Signature Dining: Jiko

October 8, 2011
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One of the things I have discovered more as an adult in Disney is Signature Dining. These restaurants are some of the best on property! The food, service, atmosphere, etc. are almost always outstanding. I say almost because, let’s be real, everyone can have an off night. Today I want to talk to you about my absolute favorite Signature Dining experience, Jiko – The Cooking Place. Here is the description straight from the Walt DisneyWorld site:

Jiko – The Cooking Place fuses the bold flavors of traditional African, Indian and Mediterranean cuisine at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge.

Twin wood-burning ovens roar and the soothing, warm colors of an African sunset bring energy to this remarkable restaurant. The menu includes vegan, vegetarian and meat-based dishes that change seasonally, such as berbere Grilled lamb, Durban shrimp curry and chermoula roasted chicken, along with conventional favorites. Imaginative appetizers include curried potato and corn samosas, and brick oven-fired flatbreads.

The wine list features one of the largest selections of South African vintages in North America, and promises Guests 21 years of age or older a bouquet to please varied palates. This list has won multiple awards, including the Orlando Sentinel Foodie Best Wine List Award and the Wine Spectator Excellence Award for Most Outstanding Wine List.

Watch the chefs prepare each meal in The Cooking Place, a show kitchen with a rich atmosphere befitting the beauty of this unique restaurant

This only touches the surface of what this place has to offer. I have been a few times now and it consistently has the best wine, knowledgable and friendly service, and an atmosphere that makes you just want to grab all your friends and enjoy a delicious meal & drinks.

Speaking of drinks, my absolute favorite wine to have in Disney can only be found here in Jiko.  It’s a Cabernet Sauvignon that’s made with the “whole berry,” meaning twigs, leaves, skin, etc. It is out of this world and pairs perfectly with my favorite dish (which I’ll get to in a minute)

The last time I was at Jiko, I took my mom and my aunt. We shared an appetizer, each got our own entree, then shared a dessert. Below are the pictures and descriptions. (FYI – the menu does change from time to time so all of these dishes may not be available when you go)

Our appetizer – Tibs Watt in Pannekoeke – Braised Beef rolled in “Crepes” with Peppadew-Olive Tapenade

Oak-Grilled Filet Mignon with Macaroni & Cheese with Red Wine Sauce.

O.M.G. So this is the most delicious thing you will ever eat! I swear, cross my heart!! Recently a crazed chef decided to change this dish up and it is now offered with risotto instead of the mac & cheese. Um YUCK! Just tell the waiter you want it with the mac & cheese and red wine sauce and they’ll still make it that way for you.  Trust me, you’ll thank after you’re done.

Maize-Crusted Halibut with Vegetables of the Moment and Tomato-Butter Sauce

Roasted Lamb Loin with Heirloom Tomato-Chickpea Salad, Bacon Vinaigrette, & Kottumbari Relish

Proof that we obviously loved our meal!! We joined the clean plate club!!

Tanzarian Chocolate, Cherry & Chocolate

Chocolate Cremaux with Chocolate Crunch, Chocolate – Cherry Mascarpone & Chocolate Nibs.

All of it was incredibly delicious!! Keep in mind, this is a Signature Dining experience. That means prices are $$$ and it will cost you 2 Table Credits if you are on the Disney Dining Plan.  I’ll be heading back to Jiko in just under 2 weeks and am drooling just thinking about it!! Have you been to Jiko, tell me about your experience there! Until next time, Bon Appetite!!

Jillian is an Annual Passholder at WDW taking a few trips a year. You can follow her over on twitter @jillybeaner21

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One Response to Signature Dining: Jiko

  1. Fernando on October 8, 2011 at 9:49 AM

    My wife and I had dinner there on Friday, 9/30/2011. We had a spectacular wine which I have been trying to track down but I cannot remember the name and I cannot find the wine list. Is there any place I can go to find the wine list online? I’m sure if I saw it I would recognize it.

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