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Guest Review: Napa Rose Chef’s Counter in Disneyland Resort

Please welcome back guest author Heather Jones as she shares a review of the Chef’s Counter at Napa Rose at Disney’s Grand Californian in Disneyland Resort!

Recently my husband and I had the opportunity to take a quick trip out to California to visit friends and of course, Disneyland! Because this was a bonus trip, money was a little tight. However, I had always dreamed of dining at the famous Napa Rose Restaurant.

Napa Rose

We decided to save our pennies by snacking our way through the weekend and then have a big, splash-out meal at the end of the trip. I’m here to report that this was a great move!

Atmosphere

Napa Rose is located in Disneyland’s flagship hotel, The Grand Californian.

We started our journey in the lounge. There were plenty of cozy areas to relax and enjoy a drink while we waited for our reservation, but I just dashed around snapping pictures.

Napa Rose Lounge

Rose themed lighting.

Comfy seating in the lounge.

Outdoor fireplace seating area.

Napa Rose Bar

Very expensive scotches and liquors behind glass.

Custom-label Pixar Wines from John Lasseter's Vineyard!

After a short wait, we were ushered into the dining room, which features floor to ceiling windows that allow beautiful views of the lush landscaping. We, however, would not be sitting at one of these tables because we decided to experience the Chef’s Counter.

Napa Rose Dining Room...and tables where we would NOT be sitting tonight!

The Napa Rose rose!

Here’s the Chef’s Counter, which offers two seatings per night and has eight seats — four on one side and four on the other. The view of the open kitchen is incredible!

Napa Rose Chef's Counter

Eats

If you dine at the chef’s counter you can certainly order from the regular menu. However, for a fixed price, the chef will design a custom multi-course menu just for you. We decided to go for it!

The chef introduced himself and asked if we had any allergies or aversions (we have neither) and then proceeded to create a show-stopping meal that we will absolutely never forget. (Editor’s Note: While Executive Chef Andrew Sutton may be your host chef, it’s not guaranteed. More often you’ll be interacting more regularly with a sous chef.)

Our view of the kitchen.

The chef diligently working out our menu.

We opted to add a wine pairing to our experience. After all, we can’t have come all the way to Napa Rose in Disneyland and not get the wine pairing, right?

We were presented with glass of champagne along with an amuse bouche — a mild pepper stuffed with cheese and chorizo. From this point on, we each received separate and very different courses individually paired with wine.

The perfect way to start!

The amuse bouche: a mild pepper stuffed with cheese and chorizo.

We were also presented with a variety of gorgeous breads from which I abstained. I certainly didn’t want to get filled up before we even started. They sure looked good, though.

Bread Service.

I could easily have just used “AMAZING” to describe each and every dish we were served! Many of the dishes can be found on the regular Napa Rose menu, but some are whipped up just for the chef’s counter guests.

Note that my husband and I each got a different dish for each course, so I’ll share photos of both dishes!

Our first course was a Strawberry Buttermilk Salad. This included mixed greens, carrots, and jicama with pulled chicken, dehydrated strawberries, oranges, and a buttermilk dressing.

A salad of mixed greens, carrots and jicama with pulled chicken, dehydrated strawberries, oranges and a buttermilk dressing.

Along with the Strawberry Salad came a Fried shrimp with greens, buttermilk dressing, and a lemon sauce.

Fried shrimp with greens, buttermilk dressing and a lemon sauce.

The second course included Seared Halibut with purple potatoes, lemon and basil aioli. We also received a perfectly seared diver scallop with lobster sauce and fried potato.

Seared Halibut with purple potatoes, lemon and basil aioli.

A perfectly seared diver scallop with lobster sauce and fried potato.

All the servers at Napa Rose are also certified sommeliers. Our server enjoyed presenting this particular wine to me. It had a quirky label with a lot of ponderings about life and existence.

Wine with philosophical musings.

For the third course, we enjoyed Venison meatballs with yellow tomato and shaved parmigiano reggiano, and a variety of cherry tomatoes with zucchini and yellow squash pureé and a duck confit stuffed squash blossom.

Venison meatballs with yellow tomato and shaved parmigiano reggiano.

I was thinking that my dish was going to be vegetarian, but it turns out that the squash blossom was stuffed with duck confit! Yum!

A variety of cherry tomatoes with zucchini and yellow squash pureé and a duck confit stuffed squash blossom.

After this third course, we enjoyed a palate cleanser of coconut sorbet.

Coconut sorbet.

Sitting at the chef’s counter provides dinner and a show. I found the finely choreographed ballet of meticulous food preparation absolutely riveting.

There were a couple of tense moments between the chefs, but for the most part it was just a frenzy of focused activity.

Chefs preparing a dishes for a large table.

Dessert chef scooping perfect spheres of sorbet.

We got to witness how important the expediter is for keeping things organized.

the expediter

Here is a video of the team putting out an order for a huge table:

On to the Main Course! This time, we received Rolled Flank Steak with mushroom, red peppers artichoke hearts, and capers, and Duck Breast with apricot cashew sauce, cashew pureé, and duck confit cake.

Rolled flank steak with mushroom, red peppers artichoke hearts and capers.

Duck Breast with apricot cashew sauce, cashew pureé and duck confit cake.

Almost to dessert!

Our wine pairing for this course really showed the skill of the sommelier. My husband had a rich chocolate dessert, which was served with a very sweet raspberry wine. Alone, this wine was so treacly sweet I truthfully wouldn’t drink it. However, a sip after a bite of dense chocolate was absolutely perfect!

Dessert wine paired with chocolate.

A dense chocolate ganache.

My dessert wine paired perfectly with my fruity dessert, which was all about cherries!

My dessert wine paired perfectly with my fruity dessert.

My dessert was all about cherries.

We rounded out the night with a perfectly executed cappuccino and a Grand Marnier.

We shared the grand Marnier. We did just have a half dozen glasses of wine!

Overall

This journey of epicurean delights was certainly not cheap (I believe my first car cost less than this meal), but it was definitely worth diverting our dining-out budget into this one spectacular event. An evening at the Napa Rose Chef’s counter is certainly something to be reserved for a special occasion, but, oh boy! What a way to celebrate!

Have you dined at a Chef’s Counter at a Disney restaurant? Let us know in the comments below!

Heather Jones is a wife and mom of two teenagers who loves to travel, Disney being the ultimate destination. She is a foodie, so dining is always the most memorable part of her trips. Heather enjoys sharing her travel adventures in her blog, Maybe Someday…

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5 Comments

  1. Jennie says:

    We did Chefs Counter a couple weeks ago. I left so stuffed I could barely walk. Every. Single. Thing. Was AMAZING. We’ve eaten at Napa before, but CC was definitely a treat. I really liked letting the chef make my choices. Loved watching them make the dishes. Some of the workers are SOOO tall and they were all friendly and answered all of our questions. I highly recommend splurging on this if possible.

    Bon Appetit!

  2. Jeff says:

    We did Chef’s Counter a year or so ago. I remember 3 seating areas for a total of 12 available seats. Has that changed?

  3. Georgeanne says:

    Mmmm… Officially added to the bucket list!!

  4. Rachel says:

    Yes! I ate at the Chef’s Table for my birthday in December. I loved getting to see the inner workings of the kitchen and since it was the Christmas season I had their famous hot chocolate (silky heaven) and it came with delicious little donuts (definitely put that on Instagram!). Best of all they had their Truffle Mac and Cheese, which is literally the best dish ever!!! Fantastic meal, Napa Rose is a DISNEYLAND MUST DO!!!!

  5. Glendon says:

    Just so you know there is actually 12 seats.

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