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Review: Lunch at Flo’s V-8 Cafe in Disney California Adventure

We are back in Disneyland today with another fun look at Flo’s V-8 Cafe in Disney California Adventure!

Flo's V-8 Cafe in Disney California Adventure's Cars Land

Flo’s V-8 Cafe in Disney California Adventure’s Cars Land

This diner is a throwback to all that was good and cool about eating while on the Great American Roadtrip, when Route 66 was in its heyday. And since it opened, Flo’s has quickly become a favorite for its incredible themeing and terrific eats.

While breakfast is phasing out at Flo’s, we recently had the chance to take in lunch here as well, and I can’t wait to tell you all about it! Read on for all the details and lots of pics…

Atmosphere

Visiting Flo’s anytime of the day is a treat, because there’s just so much rich detail to experience. But we especially love the views at night, when the whole place is decked out in neon lights.

Flo's V-8 Cafe in Disney California Adventure

Flo’s V-8 Cafe in Disney California Adventure

There’s some fun lighting inside, too! The entrance, which is a rotunda of sorts, features soft lights that change colors. I caught this pic when the room was decked out in bubble gum pink. Check out the cool chandelier!

Period Chandelier

Period Chandelier

One thing to note about Flo’s — it’s enormous! And the seating areas all have different themeing, so be sure to schedule a little extra time for this lunch stop if checking out incredible Disney detail is something that you enjoy.

The restaurant is actually much larger than it looks from the outside. That’s because part of the seating area is themed as a car clinic — both inside and out. Here’s the outside view.

Ornament Valley Mechanical Clinic

Ornament Valley Mechanical Clinic

And here’s the inside!

Mixed Seating

Mixed Seating in the Mechanical Clinic

Don’t you love the X-ray machine? It’s one of my favorite imagineering touches.

Diagnostic Machine

Diagnostic Machine

Much of the front seating section is decorated with touches that are a throwback to the 1950s, and a lot of the memorabilia centers around Flo — a member of the illustrious Motorama Girls.

The story goes that Flo gave up her glamorous career to settle down in Radiator Springs, where she opened up the coolest diner, ever.

I Love These Booths!

I Love These Booths! Check out the headrests!

The Mechanic Room is a tribute to Doc Hudson’s glory days as a championship racer. With rich details like dark wood and leather-esque booths, it has a more masculine, “old boys’ club” feel.

Indoor Seating in "Mechanic" Room

Indoor Seating in “Mechanic” Room

There’s also some great outdoor seating overlooking the desert as well as the Radiator Springs Racers attraction. What a great spot to take in the scenery!

Outdoor Seating Overlooking Radiator Springs and the Desert

Outdoor Seating Overlooking Radiator Springs and the Desert

Back at the front of the restaurant, we’ll take a closer look at the ordering area.

Flo’s is a counter service spot, so the ordering process is familiar. Once it’s your turn (there’s usually a line, but it seems to move quickly), you’ll give your order to a cashier and pay at the same time.

Queue Area

Queue Area

Ordering Area

Ordering Area

And here’s where I’d like to park for a minute (ha!) and take in a little detail.

Remember your favorite little neighborhood restaurant? You know, the place you went with your grandparents, and they had, like, the best pie and cakes ever? Well, I bet you they had some of those swell, rounded glass display cases that made you want a giant slice of lemon meringue pie in the worst way. Right?

Well, they have those here at Flo’s! Only they’re little, and sit directly in front of each of the cash register bays. I just think this is a really fun touch, and it’s helpful to see what your food will look like before you order.

Old-Fashioned Display Case in Ordering Area

Old-Fashioned Display Case in Ordering Area

Inside, you’ll find examples of some of the food served here, including the Kids’ Meals.

Examples of Food and Lightning McQueen

Examples of Food and Lightning McQueen

For extra fun, the kiddos in your party can get their lunch served in the Lightning MacQueen Racer.

Lightning McQueen -- Up Close

Lightning McQueen — Up Close

You can also see examples of the Flo’s Classic Shakes here, which you can order with or without the Souvenir Glass.

Examples of Milkshakes in Display Case, Shown in Souvenir Glasses

Examples of Milkshakes in Display Case, Shown in Souvenir Glasses

I snapped a pic of the beer taps for you. You’ll see more of the menu in just a sec, but it’s fun to note that only two beers are available at Flo’s, and they’re both craft beers from Bear Republic, a microbrewery in Sonoma, California.

Beer Taps

Beer Taps

After you order, you’ll head to the condiment bar for napkins and (real) silverware as well as any condiments you need.

More Condiments and Napkins

Napkins and Beverage Condiments

Condiments and Silver Ware

Condiments and Silver Ware. Guess they were low on spoons that day!

We have lots more pictures of the Flo’s theming in our recent review of their breakfast, so be sure to pop over there if you’d like to see more detail. In the meantime, let’s get down to the serious business of eating!

Eats

Homestyle diner cooking is what you’ll find on the menu at Flo’s. This isn’t fancy food; it’s food that will stick to your ribs and get you back into your car and onto the Mother Road fast. Entrees mostly center around rotisserie meats. There’s a vegetarian option as well as a salad, for guests who are after something lighter.

It is interesting to note though — there aren’t a huge number of options here. But there’s also not a hamburger in sight!

Lunch and Dinner Menu -- Click to Enlarge

Lunch and Dinner Menu — Click to Enlarge

You’ll find the customary beverage offerings at Flo’s, plus a couple of more interesting choices. You can try a Mater’s Tulsa Tea if you’re looking for something out of the ordinary.

As I mentioned before, there are a couple of craft beer selections, or you can choose wine sold by the glass — all from California vineyards, of course, and many from vineyards with Disney ties!

Beverage Menu -- Click to Enlarge

Beverage Menu — Click to Enlarge

On a warm day, a beer sounded good to my husband, so he decided to try the Red Rocket Ale. The red ale is a little on the sweet side, but he thought it was pleasant, and that it would pair well with our lunch choices. Of course, this is Disneyland, so alcohol is served in these neon yellow glasses.

Beer

Red Rocket Ale

I also snapped a pic of one of Flo’s Classic Shakes. Don’t you love the garnish? The shakes are topped with “Road Gravel”! Gotta love the Disney sense of humor. :-)

Milkshake

Milkshake

We both decided to try Spit-Fired Rotisserie Specialties. Each of the three options comes with your choice of two sides, plus a dinner roll.

My husband decided to go for the Pork Loin Dinner. The generous serving of meat is topped with a dark Coca-Cola BBQ Sauce. He opted for Peas and Carrots and Vegetarian Baked Beans as sides.

While nothing stood out as particularly “gourmet” about the meal, he enjoyed the comfort food, and said it was nice to have an option for a few veggies. Both the sauce on the pork and the beans were on the very sweet side. The pork could have been a bit more moist, but at least there was ample sauce!

Pork Loin Dinner

Pork Loin Dinner

The Dinner Rolls were really lovely. Big as your fist and pillowy soft, they are old-fashioned, and remind me of the yeast rolls from holiday dinners growing up.

Dinner Roll -- Inside

Dinner Roll — Inside

I opted for the Roast Beef Dinner. Served with Home-Style Gravy, I chose Mashed Potatoes and the Roasted Corn Medley as my side items.

Roast Beef Dinner

Roast Beef Dinner

I would like to have seen a little pink in my meat. But I appreciated the healthy serving of rich gravy to lend flavor and moisture.

Roast Beef Dinner

Roast Beef Dinner

By the way, Flo’s Veggie Tater Bake is pretty interesting as well.

Veggie Tater Bake

Veggie Tater Bake

Soon, it was time to turn our attention to dessert. And we decided to try just about a little bit of everything!

We began with the Chocolate Mud Pie, which was AH-MAZONG! The pie featured a chocolate center, inside a brownie-type cake, surrounded by a chocolate crust. This is a chocoholic dream come true! And while I’m not a huge fan of all-chocolate desserts, it was the best part of my meal.

Chocolate Mud Pie

Chocolate Mud Pie

And you can see from the cross section, it’s dense and fudgy and gorgeous.

Mud Pie -- Cross Section

Mud Pie — Cross Section

The center reminds me a bit of those wonderful Mickey Tarts over at Jolly Holiday Bakery. This only needed a big scoop of ice cream to be perfect.

Mud Pie -- Inside

Mud Pie — Inside

In fact, that’s a suggestion I’d make for all of Flo’s Pies. A la mode should be an option here for sure.

We had heard all about Flo’s “ugly crust” pies, and couldn’t wait to try them for ourselves! The other pie we tried was Peach Blueberry.

Apple Cheddar Pie -- Another View

Seasonal Offering — Peach Blueberry Pie

The pie had a nice, flakey crust, and the filling was fresh and delicious — not too gummy. But seriously — how much more awesome would this be with a big scoop of vanilla ice cream? I’d even settle for soft serve, Disney.

Apple Cheddar Pie -- Inside

Peach Blueberry Pie — Inside

And having tasted nearly everything on the menu, we were ready to go take our turn on the Radiator Springs Racers!

Overall

So here’s the deal: you probably aren’t going to rave about the amazingness of the lunch and dinner entrees at Flo’s V-8 Cafe. They’re fine and good, and they are certainly a great alternative for guests who want counter service eats, but are tired of burgers and the like. But I don’t think you’ll lie awake, dreaming of them.

Still, if you take Flo’s as a total package, and consider the hearty food, plus the delicious desserts and the amazing theming, I think it’s worth it to take in lunch or dinner here at least once. And if the movie Cars is a favorite of yours, I’d say that Flo’s will rate high in your book for sure.

What’s your take on Flo’s? Is it a must do, or a skip it? Leave a comment and tell us your thoughts below!

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16 Comments

  1. sam winston says:

    I’m disappointed to see the trend continuing of ‘kids meals’ being limited to children 9 and under. In the past this was not true.

    I happen to be one of those people that prefers smaller portions. While in most resturants the ‘kids’ menu isn’t that interesting (mac and cheese, chicken fingers..etc) and I opt for an appetizer. At this one..a small sandwich–as shown in the display case– with veggies and fruit would be perfect portion for me. How strictly do they enforce this policy?

  2. Katherine says:

    Sam, it is just a guideline, not a rule. I have never had a problem ordering off the kids menu at Disneyland.

  3. Joni says:

    Is there anyway you an get the recipe for the Mud Pie!!!! Looks wonderful :)

  4. LG says:

    Sam – I’m like you, I prefer smaller portions, I love Flo’s, & I eat there often. I always order a kids meal & have never had a problem. In fact, I’ve never had a problem with ordering kids meals anywhere in Disneyland resort. The one place I did not try, though, was the character meal at Ariel’s grotto, where it is fixed pricing for a three-course meal. It might not be possible there, because that is more of a “show” experience with the meal and the princesses.

    I also ordered several kids meals on a recent trip to Walt Disney World, not on a dining plan, and had no problems there either. In my experiences, Disney has always been very accommodating whenever possible.

  5. Tracy says:

    I have never had a problem with ordering a kids meal for an adult at a counter service location. In fact, my petite 14 year old often orders a kids meal when dining at table service and has only once been denied. (Coral Reef at Epcot)

  6. Kate says:

    I have heard the rumor that they may be reconsidering cancelling breakfast at Flo’s. I guess only time will tell.

  7. Leslie says:

    I read in this week’s Disneyland Resort update on mouseplanet that according to CMs there, breakfast may be returning to Flo’s by April 14th, reasons unknown. We’ve been wanting to eat there (for either breakfast or later) so I’m hoping it’s true!

  8. Matt says:

    I really wish Flo’s offered sandwiches for lunch instead of just the entrees for both lunch and dinner. How awesome would a Beef Dip sandwich here be? Or a turkey club sandwich? Both would use the same meat as the entrees so it wouldn’t be THAT difficult.

  9. Stacy says:

    I LOVE the decor at Flo’s but really dislike the menu. So much that I have never ordered anything. Would it really hurt to offer a burger and fries? Sometimes at an amusement park that is what you want….roast bee,f gravy at mash potatoes when it is 90 degrees out…it is jut not what I am craving. Cold sandwiches like turkey or tuna would be a nice addtion. I keep hoping tptb will recognize the menu problems and make a change. Flo’s seems always empty. Funny it was always busiest at breakfast..which they took away.

  10. Rick says:

    Having gone to DCA since it opened, Flo’s and all of the new restaurants are much appreciated. My favorite is the chicken shishkabobs with chimichuri sauce., but Flo’s is a close second.

  11. sammy says:

    I would leave it alone because of the lack of hamburgers and fries.

  12. Danny says:

    One of the problems I think Flo’s has is that the presentation is not very appetizing. The roast beef dinner above looks good enough, but most of the time the food at Flo’s looks more like pork loin dinner above which reminds me of cafeteria food. The food is also very plain and boring looking for one of the best themed areas in any Disney park.

    That being said, if you can get past the way the food looks, it is very good. I would love to see those rotisserie meats used in a sandwich option. A few other side options would be nice as well. Portion-wise I find Flo’s meals are probably the second most filling counter service location next to Plaza Inn (excluding the bread bowl places since those are very filling as well, but few people eat the entire bowl). I’m OK without burgers or fries.

  13. Mary Miller says:

    I am so excited we are going to Disneyland in 24 days and we have been looking so forward to going to cars land! I am so happy that you done this review. It will definitely be one of our in Park meals! Mu Grandson will love the Lighting meal. I have been ordering off of the kids meals at Disneyland for years. I had gastric bypass surgery in 2004 and canot eat a full meal. They have never even questioned me about it.

  14. Jenn says:

    Those mini pies look delicious. Wish could have recipe!!!

  15. Disneylandlady says:

    I had the strawberry-rhubbard pie last week & felt like I had fallen into nostalgia heaven. I still do not understand the “Old Fashioned Turkey Gravy” on the turkey menu. As opposed to what?

  16. Tiffany says:

    It’s so funny to me to see all the comments wanting burgers and fries, which are available at so many other places. Taste Pilots, for instance, where that is basically all they serve (grilled chicken included) so that is why WE never go there. :) Just goes to show you cannot please everyone. Offer less options, and people complain about the lack of variety. Offer more options, and people complain about the lack of the standard park staples.

    I absolutely love that DLR recognizes the need for more varied menu options at CS. Flo’s is a family favorite, and my girls especially love it as they don’t eat burgers or chicken nuggets. We typically share an adult plate with them, each adult sharing one plate with a child. I love the turkey meal! So tasty!

    The theming here is also amazing, and it’s just like the rest of Carsland- spot on with that feeling of having walked right into the movie.

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