Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Sanaa Lunch - Kidani Village at Disney's Animal Kingdom Villas

Earlier today, my daughters and I had lunch at Sanaa at Disney's Animal Kingdom Villas - Kidani Village.  Sanaa is a table service restaurant featuring African cooking with Indian flavors, and great views of the animals on the savanna outside.

Sanaa is one of my family's favorite restaurants at Disney for lunch and dinner, and is featured in the following blog posts: My Favorite Table Service Restaurants at Disney,  Best Disney Restaurants without a Park Pass, Best of 2014 - Disney, and two posts in my series The Best Thing I Ever Ate at Disney - Gluten Free Appetizers and Gluten Free Desserts.

Sanaa used to have a gluten free menu, but now they have one of the allergy-friendly menus that are being introduced at all Disney-owned table service restaurants between April and September of this year.  Allergy-friendly menus list dishes that are safe for people with gluten/wheat, egg, milk, soy, fish/shellfish, and peanut/tree nut allergies.  These menus are also being introduced at major quick service restaurants in the theme parks and resorts.

Before the new allergy-friendly menus were introduced at Disney, a chef would come to your table to discuss your dietary needs, but now, they will typically not visit your table unless you ask to speak to a chef.

After we ordered our meal, I asked to speak to Chef Carroll, one of my favorite Disney chefs.  I had some questions about the newest version of their gluten free naan.  The gluten free naan (pictured above) at Sanaa used to be made with Cup4Cup flour, and in my opinion, was the best gluten free bread available at a restaurant in Orlando.  The new gluten-friendly vegan naan is made with Bob's Red Mill all-purpose baking flour, and is dairy free, which the previous version wasn't.


I was worried that my gluten-eating daughters would not like the new gluten free naan, so we ordered three pieces of gluten-filled naan for them, and two pieces of gluten-friendly vegan naan for myself as part of the Indian-style bread service.  My naan was served on a separate plate, while theirs arrived sitting right next to our accompaniments.  Because I have celiac and worry about cross contamination, I requested new accompaniments for myself.  Next time, I will be sure to ask for any gluten-filled naan that we order to be put on its own plate.  Oddly enough, my daughters, who love gluten-free bread, said they like the old version of Sanaa's gluten free naan better than the gluten-filled naan they ate today.  I was excited that the bread service now includes five pieces of naan.  The three pieces it was served with in the past were never enough for us, so we always had to order and pay for extra naan.

Honestly, I thought I was going to dislike the new gluten-friendly vegan naan.  The previous version with Cup4Cup was amazing, and I had heard that the new gluten free naan was not as good, which it isn't.  That being said, I enjoyed it, and if I had never tried the old version, I would have been quite satisfied with the gluten-friendly vegan naan.  I love to spread my two favorite accompaniments on my naan - mango chutney and coriander chutney.  The combination of both is pretty amazing.  The new naan has a different consistency than the Cup4Cup version, and isn't as soft and pliable as traditional naan, but it is still good.  The chefs at Sanaa are still working to improve their gluten free vegan naan recipe, but the naan I had today is certainly a good start.  In an ideal world, both versions of the gluten free naan would be served at Sanaa, but since that isn't the case, I will continue to enjoy the Indian-style bread service with the gluten free naan they currently offer.  You can view Sanaa's gluten free naan recipe made with Cup4Cup here.   

For an entree, I was torn between the grilled beef sirloin steak with Tunisian olive oil crushed potatoes and spice route vegetables, a new dish on the menu, and the lamb curry & butter chicken.  

I ended up choosing the butter chicken and lamb curry with basmati rice.  The butter chicken is always amazing, and beyond the bread service, it's one of the main reasons my daughters and I love dining at Sanaa.

I enjoyed the lamb curry, but probably not enough to order it again.  I much preferred the beef short ribs, which are no longer on the menu.

Oddly enough, adult desserts are not listed on Sanaa's new allergy-friendly menu. Our server mentioned that I could have the tapioca pudding or sorbet, but my favorite dessert at Sanaa is their seasonal kulfi, which is an Indian-style ice cream.  The adult kulfi has been coconut for several months, which is disappointing, because I don't like the taste of coconut, but I was able to order the pineapple kulfi from the kids' menu, and it was delicious.  The kulfi was rich and creamy, and full of pineapple flavor, and the sauce on the plate was divine.  You can read about the other flavors of kulfi I have tried at Sanaa in my previous lunch and dinner reviews.  

Be sure to ask for a window table, so you can watch the animals while you dine.

November 5, 2015 Update

Earlier today, I had lunch at Sanaa with a friend.  We shared the Indian-style bread service with nine accompaniments.  I tried the tomato-date chutney for the first time and enjoyed it, but my two favorite accompaniments are still the coriander and mango chutneys.  This was my second time eating the gluten-friendly vegan naan, and I remain disappointed that Sanaa no longer makes gluten free naan with Cup4Cup flour, which is so much better than what they offer now.

For an entree, I ordered the grilled beef sirloin steak with Tunisian olive oil crushed potatoes and spice route vegetables.  I wished my steak had been a little more tender, but it was seasoned well, and I loved the potatoes and the broccolini.

For dessert, I had the seasonal kulfi, which is now pumpkin, one of my favorites.  The kulfi itself is nicely spiced, and it is topped with a cranberry compote. The sauce on the plate was delicious, and with the edible chocolate at the top, it formed a pumpkin.  I am looking forward to having this dessert again when we dine at Sanaa on Christmas Eve.

You can make advance dining reservations for Sanaa, and view their lunch and dinner menus on Disney's website here.  

What are your favorite gluten free dishes at Sanaa?


Post a Comment