Ye come seekin’ adventure with salty ol’ pirates, eh? Sure you’ve come to the proper place. But keep a weather eye open mates, and hold on tight. With both hands, if you please.
Ah, yes. We’re headed to the Blue Bayou. All jazzy New Orleans Square on the outside and dreaded pirates on the inside, these are some of the most coveted tables in Disneyland.
Coming in from the busy New Orleans Square Royal Street outside (those little winding alleyways make it seriously congested in NOS!), Blue Bayou is like a hushed hive of activity. From the lobby, you can only catch a glimpse of shadows scurrying everywhere underneath the Chinese lanterns of the restaurant. The rest looks like sheer blackness — pitch dark.
After giving your name to the reservations CM (hopefully you made an ADR — Blue Bayou is one of the only Disneyland restaurants for which a reservation is practically a necessity), take some time to peek around the lobby. Take in the incredible detailing of the walls, windows, and ceiling. Every inch of Disneyland is packed with intricate themeing.
And while you’re waiting for your table, let the CM know that you’ll gladly wait for a table by the water. You might end up waiting for 45 minutes, but you’ll be glad you did. The difference between sitting closer to the door or kitchen vs. sitting by the water is substantial. Your experience will be completely different, and sitting by the water goes a long way to better integrate you into the theme of the restaurant.
Once you get inside and are shown to your table (seriously — bring a pen light — this place is d-a-r-k) let your eyes adjust as you take in the balconies of the buildings around you, the lanterns dotting the night “sky,” and the boats of eager pirate-lovers floating by.
That’s right — the restaurant is themed to have you in an outdoor courtyard next to a bayou, and those boats are actual Pirates of the Caribbean ride vehicles carrying your fellow theme park guests on their adventure! You’re part of the ride! See? I told you to sit by the water!
When we ate at Blue Bayou, it took a while for us to stop staring at everything around us, but soon we turned our attention to the menu. The menu here is relatively short, but very interesting. Combining classic dishes and Cajun flair, just about every entree had a component I wanted to try (with accompaniments like “CousCous Macque Choux” and “citrus crawfish beurre blanc,” how could you not want to eat here?).
We took a long look and finally decided to order the Filet Mignon with bearnaise sauce and the Tesoro Island Chicken. Both came with Blue Bayou potatoes and seasonal vegetables. All entrees at the Blue Bayou are prefaced with either a “Cajun-inspired” salad or the delicious New Orleans gumbo that makes Disneyland’s New Orleans Square famous. Luckily, we were started with a basked of bread (always good to take the edge off…)
The salad was nothing special (in our estimation), but the gumbo is to die for. Delicious. We order it whenever we can — Cafe Orleans, Blue Bayou…anywhere they’ll sell it. (I believe the Royal Street Verandah version is slightly different — can anyone corroborate?)
The entrees soon arrived and I was a bit…surprised. The steak looked good enough, but the chicken… well… the chicken looked like something I’d be served at a networking luncheon (and trust me, I’ve been to a lot of them). While it tasted fine, I hate to say that it was — in no way — worth the $27.99 I paid for it. As for sides, the Blue Bayou potatoes were decent, and the asparagus was less so. But the chicken was most definitely not what I was expecting.
The steak ended up being quite good — the bearnaise sauce adding a wonderful richness that we’d been anticipating. It was pricey ($36.99) and small, but we were very glad we ordered it. (Which is more than I can say for the chicken. Am I being a bit harsh here?)
(By the way, while we didn’t go to the Blue Bayou for lunch, and therefore couldn’t order the famous Monte Cristo, we did order it a few days later at Cafe Orleans. Stay tuned for that review soon.)
The relative antipathy toward our entrees was unfortunate. Most reviews of Blue Bayou are glowing when it comes to the food and I wanted mine to be the same. Alas, in the future, I’m getting something more interesting for my entree. Something with citrus crawfish buerre blanc.
But, we must move on, and dessert was next! I couldn’t contain my excitement to see the dessert menu, but I already knew what I was getting: the pirate ship dessert. I’d heard about it. I’d read about it. I’d seen pictures of it!!! I couldn’t wait. It was supposed to be a big, gooey cookie in the shape of a boat, topped with pirate masts and flags and sails… oh, I was bursting at the seams!!!
The menu finally arrived! I held it up to the table candle (’cause it’s so dark you can’t read anything in there — did I already mention that?) and….
It wasn’t there. The pirate ship dessert wasn’t on the menu. I asked the server — surely it was just a specialty dessert that they didn’t list. But, no; to my dismay, the dessert had been discontinued. Our server told us that the company that made the pirate masts couldn’t make them fast enough for the restaurant, so the dessert had been given the axe.
Hmm. I’ll let you make head or tails of that in your own time, but we weren’t convinced. Sadly, our wrath couldn’t bring the pirate ship dessert back, so we had to go ahead and order the chocolate mousse cake and the creme brulee.
There was nothing wrong with either of these desserts. They look gorgeous in the photos, and they were delicious. Maybe it was just my emotional response to the chickens and pirate ships that made the desserts forgettable to me, but they were that: standard. Standardly delicious, but still standard.
If you’d like to see a photo of the pirate ship dessert — along with great pics of some other signature Blue Bayou desserts and the fabulous monte cristo sandwich — check out this Daveland Blog post!
The atmosphere of this place is outstanding. Head in, get a table by the water, and you’ll be practically as steeped in Disneyland history as you can get. I can highly recommend Blue Bayou to any and all — especially if you can snag a lunch reservation and order that monte cristo.
For dinner, we were a little discouraged by the food quality, but, like I said, this was only one visit. I’ve read and heard many positive Blue Bayou reviews, so take my apathetic one with a grain of salt. Overall, this is must-do on your Disneyland trip.
And I’d love to hear your thoughts if you’ve been here! What did you order? Any suggestions or favorite items? Let me know in the comments below!