Today we’re venturing to the exotic Animal Kingdom Lodge. Welcome back guest reviewer Katie McFarland with a review of the dinner buffet at Boma.
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Boma restaurant is located inside the Jambo House of the Animal Kingdom Lodge resort in Walt Disney World. If you have never been there before, it really is a magnificent lobby with its thatched ceiling, tribal décor, and torch glass sculpture lights.
But beware: the couches are really comfortable –- especially after a big meal! You run a high risk of awkwardly falling asleep in front of total strangers clutching your stomach and begging “whyyyyy did I eat so much?!”
If walking in through the main doors, the restaurant is on the right side of the lobby and is accessible by either the stairs or the elevator. If going by stairs, you will walk right past Victoria Falls Lounge, which is an intimate bar that overlooks the Boma “marketplace.”
Boma represents an open-air marketplace with the “huts” of the buffet lines divided almost by courses: salad, hummus and other dips, meats, sides, and dessert.
The eating areas have many thatched panels draped across the ceiling with art glass shades supplying the soft lighting. Every location in the restaurant invites the diner to feel as if they’re in an open-air market in Africa.
However, a seat nearest to the buffet line is always a plus! Like in other buffet restaurants, the two-seater tables do not offer a lot of room for extra plates.
I must admit that if you are dining with picky eaters, this might not be the best restaurant to visit. Some of the food is authentically African — more ethnic than you’ll find in other restaurants in the parks and other resorts.
But there’s lots for everyone to try, and if you have some truly picky eaters, there is a small children’s area that offers fare like chicken nuggets and macaroni and cheese.
However, if you are an adventurous eater, then this is an absolutely wonderful restaurant to try! And your picky eaters might just surprise you and love it! This happened with my husband who decided that he wanted a 4th bowl of seafood gumbo for dessert.
The salad bar is absolutely delicious with its pasta, leaf, legume, and fruit options. For my salad plate I chose to try: lentils and hearts of palm, mixed greens with cilantro vinaigrette dressing, Bertina’s pasta salad, and a cole slaw-like side.
The lentil salad was flavorful, but very filling, so I wouldn’t load up on this or you won’t be able to try everything else comfortably! The pasta salad was by far my favorite side. It had a sweet curry dressing and had crisp diced veggies in it (like red bell peppers). I love cole slaw, and this one met all my qualifications; tangy, sweet, crispy veggies.
My dining partner absolutely loved the cilantro vinaigrette dressing and helped herself to a few servings of it while we were there.
While the salad bar is quite delicious, Boma is known for its soups!
During the two times I dined at Boma this year, I was able to try 6 of their soups. The coconut chicken curry soup (recipe here!) was savory and flavorful with very large chunks of chicken and vegetables. I definitely had more than one bowl of this!
The carrot ginger soup was a cold soup that to me tasted more like a liquefied sweet potato pie. It was really good, but not necessarily something I would want to eat a lot of.
The cauliflower soup almost tasted like broccoli cheese soup without the broccoli or the cheese …strange, I know. It was a really good soup and I would definitely try it again!
The mushroom soup was one of the best soups I have ever had! It was a pureed soup with zero chunks of vegetables or meat and a strong, savory seasoning.
The seafood gumbo was a popular dish with us. It was a very thick stew with very large chunks of seafood and veggies. My husband had four bowls of it! He even went back for a fifth just so he could smell it since he was too full to eat any more!
We tried another soup, and by memory I think it was the Mulligatawny. I guess since I’m not able to remember it, it wasn’t that memorable.
In addition to the soups and salads offered, there is a hummus and African bread bar. The hummus offered there are not typical flavors, though I think I remember there being a “plain” hummus as well. If you like hummus, I recommend being adventurous and trying all of the flavors! Red Pepper Hummus is a guest favorite. They were all extremely delicious and could have served as a meal themselves.
The entrées and side dishes available at Boma are all super fresh and taste like something you could get in an actual African marketplace or eatery.
There is roasted salmon, pork, chicken, and beef available. Of all of the meats offered, I thought that the salmon was the best. I’m happy the greedy kid in front of me in line left me some since he had already taken ¾ of what was left on the serving tray. The salmon was super moist, full of spices, and went wonderfully with the Fufu (mashed sweet potatoes).
I’m not a beef person, so I enlisted my dining partners for each of the two times I dined at Boma this year. Both thought that the steak was good, a little tough but had a good seasoning. However, they were quite impressed with the sauces that were available to eat with the steak –- they said the sauces made up for the slight-shoe-leatherishness.
Hidden amongst the carnivorous entrees are many warm side dishes that are (in my opinion) better than the main courses that they are intended to accompany.
There was a very interesting couscous salad that had figs and sliced almonds in it; I thought it was very good. It had a subtle sweet flavor that went nicely with all of the meat that had sweet spices (like cinnamon) in their dry rub.
The rice with pine nuts was very bland; I don’t recommend it unless you’ll be using it to sop up the flavor of something tasty that has lots of juice! However, I do recommend trying every side that Boma has to offer because chances are you’ve never tried anything like it before! (That is…unless you’ve eaten here before.)
With any meal (anywhere) my favorite course is always dessert, and Boma certainly did not disappoint.
Most people believe that desserts offered at buffets are just “meh – okay,” and unfortunately they are usually correct. Boma soars beyond any expectations that I had for their desserts! I absolutely loved how most of the desserts there were “bite-sized” so you could easily try all of them without feeling super guilty.
And if you happen to get multiple plates with only one serving of each dessert, I’m sure no one will be the wiser.
My favorite dessert at Boma are the Zebra Domes, which are little ganache-y cake-y coffee/Kahlua flavored truffles. They are so incredible! They are white with chocolate “zebra” stripes and are super creamy on the inside — and in my opinion had a hint of almond extract or amaretto flavoring. I confess: I ate 4.
Also available were coffee tarts (meh — not a huge fan of coffee), butterscotch bread pudding with both vanilla and buttered rum sauces (my first dining partner had two helpings of this and thought it was phenomenal), passion fruit desserts (pictured below), peanut butter tarts, cinnamon chocolate mousse (which, if memory serves me correctly, is the chocolate football with the Hershey’s straw pictured), and fresh fruit. During my second trip to Boma this past year they also had pumpkin cheesecakes, which were bite sized like all of the other desserts. Boma usually offers several flavors of cookies as well.
Since I am still dreaming of Zebra Domes and Mushroom Soup, I heartily recommend this restaurant to anyone with an adventurous palate!
Have you dined at Boma? What’s your favorite dish? Do you prefer breakfast or dinner? Chime in now!