Carving a Niche for Upscale African Restaurants

jikofishThe last time I visited DisneyWorld, I had a turkey leg for lunch and a cheeseburger for dinner. But as I learned on a recent trip back to Orlando, there are far more interesting food choices beyond the park gates. My strategy of experiencing Disney on the cheap by knocking about its resorts led me to Jiko: The Cooking Place, a 13-year old dining room at Animal Kingdom Lodge.

Later, when I called Disney’s press office with follow-up questions, spokeswoman Pam Brandon described Jiko as “one of the most popular restaurants in DisneyWorld.” I’m not surprised. The décor, which leans heavily on earth tones and sultry curves, would seem sophisticated even if you hadn’t spent the day dealing with toddlers in mouse ears. But the real appeal is the exclusively South African wine list, which runs for pages, and the menu of African-influenced dishes. Continue reading