Dining at Disney – Sanaa

Time for another disclosure, this is my second favorite restaurant at Disney World and there are days I have difficulty making that ranking decision between Sanaa and California Grill. They are dramatically different restaurants both in food and price, but the quality shines through in both locations. The food is so unique here that we verify all of our dishes are nut and fish free so that we all can share bites of everything.

I remember our first visit to Sanaa and encouraging my husband and boys to try the bread service with all of the toppings, they weren’t sure about it, but I had visited India and knew how good this could be. Sanaa executes this perfectly and we now order it every time we visit; yesterday was no exception and it vanished quickly.


We ordered a South African wine to pair with our food; most of the menu is African and Indian flavors and my husband and I learned long ago that a wine local to the type of food will pair well.


All of our dishes were amazing, and I have sincere compliments to the chef; that original visit inspired me to bring lamb into my own cooking. My eldest ordered the lamb shank, on our original trip it was the youngest, and I tought them both to make sure they get the marrow from inside the bone as well as the meat from outside. After the duration of cooking it’s perfect. The meat simply falls off of the bone when you pick it up: perfection.


I selected the duck; I can’t get it fresh and I haven’t had success reproducing recipes with frozen so this has not made it into my repertoire. It was served a perfect medium rare, with very crispy skin and duck confit (made from the legs and thighs) on the side. Like the lamb and other red meats, when cooked correctly it simply melts in your mouth.


My husband opted for the Braaivleis, a trio of grilled meats; the meats aren’t ever listed on the menu as they are subject to change. His came with pork tenderloin, lamb chops, and a boar meat sausage. All were perfect and flavorful, with the sausage as a clear favorite of my husband and boys due to the unique flavor profile.


My youngest selected the Spicy Durban Shrimp with Aloo Masala after researching all of the terms so that he knew what he was ordering. Again, another amazing dish, the shrimp were full of flavor, and we may have to start ordering extra bread to soak up the sauces.


When it comes to nuts, the desserts are different story and my eldest made sure he ate enough that he didn’t want dessert. My youngest got the Spice Trade Candy Bar and my husband and I split the Kenyan Coffee Petit Entremet. Both were amazing.

  

If you are willing to be a bit more daring in food options, definitely try Sanaa.


Selene Restaurant

Yesterday, I got an opportunity to do something I have never done before. It was completely by fortunate chance. We are visiting my in-laws who spend time in Florida in the winter; this year they have rented a condo in St. Petersburg near the beach. It’s been too cool for swimming, but it’s been nice to enjoy short sleeves and walks on the beach as compared to our winter weather. As we were returning from one of our excursions we were discussing the restaurants they had and had not tried and which ones might be good. We happened to drive past Selene, which they had not noticed before or tried. 

The plans for the evening were to go to a seafood restaurant they had been wanting to try; unfortunately we discovered that they don’t take reservations. We started to look for other options and the discussion led back to Selene, a quick look at their website revealed it to be a run by a Greek family with a Greek chef with lots of experience in New York. Their website proclaims their commitment to excellent service, quality ingredients, and meals always from scratch. So, we altered our plans and decided to call Selene, they took reservations. 
It was only once we arrived that we discovered it was their opening evening. The waitstaff were energetic and nervous, but also kind and attentive. We sampled some of the cocktails; they were unique and delicious. The Sunset Sangria has a taste of vanilla that is an unexpected sweetness and the Mediterranean Mule is light and refreshing (also served in a copper mug like a Moscow Mule). 

My elder son order the daily soup as a starter, it was a delicious spinach soup which I forgot to take a picture of; it had a creamy texture, but no cream. 

My husband and I started with the Bruschette; there is a piece of sea urchin hiding in each of those spoons. The sea urchin was good, but the lemon in it didn’t seem to fit. It gave it just a touch of a cleaning agent after taste at the end.

Bruschette
  

My younger son ordered the striped bass special on a bed of mashed potatoes – very good!

Striped Bass Special

 My older son who is allergic to fish ordered the Pulled Duck Leg with seared polenta. I barely had a chance to photograph it before it vanished from his plate. He didn’t offer me a taste, but assured me it was awesome. 
Pulled Duck Leg
 

 They shared an order of truffle fries that were amazing.

 

My husband ordered the Fillet of Grouper, which is served of sautéed spinach with a Parmesan and tomato cream sauce. The fish was perfectly prepared and delightful. 

Fillet of Grouper
 

 Considering the Greek roots of the restaurant, I ordered the Branzino. It is a simple white fish common in Europe and grilled whole. They fillet it before serving with a touch of olive oil, lemon, capers, parsley, and pepper. I was thrilled with my selection. It was expertly prepared. 

Branzino
    
    
Overall, I recommend Selene. I think they will quickly work out the kinks and establish themselves as a high end highlight in the beach area. If you are in that area of Florida – check it out.