the disney food blog Rotating Header Image

Review: Storytellers Cafe at Disney’s Grand Californian Resort

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.

Atmosphere

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.

Restaurant Dining Room and Fireplace

Shadowed Themes Run Behind the Stained Glass

Table Setting

But everywhere you look are the subtle reminders of the restaurant’s theme — storytelling. From quotes and phrases scattered throughout the restaurant…

Metal Book Decor

Floor Decor

…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.

Wooden Reading Sculpture

Storytelling Painting

Stories Decorate the Hanging Lights

Eats

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.

Appetizer Menu: Chapter One

Chapter Two: Entrees

Drinks Menu

Drinks Menu

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!

Breads

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.

Pork Spare Ribs

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!

Quesadilla with Anaheim Peppers

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. ;-)

Nebraska Corn Chowder

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.

Four Cheese Ravioli

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.

Flatbread

Are you ready for dessert?! We weren’t sure we were!

Dessert Menu -- click for larger version

Coffee and Dessert Drinks -- click image for larger version

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!

Apple Cobbler

Shortbread and Apples Close Up

Overall

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!

Other Posts You May Enjoy:

13 Comments

  1. Lillian C. says:

    This is a good restaurant to introduce someone to a character breakfast if they are not sure about having breakfast with characters. They don’t have the fab five and the atmosphere is more subdued compared to the other character breakfasts DLR offers. It’s also a great restaurant to have a “quiet” meal away from the parks.

  2. Kelly says:

    We had breakfast here when we went. What really won us over was the ability to order from a menu! Everything was hot and tasty…and we didn’t even have to leave our table :) The characters are different, which was fun to see. The host/esses, and our waiter were all super friendly. I’ll add my recommendation to the list!

  3. Alan says:

    You’re killing me AJ. I always thought there was no need to fly out to Anaheim to visit Disneyland, with all the extra expense and trouble, when we can take an easy 10 hour drive to WDW and see and experience the same things. Wrong! Since I have been following your blog and your great pics, it has become apparent to me that Disneyland is a very different experience at least from the scope of your foodie viewpoint. The planning for a trip will have to begin.

  4. Heather says:

    Alan, you’ve got to get out here! Disneyland and DCA are great. My advice though, wait a bit, there is a TON of construction going on at DCA and when it’s finished it will be amazing! new Cars Land on the horizon and also a new Little Mermaid ride.

  5. AJ says:

    Lillian — That’s a GREAT point about introducing someone to a character breakfast at Storytellers. It’s also very close to the parks, so it’s not a long distance to cover in order to get in and out.

    Kelly — Thanks for the corroboration! We thought it was the perfect “Welcome to Disneyland” experience!

    Alan — Disneyland is truly magical, and really does offer a completely different experience — in attractions AND general atmosphere — than WDW. I can’t wait to hear more about your trip planning and what your experience is in Disneyland if you do decide to go. With your love of all things Disney, I know you’d have a wonderful time.

    Heather — Very good point! I think 2012 might be the perfect year to visit!

  6. Josh says:

    Wow, this place looks spectacular! I’m sure I have heard it mentioned once or twice, but never imagined it to be so creative.

    The first thing that comes to eye off the menu has to be the Fire-Roasted Vegetable soup (minus the cheese croutons). I like spicy stuff.

    I’ve still yet to see a picture of the Toy Story cup. I’m going to have to buy one or something…

  7. ErwinM says:

    We were at DL in December 2007, and we had a dinner at Storytellers. There was a buffet option which we took, and it was absolutely fantastic. Napa Rose gets all the attention, but Storytellers feels like the Kona Cafe to Napa Rose’s California Grill — great food in a nice setting and totally underrated.

  8. Shayne says:

    So glad to read this review! We stayed at the Grand Californian and every day we walked by this place on our way to DCA and wondered why we hadn’t included it in our dining schedule.

    Hubby is considering a trip to DLR for his 40th birthday in June. If so, Storyteller’s is at the top of the list!

  9. Morgan says:

    What characters are usually there? Are the characters available for all three meals of the day?

  10. AJ says:

    Morgan — Usually you’ll find Chip and Dale and friends. Characters are only there for breakfast.

  11. Liz says:

    What’s the best character breakfast at the Disneyland Resort? What’s the best table service lunch/dinner meal at the parks?

  12. AJ says:

    Liz — For Character breakfast I’d go with either Storytellers, The Plaza Inn, or Goofy’s Kitchen. More food options at Goofy’s Kitchen, but like the atmosphere at The Plaza. For table service lunch/dinner: high-end I’d choose Napa Rose or Steakhouse 55 (not at the parks, these are at the hotels); moderately priced I’d choose Cafe Orleans every time for the Monte Cristo and Pomme Frites.

  13. Brit says:

    To Liz and others interested in the breakfast. I can honestly say I’ve never had a better breakfast buffet than at storytellers. I’m 30 and no kids, but I don’t mind the roaming characters for the awesomeness that is this buffet. It was actually very affordable, and had such a great spread. It wasn’t the largest buffet I’ve ever seen, but it had a very high quality version of everything you really want, and tons of it. In addition to the buffet, you can order off of the menu, which includes Mickey Waffles. Very few places you can get these, and you can order an unlimited amount… which is the exact amount I want every time I go.

    My ex-girlfriend is a huge Disney fan and goes almost weekly and she agrees this is the spot for breakfast. You will not be disappointed.

Leave a Reply

Current month ye@r day *