Wednesday, June 21, 2017

The Mara - Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge

We have eaten at The Mara, a quick service restaurant at Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge, several times in the past year, because we have stayed at the resort twice.  Even if you are staying at Disney's Animal Kingdom Villas - Kidani Village instead of Jambo House, it is a short walk to The Mara, which features African and American cuisine.

Two weeks ago, we had dinner at The Mara the night we arrived at Disney World.  The chef I spoke to seemed willing to make me almost anything on the regular menu, but I chose to modify a dish on the allergy-friendly menu.  Be sure to ask about the soups, because the carrot and the butternut squash soups were both gluten free our first night at Jambo House.  I have eaten both soups at neighboring Boma, and they are delicious.  I am also a fan of the African Potjie, which used to be called African Stew.  You can read about it in my previous review of The Mara here.

For an entree, I chose the oak-fired rotisserie chicken dinner with french fries subbed for the Yukon Gold mashed potatoes and Lake Victoria-inspired greens.  The chicken had a nice smoky flavor, and was cooked to perfection.

I like mashed potatoes, but sometimes a girl just needs some french fries.  The Mara serves your typical Disney fries, which are always good.  If you are looking for fresh cut fries with fun dipping sauces, head to D-Luxe Burger in Disney Springs.  Raglan Road and Cookes of Dublin, also in Disney Springs, make amazing garlic and Parmesan skinny chips that might be my favorite french fries at Disney World.

For dessert, I had a gluten free zebra dome the chef brought me out from the kitchen.  The zebra domes in the refrigerated section at The Mara are not gluten free.  Zebra Domes contain an Amarula cream liquor mousse, which is made from the fruit of the African marula tree, and tastes a bit like caramel.  The mousse is coated in white chocolate, then drizzled with dark chocolate, and has chocolate bits on the bottom.  My daughters and I love this dessert, and rarely pass up a chance to get zebra domes at The Mara or Boma.  If you have leftovers, be sure to refrigerate them quickly, because zebra domes will melt in the heat, which I have learned the hard way.

The Mara also sells mini brownie cupcakes from Erin McKenna's Bakery NYC in Disney Springs, which are gluten free, dairy free, egg free, and vegan.  The cupcakes, which are available in the refrigerated section, are always consistently good, and I would eat them more often if the zebra domes were not available.

On our latest trip, we ate breakfast at The Mara on three separate occasions.

My daughters and I love the Bobotie Platter, which is served with pap and chakalaka.  If you like grits, you will like the pap, which my daughters always got a double side of, skipping the tomato-based chakalaka.  Bobotie is a traditional African dish with ground meat, seasoning, and an egg custard baked on top.  The bobotie at The Mara contains turkey, peppers and raisins, and tastes exactly like the bobotie served at Boma for breakfast.

The Mara makes some of the best gluten free Mickey waffles at Disney World, and Chef Frank was kind enough to give me a side of the pecan praline sauce from Boma to eat with my waffles.

He also included a side of the whipped cream and fruit that is currently being served with Mickey waffles at The Mara.

The Mara lists steel-cut oatmeal as a gluten-friendly option on its allergy-friendly menu.  If you are interested in this dish, be sure to ask if they are using certified gluten free oats, which I doubt they are.

One of the reasons we love to stay at Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge is because of their amazing restaurants.  The Mara is one of the best quick service restaurants at Disney World, and Boma and Sanaa are some of our favorite table service restaurants.

You can read more about The Mara, and view their menus and hours on Disney's website here.

What are your favorite gluten free options at The Mara?


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