Located just a few miles away from the Disney Studios in Burbank, The Tam O’ Shanter is Los Angeles’ oldest restaurant that has remained in the same location under the same ownership and management since 1922.
AND Walt Disney ate here. A lot.
The Tam O’ Shanter was very close to Walt’s Hyperion Studio when it opened. He frequented the restaurant so often that is was commonly referred to as the “studio commissary.”
After seeing Beauty and the Beast in 3D at the Disney Studios, my family and I decided head over to The Tam O’ Shanter to check it out — and possibly sit where Walt once sat, Table 31.
I made us a reservation, which I highly recommend as the restaurant does get fairly busy. I even requested Table 31. Since it was dark, my pictures really don’t do the building justice. The restaurant looks like a quaint cottage located smack in the middle of a busy Los Feliz Boulevard.
The entrance is guarded by a robust lion statue, and an old phone booth stands just to the left of him. As you enter the lobby area, you feel as though you’ve stepped through a time portal… Dark wood adorns the walls where you’ll find tons of awards, traditional Scottish tartans, photos, and even a few drawings of a very famous mouse.
Just walking into the restaurant felt like a historical field trip. Not too many restaurants can boast about such a successful timeline. This was the beginning of the prime rib empire, Lawry’s!
The lobby features a reception area and two different seating areas. We chose to hang out in “The Snug,” which was full of fun decor and awards.
There is also a great display case that showcases the history of the Tam O’ Shanter. It includes the story of The Tam, old menus, photos, napkins, and other fun memorabilia.
My favorite lobby items though? The two Disney drawings hanging side by side, near the “Specials” board. One done by Walt himself, and the other a “Happy 75th” birthday wish from the Disney Studios. I love the historical “Mickeys” around the table in the studio piece!
Even though we had a reservation for Table 31, we decided not to wait to sit there. The couple still dining there were not even close to being done, so we opted for the table right next to it. This way, I could get good photos when they finally finished!
Our waitress was fabulous. A 15-year veteran of the Tam, I explained to her that I was writing up my experience for the Disney Food Blog. Her response? “Oh you should have been here an hour ago. There were a bunch of old timers just here talking about how they knew a famous Disney artist, Mary something…” AHHH! Mary Blair? Dang. Wish we would have been able to eavesdrop on that convo.
If only the walls of the Tam O’ Shanter could talk. It’s been said that over the years Disney (not just Walt, but the studios in general) has gotten inspiration from The Tam, and the Tam has gotten inspiration from Disney as well. I think this is clear if you take one look at the Village Haus! And notice the plaid outfits that the servers wear? Very similar to the plaid ones worn by the Disneyland Tour Guides. Hmmmm. I wonder which came first?
We were seated in the main dining room, directly across from the bar and near the kitchen. The decor features a cozy fireplace, Scottish paintings, family plaids, flags, and lots of kitchen gadgets!
We stated our meal with a bread plate. Two types of fresh bread were served: pumpernickel and sourdough. Both were warm out of the oven. Pumpernickel isn’t really my thing, but I did enjoy the sourdough.
While munching on the bread, we enjoyed the fun Scottish coloring books they gave the kids. I loved the “Nessie” page! So much fun.
The menu was nice because it wasn’t at all overwhelming. One “For the Table” page and one Entree page.
We started with soup. I had the French Onion and my husband went for the soup of the day, which was a Beef Vegetable Stew. The French Onion was really good; I always love me a big chunk of burnt cheese! I did, however, only eat a little of it, because I knew my entree was coming AND I had to save room for dessert.
My husband also enjoyed his soup — warm and hearty!
As far as entrees go, I can NEVER pass up a turkey dinner. So, I ordered the Slow Roasted Organic Turkey. I should have probably gone with something more signature to the menu, but I have a serious love for “Thanksgiving” foods. Mashed potatoes, stuffing, cranberries, a side of veggies and turkey smothered in gravy? Sold.
My turkey dinner was quite good. The turkey was moist, the mashed potatoes were tasty and had a nice consistency (I hate runny mashed potatoes!), and the gravy was really nice.
I am also a big cranberry fan and their “candied cranberries” were delicious.
My husband went for the Grilled Rib Eye, which he enjoyed, but he wasn’t quite as thrilled with his meal as I was with mine. I think it’s partially due to the fact that he has been spoiled by Steakhouse 55 at the Disneyland Hotel!
The children’s, I mean “Lads and Lassies,” menu was actually quite extensive. Lots of great options, but I knew my little carnivores would go for the prime rib, and they did.
My boys devoured their prime rib and french fries. They did, however, refuse to try the Yorkshire Pudding that it came with.
I myself had never had Yorkshire Pudding before, so I decided that it was a must try. I really didn’t even know exactly what it was. Thank you to Google I learned that it was a “hollow type of British pastry, nothing at all like pudding, made from a batter of eggs, milk, and flour baked in a bath of beef drippings until golden brown.” It really wasn’t too flavorful. Not great, not awful, just kind of blah. Even if my boys would’ve tried it, I don’t think they would’ve liked it.
With all of this hearty food in our bellies, it was tough to even think about dessert, but…. How could we pass up Strawberry Trifle and Chocolate Souffle?
My boys were brought the Tam’s famous Strawberry Trifle. A dish including strawberry sponge cake, whipped cream, custard, and fresh strawberries topped with strawberry syrup. Unfortunately they thought it was way too sweet and didn’t like it all that much. I, however, thought it was really tasty! Had I have known, I would have asked them to put the sauce on the side, because it was very sweet.
We were told by our waitress that the Chocolate Souffle is a must have. So, when it was time to order one (mid-meal because it takes a while to prepare) we said sure!
This was actually the hit dessert of the table. My husband and I thought it was for us, but our boys really preferred this one over the Strawberry Trifle. The souffle comes out hot and fresh from the oven in a ramekin. It is then portioned onto plates and each piece is topped with fresh whipped cream. Hot, chocolate-y goodness.
Not interested in a sit down dinner? The Tam O’ Shanter also has an Ale and Sandwich Bar with carved to order sandwiches and plates. We happened to be there on “Trivia Tuesday” and the bar was quite crowded. I LOVE the Mickey drawn on the Happy Hour Board!
Overall, The Tam was a very fun experience. If you ever have the chance, I highly recommend a visit — not only for the food, but really you can’t beat the ambiance. I mean, how often can you sit in the EXACT same place that Walt Disney sat to dine?
Maybe next time we’ll sit at Walt’s table.
Have you ever visited the Tam O’ Shanter? What was your impression? Did you prefer the food or the ambiance?