from around the world.  I usually only drink water, but I decided to celebrate our last day in a Disney World theme park this year with one of their non-alcoholic drinks.  

I told our server James that I don't particularly like guava or passion fruit, which are in a lot of the specialty cocktails at Nomad Lounge, so he recommended the Balinese Breeze, a non-alcoholic version of the Dalang's Delight, which features decaffeinated berry tea, simple syrup and lemon juice.  It was not overly sweet, and it was so perfectly refreshing on such a hot day in Orlando.

James told us that I would be able to eat the bread service, because the papadum and all the accompaniments are gluten free.  Jiko, Boma and Sanaa at Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge used to serve gluten free papadum, which is thin and crunchy, and is often made from lentil or chickpea flour.  It disappeared for a while because of a supplier issue, but I heard it is back at Jiko.  My papadum and accompaniments arrived in a Tiffin, which is a tiered container that working men in India ate light lunches out of.  My gluten-eating husband and daughters were given a separate Tiffin with papadum, and gluten-filled naan and focaccia.

The papadum was the best I have ever had at Disney, and I loved it drizzled with some of the pomegranate, molasses and olive oil mixture.  I also liked the black-eyed pea hummus, but wasn't crazy about the harissa yogurt or the lime chutney.

We decided to skip the seasonal fish balls, seared Wagyu beef, and house-made head cheese and chicken liver pate small plates.  The vegetarian summer rolls were not the best I have had at a restaurant, and my girls, who usually like summer rolls, were not impressed.  The ponzu sauce they were served with was too spicy for their taste, so my husband ate most of our two orders.

We were all excited to try the Indian butter chicken wings with crispy black rice and pickled vegetables.  I loved the crunchiness of the crispy black rice, and the pickled vegetables were amazing, but I had hoped that the butter chicken wings would be crispier and a little sweeter.  My husband and my daughter Emma liked the wings more than Katie and I did.  I wouldn't say I disliked them, but we regretted ordering four portions of them, because the ribs were our favorite small plate at Nomad Lounge.

The honey-glazed coriander-spiced pork ribs at Nomad Lounge were some of the best ribs I have ever had at a restaurant.  We all loved them, because they were a little bit sweet from the honey, and so flavorful from all the herbs they used.  I definitely regret not asking for the recipe.

My daughters loved my Balinese Breeze, so we ordered three more before we had dessert.  Next time, I would like to try the Hibiscus Henna with watermelon, hibiscus, soda water, and lime juice.

It turns out that the caramel-chocolate cake with fresh compressed strawberries and chocolate lava on the Tiffins kids' menu is gluten free, so we ordered one for dessert, along with the Taste of Tiffins, the only dessert on Nomad Lounge's menu.  The caramel-chocolate cake was very good, and tasted like a flourless chocolate cake.

The Taste of Tiffins features bold dark chocolate with passion fruit curd, Egyptian sea salt, Sri Lankan chantilly, and hibiscus meringue.  The dessert was beautiful, and I loved how our server poured a simple syrup infused with lime around the larger bowl, which was filled with herbs.  After reading a review of Nomad Lounge on, I realized that we did not receive a hibiscus meringue with our dessert, which I was told was gluten free as is.

The dark chocolate ganache itself was small, but it is best enjoyed in small bites.  Mitch and I both dipped it in the simple syrup, which had fruity and floral notes that nicely complimented the intense dark chocolate.  The chocolate tulle on top of the ganache, along with the candied basil and sea salt, were perfect accompaniments for this dessert, which impressed both my husband and I in taste and presentation.

Even though we did not love all of the small plates we tired, we loved the experience of dining at Nomad Lounge.  The drinks, bread service, ribs, and desserts were amazing, and we enjoyed the relaxing atmosphere of Nomad Lounge with its comfortable seating and great service.

I am looking forward to dining at Nomad Lounge again when we return to Walt Disney World for vacation in 2017.  You can read more about Nomad Lounge, and view their menu and hours on Disney's website here

June 12, 2017 Update

Earlier today, my daughters and I stopped at Nomad Lounge for a cold drink, and some rest and relaxation as we waited for the next Festival of the Lion King Show to start.  We all ordered a Balinese Breeze, which we enjoyed on our last visit.  We sat outside, because it was not too hot today, and the views are nicer than our last visit, because Pandora - The World of Avatar is open.

Even though we did not plan on eating anything, I asked our server about gluten free options.  She told me that all of the small plates are gluten free, or can be modified to be gluten free.  Gluten free buns are available for the sliders.  Sarah from Gluten-Free & Dairy-Free at WDW has tried the selection of artisanal cheeses.  You can read her review here.  

June 13, 2017 Update

After posting an update about Nomad Lounge on my blog's Facebook page yesterday, Heather, one of my blog readers, shocked me by asking if I had tried the churros.  I just assumed when our server told me that all the small plates could be made gluten free that she was not including the dessert.  Wow, was I wrong.  

Even though we were not hungry yesterday when we stopped at Nomad Lounge, I most certainly would have been ordering churros if I had known they were gluten free.  Heather described them as outstanding, and said that even her gluten-eating friend she shared them with thought they were fantastic.  She said that the vanilla bean and the strawberry chili sauces, which she ended up swirling together, were amazing as well.  I sure hope these churros are still on the menu when we return to Disney World in November.  A big thank you to Heather K. for sharing her picture and telling me about the churros.  

June 21, 2017 Update

Since I added the update about the churros, several of my blog readers have visited Nomad Lounge to try them.  I have learned that they are not dairy free, and that they are made with Cup4Cup flour.  I love this quote from Jessica K. - "Okay, without being dramatic, these churros are literally the best thing I have ever eaten."  She then went on to say that the churros were phenomenal and that they melt in your mouth, and that the dipping sauces were heaven. 

You can read my most recent review of Nomad Lounge here

What are your favorite gluten free options at Nomad Lounge?


  1. We've never stopped here before, but have an upcoming trip. Am I correct in understanding that we could stop here for a bit just for drinks & dessert?

  2. Ribs are so delicious! Be sure to squeeze the lime on them. I was hesitant at first but the lime enhances the flavor 100% oh my the ribs are awesome!