Just wanted to share a quick review and some ramblings about Harambe Market in Africa in Disney’s Animal Kingdom, in case you’re like me and have been sleeping on some delicious food on this side of the park!
I barely took pictures on my last Disney trip, which is about to be a problem, because I’m not too sure how much I can write without them. I mean, I could write a lot, but without pictures I’m not sure why you’d be on this blog as opposed to any other blog, presumably run by someone who’s actually good at being a blogger.
In any case, I wasn’t planning on doing a bunch of restaurant reviews from my last Disney trip because of the lack of photos, but there was one place we ate at that we just need to talk about- Harambe Market in Animal Kingdom.
Prior to my last trip, I’ve only eaten at Harambe Market once. It was when the area first opened, and I tried the curried sausage (basically a corn dog, but with sausage instead of hot dog and the batter had curry seasoning in it) and a kids’ meal of ribs. I enjoyed those things, and thought I would end up coming again, but it just never really happened that way.
Growing up, my family always went to Rainforest Cafe (cringe)* or Restaurantosaurus. Rainforest Cafe, I have no explanation for, and Restaurantosaurus I’m guessing is because my family assumed the kids would want something simple, like burgers.
As an adult, my go-to in Animal Kingdom has always been Flame Tree Barbecue. I can’t imagine anything ever replacing it as my favorite Animal Kingdom quick service. Since Pandora has opened, Satu’li Canteen has come close (and I LOVE their menu where you can mix and match different combinations to create your own bowl), but I don’t know…it would take a lot to beat the ribs from Flame Tree. I don’t think Harambe Market beats Flame Tree, but I enjoyed it so much on my last visit I think it’s kind of close.
During my last trip, Josh and I both ordered the ribs and chicken bowl. As far as value goes, it’s the same price as the ribs-only bowl ($14.29) and only $2 more than the chicken-only bowl. Disney quick service prices sort of vary wildly by location, and Flame Tree Barbecue is not the cheapest if you’re ordering ribs and chicken, so this didn’t seem like a horrible cost. (I’m also coming from Massachusetts, where if I add guacamole to a steak bowl from Chipotle it’s going to be close to $14, so I may have a skewed view of this.)
The menu during our last visit was extremely simple. In fact, we only ate at Harambe because we had just finished a ride on Kilimanjaro Safaris and were planning on going to Rafiki’s Planet Watch after lunch. We were hungry and walking back to Discovery Island just didn’t make sense where this was right there.
The ribs and chicken bowls came with cilantro rice and mixed greens, with of course the ribs and chicken topped with salsa. In addition to the bowls, the menu during our visit also included a salad that could be served with or without chicken, and was made up of pepperoncini, Kalamata Olives, cucumber, tomato, and feta with a Greek-style vinaigrette, and a plant-based hot link bowl with the same rice, greens, and salsa just replacing the meat with plant-based sausage.
If you have kids, the kids’ menu is pretty basic with your standard chicken nuggets or a chicken bowl that seems to be a smaller version of the adult entree but it served with the usual kids’ sides like applesauce or mandarins (or fries if you substitute them.)
I’m not sure what was on the regular menu before covid, because it does seem like this (like many Walt Disney World menus at the moment) has been shortened, so I’m not sure what else was on there or what may be coming back. Probably worth noting as well, they had a variety of frozen mixed drinks (both alcoholic and not) that seemed like they’d be really tasty and refreshing on a hot day. (I didn’t try them, the bowls looked filling so I passed, but maybe next time!)
Anyway, onto the bowl…It was…the perfect Animal Kingdom quick service meal. I don’t know what the seasoning was on the ribs and chicken (I’m actually thinking it’s a similar curry seasoning to what used to be on the sausage, but it was delicious! The chicken was grilled to perfection and the ribs were tender and so well seasoned with flavors that I don’t think I’ve had on ribs before.
I wasn’t expecting to be wowed by the rice, but the rice was also much more flavorful than I would have expected from a quick service restaurant. The cilantro was definitely there, but it was also…I want to say buttery, and the right amount of salt. I’m not quite sure what it was, but it was delicious.
The greens (basically a small salad, it seemed like it had a very light vinaigrette on it) were also good. They wouldn’t have stood out to me on their own but on the same forkful as the chicken, ribs, or rice, they added a nice flavor of something more refreshing. I’m also really guilty of probably not eating enough greens while I’m on vacation so it was nice that this came with a little salad. It’d take a lot for me to just order a salad with all of the other options in Animal Kingdom honestly, so I’m sure my body appreciated some actual nutrients to break up the junk and alcohol I was eating all week.
The only thing we both didn’t love was the salsa, but there was so little of it that it didn’t detract from the rest of the dish at all. And I get what they were trying to do with something a little refreshing to go with the rice and the seasoning of the meat, but the salsa had a flavor that stood out too much from everything else in my opinion. If they’re going with this vague Mediterranean vibe with the other salad on the menu, I think just some chopped cucumber and tomatoes would have worked better than the salsa.
I also really enjoyed the ambiance of Harambe Market. I love the feel of Flame Tree, too, especially when you have a table looking across the water at Expedition Everest, but Harambe really felt like a lively marketplace and there are so many details to take in that really I could have sat there all day just looking at everything.
All in all, we really enjoyed Harambe Market, and I was just kind of surprised since it’s not usually where I’d go in Animal Kingdom so I figured I’d share! I’m curious to see what the menu is like as things get more normal, and I’m thinking while I’m due for a lunch at Flame Tree I will surely be back in the future.
*My ‘cringe’ for Rainforest Cafe is more because it’s a restaurant that exists outside Walt Disney World and for much of my life existed within 10 miles of my house, and I can’t imagine going all the way to Disney just to eat something we have at home. Okay, a little of the cringe was because it is Rainforest Cafe, but honestly you do you, no disrespect if you like it (though Yak & Yeti inside Animal Kingdom is the same company and substantially better food, and T-Rex in Disney Springs is the same company with a much more fun theme in my opinion…)