The newest land in Animal Kingdom, Pandora: The World of Avatar not only adds two rides, it adds a counter service restaurant as well. Satu’li Canteen is a great place to grab lunch or dinner, but don’t expect the typical burgers and chicken fingers. Since Pandora places an emphasis on the environment and sustainability, Satu’li Canteen does the same with dishes that focus on vegetables, grains, and proteins.
There is both indoor and outdoor seating, and large windows at the front of the restaurant so that even the indoor seating feels light and airy. The main menu items are bowls that you can customize with your choice of meat, sauce, and grains/leafy greens. There are also “pods,” which are basically bao buns with different fillings. Two desserts and a variety of specialty beverages (both alcoholic and non-alcoholic) round out the offerings.
We ate here twice in the past two months: once during our August trip, and once in September. While I enjoy Harambe market, this is probably the best counter service location in Animal Kingdom right now, at least in my opinion. Animal Kingdom has really stepped it up with the new food options, having also recently added Tiffins and the adjoining Nomad Lounge.
The first bowl we designed was a sustainable fish bowl and had a base of red and sweet potato hash (roasted sweet and red potatoes with onion, garlic, diced red pepper, and Italian herb parsley), mahi-mahi, and the creamy herb dressing.
These bowls are a huge portion, and I think if you have two relatively lighter eaters you could easily share one. The fish was a little bit dry but everything else was delicious. We especially liked the combination of flavors with the red potatoes and sweet potatoes.
On our second trip I went with another bowl, this time the sliced grilled beef bowl. I chose the red and sweet potato hash again since I had enjoyed it so much the first time, and this go-around I paired it with the charred onion chimichurri.
This was really good. The beef was well cooked and well flavored, and the chimichurri added a lot of great taste. I’m not a huge fan of onions so I was a little worried about the “charred onion” part of that sauce, but it didn’t stand out or take over. And the hash was as good as I remembered it.
The Cheeseburger steamed pods (stuffed with Ground Beef, Ketchup, Mustard, Pickle, and Cheddar Cheese served with Crunchy Vegetable Slaw and Vegetable Chips) were also a tasty option.
The novelty of having your “cheeseburger” inside a bao bun is certainly a fun and different, and it was a lot more flavorful than I was expecting. The sauces worked together and almost tasted like a Big Mac (I mean that in a good way). The chips it was served with were very good as well, with each different colored chip having a different flavor – the purple ones were my favorite. And the slaw is pretty good, but the best part about it is the boba pearls which are on top of it. Yum.
We also got to try the Vegetable steamed curry pods (Steamed Vegetable Curry Pod with Eggplant, Cauliflower, Sweet Potato, Carrots, and Shallot Cilantro Cream served with Crunchy Vegetable Slaw and Vegetable Chips) on our second trip.
These were delicious, and I probably preferred the flavors here to the one in the cheeseburger pod, which was a little more straightforward. It had lots of good curry flavor. The only slight downfall was that they put curry powder on the outside of the pods as well, and this made it rather messy to eat. Even with a knife and a fork we seemed to get yellow everywhere!
Of course we had to get dessert! First up was the chocolate cake (Chocolate Cake with a Crunchy Cookie Layer and Banana Cream Topping).
It was extremely chocolatey. It was actually less like a cake than a thick chocolate mousse or ganache. I actually wish they served this with the raspberry sauce that is on the plate of the cheesecake, because using some of that on the chocolate cake helped to cut the richness a little. It was very good, but I couldn’t eat the whole thing.
The dessert that we liked best overall was the blueberry cream cheese mousse (Blueberry Cream Cheese Mousse with Passion Fruit Curd), which is basically like a cheesecake.
The flavors in this dessert are as vibrant as the colors. It’s full of fruity goodness, so if you’re a lover of fruit flavors you’ll love this. I’m not a huge fan of cheesecake but even I would pick this as my favorite dessert out of the two offered here.
And we tried several of the specialty beverages as well! I had both the Pandora exclusive beers. One is the Mo’ara High Country Ale (Rich amber color with a spicy Hop aroma and notes of Caramel, Toffee and Nuts). It was a good, if somewhat basic beer. It tasted to me like a standard lager. Of course, due to my clumsiness I also ended up wearing about 1/3 of this beer. Which led to me getting a new dress in Animal Kingdom. And still smelling like beer for the rest of the day.
In this photo below, the drink on the left is the Hawkes’ Grog Ale (Golden Ale with a brilliant green color and flavors of Wheat and Citrus followed by a creamy finish). It was really good, easy to drink, and a fun color. My favorite of the two beers.
Also in this photo is their non-alcoholic specialty, the Pandoran Sunrise (Refreshing balance of Tropical Juices blended with Powerade Melon). It was really good and refreshing. The melon flavor was fairly predominant but I thought it worked really well.
Overall Satu’li Canteen is a lot of fun because you can customize and build so many different types of meals, and they offer high quality food that is really tasty and different. I’m sure we will be back for many more meals here when we’re in Animal Kingdom!
Have you visited Satu’li Canteen in Animal Kingdom yet? What would you order off of the menu?