Tucked into Disneyland Resort’s premier Grand Californian Resort is a restaurant eager to pay tribute to the art that made Walt Disney and the animators who followed him so critical to our lives today: storytelling.
Just as the Grand Californian is themed in the Craftsman architecture style, Storytellers Cafe boasts broad, dark wood-scapes, milky stained glass and metal cut-out decor, earthy colors, and solidly heavy furniture.
But everywhere you look are the subtle reminders of the restaurant’s theme — storytelling. From quotes and phrases scattered throughout the restaurant…
…to depictions of storytelling, story reading, and stories themselves, guests are always reminded that this art is being nurtured on Disney properties. In fact, the restaurant boasts seven murals depicting well-known California-inspired stories from some of the USA’s preeminent writers.
Storytellers Cafe came highly recommended to us, and we would pass on the same recommendation. Offering a the Chip ‘n Dale Critter character buffet breakfast (you can also order from a menu) served from 7am to 11:30am, and menu and buffet offerings for lunch and dinner (lunch served 11:30am-2pm M-F, 11:30am-5pm Sa-Su; dinner served 5-10pm), Storytellers has an interesting selection covering a wide range of cuisines. Many menu items are California-inspired — click the images for larger versions.
On our visit, we were starving from a long plane trip and taxi ride, so we were ready to tuck in with some serious gusto! We dug into the bread brought to our table and immediately had to slow down to savor the taste — Disneyland’s cornbread is clearly the best thing out there and quickly set the tone for our meals for the week: touch of sweet, touch of savory, and so moist!
Then we got down to the business of choosing our meal. In the end, we decided to try several different offerings. We started with the “Sticky” Spare Ribs served with Soba salad; Charred Nebraska Corn Chowder with rotisserie chicken, bacon, and cilantro; and the Chicken Quesadilla with melted cheese, guacamole, salsa, and Anaheim pepper.
The pork Spare Ribs were very good — tender, with a lot of meat and not at all fatty. The flavor wasn’t overwhelming and offered a nice savory beginning to the meal. The side salad was a nice choice for accompaniment.
The Quesadilla was pretty standard, but we thought the guacamole being served in a half avocado was a pretty neat touch. Also, the strong Anaheim pepper laid throughout the Quesadilla gave it a great zing of flavor!
Finally, the Nebraska Corn Chowder was thick, rich, and full of flavor. The big chunks of rotisserie chicken and bacon cut through the sweetness of the corn and the richness of the cream base perfectly. I think I could have kept eating this dish all week — even though it did have cilantro, which I am adamantly against.
From there we moved to entrees (I said we were hungry!). After long deliberation, we chose the four-cheese ravioli (a vegetarian dish), with roasted peppers, spinach, asparagus, and whole-roasted garlic cloves; and the “margherita” with marinated tomato concasse and Manchengo cheese, topped with grilled chicken or Serrano ham.
The ravioli was incredible! With strong flavors from the peppers, cheeses, and garlic and crunchy texture from the asparagus, I was really taken with this dish. It’s light, flavorful, and makes the perfect lunch. Plus, the serving size isn’t so big that you’ll feel weighed down for the rest of the day.
The flatbread, while delicious was not the winner of the day. I wish it had been a bit crispier overall, and I would have liked the ham to have a bit more flavor.
Are you ready for dessert?! We weren’t sure we were!
But because we can’t pass up a good apple-y dessert, we ordered the Seasonal Cobbler with Sweet Biscuit. The shortbread-y texture of the cobbler would have won us over if the delicious appearance of the dessert hadn’t done so already!
Our experience at Storytellers Cafe — even after a long flight, long drive, and long wait for a hotel room had spoiled our moods — was top notch. Great service gave way to delicious and interesting food. We clearly wanted to try one of everything on the menu.
Like I said, I’ve heard great recommendations of this restaurant and I’ll add mine to the list. Have we finally found a “consistently good” restaurant on a Disney property? Tell me what you think in the comments below!