Who’s ready for a quick, tropical getaway??
While ‘Ohana still has yet to reopen at Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort, Tambu Lounge is serving up delicious drinks and appetizers right next door! We recently stopped by to see if the incredible atmosphere and newer menu items help hold this spot as high as we remembered. Let’s take a look!
Located on the second floor of the Great Ceremonial House in what is usually the waiting area for ‘Ohana/open lobby area, the theming of Tambu Lounge definitely fits with the Polynesian vibe.
Which, of course, means there are tikis (tiki, tiki, tikis ?) located throughout the lounge to greet you!
The thatched roof adds to the laid-back atmosphere of the lounge.
The actual bar is kind of just a big square no bigger than most Disney pool bars. In fact, it kinda looks like one but, you know, inside. Previously, you could belly up to the bar and grab a stool to sit at but for now, the chairs have been removed.
The tables at this space have always been somewhat limited but now are even more spread out than in the past to allow for greater distance between parties.
While the layout looks a bit different than it has in the past, the laid-back, tropical vibe is definitely still there!
Before that silly ol’ Trader Sam hitched a ride off the Jungle Cruise in Magic Kingdom and set up shop just downstairs with his now very popular tiki bar, there was Tambu. In a sea of Disney World generic bar menus, Tambu has always shined as a location to find unique drinks and eats not available at other bars…and as the bar where you get “that big drink in a pineapple” (yes — the Lapu Lapu is still available, friends!).
Right now, one of our favorite parts of Tambu is unavailable. Prior to the closures, we were known to hack a version of a meal at ‘Ohana here from the appetizer menu and secret menu items! Sadly, for now, you’ll have to pick from the limited menu with no ‘Ohana goodies available (though we have heard from Cast Members at Tambu that you should be able to get the NEW ‘Ohana-style Bread Pudding from Kona Cafe here after 5PM!). Guests looking for a bite to eat can select from several appetizers…
…but Tambu Lounge really shines when it comes to its drink selection! They offer a ton of specialty cocktails…
…as well as some non-alcoholic drinks!
Since Tambu Lounge is known for its incredible drinks and awesome bartenders, we had to start out with a cocktail! We opted for the Puka Punch, made with The Real McCoy 5 yr Rum, Bacardí Superior Rum, John D. Taylor’s Velvet Falernum, Tropical Juices, Passion Fruit, and Angostura Bitters.
This is one (of many) rum punch type drinks on the menu. Falernum is a common ingredient in tiki drinks and it adds a nice flavor here. It’s a sweet syrup with flavors almond, lime, ginger, and often allspice. It adds complexity to drinks so they don’t just taste straight up like a cup of sweet juice. 🙂 We also loved the addition of the bitters — it helped tone down the overall sweetness of the drink. This drink, like many here, packs a punch. See that brown on the top? That’s all rum, baby!
If you find yourself looking for a less-sweet option on a menu full of sugary tropical drinks, this might be the one for you! The Puka Punch will run you $14.
Now, let’s dig into some appetizers! First, we tried the O’Ahu Island Flatbread. There are two versions of this flatbread, one comes with Shrimp, Crab, Red Onions, Basil Aïoli, Parmesan, and Gruyére, and the other comes with Shredded Pork, Crispy Pork Belly, Ham, Pineapple-Barbecue Sauce, Red Onion, Smoked Gouda, Cheddar. We opted for the pork version!
We were super impressed with this flatbread! While all of the ingredients worked well together, the standout for us was the incredibly flavorful pineapple barbecue sauce. And even though flatbreads often don’t look like much, this was actually pretty filling thanks to the generous amount of toppings. For $15, we’d definitely order this appetizer again.
But we didn’t stop there! We also tried Kaikane’s Barbecue Pork Ribs which consists of Marinated Pork Ribs, Korean-Style Barbecue Sauce, and Pickled Peppers, with Pineapple Slaw on the side. The Cast Members we spoke with mentioned that this is their favorite menu item, and we could definitely see why!
The ribs were perfectly cooked and we received a generous portion, although next time we might ask for extra sauce since it had such a great flavor! The pineapple slaw was refreshing, but we couldn’t really taste much pineapple in it, so heads up if that’s the main selling point of this item for you! But overall, we’d definitely say this dish is worth $16.
So, we thoroughly enjoyed our delicious drink and awesome eats, but is Tambu Lounge right for you and your family? Let’s discuss!
Nosh or Not?
You Might Want to Dine at Tambu Lounge if:
- You’re a big fan of specialty cocktails and want to try the awesome concoctions the Tambu Lounge bartenders whip up (or you’re missing tiki drinks from Trader Sam’s!).
- You love the laid-back, relaxed vibe of the Poly and want to soak in the atmosphere.
- You’d prefer to stick to appetizers instead of a full meal.
You Might Want to Skip Tambu Lounge if:
- You have a large group. There’s not a lot of space for bigger parties right now.
- You’d prefer to order a full meal including an entree and dessert rather than just lighter appetizers. You can find similar styled food at nearby Kona Cafe.
- You’re looking for a fancier atmosphere. There are other options on the Monorail loop that might interest you, like California Grill or Narcoossee’s!
We definitely have a soft spot in our hearts for this place! This place is simple but has a lot of heart behind it. Our service was incredible, which is something we’ve come to expect at Tambu Lounge. There’s a great selection of specialty cocktails, including that Instagramable Lapu Lapu, and even though they’re on the pricy side, they’re also pretty strong. While the food menu is small, we love the items they do offer, and we were blown away by our appetizers this trip! Top that all off with the warm, comfortable atmosphere, and Tambu Lounge is a winner in our books.
Here’s what we know about the Moana-inspired refurbishment coming to Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort!
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Have you dined at Tambu Lounge? Share your experience with us in the comments!