You can enjoy an African dining adventure right at Walt Disney World. Disney’s Animal Kingdom, a Disney Deluxe Resort, hosts the popular signature table service restaurant Jiko—Swahili for “the Cooking Place”—where you can experience the culinary delights of Africa. This upscale casual dining experience is popular for adults and families alike, with its African-inspired décor and cuisine.
As you enter the restaurant, you’ll immediately see a spectacular display of wines originating from South Africa. Jiko features the most extensive selection of wines at Walt Disney World. One of the more popular wineries represented at Jiko is Anura, which and DeTorren. Anura wines features several wine blends. While waiting for your dining table, you can relax at a table or at the bar and enjoy a glass of wine in the quaint Cape Town Wine Room.
As you walk into the restaurant for your dinner, you are treated to the soothing sights and sounds from The Lion King. Breathtaking white birds hang from the blue ceiling. The restaurant’s décor in hues of dark browns, blues, and golds is instantly relaxing. In the early evening, the wall colors are bright, but as the evening progresses, the colors dim and even turn amber shades, simulating an African sunset. Your eyes will draw you to the open kitchen with its twin wood-burning fire stoves. Be sure to check out the mural on the back wall. Another wall of the restaurant is a floor-to- ceiling window, overlooking the resort’s creek, streaming down into the pool area. Families often request tables with this relaxing view.
The smells from the wood-burning stoves and African spices from the kitchen enhance the ambiance. You might start your dinner by ordering a bottle of wine, and then you can begin your dining adventure with piping hot flatbreads, prepared in the wood-burning ovens. You can choose from three different flatbreads. The favorite flatbread is the Kalamata Olive Flatbread with four cheeses and soft goat cheese. The Chef’s Specialty Flatbread with rabbit confit, pistachio pesto, peppers, and four cheeses is always a delightful choice. The third flatbread is the Barbecue Chicken Flatbread, featuring grilled onion, apple, and African barbecue sauce.
To supplement the flatbread, you might choose an appetizer, soup, or salad. An appetizer is the perfect way to enjoy some of the unique African spices and flavors in small amounts. For example, you might experience the ArtisanalArtisan Cheese Selection, which includes cheeses from around the world. Or you might try the Taste of Africa, which is a trio of dips and breads with house-made Naan. If you have a more adventuresome palate, try Fire-Roasted Mussels or Pokanoket Farm Seared Ostrich Filet. Your tastebuds will go wild with unique appetizer flavors and textures. Jiko’s appetizer prices range from $7 to $14.
For soups and salads, you might enjoy more traditional flavors with a little twist. The house soup is a popular Roasted Heirloom Pumpkin Soup with spiced yogurt and roasted chestnuts. Salads include Mixed Greens and Vegetable Salad with lemon dressing; Cucumber, Tomato, and Red Onion Salad with cottage cheese and watermelon vinaigrette; and Duck Confit and Fig Salad with pears, figs, and goat cheese crouton. The soup and salad prices range from $7 to $11.
Jiko’s chefs are world-famous for their entrées. The chefs confirm that the most popular entrée at Jiko is the Oak-Grilled Filet Mignon. Many Guests think this is the best steak at Walt Disney World. The Oak-Grilled Filet is cooked to your request with a light red wine sauce and served with macaroni and cheese. It’s funny to think that a filet can be accompanied by macaroni and cheese, but it is a delicious complement. Another popular entree is Berbere-Braised Pork Shank with vegetables, baby celery, and Berbere Sauce. The pork is so tender that it falls off the bone.
Jiko also features enticing seafood entrées, including Maize-Crusted Halibut, Swahili Curry Shrimp, Grilled Swordfish, and Nantucket Scallops. All of these entrées feature spices and flavors unique to South Africa, and they melt in your mouth. Among the vegetarian entrées, guests can enjoy Stuffed Piquillo Peppers. This dish is just as delicious as the other entrées, with incredible seasonings. Jiko’s entrées range in price from $26 to $39.
Be sure to save room for dessert, because Jiko has some of the most scrumptous desserts at Walt Disney World. Even the desserts make you feel like you are in another destination, with unique and tasty treats inspired by Africa. The most popular Jiko dessert is the Pistachio Crème Brûlée, which brings Guests back to Jiko year after year. Other delightful treasures include House-Made Meyer Lemon Curd, Allspice Flavored Cake with Seasonal Berries, and Tanzanian Chocolate Cheesecake. The dessert prices range from $8 to $14.
The soothing atmosphere and delicious dishes combine to make for a unique dining adventure at Jiko. The restaurant serves dinner from 5:30 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. daily. Make an Advanced Dining Reservation by contacting your travel agent or calling 407-WDW- DINE. Proper attire is required; the dress code is business casual. The staff at Jiko wants to transport you to a more soothing environment, so be sure to turn off your cell phone when you enter the restaurant.
Spend an evening relaxing with African-inspired dishes and décor at Jiko: The Cooking Place.