On a fairly busy Monday in Animal Kingdom amid post spring break crowds, I decided to make an impromptu Advanced Dining Reservation for my mother and me at Animal Kingdom’s table service restaurant, Yak & Yeti. I used Disney’s helpful online reservation system via my fancy schmancy Android phone to make an Advanced Dining Reservation for a little over an hour away. Yak & Yeti doesn’t get filled up quickly, especially for lunch (see menu), so it’s a great place to get a last minute table.
My mom and I arrived five minutes early for our 11:30 a.m. reservation and got seated right away. The restaurant is split up in two levels. You can choose to take the stairs or elevator up to your table if you are seated on the second level. If you love the ambiance of the entire Animal Kingdom park, you’ll be mesmerized by the vibe inside of Yak & Yeti. There are many artifacts and details spread throughout that really put you right in Asia. Comparing it to another sit-down meal in Animal Kingdom, Tusker House, I believe that Yak & Yeti brings a touch of class that Tusker House does not have. Clearly, Disney Imagineers put a lot of thought into the design of this restaurant.
Our waiter could not have been more attentive and polite. He was quite possibly one of the best I’ve ever had on Disney property. The service he provided was on the level of a signature Disney restaurant, which is quite hard to find inside of a park and not in a resort dining establishment.We ordered drinks, which were brought out to us promptly. Being that it was before noon, we avoided the alcoholic choices, though the restaurant does offer adult beverages.
We got a full explanation of the menu, and our waiter answered any questions that we had. I did inquire about what options on the menu could be made vegetarian. He explained that they had tofu on hand and could make many menu items with tofu instead of meat. The only appetizer that could be changed was the Lettuce Wraps. Under the entrees, I found out that almost any meat option could be easily prepared with tofu instead of chicken, pork, or beef. I’m not sure how Sweet and Sour Tofu would taste since I didn’t try it, but it is nice to know that there are options available for those with a limited palate.
I just love using the excuse that I’m dining “for research” because I get to order more food than I normally would, and then it justifies itself perfectly in my crazy little brain. My love for ahi tuna verges on obsessive, so when I saw that as a choice on the appetizer menu, I had to order it. I excused myself from the table to take check out the restroom (which was very nice, by the way) and take some photos of the beautiful restaurant. By the time I returned, my tuna was waiting for me. The presentation of the tuna, slaw, and wasabi aioli was lovely. Though, I gotta be honest… I had no idea what “aioli” was until I bravely ordered it. I’m not a huge wasabi fan traditionally (bad experience with wasabi mashed potatoes at Coral Reef once), but I found the aioli to be a creamy, light accompaniment that added a lot of flavor to the already delicious tuna. The slaw was really plentiful and tasted just like the menu said… sweet. I loved the addition of the peppers. I took my time with this appetizer and wasn’t completely done when our entrees came out, but I made sure to practically lick the plate clean.
My mother chose the Crispy Honey Chicken with brown rice and veggies. She was quite satisfied with it but did say that it was more of a healthy, freshly cooked version of Americanized Chinese food. Nevertheless, she enjoyed it very much. I’m pretty sure she could have gone to the Yak & Yeti Local Foods Café (counter service, see menu) outside and found something comparable for about half the price.
I wanted to veer from the traditional Chinese food menu options, and so I ordered the Crispy Mahi Mahi. A coating of Japanese bread crumbs made the fish unique, but what added the extra amazing flavor was the Cantonese sweet and sour sauce served with it. I could have devoured that stuff with a spoon. I felt like I was eating Asian inspired mahi mahi, which means that Yak & Yeti nailed its concept. The large portion of fish was served on a bed of soft jasmine rice with a side of stir fry vegetables. I could have done without the vegetables since they seemed a little uninspired to me. My mom did say that she really liked them, though. To each her own!
We were much too full to order desser, but our waiter went over each option with us and basically dangled the Fried Wontons served with fresh pineapple, ice cream, and a honey vanilla drizzle in my face (not literally) to the point that I thought about them the rest of the day. Kudos to him for doing his job so well! Next time, I’ll be ordering sugar filled deliciousness for sure.
Overall, our visit to Yak & Yeti was extremely positive and well worth the cost for both the food and experience. If I had any suggestions, it would be to expand the menu and be more unique with the offerings for non-seafood eaters. My mom was pretty limited to traditional Chinese food, which I didn’t think was fair.
From the reviews I’ve read in the past, Yak & Yeti seems to be a “love it or hate it” kind of place. What are your thoughts on it? Let us know in the comments section!