jikoI once dated a South African and when his father came to visit, he took us to a steak house. Since I was a vegetarian and we were in the midwest, the restaurant had little to offer. The father also brought some of his son’s favorite treats from home, like kangaroo jerky. So I assumed that South Africans ate a lot of meat.

Then I went to Jiko – The Cooking Place, a South African restaurant in Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge.  The accommodating restaurant has a vegetarian menu, a vegan menu, a lactose-intolerant and a gluten-free menu. Yes, there is a lot of meat here, but a vegetarian can eat here happily.

Jiko, where the Travelingmom retreat will hold its Friday night dinner, also has a huge selection of South African wines.

The seasonal menu includes a butternut squash soup and beet salad with goat cheese. I could eat this for days, but then there is also an entree with a vegetable stack, chickpea cake and mushroom-spinach roll, or a vegetable curry.


For those who eat fish, there are several fish entrees and appetizers.

There is even a children’s menu with seared salmon for adventurous kids, and cheese pizza, mac & cheese or grilled chicken or steak.

By the way, you don’t have to stay at Animal Lodge to eat here. My husband was recently entertaining clients in Orlando and they wanted to try someplace new. I suggested they eat at Jiko and they all loved it.

Can’t wait to eat here again.