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The Five Best Things I Ate In Disneyland

So, as my twitter and facebook friends know, I am embarking on a series of posts with the working title, “The Best Thing I Ever Ate at Disney.” (What? I love the Food Network!) I’ll be including in the series a bunch of suggestions from readers and friends about delicious, not-to-be-missed Disney foods, so stay tuned for those posts.

But I thought it’d be fun to start off the series with my own picks for the five best things I ate on my recent trip to Disneyland! I’ll be reviewing each of these restaurants separately as well — but here are the dishes that really knocked my socks off while in the “west coast office.”

#1. Pommes Frites: Cafe Orleans, Disneyland

I’m pretty sure my husband and I both dream about these at night. Think about the best french fries you’ve ever eaten, and then make them about 50 times better, and then you might come close to imagining the Pommes Frites at Cafe Orleans. According to the official Disneyland Cafe Orleans menu: Traditional French Fried Potatoes tossed with Parmesan, Garlic, and Parsley served with Cajun Spice Remoulade. The amazing part? They cost $5.

Cafe Orleans Pommes Frites

#2. Cinnamon Roll French Toast: Carnation Cafe, Disneyland

This stuff pretty much speaks for itself. The Cinnamon Roll French Toast came frosting-less, with a cup of cream cheese frosting and a cup of syrup on the side. The plating itself was gorgeous — the prefect start to a Disneyland day — but once you added that frosting, it quickly morphed into one of the best things I’ve ever eaten.

Carnation Cafe Cinnamon Roll French Toast

Carnation Cafe French Toast with Frosting

#3. Signature Pizzetta: Napa Rose, Disney’s Grand Californian Resort and Spa

I was on the fence about including this, but it truly was outstanding. The problem: Napa Rose changes the menu so often that it might not be there when you go! For your sake, I hope the signature pizzetta on your visit is just as good as this one was. Ingredients list: “La Quercita” Smoked American Prosciutto, Red Flame Grapes, Carmelized Onions, and Cambozola Cheese.

Napa Rose Signature Pizzetta

#4. Mickey Beignets: Cafe Orleans, Disneyland

I couldn’t help it. I had to go back to Cafe Orleans for #4. (By the way, I could have included their gumbo in this list, too. Note to self: go back to Cafe Orleans as much as possible.) These beignets are the most lovely little fluffs of Mickey Mouse sugary love you’ve ever tasted. Dipped in the signature Raspberry Coulis and/or Vanilla Bean Creme Anglaise, they become jelly donut deliciousness or your own little bread pudding. Heavenly. Get two orders unless you’re by yourself. Just sayin.

Cafe Orleans Mickey Mouse Beignets

#5. Soft Tacos Monterrey: Rancho del Zocalo, Disneyland

OK, I have no idea why this makes the list except that I wanted to go back and eat more and more and more of these (we had the chicken ones). Something in the spicing, the ambiance, the general je ne se quoi of the restaurant…makes it outstanding. I fully expect to get a little criticism on this one, but, at least a few of you have to admit, the food at Rancho is pretty good. Too bad it’s not still called Casa de Fritos

Soft Tacos Monterrey at Rancho del Zocalo

Coming Up Next…

Our series will continue with a new “The Best Thing I Ever Ate in Disney” post soon, but until then, let me know how you’d answer that question! What’s the Best Thing You Ever Ate in Disney?

Other Posts You May Enjoy:

42 Comments

  1. allyn says:

    i love the ambiance at rancho del zocalo, especially on a warm, summer evening at dusk. i wish the food was a little better, like it was at casa mexicana (which came after casa de fritos). i also like the ambiance at french market cafe with the live music. haven’t tried cafe orleans since it went counter service; i guess i will have to put it on my list. p.s. love your blog.

  2. Lillian C. says:

    Wow, I’ve only tried the Signature pizzetta out of your picks and it was interesting, not great for me. I’ve ate at all the places you mentioned, just not the items you’re mentioned. I haven’t had a chance to eat at the Cafe Orleans in a while and passed up eating breakfast at the Carnation cafe this past weekend.

  3. robin says:

    i absolutely ADORE those pomme frites at cafe orleans!!! they are so delicious, hot & crispy! best part: they came out right away! i also really LOVE cafe orleans’ monte cristo. light, fresh, tasty, NOT greasy at all. sooooooo good.

    will definitely have to check out your other recs AJ. will be going to DL in 3 weeks! so excited!

  4. Tanya says:

    Oh i LOVE for the Clam Chowder! I get it almost every week when I go =)

  5. Becca says:

    Yum! Now, I’m struggling – do we go to Napa Rose when we’ll have just spent a couple of days in actual Napa, or do we just stick to the Disney-tastic style of restaurants?

  6. Becca says:

    P.S. AJ – I read on Disney Wedding Blog that the turkey legs are really emu… Can you confirm or deny? I’m struggling to believe it!

  7. Jason says:

    I was only in Disneyland and DCA for three days (for my only visit, 4 years ago) and my favorites were the Gumbo at the Royal Veranda and the bacon/asparagus skewers at Bengal BBQ. Honestly i dream of going back there just for those! Beyond that, we ate at the Blue Bayou for lunch. Ambiance was cool but my appetite wasn’t great that day. And we ate at the fancy winery restaurant in DCA that is no longer there.

  8. Kelly says:

    What not to get at Cafe Orleans? The seafood crepe, uh…yuck. It was gray and just not so great. Luckily my boyfriend got the monte cristo, so he had plenty to share!

  9. Dana says:

    Its a toss up for the best thing I’ve ever eated at WDW….

    I’d have to go with the following – the Miso Salmon (miso glazed Atlantic salmon, jasmine rice, baby bok choy and shiitake mushroom stir-fry) from Yak and Yeti and the Tuna Oscar – (served with fried green tomatoes, tempura-fried jumbo lump crab, and wasabi hollandaise) from Kona Cafe.

    You’re going to have some tough choices to make? Maybe break it up—5 best things from Epcot, MK, resorts, DTD, DHS, AK….etc. The list could go on forever!

  10. Beth says:

    Wow this post makes me want to go to Disneyland, if only to go to Cafe Orleans (kidding, kidding).

    I agree with Dana above–the best of WDW needs categories. But perhaps the best thing I ever ate at WDW was the Halibut at Le Cellier. Might have been the best fish I’ve ever had. But I’ve had so much awesome food at WDW, it would be awfully hard to pick a top 5!

  11. Lea Robinson says:

    AJ, great post, and I am now hungry! I really liked Rancho del Zocalo when we were there, too! I had the tacos and thought they were great. I can’t wait to go back to Cafe Orleans and try the fries and those Mickey beignets!

  12. DVCMom says:

    Disneyland is all about New Orleans Square, House of Blues, and Ralph Brennan’s for me! Foodie love! I should probably just go to New Orleans, but then I would miss Mickey. :D

    The best thing I’ve ever eaten (not only at Disney but *ever*) was the heirloom beet salad at the Yachtman’s Steakhouse, at Disney’s Yacht Club Resort in WDW.

    For those that watch all the Chef shows you hear them talk about “the perfect bite” when all of the flavors on the plate come together on one perfect fork full that creates a symphony in your mouth. I never really understood that until I ate the heirloom beet salad at Yachtman’s. Field greens, herb crusted goat cheese, heirloom beets, crunchy onions and a balsamic drizzle come together to make one amazing plate of food. Every bite was good, but when every component of the dish was on my fork at once, Oh My God! Bliss…

    Salad Picture Here http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4030/4663391496_eb38c4f116.jpg

  13. Gray says:

    I noticed no salads made your list. Why am I not surprised? LOL.
    Those french fries look awesome. If you’re going to eat fries, they should definitely be tossed in a some coating to make them extra crispy.

  14. TJ says:

    Hm…best thing I ate in WDW…definitely the banana bread pudding at Main Street Bakery. It was A-M-A-Z-I-N-G!

  15. Nancy Toby says:

    The best thing I ever ate at WDW was in Epcot at Mexico: a big old frozen margarita from the sidewalk vendor.

    Wait, does that count?

  16. Bethabee says:

    Great post AJ!

    My husband and I have been to WDW frequently in the past few years, but we’ve decided to check out Disneyland in October. I haven’t been there since I was 15 so I’m anxious to find out how to make our dining adventures as fantastic as those in WDW. With your recent DL posts I feel our chances of success are pretty high :) All of your recommendations today sound fantastic and are going on our list.

    Also I agree with Dana and Beth above – please make categories of the 5 best for WDW – too-much-good-stuff!!

  17. dizneguy says:

    Love the Pomme Frites and the Beignets at Cafe Orleans! The Gumbo and the Gumbo Crepes plus the two options of Monte Cristo sandwiches make this a “must eat” stop for us.

    Just a couple of notes. Cafe Orleans is a sit down dining location and you can make Priority Seating Arrangements for this restaurant!

    Turkey Legs are just that, Turkey Legs. The emu thing is a huge urban legend.

  18. Sandra Givens says:

    The soups at Boma, no question. The pumpkin/squash soup was the highlight of my husband’s trip! We were thrilled to discover that they serve at least one of the soups or stews at Mara each day, so we can enjoy them without an ADR.

    A very close second would be the cafe au lait with baklava at Tangieriene Cafe. Even coffee-haters would enjoy this delish cup and pastry.

    And third would be the pistachio creme brulet that we ate, and ate, and ate at the Dessert Party at MK last year. More!

  19. I’ve been to WDW over a dozen times, but I’ve only been to Disneyland once. By far the best thing I had a Disneyland was the famous Monte Cristo Sandwich @ The Blue Bayou.

  20. Nate says:

    Wow-wow-wee-wah! Delicious!!

    #1) These fries look fantastic! The crispness looks perfect, and how about that dipping sauce? No ketchup for those bad boys! These remind me of the garlic fries up at Safeco Field in Seattle, WA. Those are also wonderful, but a little heavy on the garlic. (No smooching until I brush my teeth.) Those are also probably around $5.

    #2) Look at the gloppy goodness on that second photo. I could see how I would be disappointed when this arrived, but in hog heaven once I dressed it up. Like if Cinnabon offered a grand-slam breakfast!!

    #3) Beautiful. The wife and I had a wonderful dinner at Napa Rose a long, long time ago (back when were first dating). We stayed at the Grand Californian and it was AMAZING. Have you checked out other restaurants at the Disneyland Hotel? I know absolutely nothing about them. (Maybe I should check your site first, huh? :P)

    #4) I love how these beignets (or, as my father pronounces them, bag nuts) are Mickey-shaped! I’ve only had these one time in one location: Port Orleans in WDW. They were NOT Mickey-shaped, but still delicious. We got them every chance we could. We must have had 6 orders of beignets that trip! :)

    #5) No criticism here. I’m a sucker for Mexican food and if you found something that’s even halfway decent, I say go for it! I remember when this was Casa Mexicana (I believe). I never went in it, but always wanted to. It always fell to the bottom of our list when the opportunity would arise to eat at Blue Bayou. Which I’m always disappointed with, but keep coming back to. :)

  21. Laura says:

    Lobster and shrimp ravioli at the Jazz Cafe (is this the Cafe Orleans? im not sure) in Disneyland, CA. One of the most divine things I have ever eaten and out in the summer heat on the balcony, watching other dinners have their dessert flambe-ed at their table too. This is my I love Disney.

  22. madoka says:

    I absolutely agree on the Signature Pizzetta from Napa Rose (and pretty much the entire menu there!). I also second Kelly who said to *avoid* the seafood crepe at Cafe Orleans. It is truly dreadful in both flavor and texture. Yet the chicken gumbo crepe was quite good. Go figure. The pomme frites and beignets do look really good. We’ll have to try those the next time we get a hankering for a Monte Cristo. :)

    To this list I would add:
    - fried chicken from the Plaza Inn
    - bacon wrapped asparagus skewer from Bengal BBQ
    - beef and rice bowl with spicy Korean sauce from Lucky Fortune Cookery (DCA)

    Happy Eating to those visiting Disneyland soon!

  23. chris says:

    That all looks so good. Here’s five, although I’m sure I’ll miss something:
    1. Raglan Road bread pudding. There. I said it. Otherwise I don’t love the place.
    2. Portobello mushroom soup at Artist’s Point. I also have had really good steaks there. Not sure why it doesn’t have more of a following.
    3. Everything on the menu at California Grill. I just can’t choose. although I don’t care for the filet with that crazy BBQ sauce they put on it.
    4. The crab cake at Citricos and I don’t even like crab. It was heaven.
    5. The cheese danish! I’m obsessed with them.

  24. chris says:

    Sorry, I did WDW instead of DL!

  25. AJ says:

    Allyn — Rancho del Zocalo in late afternoon/early evening is so beautiful, isn’t it? I just love that courtyard with the flowers everywhere! Cafe Orleans went to table service a while ago, and it’s just fantastic. Definitely recommended!

    Lillian — My heart is breaking that you didn’t get breakfast at Carnation Cafe! :-( That french toast is amazing! Also, was the pizzetta the same when you were at Napa?

    Robin — I had the Monte Cristo, too! (DH had the gumbo crepe.) It was out of this world. Will have to do a blog post on it soon!

    Tanya — Thanks for the clam chowder vote!

    Becca — While Napa Rose isn’t our all time favorite restaurant, it is an outstanding meal. If you go, get the hot rock appetizer :-) Also, I’ve heard the emu rumor and my guess is it isn’t true, but I haven’t been there to unpack the boxes, so…

    Jason — Great memory! I haven’t tried the bacon wrapped asparagus, but I’ve heard it’s amazing! Definitely something to try on my next visit. We weren’t thrilled with Blue Bayou, either; I think it depends on the day.

    Kelly — LOVE that monte cristo! Thanks for the warning on the seafood crepe!

    Dana — Thanks for the WDW suggestions! Yep, I think I’m going to break up the upcoming posts — not sure if it will be by breakfast, lunch, dinner, snack or by parks…we shall see! :-)

    Beth — Wow! The halibut at Le Cellier? I haven’t heard that one before! Thanks for the suggestion!

    Lea — I think I’m going to have to go to Cafe Orleans every day on the next trip!

    DVCMom — My mouth is watering after reading your comment! Wow!! I know exactly what you’re talking about! Thanks for the beet salad suggestion!

    Gray — Exactly! What really did for me on these fries was the dipping sauce; I’m ordering two next time.

    TJ — Wow — I haven’t had the banana bread pudding at the MS Bakery yet! Will have to try it next time!

    Nancy — Margaritas always count!

    Bethabee — No worries! I’ve got LOTS of Disneyland posts coming up that will showcase so much more of the dining options, so you’ll have plenty to choose from when making your ADRs. :-)

    Dizneguy — Thanks for setting the emu thing straight ;-) And I think you just listed everything we ate in Cafe Orleans — I had the monte cristo, DH had the gumbo crepe, we shared the frites and the beignets and the gumbo. YUM!!!

    Sandra — Love the soups at Boma! DH’s favorite is the mulligatawny (sp?) and I love the chicken corn chowder they do there. Yummo. And I second the baklava!

    BTPB — Yep, that monte cristo was gorgeous!

    Nate — We have sampled a couple of Disneyland Hotel restaurants, including Goofy’s Kitchen and Steakhouse 55 (no post on this one yet); also love Storyteller Cafe in Grand Californian. And the beignets are some of my favorite things in Disney World! Also, I’m interested to hear that you were disappointed with Blue Bayou. So were we. Surprising…

    Laura — Jazz Cafe is a different spot, but still highly recommended! Thanks for the ravioli suggestion! :-)

    Madoka — Awesome suggestions! Now I’m so hungry and SO craving a trip to Disneyland! We just missed those bacon wrapped asparagus — definitely should have tried them!

    Chris — I can’t wait to try the mushroom soup at Artist Point; I’m not a mushroom fan, but everyone tells me that I’ll love it anyway. Also, just sampled the Raglan Road Bread Pudding on my recent trip and it is wonderful! Props to Chef Dundon!

  26. Nate says:

    AJ — I just sent you an e-mail about BB.

  27. Geeka Griffis says:

    I’ve been to DLR once and am wanting to go back soon. I’m craving the hand-dipped corndogs and Bengal BBQ (any thing wrapped in bacon is a plus). I would eat at those places for every meal…except now that I’ve read this, I’m gonna have to branch out. Here’s to hoping I get to go for the D23 event this September. Great article!!

  28. AJ says:

    Geeka — Ohmigosh, those hand-dipped corn dogs were AMAZING. I think I’ll have to do a “second best 5 things I ate in Disneyland” post now that you’ve reminded me of them! :-)

  29. Whitney says:

    Oh, I’m so glad that Geeka mentioned the hand-dipped corn dogs. Those are, by far, our absolute FAVORITE food treat when we go to Disneyland. My husband is incredibly sad that there isn’t a corn dog equivalent in WDW (and the corn dog nuggets at Casey’s Corner just do not compare).

  30. Josh says:

    Best things I ate at Disneyland:

    Grilled Tuna at Hook’s Pointe
    Blackened Salmon at Blue Bayou
    Beignets from the Jazz Kitchen in Downtown Disney
    Dole Whip from Adventureland, of course
    Bacon-wrapped asparagus from Bengal BBQ

  31. Jon says:

    Thank goodness someone mentioned the corn dogs on Main Street. And if you can believe it, they used to be even better, before the CA legislature went nuts with its “no trans fats” mandates…

    My best 5 at DL:

    1. Main Street Corn Dogs
    2. Cafe Orleans Monte Cristo (love the fries, but have to chew entire pack of doublemint after…)
    3. The Spicy Beef Skewers at Bengal BBQ
    4. Dole Whip!!!
    5. Mocha Fudge Sundae at Bur-r-r bank Ice Cream (DCA)

  32. Park Ito says:

    Chocolate Rasberry Truffle Churros from the Main Street cart. Available 1 or 2 seasons only, but I’ll pray nightly for their return!!!

  33. Janice says:

    I always enjoy the food and ambiance at Cafe Orleans, but for something more casual, grab the beignets and (unfortunately non-alcoholic) mint julep from the Mint Julep Bar tucked behind the French Market Restaurant. There is often a live band playing on the stage inside the French Market outdoor seating area.

  34. Janelle says:

    1. Three-Cheese Monte Cristo at Cafe Orleans
    2. Hand-Dipped Corn Dog at Corn Dog (Little Red) Wagon
    3. Four-Cheese Pasta & Vegetable Gratin at French Market Restaurant
    4. Crispy Chips con Limon with side of salsa at Rancho del Zocalo
    5. Tonga Toast at Rain Forest Cafe
    Snacks: Dole Whip Float, buckets of popcorn, Bengal BBQ, Mickey-shaped Beignets and New Orleans Mint Julep

  35. Shelly Valladolid says:

    The restaurant was called Zocalo before it was Casa de Fritos, so the name goes back to the original.

    Yes, the bacon-wrapped asparagus is great. The parfait at Tangaroa Terrace @ the DL hotel is fab too, and of course the Chateaubriand at Club 33. Napa Rose has a mushroom cappuccino that I must ALWAYS get when I go there. The chicken fusilli and Asian salad at Redd Rockett’s aren’t bad, either.

  36. Doll says:

    Rancho del Zocalo is the BOMB!! At Christmas the tamales are awesome, but I always have to make a stop for enchiladas, and my boyfriend always makes sure I have a bag of cinnamon crisps!!! The three cheese Monte Cristo nearly killed me at Cafe Orleans, but the pomme frites, like everyone says are the BEST!

  37. summer says:

    Another vote for the Monte Cristo Sandwich @ The Blue Bayou!

  38. Paula says:

    oh, I always have the dole whip for sure. but every yearly visit I eat at Blue Bayou and have a mint julep! Agree it is more like a mojito than a julep. but it feels, southern, piratey and it’s just plain delicious!!!!

  39. Melisa says:

    I came across you blog via Pinterst -go figure;-) I am an frequent Disneyland visitor and eater. I love to go just for the food. As a regular I must suggest the following:

    Cafe Orleans: the ratatouille. It is wonderful – so good that when I commented to our server he asked me for my email so the chef could email me the recipe!

    Bengal Barbecue: Just about every protein on that menu is perfect (again they will give the recipe)

    Redd Rockets Pizza Port: The red pasta and the white pasta are to die for! (Sorry I don’t remember the name of them)

    River Bell Terrace: I think the Mickey Pancakes were the best pancakes I have ever tasted.

    Village Haus Restraunt: I have avoided this place for along time since it was just generic hamburgers. This past trip I was just going in for a soda and decided to try the flat bread pizza. It was VERY good! I was pleasantly impressed that they revamped the menu to more than just burgers.

    Blued Bayou: has to be included for it’s amazing atmosphere. I agree with earlier post about it not being all that though. One of these days I am going to make a reservation and then just have dessert and coffee!

    In closing I can’t wait to try the Jolly Holiday Bakery. We will be going to Disneyland at the end of the month for the Tinkerbell Half Marathon. I think I am ordering almost everything on the menu to sample it all!

  40. Sarah says:

    I love all of your top 5 – but can’t believe no one has mentioned the great sourdough bread bowls from Boudin Bakery at DCA. They are good with salad in them but the best was a chilly October afternoon when we got them filled with broccoli and cheese soup – sooooo good. Yummy soup followed by tangy chewy sourdough -such a good combo

  41. Amy g says:

    I love all kinds of food. I still dream of the corn dog at California adventure. I wish we could get them at wdw. I live in florida

  42. AJ says:

    Amy g — You CAN get them at WDW! Head to the Downtown Disney Fantasy Fare food truck! :-)

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