I know theme parks and fine dining don’t necessarily go hand-in-hand, and until recently, the options in Disney’s Animal Kingdom were limited at best. In May 2016, dining in Animal Kingdom took a step up with an introduction of Tiffins in the Discovery Island section. Tiffins, which takes its name from the light lunch eaten by workers in India and served in tiered containers, offers a global cuisine for those looking for a break from theme park snacks and quick service meals. Since I know fans are always looking for what’s new at Disney, I wanted to provide a full Tiffins review of my scrumptious meal there this summer.
After visiting four theme parks in one day on a Disney VIP tour, I was hot and tired and the prospect of sitting down in the air conditioning for some real food was supremely appealing. Stepping inside of Tiffins, it was easy to forget I was in a theme park. It also seemed the perfect place for a travel blogger, with travel-inspired touches throughout the restaurant — from the map of the global to the elegant dining rooms embodying the spirit of Africa, Asia, and Latin America.
Inside the three dining rooms and the Nomad Lounge, you’ll find paintings, sculptures and photographs that are inspired by the field sketches of the creators of Animal Kingdom. We ate in the Grand Gallery, among indigenous artwork from around the world like detailed, hand-carved columns from Bali that used to reside in the Camp Mickey section of the park. Throughout the restaurant galleries, you will also find a cloth backdrop from cast member costumes, Tibetan prayer flags, and much more.
As beautiful and as removed from the hustle and bustle of Animal Kingdom as Tiffins is, you are still stepping out of the theme park and into a fine dining restaurant. I felt supremely self-conscious at first in my shorts, tank, and sweaty pony tail. As I looked around the restaurant, I saw that many of its patrons must have returned to their hotel to clean up before dinner. However, the waitstaff didn’t flinch at our stinky selves and we soon settled in for an amazing meal.
Fine Dining in Disney
First of all, I need to be clear that Tiffins is a fine-dining establishment. The food is prepared with care and the options will not be a good fit for picky eaters. However, there is a children’s menu with healthy options such as grilled chicken, sustainable fish, grilled beef or pasta marinara. But, if you are foodies willing to shell out for a special splurge meal at Disney, then you should definitely try Tiffins. Or, you can trade in two entitlements from the Disney Dining Plan or Disney Deluxe Dining Plan per person.
I started with the lobster-popcorn thai curry soup with lime-basil emulsion and popped sorghum. This unusual mix of flavors was so perfectly balanced and it wasn’t heavy the way a traditional lobster bisque would be.
For my entree I picked the Waygu strip loin and braised short rib with rainbow carrot, roasted peruvian potatoes, and chimichurri sauce. As you would expect, the meat was so tender and delicious. It is a generous portion that I didn’t think I could finish but it was so delicious I just kept eating and eating. I’m also a total sucker for chimichurri sauce and ordered extra on the side. There was nothing on this plate that wasn’t delicious.
After such a heavy meal on such a hot day, I needed to finish off with something lighter so I picked the sorbet tasting for dessert. This consisted of kaffir lime syrup, passion fruit curd, and crunchy vanilla crouton. It was cold and light but I still couldn’t take more than a couple of bites.
Tiffins definitely changed my perspective on theme park dining! If you are visiting Animal Kingdom and ready for a splurge, I’d highly recommend Tiffins — just make a reservation first!
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Note: My visit was hosted by Disney Parks and Visit Orlando. All opinions are my own.