Animal Kingdom Quick Service Dining: The Best & Worst

on January 21, 2019

If you click a link in this post and make a purchase, we may earn a small commission, at no additional cost to you. Read our full disclosure here.

rib meal and beer at flame tree barbecue - disney animal kingdom

I’m a big fan of quick service (aka counter service) dining at Disney World so it’s easy for me to pick my favorite Animal Kingdom quick service restaurants.

I love quick service dining because you don’t need a reservation and it’s MUCH more affordable than table service. And I think the quick service options at Animal Kingdom are the best of any of the four theme parks!

Read on to learn all about my top picks and which restaurants you should avoid…

Animal Kingdom Quick Service Restaurants Ranked

Here are all of the quick service restaurants at Animal Kingdom ranked from best to worst (in my humble opinion, of course):

  1. Satu’li Canteen
  2. Flame Tree Barbecue
  3. Harambe Market
  4. Yak & Yeti Local Foods Cafe
  5. Pizzafari
  6. Restaurantosaurus

I’ll highlight my favorites below and why I think they shouldn’t be missed.

Best Animal Kingdom Quick Service Restaurant: Satuli Canteen

Blueberry mousse dessert at Satuli Canteen animal kingdom

Blueberry Mousse at Satu’li Canteen

My first pick for the best Animal Kingdom quick service restaurant is Satu’li Canteen in the new Pandora World of Avatar. It is one of the best themed quick service dining locations in all of Disney World.

It was a close call because I also love my second pick – but the atmosphere and storytelling at Satu’li Canteen tips the scale for me.

The food definitely looks like it is from another planet – but don’t worry, it’s delicious, too!

exterior of satuli canteen

The backstory for this restaurant is that it’s an old abandoned mess hall that has been turned into a restaurant for tourists by ACE: Alpha Centauri Expeditions. It fits perfectly into the storyline of Pandora.

entryway of satuli canteen in animal kingdom

You will walk past some Nav’i “artifacts” as you enter the restaurant and can grab a menu to check out while you wait to order.

There is plenty of seating both inside the restaurant and outside in a few covered areas. You order and pick up your food at the same place, then get your own fountain drinks and find a place to sit. I like that you get real plates and silverware at Satu’li Canteen, as opposed to disposables.

Satuli Canteen Menu & Food

satuli canteen menu

The adult menu is a build-your-own-bowl concept. You select a protein, base, and sauce to build your meal.

We tried two different bowl combinations and were pleased with how both turned out.

spicy tofu salad bowl satuli canteen

This is chili-spiced tofu on a salad base. It came with an intense black bean vinaigrette on the side that I used as a dipping sauce.

The tofu was crispy and only slightly spicy. This is likely the best vegetarian meal I’ve ever had at Disney World. Everything was fresh and flavorful!

combo bowl on sweet potato hash satuli canteen

We also tried the chicken and beef combo on the sweet potato hash. The meats were tender and smoky. The portion was big but not enough to share.

We liked the sweet potato hash base as well. I want to get back there soon to try the noodle base.

drink and dessert menu satuli canteen

Here’s a look at the rest of the menu. The kids’ options are just smaller versions of the adult entree bowls at around $7 each.

chocolate mousse satuli canteen

We tried both desserts on the menu and liked them both. The chocolate mousse was VERY intense and chocolaty – I only recommend it if you love dark chocolate. I don’t think many kids would like it.

blueberry mousse satuli canteen

I loved the blueberry mousse dessert – here’s a peek inside. Most kids would love this dessert – it is light and fruity without any strange flavors or textures.

The themed atmosphere and excellent food at Satu’li Canteen make it one of my favorite quick service restaurants in all of Walt Disney World. Another Animal Kingdom counter service option is also on that short list, so on to #2…

Best Animal Kingdom Quick Service Restaurant: Flame Tree Barbecue

flame tree barbecue sign and exterior

Before Satu’li Canteen opened, Flame Tree Barbecue was hands-down my favorite restaurant in Animal Kingdom.  I feel like I am spoiled from their ribs and now no other ribs will do. 🙁

flame tree barbecue ribs and baked beans

As you probably guessed, Flame Tree serves smoked meats – ribs, chicken, and turkey to be exact. Their signature dish is the rib meal that comes with a slab of ribs, baked beans, coleslaw, and sometimes a corn muffin (this seems to always be changing).

flame tree barbecue menu

These prices aren’t current but the menu has stayed pretty consistent over the years. I’ve tried almost everything on the menu and I’m happy to report that I’ve never had a bad meal here.

Flame Tree is located to the right of the Tree of Life when you are entering the park and is easy to get to from many parts of the park.

flame tree barbecue seating area - best animal kingdom quick service

There is plentiful seating behind the restaurant, mostly in covered pavilions like this one.

dining area at flame tree barbecue

The grounds around Flame Tree are lush and lovely. If you head down by the water you’ll be treated with this view of Expedition Everest:

expedition everest view from flame tree barbacue

The atmopshere and view is excellent, but all of the seating is outside. This is another reason Satu’li Canteen edges out Flame Tree – the AC there is OH SO nice in the summer.

I think you can’t go wrong with anything on the menu at Flame Tree. Plus it is an excellent use of a quick service credit on the dining plan – you can get almost $30 of value from one credit there!

Haramabe Market

entrance to harambe market animal kingdom

My third pick is Harambe Market, a newer quick service dining area in the Africa section of the park.

The story here is that this is a local market close to the train station and water tower in the town of Harambe.

menu offerings harambe market

The menu here seems to always be changing, but you can usually expect to find grilled meats, sausages, and veggies in some combination. Here is the current menu at the time of writing:

Roasted Vegetable Bowl – Roasted Vegetables on Cilantro Rice and Salad Greens Bowl finished with Salsa – $9.99

Ribs Bowl – Ribs on Cilantro Rice and Salad Greens Bowl finished with Salsa – $14.29
 
Beef and Lamb Gyro – Served with black-eyed pea salad – $11.29
 
Pork Sausage – served with curried onion relish, naan bread, and black-eyed pea salad – $10.29
 
Chicken Gyro – grilled chicken on naan topped with cucumber and tomato salad and tzatziki sauce, served with African coleslaw – $11.79
 

Chicken Bowl – Grilled Chicken on Cilantro Rice and Salad Greens Bowl finished with Salsa – $11.79

 
seating at harambe market - animal kingdom quick service

You can order from one or multiple windows at Harambe Market then pick a place to sit outside. I love the attention to detail and color in the dining area.

I’ve haven’t heard a bad thing about the food here and the offerings are creative and fresh. There are some mainstream offerings for kids (corn dog, chicken skewer, or ribs).

The only dessert offered here is a Safari Cake (coconut cake with pineapple-coconut mousse coated in chocolate) for $4.99. 

The next three quick service offerings at Animal Kingdom have either left me disappointed with food quality or have an uninspired menu. That said, if your family is looking for pizza and cheeseburgers for picky eaters, then one of the next few restaurants will be a better choice.

Yak & Yeti Local Foods Cafe

Yak & Yeti is located in the Asia section of Animal Kingdom and serves standard Chinese take-out food.

Popular dishes are Honey Chicken and Teriyaki Beef served with rice. The food here is okay, but it doesn’t compare to the top choices in quality or setting. The seating is all outdoors, so it doesn’t even have AC to offer.

There are some recent additions to the menu that shows they are trying to up their game, including a Vegetable Tikka Masala and Korean BBQ Rib Tips.

Pizzafari

Pizzafari is located on the walkway between Discovery Island and Africa, and serves up mostly pizza and salad. The pizza is average and definitely not worth going out of your way for.

The building is the best part of this restaurant – it is beautifully decorated and has rooms themed for different animals. It is also entirely inside so is a good bet on a super hot day.

Restaurantosaurus

Restaurantosaurus is located in Dinoland and serves up burgers, fried shrimp and chicken, and a BLT. It has both indoor and outdoor seating.

I haven’t had a cheeseburger here but they are the standard Disney quick service burger that you can get at any of the parks or food courts. There isn’t much of a reason to get one here when there are much better dining options at Animal Kingdom.

You can get the current menus from these and all of the restaurants at Disney World over at AllEars.net.

waterfall and tree of life at animal kingdom

That wraps up my overview of the best and worst Animal Kingdom quick service dining. If you want to know what other quick service restaurants I recommend in Disney World, check out my quick service series here.

If you want advice on where to eat in the other theme parks, get it here:

The Best Magic Kingdom Quick Service Dining (And The Worst) 

The Best & Worst Epcot Quick Service Dining

Please join the conversation in my free private Facebook group for readers and listeners here – we’d love to have you!

The best and worst quick service dining at Animal Kingdom! Get the lowdown on what to eat at Disney Animal Kingdom counter service restaurants. #animalkingdom #disneydining #animalkingdomquickservice #quickservice #disneyworldfood #disneyworlddining #disneyworldrestaurants #disneyworldonabudget #disneyworldtipsandtricks

5 Comments

  • wen budro

    I am so hungry for ribs after reading this. The blueberry mousse dessert looks amazing.

    January 25, 2019 at 1:33 pm Reply
  • Autumn Tucker

    Thank you so much! Have you had a chance to review other quick service restaurants, in Magic Kingdom and Disney Springs?

    January 28, 2019 at 5:28 pm Reply
  • Lissa Crane

    I totally agree~Satuli Canteen is our family’s favorite! Even the kids meals our great~and the blueberry mousse dessert, amazing!!!

    March 2, 2019 at 8:53 am Reply
  • Best Quick Service Epcot Restaurants (& The Worst) - The Budget Mouse

    […] In this post, I’ll rank all of your Epcot options from best to worst (in my humble opinion, of course) and help you decide where to eat on your trip to Disney World. Check out this post for the best Animal Kingdom quick service dining. […]

    March 11, 2019 at 7:15 am Reply
  • Leave a Reply

    You may also like