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Review: Disneyland’s Napa Rose

As promised in the August Disney Food Blog Newsletter, here’s our review of premier Disneyland restaurant, Napa Rose!

Napa Rose is the top brass when it comes to dining in Disneyland. The restaurant, presided over by decorated Chef Andrew Sutton, is located in the woodsy Grand California Resort located in the middle of Disneyland’s Downtown Disney district.

Napa Rose

Atmosphere
The style of the restaurant is similar to that of the Grand Californian — warm, muted tones fill out the craftsman style, with light woods and an open floor plan. The massive windows look out onto a lovely patio and wooded area, so the feeling of seclusion compliments the openness of the restaurant itself.

View of Open Kitchen From Restaurant

Patio

Pass by a “few select” wines in the restaurant’s wine cellar — showcasing a few special Lasseter vintages, of course — on your way to the dining room, where the focal point is Sutton’s open kitchen, which he designed in an effort to give guests and chefs the opportunity to “mix and mingle” throughout the night.

Wine Cellar

Autographed Lasseter Wines

CARS-labeled Wine

Pixar Wine Glass

Open Kitchen

Open Kitchen

The kitchen and its Chef’s Counter, where guests are able to pay one price for a customizable menu and interaction with the Chef, dominate the room, but there are plenty of tables tucked away in the restaurant’s nooks and crannies for those hoping for a more private, romantic experience.

Table Setting

Table Decor

Before you dine, consider stopping by the lounge and bar area (which also serves a menu), or head out onto the patio to sit by the fire with a glass of California wine.

Indoor Lounge

Bar

Eats
The menu at Napa Rose is an ever-changing, market-inspired California fest of wonderfulness. I liken it to California Grill in WDW, if I have to make a comparison. With the menu covering the standards of pasta, white and red meat, fish, and locally grown veggies, it is, of course, the art that makes it outstanding.

Starters Menu -- click for larger version

Entree Menu -- click for larger version

Looking back at what we ordered, it’s clear that we thought we were both ordering for two! We started with the Signature Pizzetta, featuring “La Quercia” Smoked American Prosciutto, Red Flame Grapes (I love it when they put grapes on pizzas), Caramelized Onions, & Cambozola Cheese. We chose this, I think, because we’d just honeymooned in Hawai’i and found an incredible restaurant, Bar Acuda, that always offered a different pizzetta and we loved every one! Luckily, our passion for the pizzetta paid off, because this one was delicious. The smokey cheese and savory prosciutto paired with the sweet onions and crunchy grapes was just about perfect.

Pizzetta

You’d think that would be enough for an appetizer, but on the suggestion of Sam Gennaway, we also ordered The Sizzling Beach Rock, described as A Combination Appetizer of Garlic Seared Shrimp, Soy Glazed Spare Ribs and Lemon Grass Chicken Skewers cooked on a Hot Beach Stone.

Sizzling Beach Rock App for Two

This appetizer is HUGE and beautiful. We were both impressed with the spare ribs and chicken, but I think my husband enjoyed the shrimp more than I did (as per usual).

Close-Up of the Hot Beach Rock

Moving on to more absolute gluttony, we ordered the Zinfandel Braised Angus Beef Short Rib with Risotto of Wild Rice, Pine Nuts and Dried Cranberries with English Pea Coulis AND the Grilled Angus Beef Filet Mignon with Hearty Oxtail Mushrooms Ragu and Mine Shaft Blue Cheese Butter.

I think I was a little tipsy at that point; I wasn’t sure what Pea Coulis was and the server brought out a tiny pot of Pea Coulis for me to sample (no kidding.). Deeming it acceptable (apparently), I went ahead with my order. ;-)

Of the two dishes, the Filet was the winner, but only because Short Rib always seems overdone to me; plus, I think I was jealous of the Mine Shaft Blue Cheese Butter and onion rings (!!) on my husband’s plate.

Pea Coulis

Zinfandel braised angus beef short rib risotto of wild rice, pine nuts, dried cranberries

Short Ribs Inside

However, both dishes were well prepared, beautifully plated, and tasted delicious.

Grilled Angus Beef Filet Mignon oxtail mushrooms ragu mine shaft blue cheese

And because we couldn’t resist, we also ordered the Truffled “Mac & Cheese:” Orecchiette Pasta with Parnigiano-Reggiano.

Truffled Mac and Cheese

Heaven. Heaven in a little copper pot. I took extra pictures so you could see the buttery goodness.

Truffled Mac and Cheese

Truffled Mac and Cheese

When it was time for dessert, the unthinkable happened. We got three.

Not on purpose, mind you! You see, what happened was…my husband’s Crisp White Chocolate Lavender Cannoli with Spring Rhubarb Soup & Fresh Local Strawberries came out of the kitchen with an order of the Chocolate and Cherries dessert — a layered Cordillera Chocolate Cherry Mousse and a Chocolate Cherry Shooter.

However, I had actually ordered the Scharffen Berger Chocolate Truffle Cake, which was Double Chocolate Chunk Ice Cream and Milk Chocolate Sauce; NOT the chocolate and cherries. The server graciously let us keep the Chocolate and Cherries dessert and quickly brought out an order of the Chocolate Truffle Cake as well! See? It’s not my fault!

So, now that I’m absolved, let’s talk a bit about these. The Crisp White Chocolate Lavender Cannoli with Spring Rhubarb Soup & Fresh Local Strawberries was a surprising winner. I thought my husband would hate this one — who really likes the taste of lavender, anyway? But he found the dessert to be refreshing and loved the Rhubarb Soup.

Cannoli Dessert with Rhubarb Soup

And I have to admit (between you and me) that I’m grateful I had the chance to try the Chocolate and Cherries dessert — a layered Cordillera Chocolate Cherry Mousse and a Chocolate Cherry Shooter. The Mousse was delicious, but the shooter was such a fun dessert! The taste was out of this world — like chilled, melted chocolate bar. I wish I could order a giant glass of it!

Chocolate and Cherries Dessert

Layered Mousse Inside

Alas, my original dessert, the Truffle Cake, was not as much of a winner as I’d hoped. The milk chocolate sauce was interesting and I liked the presentation, but there wasn’t as much of a wow factor there.

Chocolate Cake Dessert

Overall
I’m pretty sure we rolled ourselves out of there! The food was incredible and the service was impeccable. While we did order too much food, I was glad for the opportunity to experience so many different options. Chef Sutton truly is a genius, and I’m certain that if you come to Napa Rose in the right mindset, there’s very little chance that you won’t leave satisfied. That said, this is not a “Victoria and Albert’s” experience (for those of you familiar with Disney World dining), so don’t make the mistake of expecting that level of service.

On my next trip to Napa Rose, I’m looking forward to trying the Chef’s Counter and interacting directly with the chefs in the kitchen. The restaurant has certainly been built for that opportunity, and it has mastered it based on the reviews I’ve read.

Have you been to Napa Rose or are you planning to go? What has your experience been or what are you looking forward to? Let us know in the comments section below!

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11 Comments

  1. Dana says:

    Wow Wow Wow!
    Each picture looked more amazing than the last! The truffle mac and cheese looked to die for and the Pizza looked outstanding!
    Don’t even get me started on those desserts….I’m already risking shorting out my keyboard with all the drool….

  2. Alan says:

    Dana just beat me to the WOW! There are a lot of empty buildings on Pleasure Island.

  3. Kelly says:

    Maybe it’s because we already finished the bottle of wine we ordered, but we absolutely LOVED the chocolate cake dessert!

    We went to Napa Rose on a whim, and it was quite possibly the best decision we made that trip. It was so delectable, every aspect was fantastic. I recommend it highly! We had a version of the Papperdalle Pasta for an appetizer. I had a mushroom ravioli dish that was out of this world delicious and my fiancé had a duck dish.

  4. Sarah says:

    We’re going to go to Napa Rose Lounge next Saturday. We can’t wait! I just might have to try that Pizzetta!

  5. Jo says:

    As many times as I’ve been to Disneyland and stayed at the Grand Californian, I can’t believe I haven’t tried Napa Rose. I think when I’m there next year, I must make it a priority! Thanks for the review. It’s only 9am and I’m hungry! YUM!

  6. Christina says:

    That mac and cheese looks scrumptious! I’m surprised the cannoli didn’t get overly soggy with the soup. I agree on all accounts… WOW!

  7. Debra says:

    I ate at Napa Rose and sat at the Chef’s counter this past April. It was so amazing, the food was unbelievable and Andrew Sutton was so right on when we told him to pick our menu’s for us. He asked me how I liked the choices and I told him that I wanted to lick the plates since it tasted so good!
    I can’t wait to go again. After seeing your pics it makes me wish I had that Mac n Cheese!

  8. AJ says:

    Dana and Alan — Thank you! It was pretty WOW, indeed!! I’ll admit, I haven’t heard too many bad reviews of Napa Rose; they definitely do an incredible job there.

    Kelly — What a great impulse decision on your part! I’m shopping with YOU from now on.

    Sarah — Have you been before? Let us know what you get!

    Jo — Absolutely! Some “hoity-toity” restaurants rest too much on their laurels, but this one is keeping up with the joneses.

    Christina — Good point on the soup — not soggy at all!

    Debra — Would love to hear about the menu you had!

  9. James (Disneynorth) says:

    So, I have to go here just to try the Lasseter wines. I wonder if you get to take the bottle home with you once you drink it?

  10. Chris says:

    Please, I’m going to Disneyland for two days. Which’s the best restaurants (two ) eat with teenagers?

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