Walt Disney World Dining

Tusker House Buffet Review

by Kevin Klose - 12/2/07

Three of ventured out to try the new African themed buffet at the Tusker House Restaurant in Disney’s Animal Kingdom. It is located in The Harambe section of the park.

Tusker House has recently re-opened after a lengthy rehab as a buffet restaurant. This is a change from its previous life as counter service location.

I should let you know before this review begins that comparisons to Boma are inevitable.

Upon arriving at Tusker House, we approached the podium to register and were told that we had no reservation. In fact, we had been holding this for weeks and after some conversation our confirmation was located. It seems a typo was the culprit. The staff was never less than fully accommodating and apologetic. After registering, we waited approximately 10 minutes to be escorted inside. Entrance is now through the rear of the building.

We were taken to our table where we found a map/ diagram of the buffet. It is here that I need to let you know that comparisons to Boma in Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge are inevitable.

The Tusker House buffet is set up in a very similar fashion to that of Boma. There are food stations (or pods). The map lists the stations as Breads, Cold Tables, Vegetarian Tables, Kids’ Tables, Hot Tables and Desserts. There is a great deal of room to move around the food area.

After taking a quick tour of the offerings, I can only guess that green beans are a huge favorite in African wildlife preserves as they were only missing from the Bread station and Dessert table.. There were cold green beans with onions and dressing , green beans and couscous, green beans for kids and green beans with carrots in the hot selections. While they were tasty…I have to wonder if there are green bean lobbyists out there. I mean its December….is it green bean season and I’m unaware?

I am not going to list everything on the buffet here. If you wish to see the list of offerings, it can be viewed here: http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?t=1651233.

As with any buffet, there was some good and some not so much. There is no need for groups with picky eaters to worry. There is something for everyone.

While I am only a novice at African cuisine (thanks to Jiko and Boma)  I can only imagine that there is not much that is truly African on this buffet  and the emphasis is on that which is African “inspired”. That being said, there are a few dishes that are very tasty and some that are downright spicy.

Our party of three picked a few that were stand-outs in our opinions. We liked the Cape Malay Curry Chicken (very spicy), Kenyan Coffee rubbed pork loin, seafood stew, with sweet and spicy mustard (on the side for those not interested) and curried vegetable samosas (think vegetable turnovers).

The various and sundry side dishes were good but nothing stands out as needing to be described. It’s more a matter of personal taste. Try them…you might find something to love. You have a better chance of loving something if green beans are your thing.

The dessert table is again reminiscent of Boma. There are several bit sized pastries and sweets but by far the stand out was the Warm Banana – Cinnamon Bread Pudding with vanilla sauce. This is going to be one of those things that folks will tell you is worth price of the buffet.

Speaking of prices…..the lunch buffet was $19.99 per person for anyone 10 and older and included a non-alcoholic beverage. Kids age 3 -9 are $10.99. The breakfast buffet is a character meal at $18.99 and $10.99 and the dinner buffet is $26.99 and $12.99.

I think the very best description of the new Tusker House Buffet (and I wish I could take credit for this) is Boma Lite. If you like Boma, that’s a good thing. If you aren’t a fan….again…not so much.

Enjoy!

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