I wrote a preliminary review of Satu’li Canteen, Pandora: World of Avatar’s principal quick service, last week in this post. As with my other coverage of the new Land, I won’t spoil anything for you that you don’t want spoiled.
But as a reminder, here’s the menu. I think Satu’li serves the best quick service food at Animal Kingdom at prices lower than a burger at Restaurantosaurus. I think most people will want to eat here, though I’m a little concerned about the indoor seating capacity. Planning lunch around 2:30pm may be smart and they do actually serve breakfast in the morning as well. Of course, if you don’t mind sitting outside, a visit anytime is probably fine.
Pandora may initially seem a little difficult to navigate, but it’s really not so hard to find the attractions or eateries.
There’s a lot of winding pathways near the entrance, but you want to head straight back as everything is located on this main drag. You’ll see Na’vi River Journey immediately ahead, then Flight of Passage is up on the left, followed by Pongu Pongu and Windtraders (the store) also on the left, then Satu’li is straight ahead as you follow the red arrow.
Once inside, there’s an array of artwork hanging from the ceiling and a fun variety of lights illuminating the space:
The seating layout is a bit scatterbrained, but there are a variety of table sizes and configurations, with some bench seating around the edges.
The seats were relatively comfortable.
A bit of an alcove over there. More tables are located on the opposite side of the walls, which add privacy.
Some artifacts on display:
I’d like to see that Food Scraping Tool in action. It would probably be handy at Tony’s Town Square Restaurant.
I haven’t had an opportunity to try breakfast, which is served daily until 10:30am. It may be worth noting what else it says on the bottom about mobile ordering, which isn’t yet operational. But bypassing the line should make life easier for a lot of guests.
One does wonder if they had me in mind when they decided to lead with a boozy breakfast that can only be ordered by guests 21+ years old.
Kids can get in on the action. It’s a bit curious that the “Kids’ Complete Meal” and “Kellogg’s Frosted Flakes” are the same price given the Complete version comes with so much more food. Otherwise, they’re basically smaller versions of the main entrees for the most part. I suppose you can always smuggle in a little Jack for the Kids’ Oatmeal.
A Bloody Mary is also offered early.
An allergy menu is available.
During the Passholder Preview, it was again smooth-sailing. I’ll try mobile order as soon as it’s ready to check out that process.
Here’s what we’ve got going again:
I thought this souvenir cup was a little cooler than the one available at Pongu Pongu.
But not enough to actually get one.
You might remember that I was impressed by the portions and quality during my first visit, and those high expectations were met on my second go-round, for the most part.
This is the $11.49 “Chopped Wood-Grilled Chicken Bowl – Wood-Grilled Chicken Thighs marinated with Garlic and Olive Oil topped with Crunchy Vegetable Slaw and Boba Balls” here served with the “Quinoa and Vegetable Salad and Charred Onion Chimichurri.” It was a lot of food, with plenty of nicely spiced chicken on top of a large, fresh salad that packed quite a bit of heft with the quinoa, which was evenly dispersed throughout the bowl. The crunchy slaw on top added a nice textural contrast and the boba balls on top pop with a burst of sweetness a couple of times during consumption. I’m not sure I’d go with the chimichurri here unless you want to increase the garlic flavor even more, but the piquant quality of the onion complemented the rich olive oil in the marinade quite well. Altogether, very good, especially under 12 bucks.
The $11.49 “Chili-Spiced Crispy Fried Tofu Bowl – Crispy Fried Tofu seasoned with Chili-Spice topped with Crunchy Vegetable Slaw and Boba Balls” here served with “Mixed Whole Grain & Rice and Black Bean Vinaigrette.” Vegetarians, or those that typically order tofu, are probably familiar with how easy it is to screw up or how often it’s tossed into a dish as an afterthought in place of something else. But the bean curds were expertly prepared with a fantastic crispiness and a very pleasant kick of spicy chili at the front of each bite.
There were some onion, pepper, garlic, and vinegar notes in the black bean vinaigrette, which added a lot of flavor to the rice, which I think would be pretty bland without it. The portion size on the tofu wasn’t as good as the chicken – we agreed that five or six more pieces would go a long way, but the quality was certainly there. Very good.
I was much less impressed by the $10.99 “Vegetable Steamed Curry Pods – Bao Buns – Steamed Vegetable Curry Pod with Eggplant, Cauliflower, Sweet Potato, Carrots, and Shallot Cilantro Cream served with Crunchy Vegetable Slaw and Vegetable Chips.”
They’re not necessarily unattractive on the plate.
But the inside looks about as good as it tasted, which is to say, not very. The flavor was just kind of bland yellow curry with a few vegetables that were all prepared to different levels of done-ness. Some were barely cooked, others mush.
And while I like the Bao pretty well, they are appropriately soft and chewy, the ratio of bread-to-vegetable was not great. The two of them combined are filling, but I think you’re better off customizing the tofu bowl on the vegetarian front. On the other hand, Corless reported that everyone in his group loved the Curry Pods, while nobody I was with was interested in a second bite. I still ate the whole thing.
The size of the $5.29 “Blueberry Cream Cheese Mousse – Blueberry Cream Cheese Mousse with Passion Fruit Curd” had decreased dramatically since the first time I tried it about ten days ago.
This was the original, probably about 75% bigger. But the flavor and texture are still fantastic with a really nice, naturally sweet fruitiness and a cool temperature that makes it all the more refreshing. It’s just significantly less shareable now and not quite as good of a value.
I’ll admit that I had been making quite a bit of fun of “Banshee Wine,” assuming that Disney had six years to work through this stuff and the best they could come up with is the equivalent of Avatar Water. But “Banshee” is actually the name of the winery, of course. I would reiterate that if you are starting a distillery/brewer/winery in the next few years that you should try as hard as possible for the name or art to have some kind of tie-in with the Walt Disney Company. They will make you rich even if your product is garbage. Banshee wine here is served on tap like so many cocktails these days.
I tried the Banshee Pinot Noir without accurately capturing the size of the cup, which is much larger than the thimble they serve during the Food and Wine Festival. The pour was much closer to five ounces than three ounces of the bottle that would have a retail price of $28 directly from the winery. It’s a nice, smooth wine with some cherry notes and a silky texture. It’s quite drinkable and not a terrible value for the money if you’re in the mood for a red or white, particularly with wine no longer appearing on a lot of quick service menus.
Overall, Satu’li Canteen presents considerable value with fresh food and an abundance of flavor for less money than you’d pay elsewhere. Hopefully that will continue as you could argue that the dessert decreasing in size by about half before the Land even opens doesn’t bode particularly well. But for now, quality remains high and I think most people will want to plan on stopping by at some point during the day.