Our top favorite table service restaurants at Walt Disney World
There are so many great places to dine on Walt Disney World property that it’s hard to narrow down the list to our absolute favorites – but we did. We’ve dine at these table service restaurants the most over the years of vacationing at Walt Disney World. What do they have in common? Well they both are all-you-care-to-eat options (can’t go wrong with that) and they are both located in Disney resorts, so no park ticket required. So, what is our favorite places to chow down, you ask?
Gary’s Favorite: Ohana
Located at Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort rests my personal favorite restaurant on Disney Property, “’Ohana”. When on vacation (and pretty much any other time), I love to overindulge in delicious cuisine, and I’m pretty sure the literal translation for ‘Ohana is “stuff yourself until you’re miserable”, making this goal very easy to achieve.
Okay, the actual translation for ‘Ohana is “family”, as anyone who has seen Lilo and Stitch would know, but maybe a more fitting meaning would be “family style”, which is how your meals here are served.
You are well-fed early AND often upon arrival, starting with ‘Ohana Pineapple-Coconut Bread and a mixed greens salad with a Lilikoi dressing, followed closely by the appetizers. First up on those apps are the pork dumplings tossed in garlic-ginger sauce and served with peanut and sweet-and-sour sauces. ‘Ohana gave me my first introduction to peanut sauce, and I haven’t looked back since. Heavenly! And the pork dumplings? Yeah, that may be my favorite food in all of Walt Disney World, not just this restaurant itself. Secondly, are the honey-coriander chicken wings (also for dipping in the aforementioned sauces), delicious in their own right, but perhaps a little redundant with more chicken coming later. Both of these are even better for me from the get-go as I get twice as much thanks to my wife being a vegetarian. Not that they wouldn’t give me more upon request (see “family style”), but it’s nice not to waste valuable gorging time waiting.
Don’t worry about that awesome vegetarian wife of mine, either. She absolutely loves the accompaniment of noodles tossed in a teriyaki sauce (as do I) and, of course, the grilled vegetables that are also provided. Because Disney is always so accommodating to their non-meat eaters, a serving of top-of-the-line tofu to go with those veggies makes sure she’s not dining on “appetizers” alone!
After you have already devoured more than a single human being should in a single sitting, it’s time for dinner to actually start. Servers begin intermittently visiting your table with skewers of sweet-n-sour chicken, spicy grilled peel and eat shrimp, and Szechuan sirloin steak. Admittedly, I am not usually able to pace myself properly and can’t do the skewers justice, but that speaks nothing about their quality. They are AMAZING.
So, that’s it, right? There couldn’t possibly be any more they would expect you to eat, would there? Wrong, because whether you’ve saved room or not, you won’t be able to resist dessert: ‘Ohana bread pudding à la mode, topped with bananas and caramel sauce (an alternate offering of a brownie with marshmallow topping and M&Ms is available for the kiddos).
That’s the menu! Good enough, right? Well, I’d be remiss if I didn’t talk about the atmosphere and entertainment that you will also encounter. I’ve never been to any of the Polynesian islands, but I can’t help but think they’ve recreated that feeling quite well, making the ‘Ohana experience, and resort it’s located inside, pretty much my favorite on property. But it doesn’t end there! While you dine you are treated to authentic Hawaiian singing and ukulele playing (as well as games for those aforementioned kiddos) making it almost able to qualify as “dinner and a show”.
After reading this synopsis, what are you waiting for? Make your ‘Ohana reservation now (they DO get booked up). Your appetite will thank me later.
Jaime’s favorite: Boma
Boma is an African inspired buffet restaurant located at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge Jambo House.
Follow those folks down the stairs to Boma, cause they know where it’s at.
Boma is just a great all-around buffet with interesting choices. I love the soups, and there is always at least one vegetarian or vegan choice. (My absolute favorite is the carrot ginger soup, but it’s out on a revolving basis.)
My other go-to on the buffet is the curried pasta salad and hummus with pita chips. YUM. They also have carved meat stations, seafood, salads, pastries, and a variety of desserts (including the famous Zebra Domes, pictured above with the chocolate stripes on them).
Check out our plates! Pictured is the curried pasta salad and carrot ginger soup on my side.
And Gary just can’t believe how much food we can try to eat.
A few years ago Gary and I attended a free culinary tour of Boma (which also included Jiko, the signature restaurant next door) where we received free food samples and the heard the backstory of the restaurants, including some hard to find hidden Mickeys! Always subject to change, but it’s being held daily around 4:15pm.
We’ll be in Walt Disney World next week, where we’ll be dining at both ‘Ohana and Boma. We expect to be in full food comas after this trip. 😀