We’re in Disney World every single day, and we’ve tried just about everything there is to eat there. We’re here to help you find the best possible food, drinks, and snacks for your upcoming vacation! Come along with us to see the best places to eat in Animal Kingdom.
In this post, we ranked the 3 best table service (sit-down) restaurants, the 5 best counter service (fast food-style) restaurants, and the 5 best places to get a snack or treat. Of course, there are a lot more options than what’s listed here, but we focused on only the BEST eats for this list. If you want to see the rankings for ALL the restaurants in Disney’s Animal Kingdom, check out our video below.
Now on to the best eats!
Table Service Restaurants
You will need a reservation for table service restaurants in Disney World (although sometimes you can join walk-up waitlists, depending on availability). You can start making those reservations 60 days before your trip. These meals tend to be more expensive than most counter service meals, and they’re also usually bigger and fancier. But which table service spot should you choose? We’ve got the answer.
Tusker House is the only character dining spot in Animal Kingdom, so this is the place to be if you want to meet Mickey and his pals during your meal — they’ll be dressed in their safari best! As a character meal, it’s going to be a bit more expensive than most sit-down meals in Disney World. It’s located in the Africa section of this park and is designed to look like an open-air market (although it’s all inside).
Tusker House is open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Until recently, the food here was served family-style with all-you-care-to-eat skillets. Now, however, buffets have returned. Some of our favorite eats here include Mickey waffles and Durban chicken and egg curry for breakfast and bottomless bread service, Cape Malay green curry shrimp, and Moroccan spiced beef for lunch and dinner.
- Great for those looking to see a lot of popular characters at once
- Also great for those who are HUNGRY and want a LOT of adventurous eats
- Oh, did I mention the bread service is *bottomless*? Ask for a refill anytime!
- This is another pricey meal $$$
- If you don’t plan on eating a ton OR you don’t really like a lot of the options on the buffet, you’re not going to get your money’s worth
- This experience takes an hour or two out of your park day to experience
As this park’s only signature dining location, Tiffins is the fanciest restaurant at Animal Kingdom. The decor inside is fascinating, with 3 different dining rooms including the Asia-themed Trek Gallery, the Africa-themed Safari Gallery, and the animal art Grand Gallery. If you dine here, definitely take some time to look at all the artifacts.
The pricey menu, decadent eats, and upscale atmosphere mean this is a great option for special occasions or date night. But it’s not going to be the most budget-friendly choice in Animal Kingdom. Some of our favorite things to get here are the signature bread service, the Tamarind-braised short rib, and the chocolate ganache. Keep in mind that you can sometimes order from the Tiffins menu if you’re visiting Nomad Lounge — and that might save you some cash!
- *The* park’s signature dining restaurant (which is perfect for special occasions)
- Beautiful rooms with artifacts and decor that celebrate travelers and their stories
- Adventurous offerings
- Menu does have a few more “familiar” items to choose from, but the limited “safer” options may not be worth the price tag
- Takes a chunk out of your park day to sit down and enjoy this signature meal
Our #1 pick for table service restaurants in Animal Kingdom is the Yak & Yeti Restaurant in the Asia section of this park. Seriously, you’d have NO idea that the same group that runs Rainforest Café is also responsible for Yak & Yeti (no offense Rainforest Cafe). This is a beautifully themed restaurant that serves Asian-fusion cuisine.
This spot also has an intricate backstory. Apparently, the building is owned by a former merchant named Arjun, who transformed his ornate home into lodging for travelers who need a place to crash during their long journeys. There are some great sharable plates here (like the ahi tuna nachos and lettuce cups) that are definitely big enough to split between a few people, so you can feed a group without hurting your wallet.
Some of our other favorite eats include the firecracker shrimp, chicken tikka masala, Bhaktapur duck, and fried wontons (for dessert). Don’t forget to try the Yak Attack cocktail!
- High-quality Asian-fusion cuisine
- Great for groups looking for a sit-down meal that doesn’t break the bank
- Fun story and overall theming
- Takes time away from your park day
- Not great for those who don’t enjoy Asian cuisine
- If you’re looking to save even MORE money, you can always try its sibling restaurant, Yak and Yeti Local Food Cafes
Counter Service Restaurants
Now we’re moving on to the counter service restaurants in Animal Kingdom. You don’t need a reservation for these spots, and they tend to be much cheaper than the table service options — but that doesn’t mean they’re not as good! In fact, we sometimes prefer these eats to the fancier table service meals.
Check to see if the restaurant you choose has Mobile Order available. That can save you time because you won’t have to wait in line to order!
5. Pizzafari — on Mobile Order
Coming in as the #5 best counter service restaurant in Animal Kingdom is Pizzafari at Discovery Island. Although this isn’t our favorite place to eat, we have to give it some credit for having a LOT of indoor seating and some unique dining rooms covered in colorful murals. It’s open for lunch and dinner, and the menu (as you can probably tell) is hearty Italian-American options, including pizza.
The problem with the pizza here is that it’s Disney World’s classic fast-food puffy pizza. You can find it in all 4 parks at various counter service locations, and it’s just not anything to write home about. BUT we know that lots of kids are big fans of these pizzas, so this is a good place to go if you’re trying to please some younger eaters.
- Great for kiddos and/or choosier eaters looking for a familiar meal
- Beautiful murals!
- Quick and affordable
- Very standard theme park food options
- Not great for more adventurous pallets
- If you’re a pizza snob, don’t get your hopes too high for the pizza here…
You might not think that a coffee shop is the best place to get lunch, but Kusafiri will surprise you. This little window located near Kilimanjaro Safaris has recently seen some impressive menu updates.
For breakfast, you’ll find a selection of pastries or a more substantial breakfast sandwich. For the rest of the day, the menu includes heartier eats like chicken and pork flatbreads or spiced potato hand pies. The snacks here are big enough to be meals (and they’re a pretty good deal for the price), and we’ve really enjoyed everything we’ve tried!
- Great for those trying to track down breakfast
- Unique lunch options available
- Coffee IS served here, but you don’t have a giant VARIETY like you do other locations
- Not the best lunch option for picky eaters
You might be confused about how we’re back at Yak & Yeti even after we already crowned it the best table service restaurant. Well, that spot has a sister restaurant that’s a counter service location! Yak & Yeti Local Food Cafes is open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner with hearty portions of pan-Asian specialties.
There’s no indoor seating here, so it might not be the best option for rainy or super hot days. But we’d still brave the weather to get the chicken fried rice or mini mango pie. (That fried rice is one of our favorite meal hacks in Disney World — it’s technically a side, but it’s hearty enough for a small lunch and only $6.99!)
- Great selection of breakfast, lunch, and dinner options
- Some stand-out options – like the mini mango pie and hearty chicken fried rice – make us dream about this place for days on end
- Outdoor seating only (which can be bad if the elements are working against you)
- Can get REALLY packed during prime lunch and dinner times
2. Flame Tree Barbecue — on Mobile Order
Flame Tree Barbecue is a great option for families, as it has lots of familiar and hearty eats on the menu. It’s located near the Discovery Island bridge to DinoLand, and the outdoor seating boasts some gorgeous views of Discovery River. The tables are located inside colorful pavilions, so even though they’re outdoors, you’ll still be sheltered from the sun or rain.
The menu here has barbecue classics like smoked chicken, St. Louis ribs, a pork sandwich, and baked mac ‘n’ cheese with pulled pork. And you can usually find seasonal cupcakes here as well! Even though the food isn’t super adventurous, we still think it’s a step above the average theme park eats. And the fact that it won’t break the bank doesn’t hurt either!
- Tasty and affordable barbecue
- Great for those looking for a hearty meal on a budget
- Familiar options for pickier eaters
- Not great for those on a plant-based diet
- A heavy meal might not be great for those looking to snack throughout the day
- Straight-up – you don’t love bbq? You won’t love it here.
1. Satu’li Canteen — on Mobile Order
Our favorite place to get a fast food meal in Animal Kingdom is Satu’li Canteen in Pandora — The World of Avatar. The theming for this spot fits right in with the land, as it’s a mess hall for the RDA that was converted into a peaceful dining location for visitors to Pandora.
The menu features customizable bowls that include a base (rice, noodles, potatoes, or lettuce), a protein (or fried tofu), and sauce. But we’re also big fans of the cheeseburger steamed pods, which are basically cheeseburger-flavored bao buns! There’s plenty of indoor seating here as well.
- A great option for those who aren’t necessarily *completely* picky eaters, but also aren’t necessarily *completely* adventurous eaters, either
- High quality quick service dining
- Customizable options = ability to accommodate MANY types of eaters
- Not exactly the *quickest* quick service out there
- Prices here aren’t outrageous, but they can be pricier than other quick service options in the park
- Bowls can be TOO much food if you’re not super-hungry. (You may want to consider splitting one if you’re looking to snack later on?)
Head to DinoLand U.S.A. to find one of our all-time favorite treats in Animal Kingdom: the Dino-Bite Snacks ice cream cookie sandwiches! This treat is pretty simple — just ice cream sandwiched between 2 cookies — but somehow it’s so much more than the sum of its parts.
There’s a standard chocolate chip-vanilla ice cream option available year-round, but keep an eye out for seasonal flavors too. You can also get floats, chips, and Mickey pretzels (with cheese sauce) here, but other than that, there isn’t much on the menu. Still, we keep coming back for those ice cream sammies!
- Best. Ice cream sammiches. Ever.
- Also serves other sweet treats – like hot fudge sundaes and ice cream floats
- Only has two salty options available (Mickey Pretzels and bags of chips)
- Not great for those looking for something more *sustaining*
4. Pongu Pongu
You’ll find more unique eats over in Pandora — The World of Avatar when you visit Pongu Pongu. This snack stand’s name means “Party Party” in the language of the Na’vi, and the story goes that an ex-pat fell in love with Pandora so he decided to stay and set up shop.
There are some alcoholic and non-alcoholic sips here, including the Hawkes Grog Ale (a green beer!) and the Night Blossom (a non-alcoholic specialty drink). The Pongu Lumpia is a famous snack — it’s a spring roll filled with cream cheese and pineapple, and it’s been known to be fairly divisive (the DFB team is split on this one). A safer option might be the french toast sticks for breakfast or the Na’vi-sized pretzel with beer cheese sauce in the afternoon.
- Selection of breakfast options available
- Unique (and tasty!) frozen beverages (that are more interesting than a Frozen CocaCola)
- Not a place for a substantial meal (unless a giant pretzel with beer cheese will do the
- Ponga Lumpia is a hit or miss for many. (Will YOU take a chance on it?)
Honestly, just the look of this snack stand is enough to get it on our list. It’s a beautifully decorated truck that serves soft-serve ice cream and other cool snacks over in Animal Kingdom’s Asia.
Vanilla, chocolate, or swirl ice cream can be served in a waffle cone, or you can try a float (with your choice of a fountain drink). This spot usually also has specialty sundaes, which might change based on the time of year. We recently saw a Yeti Sundae here, which has chocolate and vanilla soft serve, blue cake crumbs, sugar snowflakes, and chocolate yeti decal.
- Great for those looking for unique soft-serve options
- BEAUTIFUL artwork on the truck (can someone paint a room in my house like this?)
- No seating
- VERY limited menu (if you’re looking for a BUNCH of soft serve places in one location, you may be disappointed)
If you’re not careful, you’ll walk right past Eight Spoon Café and not even notice the amazing eats on the menu! But don’t worry — now you know to pay close attention to this unassuming kiosk. You’ll find it on Discovery Island, just before the bridge that leads to Asia.
This spot has some truly unique snacks like the baked mac ‘n’ cheese with pulled pork and the pulled pork-jelly doughnut sandwich! If you want something classic, there’s also a Mickey pretzel on the menu here. Keep in mind that you’ll need to get to this spot early in the day — it usually closes around 5PM.
- Tasty, creamy, and affordable mac and cheese
- Adventurous jelly doughnut? (Because why not??)
- Not great for those looking for something light to snack on
- Closes early
1. Nomad Lounge
The #1 BEST place for a snack or drink in Animal Kingdom is Nomad Lounge. This lounge is connected to the signature restaurant Tiffins, so you can sometimes order from the Tiffins menu here. There are hand-crafted cocktails, mocktails, and small plates on the menu, along with African, Asian, and South American wines and beers.
The indoor lounge area has unique decor and comfortable seating, but we love the outdoor covered patio with its views of the Discovery River and relaxing ambiance.
Some of our favorite eats here have been the Tiffins bread service, the baked lobster mac ‘n’ cheese (this is a secret menu item that’s only available sometimes — ask your server about it!), and the amazing CHURROS. Seriously, these are the best churros in Disney World. The only downside to Nomad Lounge is that it can be tricky to get into. Seating is limited, so you’ll want to get your name on the walk-up waitlist ASAP. That wait list typically opens at 11AM and fills up quickly.
- A great selection of cocktails, wines, and beers
- Fantastic views
- Tasty small plates for adults; solid lunch options for kiddos
- Walk up waitlist has the potential of filling up (And filling up QUICK)
- Small plates are tasty but don’t offer a huge variety
- Not the best for less-adventurous eaters who also aren’t big on the whole cocktail scene
There you have it! All the best restaurants in Animal Kingdom, whether you’re looking for a sit-down meal, a quick bite, or just some dessert. With DOZENS of places to eat at Disney World, we know it can be tough to plan your meals. That’s why we wrote the DFB Guide to Dining at Walt Disney World.
We have reviews, pictures, and details about every restaurant all in one digital download – along with ALL of our best tips and strategies from decades of Disney World trips. We’ve got a special discount code for DFB readers, too! Use WDW2022 at checkout for 25% off.
And keep following the DFB Blog for more updates on all the newest eats in Disney World.
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What’s your favorite thing to eat in Animal Kingdom? Let us know in the comments.
The post We’ve Eaten at Every Restaurant in Disney’s Animal Kingdom. These Are the BEST. first appeared on the disney food blog.