Jiko – The Cooking Place Dining Review

Botswana-style Seswaa Beef Short Rib at Jiko
The Beef Short Rib was delicious, but the Cassava-Potato Purée really made the dish.

We had tried both Sanaa and Boma in years past and had Jiko on our list to round out the meals at Animal Kingdom resorts. I had missed it several times before since it does usually require a reservation in advance.

It was opening weekend of Pandora – The World of Avatar. I thought a nice dinner before our extra magic hours would be great!  We arrived right on time for our reservation, after a quick change to meet the dress code. Most of the Signature Dining experiences have a dress code so be sure to check it out first. From Disney’s website:

  • Men may wear khakis, slacks, jeans or dress shorts and collared shirts. Sport coats are optional.
  • Women may wear capri pants, skirts, dresses, jeans or dress shorts.
  • Not permitted in the dining room are tank tops, swimsuits, swimsuit cover-ups, hats for gentlemen, cut-offs, torn clothing and shirts with offensive language or graphics.

Location

Jiko is located in the Animal Kingdom Lodge. The main lobby is one of my favorites at Walt Disney World. After entering the lobby, there is a large staircase to the right. Both Boma and Jiko are on the bottom floor.

Reservations

I highly recommend making reservations for Jiko ahead of time. To get a normal dinner time (6-7pm) for a group of 4, I would book at least 2-3 days in advance. It isn’t a place that requires a 180 days advance, but it is also fairly popular during the same week.  You can book a reservation a few ways:

  • Disney Dining Reservations : (407) 939-1947
  • Website :
    • Select Reservations
    • Search for your Restaurant
    • Check Availability

Enter dining times

    • Select your Time
Select Dining Reservation Time

Select your desired time

  • MyDisneyExperience App
    • Reserve Dining through “My Account” or through the Dining search
      • Filter the list to the area or type of cuisine
      • Select your restaurant
      • Enter your party size, desired date, and time
      • Pick from available timing

Food

Now for the good stuff! Jiko is one of the highest rated restaurants at Disney World. It’s currently rated #17 in all of Orlando on TripAdvisor. Jiko means “the cooking place”, and in addition to appetizers, there are several options for shareable menu items. It would actually be a great place to join with friends and share several appetizers or other small plates from the cooking place.

From The Cooking Place

We chose the Taste of Africa, an assortment of African-inspired Dips, Pappadum, Sesame Fatir, House-made Flax Seed Naan. The kids actually enjoyed this one a lot as well.

Taste of Africa at Jiko

We enjoyed the mango dip the best on our Taste of Africa sampler.

Entrees

We wanted to try some of the more exotic menu items and opted for the Durham Ranch Elk Loin and Botswana-style Seswaa Beef Short Rib.  Our kids were not quite as adventurous and went for the Macaroni & Cheese.  Everything was absolutely delicious. I doubt anything on the menu would disappoint.

Durham Ranch Elk Loin at Jiko

The Durham Ranch Elk Loin was amazing!

Botswana-style Seswaa Beef Short Rib at Jiko

The Beef Short Rib was delicious, but the Cassava-Potato Purée really made the dish.

Kid's Macaroni and Cheese at Jiko

Kid’s Macaroni and Cheese

Dessert

We did not personally order any of the desserts, but I heard rave reviews fro fellow diners about the Kilimanjaro, a Tanzanian Chocolate Mousse, Pistachio Financier, Pink Peppercorn Meringue, Cacao Nib Crunch, Ras el Hanout Pineapples.

Summary

We really enjoyed our time at Jiko. If you haven’t eaten here, it should be on your Disney Dining short list. It will take 2 dining credits if you are on the Disney Dining Meal Plan. You can also use your annual pass holder status to get 20% off. To make the most out of your visit:

  • Get a reservation. 2-3 days in advance is enough time to get a decent reservation
  • Review the dress code to avoid last minute stress or a trip to the gift shop to buy a collared shirt
  • Take time to explore Animal Kingdom Lodge. It is an amazing lobby!
  • Pick a shareable from the cooking place
  • Try something you normally wouldn’t. I am not normally a rib person, but the Bostwana-style beef short rib was one of the most delicious meals I have ever had!

 

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