Last Honeymoon Recap post!
One common misconception about Walt Disney World is that it’s only for kids. And I hope that after reading the million recap posts I’ve written, you start to learn that there’s much more to the Happiest Place on Earth and adults can enjoy it just as much (if not more) than kiddos. In fact, Disney World has some of the best dining options and most people don’t even think about restaurants when planning their trip to Disney.
When planning our trip, we carefully picked the places we ate at based on reviews from some popular Disney blogs like Disney Food Blog. And while we were extremely happy with most of our dining options throughout the week, we were looking forward to our meal at Jiko all week.
Jiko – The Cooking Place features gourmet African cuisine and has gotten rave reviews from many. It takes 2 Table Service credits because it’s a Signature Restaurant. Kevin and I wanted to have one really nice dining experience while we were at Disney and as soon as we read the menu and reviews online, we knew Jiko would be a good choice.
Jiko has a dress code, but we wanted to get dressed up for our fancy night out anyways, so we didn’t mind. After leaving Magic Kingdom, we came back to our resort to shower and get ready for the evening. We also stopped by the lounge to say hello to our friend Nathan and a few other couples who we got to know over the course of the week. Nathan, of course, gave us a couple roadie drinks. The sunset was gorgeous so we took a few pictures while enjoying our drinks before catching the Disney bus from our resort to Hollywood Studios to Animal Kingdom Lodge.
I was so excited to check out another resort! My grandma, aunt and brother have stayed here before and wow , Animal Kingdom Lodge is beautiful!
Little did we know…we were in for the best meal of our lives (so far).
Our waitress was unbelievable. Attentive, congratulatory and extremely knowledgable about the menu. While we perused the menu, she brought us a small tasting each to show us “what’s to come.” I am pretty sure this was a lamb empanada of sorts, but unfortunately, I don’t remember what it was exactly and it’s not listed on their menu. It was delicious, and definitely set the mood for what was to come!
Next, our waitress came by to take our wine order. We thought about splitting a bottle, but we knew there was free booze waiting for us back at the lounge, so we decided to just each get a glass. Again, I regret not taking a picture of the menu (I can’t even look it up online; it changes so frequently so it’s already not up-to-date), and I don’t remember the exact wine that we got but we were able to taste it before we received a full glass. I do remember that it was a nice red blend, similar to a pinot noir.
When our wine was delivered, we also received a basket of Ethiopian honey-wheat Dabo bread, served with Tamdoori-Spiced butter. I’m just going to fully disclose that we got two of these baskets because the first one was inhaled.
I asked our friend Nathan from the lounge what his favorite thing to get at Jiko was and once he described it, my mind was made! I ordered the Oak-Grilled Filet Mignon, served with Mac and Cheese and a South African White Wine Sauce. In fact, this isn’t even on the menu anymore! The menu changes so often, but it’s reported that so many people continuously ask for it so they’ll make it for anyone who asks. Currently, the Oak-Grilled Filet Mignon is served with pilaf and brussels sprouts. Pretty happy I got the mac instead.
Once I took the first bite, I literally couldn’t believe how much flavor it had. With each and every bite, I became sad that I was one bite closer to my meal being over.
Kevin studied his menu harder than I did, and ended up deciding on the signature Spicy Botswana-style “Seswaa” Beef Short Rib. I don’t even know what was all in or around it, but it was seriously one of the best things we have ever tasted in our entire lives. The short ribs were the most tender and the two sauces combined had an amazing sweet and spicy flavor. It was unbelievable.
A few moments of savoring our meals later, this is what our plates looked like.
I went the no shame route and sopped up my juices using some of the bread from our second basket. Worth the look I got from our waitress when she asked, “So, guess you liked it?” as she took our plates away.
I talk a lot about the food, but the mood in Jiko is so romantic and unique. We certainly enjoyed talking about our amazing wedding and week we just spent on our honeymoon. There were no stresses, our bellies were full and we were just downright happy. I also love that we weren’t rushed in the slightest at Jiko. Our waitress wasn’t coming to our table every five minutes and the dishes were spaced evenly so we were able to sit and enjoy a nice, long meal.
A little while after we finished our meals, we were brought an adorable congratulatory dessert, courtesy of the chef. This is the Chocolate and Tea Safari, Vanilla Rooibos-Tanzanian Chocolate Cake. It tasted like chocolate, caramel and heaven – all combined in one bite.
Once we finished this, we were presented with the dessert menus. I knew we were in for a real treat once I saw that the Artisanal Cheese Selection was part of their dessert menu.
This is my kind of dessert! From left to right, I had Harbison, Chevre (goat cheese), Camembert, Pecorino and Blue Cheese. Each cheese was accompanied with a pairing above and thin crackers on the right. I enjoyed the goat cheese and pecorino the most!
Kevin ordered the Cheesecake with Spice Cake Crust and Warm Sautéed Apples in Caramel.
And lastly, we were served complimentary crackle cookies.
We do not have enough good things to say about our dining experience at Jiko. The food, ambiance, service and location had it all.
Kevin and I often talk about being able to go back one day! Until then, I really need to figure out how to make their filet and short ribs at home. 😉