The Mara: Falafel Pita

The Mara at Animal Kingdom Lodge is probably one of the better quick service venues found in the resorts. I’ve had some really great breakfasts there, such as their Croissant Sandwich and their African Breakfast Platter. And, of course, you can find the famed Zebra Domes here as well. I find myself at The Mara during breakfast because it’s a quick stop to start my day in the parks when I’m staying at the resort and a breakfast option before Animal Kingdom when I’m just visiting property for the day. I was interested in their lunch offerings, so I made it a point to visit during lunch hours.

The exterior leading up to the restaurant is pretty plain. The primary entrance when walking outside from the resort lobby has this simple sign out front.

The entrance at the dining room isn’t much more exciting.

The dining room features painted animal murals and tree-shaped pillars.

The menu has the standard Burger, Chicken Nuggets, and Pepperoni Flatbread you find on many menus around property. The descriptions of the Chicken and Vegetable Flatbreads sounds much more interesting, with ingredients such as Berbere Sauce, Zhoug, and Goat Cheese.

If you want a salad, you can get a more simple Caesar or try the Mara Salad, which has Lentils, Chickpeas, and a Chile-Cilantro Dressing. The African Stew sounds heart, too.

I was interested in trying the Falafel Pita, consisting of Sun-dried Tomato Hummus, Cucumbers, Tomatoes, Mixed Greens, and a Mint Yogurt Sauce. It’s served with Couscous or French Fries, so I chose the couscous. The Hand-Carved Sandwich comes with a choice of Cole Slaw and House-made Potato Chips in addition to the aforementioned sides, so you might be able to choose from those items as well.

I was given a buzzer, grabbed a bottle of water, and paid for my meal at the checkout line. After about 3 minutes, my buzzer went off so I returned to the ordering station to pick up my meal. The plate was quite full!

The tomatoes and cucumbers were sliced as opposed to a dice normally found on pita sandwiches. There was a light amount of the hummus on the pita. The mint yogurt sauce didn’t have a lot of mint flavor, which I was fine with. I had to take off a fair amount of the mixed greens as there was so much food stuff into the pita, it was impossible to pick up and eat. Each time I tried, one of the falafel patties would fall out the other end. I had to resort to a fork and knife.

The two falafel patties that were served on the sandwich were pretty large. They only had a little bit of crispness to them, which was a bit disappointing. With so many soft textures going on in the sandwich, it would have been nice to have the contrast between the exterior and interior of the falafel. I will say that the flavor of these was pretty darn good, and they also had a heat that built as I ate them. It didn’t set my mouth on fire, but it certainly caught my attention.

The portion of couscous was quite large as well. Unfortunately, it was lacking seasoning. It was cooked well, and you can see the vegetables mixed in, but it was very one-note. It needed some spice, heck, even some salt may have helped. I love the version served at Tangierine Cafe in Epcot, so I had my expectations here set somewhat high. I figured it would be different, but hoped it would be flavorful. I’d probably see if I could sub the House-made Potato Chips for the offered Couscous or Fries on my next visit.

Overall, it was a solid meal. I would absolutely order the Falafel Pita again, although there are still several items on the menu that I want to try. If you’re at Animal Kingdom Lodge, perhaps to try the Caribbean Limeade at the Uzima Springs Pool Bar a few steps away, stop in and see if anything sounds interesting to you. At least you can always pick up a pack of Zebra Domes while you’re there!

If you’ve visited The Mara for lunch or dinner, what do you like to order?


10 responses to “The Mara: Falafel Pita

  1. Oh man! You’re making me so jealous right now. This is one of our favorite places (duh.) and I love the falafel! Can’t wait to get down there in October…

  2. I love AKL. We’ve stayed there the past two years for the opening weekend of F&W, and I love just going over to walk around the resort. I wish the falafel was a bit crispier, but the flavor was very good.

  3. There are so many tasty-looking things on the Mara’s lunch menu. It’s a shame that the couscous was underseasoned; it would have been my choice over French fries too. It sounds like a plentiful meal even without the side, though.

  4. It was a lot of food – easily could have been split between two people. I’m hoping I just got the couscous on an off day.

  5. I have to start spending more time visiting the resorts… Never been to AKL and this is an excellent reason for me to go there! I love falafel! Thanks for posting this!

  6. AKL is a really beautiful resort. I think you’ll love it!

  7. I looooove falafel! I really need to try it…I’m assuming it’s the same falafel served at the Uzima Springs Pool Bar, as well.

  8. I would think so, but I think the delivery of food to pool bars at the resorts comes from In-Room Dining (hence the $3 delivery charge and 18% service charge), which may be from a different kitchen. That’s not to say they don’t use the same falafel recipe, though. The Bento Box has some nicer sounding side options, but between the price of the meal and additional fees, it’s a bit steep. The Mara is really close, and they have lids for the plates if you want to take your food to go, should you be so inclined! 🙂

  9. Very nice to see more than one option for us vegetarians, too = looks good!

  10. I agree. As a former vegetarian and vegan, I found my teen and early adult years at WDW very limiting. I’m glad they’re expanding their menus so much; just because I don’t follow that diet anymore doesn’t mean I don’t still enjoy the food! 🙂