Added by AJ on 2013-06-18 | 11:20 am

Boma…Flavors of Africa is a tried-and-true Disney fan destination.

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Boma

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.

Atmosphere

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.

Boma Sign

Boma Sign

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!

Boma Background Information

Boma Background Information

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.

Atmosphere

Walkway into Boma

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.

Wide Shot of Restaurant

Wide Shot of Restaurant

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.

Ceiling

Ceiling Detail and Decor

Beautiful statuary of African animals adorn this low wall at the entrance to the seating area.

Decor at Boma

Decor

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.

Seating at Boma

Seating

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!

Seating 2 at Boma

Seating 2

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!

Seating 3

Seating 3

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.

Serving Stations at Boma

Serving Stations

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.

Eats

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.

Beverage Menu

Beverage Menu — Click to Enlarge

Posted pricing for the dinner meal gives you an idea of just what you can expect when the check comes. :-)

Boma Dinner Pricing

Boma Dinner Pricing

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.

Boma wine list

Wine Flights — Click to Enlarge

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.

Breakfast and Dinner Offerings at Boma

Breakfast and Dinner Offerings at Boma

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!

Mealie Bread

Mealie Bread

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!)

Lavosh and Hummus with (l-r) White Bean, Black Olive, and Sun-Dried Tomato Hummus

Lavosh and Hummus with (l-r) White Bean, Black Olive, and Sun-Dried Tomato Hummus

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.

Salad Greens with (l-r) Balsamic, Chili-Cilantro, Mango, and Apple Vinaigrettes

Salad Greens with (l-r) Balsamic, Chili-Cilantro, Mango, and Apple Vinaigrettes

Mixed Greens

Other Mixed Greens

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.

Assorted Fresh Fruit

More Fresh Fruit Options

More Fresh Fruit Options

Kool Slaai may look — and sound — suspiciously familiar. It should, since it’s basically coleslaw. :-)

Kool Slaai at Boma

Kool Slaai

With the Lentils and Hearts of Palm Salad, you’re seeing a fairly common ingredient used in an interesting way.

Lentils and Hearts of Palm Salad

Lentils and Hearts of Palm Salad

I expect that the peppery arugula was a good match for the citrus notes in this Orange, Olive, and Fennel Salad.

Orange, Olive, and Fennel Salad

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.

Papaya, Avocado, and Grapefruit Salad

Papaya, Avocado, and Grapefruit Salad

Curried Pasta Salad highlights one of the more common flavors that you’ll find in the fusion cuisine of the African continent.

Curried Pasta Salad at Boma

Curried Pasta Salad

And another favorite staple, couscous, gets a cold treatment in this Tunisian Couscous Salad, inspired by the flavors of North Africa.

Tunisian Cous Cous Salad at Boma

Tunisian Cous Cous Salad

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.

Watermelon  Salad

Watermelon Salad

Lovers of this sweet fruit will also find it paired with tomatoes and bleu cheese in Watermelon and Tomato Salad.

Watermelon and Tomato Salad at Boma

Watermelon and Tomato Salad

Had your fill of salads and cold choices?? Let’s check out the hot food offerings!

Soups

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!

Coconut Curry Chicken Stew

Coconut Curry Chicken Stew

Carrot Ginger Soup

Carrot Ginger Soup

Harira Soup

Harira Soup

Lentil and Sausage Soup

Lentil and Sausage Soup

Pearl Cous Cous Seafood Soup

Pearl Cous Cous Seafood Soup

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!

Zanzibar Crab Soup Boma

Zanzibar Crab Soup

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.

Tomato Florentine Soup Boma

Tomato Florentine Soup

The Sambal Chicken Corn Chowder got very high marks for its rich, spicy consistency.

Sambal Chicken Corn Chowder Boma

Sambal Chicken Corn Chowder

The group really liked the medium heat of the Curried Coconut Seafood Soup, and the mussels were a really nice addition.

Curried Coconut Seafood Coup Boma

Curried Coconut Seafood Soup

And I can vouch for the Butternut Squash Soup — it’s always amazing!

Butternut Squash Soup Boma

Butternut Squash Soup

I hope you aren’t full yet, because we have a lot more food to go!

Sides

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.

Chakalaka and Pap

Chakalaka and Pap

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.

Mater Paneer

Mater Paneer

You’ll also find steamed Basmati Rice on the buffet to eat with several of the spicy dishes.

Basmati Rice

Basmati Rice

Peanut Rice and Roasted Root Vegetables also use flavors common to Africa, and complement the hearty meats and stews nicely.

Peanut Rice and Roasted Root Vegetables

Peanut Rice and Roasted Root Vegetables

Couscous makes another appearance. Here, it’s served warm with dried fruit and nuts.

Couscous with Dried Fruit and Nuts at Boma

Couscous 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.

Fufu at Boma

Fufu

As with all Disney buffets, there’s also an area devoted to the kiddos, with some mainstream options.

Kids’ Buffet

On the kids’ buffet, you’ll find crowd pleasers like Macaroni and Cheese and Mashed Potatoes.

Macaroni and Cheese and Mashed Potatoes

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!

Penne Pasta with Meatballs and Marinara

Penne Pasta with Meatballs and Marinara

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!

Baked Chicken Legs

Baked Chicken Legs

And now…on to more meat!

Main Dishes

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.

Beef and Lamb Bobotie at Boma

Beef and Lamb Bobotie

There is also always a selection on the carving station. Beef lovers will enjoy the African Carved Strip Loin.

African Carved Strip Loin

African Carved Strip Loin

Pungent horseradish is available as a condiment to the beef.

Horseradish

Horseradish

Normally there is a pork selection as well, and sweet and tender Ancho Barbecue Pork Ribs were found at our seating.

Ancho Barbecue Pork Ribs

Ancho Barbecue Pork Ribs

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.

Durban Spiced Chicken

Durban Spiced Chicken

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.

Masai Mara and Boma Mustard

Masai Mara and Boma Mustard

My favorite, hands down, is the Sambal. I wish I had some right now!

Tamarind Barbecue Sauce and Sambal at Boma

Tamarind Barbecue Sauce and Sambal

There’s also always a fish option, and the Salmon with Orange-Almond Rice with its creamy sauce looked pretty good.

Salmon with Orange-Almond Rice at Boma

Salmon with Orange-Almond Rice

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.

Desserts

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.

Apple Cobbler at Boma

Warm Apple Cobbler

Both are fantastic, of course!

Banana and Butterscotch Pudding

Banana and Butterscotch Pudding

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.

Vanilla Sauce and Rum Sauce for the Cobbler and Bread Pudding, Respectively

Vanilla Sauce and Rum Sauce for the Cobbler and Bread Pudding, Respectively

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.

Chocolate Cinnamon Mousse

Chocolate Cinnamon 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!

Coconut Cheesecake

Coconut Cheesecake

I skipped the Kenyan Coffee Tarts, but others at the table said they were awesome.

Kenyan Coffee Tarts

Kenyan Coffee Tarts

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. ;-)

Passionfruit Panna Cotta with Apricot Gelee

Passionfruit Panna Cotta with Apricot Gelee

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!

Peanut Butter Mousse with Peanut Brittle and Butterscotch Ganache

Peanut Butter Mousse with Peanut Brittle and Butterscotch Ganache

However, no meal at Boma is complete without at least one Zebra Dome.

A Herd of Zebra Domes

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!)

Zebra Dome -- Inside

Zebra Dome — Inside

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…

Chocolate Brownies

Chocolate Brownies

Chocolate Chip Cookies

Chocolate Chip Cookies

Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

Sugar Cookies

Sugar Cookies

And with that, another memorable Boma meal came to a close. And we rolled ourselves back to our room! ;-)

Overall

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!

 

Excerpt from:

Review: Dinner at Boma in Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge

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