Nomad Lounge is an eatery in Disney’s Animal Kingdom that serves a variety of drinks and small plates. Connected to Tiffins, this lounge serves a variety of fares including African, Asian and Indian. Nomad Lounge is open to all ages for lunch and dinner daily. In this review we’ll cover the lounge’s atmosphere, food and drink, and the value offered.
Animal Kingdom is a park meant to be experienced at a different pace than most theme parks. Instead of rushing from ride to ride, although that is always an option, the park has detail and beauty to explore in every corner. Rushing around kind of prohibits that. Unlike the brisk pace that Magic Kingdom or Hollywood Studios might invoke, I think that guests would miss something if they didn’t slow down a little bit at Animal Kingdom. Nomad Lounge is a prime example of this.
Tucked between Oasis Island and Pandora, Nomad Lounge does feel like a place for weary travelers. Tiffins, incredible in its own right, sits on the right side of the building while Nomad Lounge is on the left. There’s signage to let guests know which one is which. Nomad Lounge has both indoor and outdoor seating and nearly all of it is very comfortable. Outside on the deck are oversized chairs and couches to relax on. The views overlook the Discovery River. This is far from the best view in the park but it’s relaxing and serene; easily transporting guests from a busy theme park to a respite between destinations.
If you’d rather escape the heat, then the inside portion of the restaurant is just as comfortable. There are couches in there, as well as a bar and some tall tables and chairs. Banners hang above guest’s heads showcasing areas where Imagineers have traveled with some thoughtful questions and quotes.
Just like Tiffins, Nomad Lounge’s idea is to showcase travels Imagineers have done while doing research for Animal Kingdom. There’s artwork throughout the menu and photographs from different trips throughout the restaurant. If you’re a big Animal Kingdom, or just Disney Parks, fan then I would guess that you’ll eat this right up. Nomad Lounge is very artistic, if not a little pretentious for a theme park. The idea works well and is executed wonderfully. If none of those things are important to you then the couches are much more comfortable than any other seat in the park.
Like the art work throughout Nomad’s Lounge, the menu reflects Imagineer’s travels. Most of the drinks and small plates are inspired by what those Imagineers have had on different trips. Here’s a look at the menu. There are generally more small plate options offered than what is shown online. We’ve been to Nomad a decent amount of times now so here’s a rundown of a few things we’ve tried.
We’ll start with drinks, as I don’t drink much alcohol and a large portion of the menu is made up of cocktails. There are plenty of non-alcoholic options though. A favorite of ours is the Tealeaves Passion Fruit Vanilla Flavored Iced Tea. This is a Passion Fruit Tea that comes with Vanilla. The Tea is good on its own but the Vanilla, which comes on the side, is what makes the drink. It is sweet and incredibly refreshing on a hot day.
Of the alcoholic drinks I’ve tried at Nomad, the Hightower Rocks is my favorite. This includes Casa Dragones Blanco Tequila, Watermelon, Sweet-and-Sour, and Lime Juice. So, it’s essentially a margarita and it’s delicious. Maybe on the sweet side for some but I found it very refreshing. All of the alcoholic drinks range from $12-$15 in price, so you do pay the usual upcharge for Disney drinks. Not a good value or anything but, when in Rome?
Moving on to the food, I’d hazard a guess that the Bread Service is Nomad Lounge’s most popular small plate. It certainly pales in comparison to Sanaa’s gigantic spread but it’s tasty nonetheless, coming with three different kinds of bread and three dipping sauces. The sauces are Red Pepper Hummus, Spiced Coriander Yogurt, Ginger-Pear Chutney. I liked the Yogurt and Chutney the best but all of them are worth trying, as are the breads. At $12, this might be a little overpriced but it’s a fun thing to share especially if you aren’t able to squeeze in a trip to Sanaa.
We’ve had the Charcutrie at Nomad Lounge twice and come away very impressed both times. The quality of ingredients is very high and there are a number of interesting items outside the norm here. Everything was very fresh and blended well together. This came in at just under $20 but I’d probably advise getting this over the Bread Service. That may be some personal preference but I found this more creative, filling and just better overall making it worth the few dollars more.
The best item I’ve had at Nomad Lounge is the Steak Manchurian Nomad Bowl. From what our waitress said, the Steak isn’t always an option but the Chicken or Tuna Bowls are usually available. Obviously, Nomad Lounge shares a kitchen with Tiffins and the Steak used in this bowl was definitely the same as what I’ve had there. It was tender and rich in flavor. It alone was probably worth the cost (again, just under $20) of the bowl. The other ingredients, which included Steamed Rice, Red Cabbage Kimchi, Ginger-Scallion Oil, and Crimini, worked well though. This is a top tier dish and finding it at Disney World for under $20 is a very good value. I’d highly recommend. If its not available, I would guess that the Tuna or Chicken options are also very good.
For the anniversary, Nomad Lounge has added the 50th Celebration Chili Dog which consists of Grilled Sausage, Venison Chili and Pickles. This was delicious as the sausage and chili had some unique flavors and spices to them, far different than your run-of-the-mill Chili Dog. True to form, this dish felt like blending together different cultures to make an excellent addition. $14 is perhaps a little steep for what it is but this is probably my second favorite item on the menu, behind the bowl.
Overall, we find the food and drinks at Nomad Lounge to be quite good. They are not significantly overpriced, making for some value compared to a typical table-service restaurant. Even with high marks for the food, the atmosphere at Nomad is what really sets the lounge apart. Animal Kingdom involves a lot of walking and is usually quite hot and the lounge offers a perfect place to escape all of that. Coming here in the mid-afternoon and relaxing for a while with drinks and a late lunch is a perfect addition to an Animal Kingdom day.
Overall Rating – 9.5/10
Categories: Restaurant Reviews