Jiko Dining Review: A Top 5 Disney World Restaurant

Recently I had the chance to dine at Jiko in Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge for the first time. This is a restaurant that has been on my Disney bucket list for quite some time so I was excited to try it. And it did not disappoint.

Jiko is the signature restaurant at the Animal Kingdom Lodge, signature meaning it will cost you two table service credits on the Disney Dining Plan and it is more expensive than other sit downs. While the price might be higher it is certainly not outlandish and the food more than fits the cost.

The atmosphere of the restaurant is definitely unique and it was incredibly stress free. I say this because Boma, the buffet restaurant option at the resort, is right next to Jiko and it typically can be very loud and chaotic there. I am happy to report that this was one of the quietest and most relaxing meals I’ve ever had at Disney. And the restaurant was almost full as well. The calmness was a welcomed surprise.

The meal begins with a host walking you to your table all the while explaining the story of Jiko. Then they bring you a hot towel for your hands and present you with African tea (which was refreshing might I add) as a welcome gift.

Service overall was exceptional and our server was incredibly knowledgeable and helpful. One pet peeve I have are meals that go very quickly. If you are going to spend hundreds of dollars on a meal I like to not feel rushed doing so. This meal was very well paced with time in between the courses but it never felt like an eternity between them.

Starters for my party included bread for the table, a charcuterie and cheese board and a dish called Inguday Tibs In Brik.

The charcuterie board was great and featured African meats and cheeses that were familiar but each brought some new flavors.

Charcuterie Board at Jiko
The Charcuterie board is comprised of African Meats and Cheeses.

The Inguday Tibs in Brik was essentially a take on an Empanada or something like that. This was incredibly flaky with a mushroom, spinach and cheese filling. Overall it was great and I would definitely get it again.

Inguday Tibs in Brik
Incredibly flaky and packed with flavor the Inguday Tibs in Brik is a must have.

Appetizers were a more than solid start to the meal.

Entrees ordered included the Filet Mignon, Beef Short Rib and one diner ordered the Watermelon and Feta Salad and the side of Egyptian Kushari.

First the Beef Short Rib was fantastic. Incredibly flavorful and the meat almost melted in your mouth like a good Short Rib should.

Beef Short Rib
The Beef Short Rib was tender and delicious.

The Watermelon and Feta salad was also good. It had some of the best Watermelon I’ve ever eaten too. There were some unusual preparations here like the Watermelon being compressed, the Feta Powder and then the Feta-Olive Oil Ice Cream. As unusual as it might sound, it was awesome. Flavors incorporated well together and the dish just worked. The Egyptian Kushari was another unique dish basically featuring grains and vegetables. It was a good side that brought in some African flavors.

Watermelon and Feta Salad and the side of Egyptian Kushari
Watermelon and Feta Salad and the side of Egyptian Kushari

And then for the star of the show we have the Filet Mignon.

Filet Mignon
Filet Mignon with a side of the world’s greatest Macaroni and Cheese.

The steak itself was a great cut of meat and definitely higher end as it should be. The sauce was a nice flavor enhancer and did a great job of not overpowering the meat itself. It also came with macaroni and cheese and I’m not being hyperbolic here when I say it was the best mac and cheese I’ve ever had. It comes out just looking like nothing special but once you take a bite of it you’re sure to be blown away.

Jiko was an awesome dining experience and a top five Disney meal for me. It could easily be just a run of the mill almost steakhouse like place but I love how they incorporate African flavors and ingredients into new takes on dishes you’ve seen before. If you’re intimidated by this menu I don’t think you should worry. The ingredients might be different but it all comes out delicious. I highly recommend Jiko.

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