We ate dinner at Sanaa at Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge during our February visit. Sanaa gluten free is usually great, but there were mixed reviews this time around.
Last year my daughter and I went on an extended weekend trip to Disney to celebrate her graduation from college. While there, we ate lunch at Sanaa for the first time ever. Everything we ate was absolutely delicious (see my review of that visit here). I couldn't wait to get back to Sanaa during our latest trip, but I was sadly disappointed with the meal as a whole.
Sanaa is located at the Animal Kingdom Lodge in the Kidani Village part of the resort. If you're lucky enough to get a table close to the window, you can see some of the animals on the savanna roaming around. With our huge party of 12 we didn't get that luxury this time around, but we were able to go outside onto the lookout point and see them all from there.
Most of the offerings on the allergy menu at Sanaa are already naturally gluten free meals. The only thing that I can think of that's made different is the naan for the bread service.
Sanaa Gluten Free Bread Service
When I first had the allergy friendly naan in 2019 I was a little shocked by how it looked. Buuuut, I was pleasantly surprised by how it tasted. The texture wasn't as soft as regular naan, but I thought it was decent. With the sauces, it was outstanding. I could literally drink some of those sauces that come with the bread service.
The picture on the left below is the allergy friendly naan served at our most recent visit. They were no more than 5-6 inches in diameter (much smaller than before) and a little hard. I tried to dip them in the sauces, but even those amazing sauces couldn't mask the awful texture. My daughter (vegan) and I both were served these naan and neither one of us cared for them.
The picture on the right below is one of my gluten free yeast free naan. It's so soft and fluffy you'd never know it's gluten free. The reason I added my picture to this post is to show that gluten free naan can be done well. Apparently they used to offer a gluten free naan that rivaled the regular naan. I think it's another case of Disney trying to offer an all-allergy-friendly product rolled into one. And it often gets lost in translation during the process.
Now, I completely understand why Disney does this, but I feel I do have to be honest in my review. I certainly love the fact that I can go to Disney and feel safe eating wonderful meals. And I don't have a care in the world about being cross contaminated. Disney goes above and beyond and I will be forever grateful for that.
When I went to Sanaa in 2019, I ordered the Potjie-inspired entree. The menu says to choose one from Journey and one from Harvest. Back then I ordered the Braised Beef and the Paneer Tikka.
The braised beef was absolutely TO DIE FOR!! It was fork tender in a sauce that was beyond flavorful with African-inspired spices. I raved about it to my mom and dad, telling them they would love it. So when my sister picked Sanaa for dinner, I was excited for my mom and dad to finally try it! Not to mention I was excited to order it again myself.
Unfortunately, the beef was a HUGE disappointment this time. Someone must have been having an off night in the kitchen that night. The beef was incredibly tough, as if it hadn't braised long enough. It was so tough even my dad, who eats just about everything you put in front of him, couldn't eat it.
My Harvest pick was paneer tikka, which is cubed Indian-style cheese in a flavorful sauce with spinach. It's like the vegetarian version of chicken tikka in a tomato-based sauce that's very good. I enjoyed the paneer dish.
Gluten Free Dessert
Dessert always seems to be a shining star at Sanaa. They don't have a separate allergy dessert menu, but the waiter told me what I could have.
The Serradura could be modified to be gluten free without the Breton shortbread and the Kheer was already gluten free. But I decided to go with what I had the last time, the African Triple Chocolate Mousse Cake, because it was so good.
Happily, it did not disappoint!! The three layers of dark, milk, and white chocolate mousses atop a gluten free chocolate "biscuit" was OUT OF THIS WORLD!! Still is one of the best desserts in all of Disney World, in my opinion. And that almond crumble? It doesn't look like much, but man is that ever addictive!! It's crunchy and sweet and balances well with the smoothness of the mousses. The strawberry gelee on top and the addition of fresh strawberries put this dessert over the top 🙂
Even though the food wasn't all spot on this time at Sanaa, the atmosphere is always great and my nephew had us all cracking up so I consider it a win/win. I hope to try Sanaa again one day and maybe they'll have better luck with their gluten free naan and braised beef.
For more information about Sanaa, check out Disney's website here. And if you're interested in booking a trip to Disney (as they'll be opening soon), contact Magical Vacation Dreams by Pam Pine here. It won't cost you a DIME to book your trip through Pam and she'll do everything for you. All you need to do is have fun!!