REVIEW - Harambe Market at Disney's Animal Kingdom

May 25, 2015 in "Harambe Market"

Posted: Monday May 25, 2015 9:06am EDT by WDWMAGIC Staff

The Harambe Market in Africa brings a new quick service option to Disney’s Animal Kingdom with a simple but well defined African-inspired menu.

The restaurant is incredibly detailed, bringing the same level of authenticity that has been established throughout the village of Harambe. The area is setup as an outdoor marketplace, with a row of four walk-up vendors, each offering a different specialty dish.

There is Wanjohi Refreshment, which offers specialty drinks, wines and beers.

Chef Mwanga’s Ribs brings spice rubbed ribs and a range of beer and wines.

Boerewors Famous Sausages has a fried curried corn battered sausage.

Rounding out the kiosks is the Kitamu Grill which offers a grilled chicken skewer and a ground beef kabob flatbread.

Each vendor has its own ordering window, and then a separate pickup window. The kiosks are superbly detailed and feel so authentic. The restaurant is wonderfully effective in transporting you to Africa with its sights, smells and sounds. Bringing a kinetic energy to the area is the regularly passing Wildlife Express train service that passes alongside the village.

With each vendor offering just one or two entrees, ordering is simple, and delivery of the food at the pickup window is quick. During our visit, the restaurant was full to capacity, but our wait to order and receive food was just minutes.

Seating is all outdoors, but the majority of it is covered. It certainly isn’t a place to cool off, but there are fans, and the outdoor dining fits the theme so well that the lack of indoor seating can be forgiven. Capacity is in the region of 540 guests. There is a mix of table sides, with seating for 4, up to larger tables with bench seating to accommodate larger groups. High chairs are available for groups with toddlers in tow.

There is no question the restaurant itself is a fantastic addition to the village of Harambe, but does the food measure up to the look and feel of the place? We are pleased to say that the food is very good, and in our opinion is the best quick service offering in the park.

The menu is concise, with just four main entree dishes to choose from.

We’ll start with what was our favorite, the Spice-rubbed Karubi Ribs. Our first test on any rib dish is just how much meat is on the bone - in this case, it was a lot. These are big hunks of rib meat, with plenty of moist, tender goodness. The flavor was there, with a dry spice rub giving the ribs a little bit of heat, but not in an overwhelming way. It was great to see that the ribs here are bringing something unique with the dry rub, and are not just a typical run-of-the-mill slab of boiled ribs slathered in a sugary sauce.

Chef Mwanaga’s Karubi ribs are probably the best we have sampled at Walt Disney World - far surpassing the nearby Flame Tree Barbecue. Topping the ribs is a green papaya-carrot slaw and a side dish of a chickpea, cucumber and tomato salad - which provided a great contrast to the heat of the ribs. The side salad was a little small for a dish costing $13.39. It would have been nice to have had a starch involved, with some well seasoned roasted potatoes seeming like a perfect fit.

Next up is Boerewors Sausages, which offers a large (around 8 inches) sausage, fried in a curried corn batter. This was an interesting dish which we didn’t expected to like, but it was surprisingly good.

The batter was thick, and had a sweet and spicy taste. One comment was that this dish was like a sausage in a donut - which isn’t far from the mark. If you can look past the fact that is is one unhealthy combination - then this might become a fan favorite.

If anyone in your group is looking for a the safe dish on the menu, it is probably the grilled chicken skewer at Kitamu Grill. The skewer was nicely grilled, with great grill marks and a nice moist center. It wasn’t dry like many chicken dishes, and the menu indicates it is an all natural chicken.

There was some seasoning, but it was far from spicy, and would be a great fit for anyone who just wants something easy and flavorful but without being very daring. The skewer is served with a side of raw broccoli and tomato - finished with a vinaigrette dressing. Priced at $8.99, it is one of the lower cost options.

Rounding out the entree lineup is the ground beef kabob flatbread at Kitamu Grill.

This is a great twist on the sandwich, with two pieces of flatbread, each with a slice of seasoned and grilled ground beef and a mayonnaise-based salad topping. The dish is served with the same side as the skewer, a broccoli and tomato salad. The flatbread is $9.49, and is our pick as the best value dish on offer. It is on the larger side, and seems fairly priced for what is offered.

There is one dessert on offer at all the kiosks, and thankfully it is a good one.

The African Milk Tart is a chocolate tart shell with a wonderfully creamy coconut custard filling, topped with a five spice and sugar powder, and some dark echolocate ganache for good measure. It is cool and refreshing, and a perfect ending to any of the main entree dishes. It is priced at $4.49, so by no means cheap, but it’s a welcome change form the normal cupcake, and more like something you would find at Sanaa or Jiko.

Each dish at Haramabe Market has a corresponding wine pairing, which is a somewhat unique offering for a quick service restaurant. We didn’t get to try the wines, but the lineup is quite extensive, with chardonnay, sauvignon blanc, shiraz, cabernet and sangrias on offer. And keeping perfectly in theme, the wines are all South African sourced.

Our overall impression of the restaurant is very favorable. It is without question one of the best looking and immersive environments in all of Disney’s Animal Kingdom. In many ways the food is reminiscent of Epcot’s Food and Wine Festival, where sharing multiple entrees across a group may be the best way to sample everything on offer. The menu is limited, but each dish stands on its own as being a worthy inclusion, and it is pleasing not to see anything served with fries or other fillers that are so common place in other quick service locations.

Our only lingering question mark on the Harambe Market is value for money. The dishes range from $8.99 to $13.39. For those prices, particularly the ribs at $13.39, we would like to have seen a larger side dish offering. It is by no means inconsistent with other theme park offerings, but worth considering if value is a priority for you.

Later in June, a fifth kiosk will open, offering a range of desserts and sweets. We can’t wait to see what Zuri’s Sweet Shoppe has in store.

We highly recommend the Haramabe Market, and for fans of Boma, Jiko and Sanna, it should be an Animal Kingdom must-do quick service.

Harambe Market is on the Disney Dining Plan, and is typically open daily from 11am to park close. You can access the Harambe Market from the Asia walkway near to Tamu Tamu Refreshments, or from behind Mombassa Marketplace, near to the entrance to the Wildlife Express and Kilimanjaro Safari.

For a closer look at the Harambe Market area, check out our video and photo walkthrough.

As with all WDWMAGIC restaurant reviews, all items were paid for by the reviewer, and opinions are not based on any complimentary preview.

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Hockey89Sep 04, 2015

Pick a different place...Pretty simple.

bhg469Sep 04, 2015

It almost makes me forgive them for ruining tusker house.

PrincessJenn5795Sep 03, 2015

That looks really good! I am excited to check it out next time I am there.

JohnDSep 03, 2015

Is it really too much to ask that you can go next door to Garden's Kiosk?

JohnDSep 03, 2015

Okay. I'm a fan of Flame Tree BBQ but you convinced me to try Harembe Market for lunch on my next visit.

Mickey5150Sep 03, 2015

I understand the complaint with no vegetarian option in Harambe but unfortunately I think it would be hard to have much in the way of vegetarian at Flametree. This is a restaurant where even in it's decor the theme is the larger animal eating the smaller animal, with us as the largest animals.

wdwmagicSep 03, 2015

Harambe Market now has a Vegetarian dish

Mouse_TrapJun 25, 2015

The menu is crying out for a side of a potato dish, ideally african spiced and baked not fried. I think the absence of vegetarian items is quite authentic, I don't think you get many vegetarians in africa.

Mouse_TrapJun 25, 2015

I don't get the obsession with broccoli, its so ubiquitous in Florida maybe other states too. It's become a running joke for us, any time vegetables are mention....broccoli it is then. Many restaurants seem unable to look beyond some broccoli and green beans.

networkproMay 29, 2015

I think it's a very well thought out addition in spite of some cries it doesn't have "x" option. Remember folks it's an entire continent and they try to present a representative sample that's palatable to the average visitor and readily available. It provides missing walk up feeding capacity in the park that's not pizza (fari) or a burger.

DistractedGeniusMay 28, 2015

Definitely trying out those ribs in a couple of days! Interested to try the dessert as well (although it doesn't take much with me)!

benjiMay 28, 2015

What a shame. I was hoping for vegetarian options.

peterpanic74May 27, 2015

looks great, but I'm definitely baffled and disappointed by the lack of a vegetarian entree. Surely they could offer something? This is the same problem with Flame Tree. " Fruit plate with honey" doesn't really cut it as an entree

LieutLawwMay 27, 2015

There is only 1 dessert option atm, supposed to be another place opening that has desserts etc in the near future from what i have read.