You may not be familiar with the name Landry’s but I’m sure you know of their themed restaurants like Rainforest Cafe, Bubba Gump Shrimp, or even T-Rex Cafe. I’ve mentioned in the past that I really enjoy these restaurants for their theming and immersing us in a unique dining environment, but the food is always a little underwhelming. I will admit there are plenty of Landry’s restaurants I have not visited so this is not a hard and fast rule, but there is one of their restaurants we have eaten at a few times and have always had fantastic entrees.
Of all places this restaurant is located in Disney’s Animal Kingdom theme park, back in the Asia area directly behind the Tree of Life.
The unique Purple building seems to drawn people in trying to figure out exactly what it is. Unfortunately reservations are required and there is very little walk up availability. It’s been a few years since the last time I was able to get a reservation but I recently snagged one and we jumped at the opportunity to go back.
Even though this is not a Disney operated restaurant there is of course a fun backstory to this place. A wealthy merchant named Arjun fell on some hard times. His house was located near the base of Mount Everest in the village of Anandapur. Many travelers and traders would pass through Anandapur and Arjun turned his large house into a hotel.
Throughout the building are an amazing collection of artifacts and furniture that Arjun has collected from his time as a merchant.
In previous visits as with any restaurant there were large menus, but due to the current pandemic they have changed over to a digital menu. Each table has a QR code that you can scan with your smart phone to bring up the current menu items, descriptions and cost.
As an appetizer we opted to try a new item that our server said was previously a special limited time item but was so popular it now is on the permanent menu. This is the Korean Fried Chicken, hand-breaded tenders tossed in a gochujang maple syrup sauce. These were really amazing, the chicken was tender and had a nice crunch to light batter. The sauce was a little sweet with a back of the tongue spice that wasn’t too strong but definitely noticable.
As an additional side option we ordered some of their famous Garlic Noodles. The noodles were cooked perfectly with a bit of chew to them, but definitely not mushy. The garlic sauce was nice and potent so if you are not a garlic fan (is there such a thing?) you may want to avoid this one. it also included some chopped peanuts on top for a bit of crunchy texture.
For my main entree I tried the Korean Beef. Usually my go-to dish here is the Honey Chicken which I love, but this time around I wanted to try something different and I wasn’t disappointed. This dish is Wok-fried beef with peppers, onions and pineapple in a sweet Korean BBQ sauce. I opted for a side of brown rice, and they also put some micro greens on top as a garnish. This dish was really pretty and I almost didn’t get a picture of if in time as I just wanted to dive in and start eating. The beef was tender, the veggies were crisp and the pineapple added a nice little twang to round everything out. This was another winner in my books for this restaurant. By this time we were pretty full so we decided to not get dessert on this trip. We figured that we needed a bit of a walk around the park before maybe getting some ice cream elsewhere.
Before we left I headed over to visit the pressed penny machine. We have reviewed this machine in the past, and the designs have not changed. The machine was recently changed to the new higher $1 per penny price point, and the machine now supplies a penny for you. I’ve always really liked the cabinet on this machine, the wrap is fun and I just love those colors and Mount Everest at the bottom.
The penny designs available here include a Pagoda, the Himalayan Mountains, two Tibetan Mastiffs and a Yak. All state Yak & Yeti on them which I think is a nice touch but very common with other Landry’s locations.
This machine is located just inside the main entrance to the restaurant near the check-in desk. You do not need a reservation to get inside if you are only looking to press the pennies. Just know that this place is very popular and that area can be a bit crowded making the penny machine a little difficult to access. But I would recommend if you are visiting Animal Kingdom and heading this way to get these pennies try to get a reservation or see if you can walk up for a table, the food is common enough Asian style faire that anyone should be able to find something they like. It’s fun to wonder around inside and see all the details that were placed here and most of the time would go unnoticed especially for a theme park restaurant.
Enjoy and Keep on Pressing!