From the Disney Food Blog…
Boma…Flavors of Africa is a tried-and-true Disney fan destination.
Many guests number it among their must-have advance dining reservations for it’s fun atmosphere, unique menu, and cult favorite dishes.
On a recent visit to Walt Disney World, we had the pleasure of eating at Boma not once — but twice…in the SAME DAY! Yep — we had breakfast and Boma AND dinner at Boma!
While I’ll be sharing the details of our Boma breakfast in a later post, today we’re taking a look at the rockin’ spread available for dinner.
Located at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge, Boma is just one of three incredible restaurants at this resort — it’s a true food-lovers haven here.
You’ll find Boma on the ground floor beneath the lobby level, adjacent to both The Mara and Jiko. (Sanaa is located in nearby Kidani Village.) And while The Mara is the resort’s counter service location, Jiko is a signature restaurant, and Sanaa features a table service fusion of flavors, Boma serves as the resort’s buffet offering.
But while many Disney buffets are more about character interaction than cuisine, a trip to Boma is all about the food. A sign in Animal Kingdom’s lobby provides a little background on the meaning of the restaurant’s name — and encourages you to make your ADR for Boma well in advance!
The term boma loosely refers to a fence fashioned of sticks, and you’ll see this motif throughout the restaurant’s interior. A wrought-iron version of a boma borders either side of the wide, winding path into the restaurant.
Here, the fence borders a low wall separating the seating area from the buffet. You also see the oversized stacked “jars” that function as pillars throughout the space, as well as the thatched roofing over the service area.
Colorful swaths of African prints are draped across the ceiling to soften the look, and to mimic the sun-blocking tents that you might find in an African market.
Beautiful statuary of African animals adorn this low wall at the entrance to the seating area.
Chairs are wooden, yet comfortable, and are carved in various rustic patterns. There is a “mix and match” informality to the sets. Here, the chairs are fully wooden and heavy, complementing the thick, free-form wooden tables.
The smaller tables next to the boma, however, are more delicate, and are made of iron and wood. The tables here are more colorful as well. Don’t forget to look for hidden Mickeys in the chair backs here!
The sections of tables located closest to the windows actually feature mixed seating with combinations of chairs and banquettes that encircle posts. I’d want that banquette seat; it looks like a comfy spot to curl up!
Serving stations are located to the left side as you enter the restaurant and appear under the roof of the “huts”, while seating is in the open-air, boma-bordered enclosure.
And now that I’ve shown you around a bit, we have an enormous amount of food to cover! So let’s get to it.
Boma works like most other table service buffets in Disney parks and resorts: once your party is seated, a server takes drink orders. Meals come with a complimentary soft drink selection and free refills, but you can always choose from a selection of premium drink options (for an added cost). This includes some cocktails, but the more interesting choices are the array of options from Africa.
Since Animal Kingdom Lodge is home to the largest collection of African wines outside of the continent, there’s a pretty good selection available at Boma. There are African beers as well as liqueurs and coffee.
Posted pricing for the dinner meal gives you an idea of just what you can expect when the check comes.
If you’re interested in learning about African wines, one of Boma’s wine flights might be just the right fit for you. I think they sound pretty interesting.
Concerned about just how “exotic” the dishes at Boma might be? A list of some of the possible buffet offerings will provide you with a look at what you’ll most likely find for breakfast and dinner.
Because there are so many foods to show you, I’ve broken them up into broad categories for ease of viewing.
Breads and Salads
Even though you’ll want to pace yourself, there are many items that are considered “must try” flavors at Boma, beginning with the bread. Mealie Bread is a mild cornbread, and I can never skip having at least a taste of it!
And while I’m not partial to hummus, lots of folks can’t get enough of the Lavosh and Pita with the three house spreads: Hummus featuring White Beans, Black Olives, and Sun-Dried Tomatoes. (You can also pick up some of the hummus at The Mara next door if you’d like to take some back to your hotel with you!)
You’ll find a couple of different greens options if you’d like a traditional salad, but the vinaigrettes are freshly made in house and offer bright, interesting flavors.
There’s also a good assortment of fresh fruit — always a welcome addition to the buffet for children, picky eaters, or guests looking for healthier options.
Kool Slaai may look — and sound — suspiciously familiar. It should, since it’s basically coleslaw.
With the Lentils and Hearts of Palm Salad, you’re seeing a fairly common ingredient used in an interesting way.
I expect that the peppery arugula was a good match for the citrus notes in this Orange, Olive, and Fennel Salad.
And the Papaya, Avocado, and Grapefruit Salad sounded really refreshing, and was a beautiful pink color. Really, Boma is a fantastic choice if you’re looking for healthy, interesting options.
Curried Pasta Salad highlights one of the more common flavors that you’ll find in the fusion cuisine of the African continent.
And another favorite staple, couscous, gets a cold treatment in this Tunisian Couscous Salad, inspired by the flavors of North Africa.
Since watermelon is actually native to southern Africa, it’s natural that you’ll find it on the buffet here. Watermelon Salad is made by slicing the fruit paper thin, and it features the entire fruit, rind and all.
Lovers of this sweet fruit will also find it paired with tomatoes and bleu cheese in Watermelon and Tomato Salad.
Had your fill of salads and cold choices?? Let’s check out the hot food offerings!
One thing you can always count on: there will be lots of soup during your dinner visit to Boma. And most of the time, they are fantastic! It’s one of the most raved about courses available for the evening meal.
Folks who’ve been to Boma multiple times are always hoping that they’re favorite soup will be on the menu on their next visit! Check out the recipe for the Coconut Curry Chicken Stew here!
It’s feast or famine with the soups at Boma, it would seem. Another DFB Staffer happened to have dinner around the same time we did and snapped these photos of the soup selection on that evening. According to her, it was hard not to fill up on soup, because every single one of these selections was a winner!
You can never go wrong with a good Disney Tomato Florentine Bisque, but with the other more interesting selections, you might want to be a little more adventurous.
The Sambal Chicken Corn Chowder got very high marks for its rich, spicy consistency.
The group really liked the medium heat of the Curried Coconut Seafood Soup, and the mussels were a really nice addition.
And I can vouch for the Butternut Squash Soup — it’s always amazing!
I hope you aren’t full yet, because we have a lot more food to go!
The exotic flavors continue as you move toward an array of interesting side dishes. You’ll also encounter lots of things that you may have never heard of. Fortunately, helpful cast members are available behind the line to answer your questions about the dishes.
Chakalaka, a spicy relish originating in South Africa, is a traditional accompaniment to Pap, which is similar to a soft polenta.
Matar (or Mater) Paneer is a popular North African dish consisting of Paneer cheese served in a spiced tomato yogurt sauce with peas. It’s normally served with bread or over rice.
You’ll also find steamed Basmati Rice on the buffet to eat with several of the spicy dishes.
Peanut Rice and Roasted Root Vegetables also use flavors common to Africa, and complement the hearty meats and stews nicely.
Couscous makes another appearance. Here, it’s served warm with dried fruit and nuts.
Normally Fufu has a more dough-like consistency, but at Boma, it’s more of a combination mashed white and sweet potato, seasoned with coriander and cinnamon.
As with all Disney buffets, there’s also an area devoted to the kiddos, with some mainstream options.
On the kids’ buffet, you’ll find crowd pleasers like Macaroni and Cheese and Mashed Potatoes.
There’s also Penne Pasta with Meatballs and Marinara. I swear, if there weren’t so many other incredible dishes to try, I would totally be having a big plate of this!
Baked Chicken Legs can be dressed up with the various sauces at the carving station — more about those in just a second. These seem to have replaced the fried chicken nuggets we used to see on the kids’ buffet at Boma — just an FYI, folks!
And now…on to more meat!
While many of the sides, soups, and salads would serve nicely as main courses, there are also several meat dishes to choose from.
There is always a version of Bobotie, a South African egg and meat dish, in the spread at Boma. You’ll find it at both breakfast and dinner. On the night we visited, they were featuring a Beef and Lamb version. The dish is flavored with curry, so if you’re a fan, you’ll probably like this.
There is also always a selection on the carving station. Beef lovers will enjoy the African Carved Strip Loin.
Pungent horseradish is available as a condiment to the beef.
Normally there is a pork selection as well, and sweet and tender Ancho Barbecue Pork Ribs were found at our seating.
Fans of the Durban Chicken from Animal Kingdom Lodge’s Sanaa might be disappointed in this version; it’s not braised and has none of the spice of that restaurant’s dish. Still, with some condiments, it’s perfectly good.
And this is where it can get really interesting! The sauces at Boma are fantastic, especially if you like a bit of zing with your meal.
My favorite, hands down, is the Sambal. I wish I had some right now!
There’s also always a fish option, and the Salmon with Orange-Almond Rice with its creamy sauce looked pretty good.
So many choices! It’s really hard to make selections and narrow it down with such fantastic variety, but we managed to do it! And after a bit, we headed back to check out the fantastic sweet options.
Boma normally features a couple of warm desserts, in addition to smaller bite-sized pastries. During our visit, the featured warm desserts were Apple Cobbler and Banana and Butterscotch Bread Pudding.
Both are fantastic, of course!
And what’s a warm, comforting dessert without a rich sauce to pour over the top? Both the Vanilla Sauce and Rum Sauce are delish, so mix and match here, my friends. You’ll be happy you did.
Once you pull yourself away from the comfort food, you’ll see a beautiful spread of miniature pastries. I think I could make a meal of these alone — they all look so good.
Cinnamon adds a complexity to this Chocolate Mousse.
One of my absolute favorites, though, are these tiny Coconut Cheesecakes. They’re amazing! I sooo wanted to eat more than I had room for!
I skipped the Kenyan Coffee Tarts, but others at the table said they were awesome.
The fruity Passionfruit Panna Cotta was a nice departure from the other flavors…in theory, anyway. You guys know how I feel about milk jello.
But stop the presses! There’s peanut butter here, too! (Seriously, I can’t stop writing about it these days!)
As an avowed PB lover, no way was I skipping this creamy Mousse, which also featured a Peanut Brittle Base and a Butterscotch Ganache! It was deeeeeelicious!! Save room for these!
However, no meal at Boma is complete without at least one Zebra Dome.
These little gems, made of a mousse spiked with Amarula liqueur, have attained something beyond cult status. They’re more like legendary at this point. (And remember, if you can’t secure that ADR, you can always pick up a package of them at The Mara. Or try your hand at making them at home with our recipe!)
If your tastes run to simpler fare, have no fear. There are always a delicious assortment of cookies and brownies as well. Hmmm — brownies and Vanilla Sauce…
And with that, another memorable Boma meal came to a close. And we rolled ourselves back to our room!
Boma is a fantastic choice for just about everyone. Those who like to explore a bit and are adventurous with their palate will enjoy the African flavors and influences here. And those who’d rather stick with the basics will find plenty of food here to satisfy as well. I think the only problem that I can find with Boma is that there’s entirely too much good food to enjoy in one meal. In a perfect world, I’d have a two day pass for the price of admission.
And here’s another tip: getting a reservation here can be easier than you might expect, especially if you’re willing to eat dinner a little earlier. Our staffer secured a table for her party of seven with one day’s notice; and the early dining hour was perfect for the group, which included kids. If you’re trying to save money, this is actually a great idea; you can skip lunch and eat an early dinner. Trust me, you’ll be satisfied.
With its astounding selection, which includes many dishes geared toward those who are less adventurous, I’m confident you’ll find something for everyone in your party. Definitely give Boma a try for dinner if you haven’t already.
Have you dined at Boma? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below!
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