Animal Kingdom Lodge is one of the most stunning locations on property, so it is no surprise that the restaurants that reside there are also just as stunning. If you are looking for a true dining experience that has it all, then Jiko is a great place for you. It is a bit on the pricier side as one of Disney’s Signature restaurants, but the price is well worth it! Here are 6 things that you will love about Jiko – The Cooking Place:
6. The location
This beautiful restaurant is located at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge – Jambo House. The resort is dimly lit and very romantic feeling from the moment that you walk in. This resort successfully takes you to another location and Jiko ties perfectly into that as a perfect destination to dine while you are there. You have the opportunity to stroll around the resort before or after dinner and get breathtaking views of the savanna. If you are looking for a great excuse to visit Animal Kingdom Lodge and explore, this is definitely it!
5. The atmosphere
Jiko has two wood burning ovens in the restaurant that make the restaurant warm and inviting. You get to enjoy watching the amazing chefs prepare the delicious offerings in the open kitchen, involving you even more in the full experience of the restaurant. The open show kitchen takes the dining experience to the next level and is so much fun to watch. The restaurant is beautifully decorated with a vibrant blue/yellow color palate and African-inspired décor and architectural touches. This restaurant is definitely toward the top of the list for the most beautiful on property.
4. The dress code
This is a signature dining experience, which means that it does require a dress code for the guests dining at the location. This is great when you are looking for a bit more of an upscale experience and would prefer not to dine with other guests in their jeans and t-shirts (not that there is anything wrong with jeans and t-shirts, but for special occasions it is really nice to have the dress code in place to help create the atmosphere). You can expect that gentlemen must wear pants or dress shorts with collared shirts, while ladies would be able to wear capris, skirts, dresses, jean pants or dress shorts. No tank tops, swimming wear, hats, torn clothing or offensive shirts would be allowed in the dining room.
3. African wines and tastings
Jiko is known for authentic African wines. There are wines that you won’t be able to find anywhere else on property and very few locations across the US outside of Disney World. For you wine fans out there, this is a great opportunity to try and experience new flavors and test your wine palate. If you want to take this experience to the next level, you can schedule a wine tasting that is offered on Wednesdays. You will get to sample wines from the South Africa region along with cheese pairings. You must make reservations for this experience, and guests must be over the age of 21.
2. The delicious African foods
The meals at this location are bold and flavorful! The African-inspired dishes are full of delicious spices and flavors that are definitely a culinary delight. The flatbreads from the brick ovens are absolutely amazing! The Filet Mignon is probably my favorite dish with a side of the Braai Macaroni & Cheese (this isn’t your average Macaroni & Cheese dish!). You must make sure to save room for dessert, too! My favorite is the Valrhona Chocolate Mousse and Hazelnut Dacquoise Cake, but I don’t think you could go wrong with any of the desserts. There is no way you’d leave this restaurant hungry, but you’ll definitely leave planning your next visit!
1. Wanyama Safari and Dinner
If you happen to be staying at Animal Kingdom Lodge, you have the opportunity to book this excursion. You will enjoy a 90-minute experience where you get to observe the animals that live in the savanna from one of the safari vehicles. You check in at Jiko and then are taken away to enjoy the excursion, then brought back to indulge in a multi-course dinner with wine pairings at Jiko. You must make advanced reservations for this experience and it books up fast! This is a one-of-a-kind opportunity, and even better, the proceeds from this experience are all allocated to Disney’s Conservation Fund! You can feel good knowing that you are giving back a little something to our environment!