Jiko – The Cooking Place is located in the Animal Kingdom Lodge in Walt Disney World. Upon entering the restaurant you take in the sights of the African decor and intimate atmosphere. Along the walls the colors change to represent an African sunset. Above you hanging from the ceiling are white birds simulating flight. You will notice right away the twin wood-burning ovens that house a small seating area for an up-close look at the chefs in action. It is a beautiful mix of nature and the African culture all blended together to create a serene effect. Jiko’s menu is a combination of African, Indian and Mediterranean fare. Not to mention an extensive list of South African wines. They have won numerous awards for their wine selections.
For the appetizer my husband ordered the Artisanal Cheese Selection (14.00) which has five different kinds of cheese such as cow, goat and sheep. It also had champagne grapes, small pieces of garlic toasts and a berry compote to cleanse your palate in-between cheeses. It was delicious and for a cheese lover it will be a delight. For my appetizer I ordered the Cucumber, Tomato, and Red Onion Salad with Arugula, Cottage Cheese, and Watermelon Vinaigrette (8.00) It was really refreshing, but the only down side was how small the portion was.
My main course was the Maize-crusted Halibut with Vegetables of the Moment and Tomato-Butter Sauce. (38.00) The fish was so light and flaky. You can taste all the different spices that they used to season the crust on the fish. The sauce that they garnished the plate with was amazing and it complimented the fish well. My husband ordered the Oak-grilled Filet Mignon with Macaroni & Cheese and Red Wine Sauce cooked medium rare. (41.00)The filet was cooked to perfection and it was tender and melted in your mouth. He was very happy with his entrée and said was the best steak he has ever had on property.
For dessert we shared the Pistachio Crème Brulee (8.00) that has a layer of chocolate on the bottom. It held up to its recommendation from our delightful server and my husband enjoyed even though he is not a big pistachio fan.
Although Jiko is on the higher priced side of dining at Disney being a signature restaurant I would recommend it. Anyone who is looking for an intimate dining experience with impressive food with distinctive culture than Jiko is the place for you.
Contributed by: Ashley R.(NDW#43). Ashley is our resident Disney food expert.