At Tiffins, a restaurant within Disney's Animal Kingdom, you might rev up for the rest of the day with one heckuva cup of coffee. It's called mustang coffee, and the java is blended with Crown Royal, butter and sugar. The hot cocktail is a take on a brew abroad -- we're talking about Nepal -- made with yak butter. Yak!
Tiffins is like that. This restaurant -- a comfy, relaxed fine-dining establishment sitting within a lush green yet buzzy-busy theme park -- is based on travel around the world. Disney's "imagineers" -- the creative folks who conceive, design and build attractions and theme parks for the company -- spent quite a bit of time wandering through Africa and Asia as research for creating the destination, which opened in 1998.
Now Tiffins documents the imagineers' travels, albeit with the kinds of twists that make exotic elements enticing to Americans. You'll find flavors from those far-away lands on the menu, and you'll see related art throughout the dining rooms.
In fact, actual sketches from imagineers notebooks' are in glass display cases by the entrance, where a wooden map highlights Disney parks around the world. The map was hand-carved using traditional techniques in Indonesia.
I was lucky enough to have a tour and dinner as part of a media group recently. The food was so impressive that I've been thinking about it since -- especially the berbere-spiced lamb chop. That is one of the best entrees I've had in months.
Here's a photo tour of Tiffins.
The menu is a splurge, with dinner entrees in the $30s and $40s, but what a respite from all that animal-gawking and thrill-ride screaming. The food was wonderful. I don't say that just because I was invited to dinner. I would have written nothing. In fact, I'd return on my own if this menu were served in my neighborhood -- and I'd order the lamb chop again. Here are highlights.
If your budget is smaller, visit for lunch, where you can get smaller portions of two entrees plus rice for $28. Or, settle into a bar seat or sofa at the attached Nomad Lounge, where imbibing is encouraged and a small-plates menu offers choices like charcuterie and cheese platters.