When I heard that Rivers of Light was going to open February 17th you can bet the first thing I did was open the MyDisney app and try to book fastpasses for when I’d be there RunDisney Princess weekend. I guess I was a little too late to the game so instead I investigated the Rivers of Light dining package which gives priority seating at the show. Tusker House was not available, but I’ve been there many times. I’m always trying to find new experiences when I visit Walt Disney World so Tiffins it was! I’m not going to lie, I was skeptical of the menu and if it would be too experimental but figured you have to try everything at least once!
Tiffins turned out to be my favorite restaurant of this trip and we ate at some great spots: Shula’s, Ravello, and Narcoossee’s. For your next visit to Animal Kingdom plan a lunch or dinner reservation at this signature dining restaurant. Personally, I would recommend visiting with a group of adults since the menu is not your traditional American style. Even the kids choices are inspired by African or Indian fare. During lunch I witnessed the three children at the table next to ours crinkle their noses and barely eat their meals. If the children of your party aren’t adventurous with their palette, I’d skip this restaurant.
The Ambiance of Tiffins
When entering Tiffins you are greeted with a warm wooden welcome and dimensional map of the Earth, complete with animal carvings. Part of the Tiffins experience is to take you to the areas of the world that inspired Animal Kingdom through both cuisine and artwork. Two galleries, or dining rooms, the Grand and Safari are to the right of check in while the Nomad Lounge and last dining area, the Trek Gallery are to the left.
We were seated along the window of the Trek Room looking out onto what will soon be Pandora. Unfortunately, no peeking through the tree limbs were successful! On our way we passed through the Nomad Lounge. It is a first come first serve lounge with amazing cocktails and a small menu. Beyond the cushy indoors, space is available outside to enjoy drinks in the sun or shade. This hidden gem lounge is definitely on our list to head back to, although I imagine once Pandora opens it won’t be so hidden anymore.
The Rivers of Light dining package provides each member of the dining party one appetizer, entree, and dessert of his or her choosing without exclusions. Standard beverages are included but any cocktails would be purchased separately. If you are of age, please do. My friend Kellie and I had the absolute best drinks there! I tell you they were dangerously good and perfectly balanced. Mine was the Annapurna Zing with gin and ginger beer and hers was Hightower Rocks, a watermelon tequila cocktail.
The Food & Drinks
Following cocktails, Tiffins provides complimentary specially baked pomegranate focaccia bread for the table accompanied with molasses jam. It’s not your traditional white bread and butter but it’s so much better. Our friendly waiter did warn us it’s a different flavor and texture that some guests aren’t fond of. I hope this offering isn’t changed into the future. My favorite part of the Tiffins experience was trying new foods or flavor combinations together! For appetizer, I ordered the beet salad with hazelnut pear butter. Kellie ordered the cheese board that I of course snacked on too! The glazed almonds presented with the cheese board were phenomenal.
For entrees we both chose the wagyu tenderloin and short rib combination being the red meat lovers we are. It was accompanied by roasted veggies and a chimichurri sauce. This choice did not disappoint! Both cuts were good in their own way but if I had to choose, I’d say the strip loin were my favorite bites.
As if we were even hungry after all that food, we had to choose a dessert too! We both enjoyed the lime cheesecake. It was a round small portion, plenty for a good taste butnot too large to make you feel overindulged.
The food, cocktails, and atmosphere of Tiffins made this a fabulous Saturday lunch. I can’t wait to head back in July with my husband and try more of the menu!