Dining in Disneyland Review: The New Cove Bar Expansion in Disney California Adventure

Disney California Adventure has removed the Donald Duck meet and greet gazebo on Paradise Pier for a very good reason; Cove Bar expansion! The new seating is adjacent to the existing bar. (If you are a Donald fan, don’t fret… Donald has been moved over to Buena Vista Street and he now has Daisy there as his companion.)

Welcome Back to Cove Bar!

Welcome Back to Cove Bar!

I’m sure your first thought is, “Awesome, more seats, less wait!” But alas, this is far from the truth. I recently when to check out the expansion and some new menu items.  It was a Friday just before noon and we still waited 45 minutes for a party of 2.  Personally I think the Cove Bar is worth the wait, but I also think that if they filled the whole pier with Cove Bar seating, there would still be a long wait.  It’s THAT good.  You can see that others agree with me.  This is the line we waited in.

Cove Bar Line

Cove Bar Line

While in line, I noticed a cast member walking around with an iPad asking about party numbers and seating preferences (bar, table, new area, etc.).  I immediately thought, “Oh, maybe they are taking advance dining reservations now!”  But that wasn’t the case, she was just organizing the guests to get them into tables as they came up.  I did request to sit in the new area; we could have been seated a little sooner (maybe by 10 or so minutes) if we would have opted for the bar.

Atmosphere

The new area is covered and features both high and low table tops.  The high tops are in the center and the low ones line the perimeter of the new area.  Some of the low tops are waterfront,  if you sit there, you’ll have a good view of Screamin’ as it takes off!

Cove Bar Expansion

Cove Bar Expansion

We were seated at a low top along the edge of the restaurant.  Here’s a high top next to us.

Cove Bar High Top Table for 4

Cove Bar High Top Table for 4

Eats

The current menu features 6 items with a few changes from the old menu.

Cove Bar Place Setting

Cove Bar Place Setting

Differences include: no more wings, replaced with Chorizo Fundido; the Quesadilla Rolls are now “Fajita” Quesadilla Rolls; and the pizza isn’t a “daily” special…

Cove Bar Menu

Cove Bar Menu

I really love the food at the Cove Bar.  I’ve tried basically everything on the menu at some point and I have no complaints.  This visit was basically a cheese fest!  We ordered the new Chorizo Fundido, Fajita Quesadilla Rolls and Chicken Nachos (YES! Chicken!).

Let’s talk about the new Chorizo Fundido. It’s delicious!

Chorizo Fundido

Chorizo Fundido

Aged Cheddar & Oaxaca Cheese Sauce mixed with Spicy Beer Glazed Chorizo served with Potato Chips.  The dish comes out perfectly melted and piping hot.  I thought it might be spicy, but it’s not.  A tiny bit of a kick, but really pleasant.  The salty homemade potato chips were an excellent vehicle with which to devour the Chorizo Fundido.

Queso Fundido Close Up

Chorizo Fundido Close Up

Next up? The famous Nachos served at the Cove Bar!  I know people go nuts for the Lobster Nachos, but I actually prefer to go off menu and get the Chicken Nachos!

Chicken Nachos

Chicken Nachos

Honestly if you go to the Cove Bar and don’t get some form of nachos, you’ll really be missing out.  Topped with Aged Cheddar, Black Beans, Pico de Gallo, Chipotle Crema and Fresh Jalapenos, they’re a great item to share and incredibly tasty as well.

The cheese is perfectly melted with some slightly “burnt” cheese mixed in there too! Slightly burnt cheese is my favorite.  You can see a perfectly burnt cheese/chip in the photo above (bottom left), yum!  Anyone else like their nacho cheese a little crispy in spots???  The amount of chicken on the nachos is very generous and all of the produce was fresh.  The Chipotle Crema drizzled on top, I could take or leave.  I don’t think it adds a huge difference to the dish.

Chicken Nachos Close Up

Chicken Nachos Close Up

We also ordered the Fajita Quesadilla Rolls.  Formerly known as “Quesadilla Rolls,” this great menu item is basically the same.  Grilled Flour Tortilla rolled with Chicken, Onions, Peppers, Jack & Cheddar Cheese with Guajillo (a type of chili) Sauce, Chipotle Crema & Avocado Relish.  Looks to me that the only difference to this item is that there are now two types of cheese being used.  You can never go wrong with more cheese!

Fajita Quesadilla Rolls

Fajita Quesadilla Rolls

The Fajita Quesadilla Rolls remind me of mini chimichangas minus the beans.  Crispy outside, delicious chicken fajita filling and again there’s that Chipoltle Crema.  The Guajillo sauce on the bottom has a great flavor, I prefer it much more than the Chipotle Crema (which you may have already noticed).

Fajita Quesadilla Cross Section

Fajita Quesadilla Roll Cross Section

The Avocado Relish served with the Fajita Quesadilla Rolls is really great.  It’s sort of a salsa/guacamole hybrid and makes a perfect accompaniment to the rolls.

Avocado Relish

Avocado Relish

The drink menu at the Cove Bar is VERY extensive. You can see our fun adventure with several Cove Bar drinks here.  This adventure was much more tame!  Here’s a page from the drink menu that appeared new to me…  I’m very curious about “Hard Root Beer.”  I didn’t even know that was a thing! Maybe next time.

A Sampling of Specialty Drinks

A Sampling of Specialty Drinks

Of course we had to try the Cotton Candy Lemonade.  A gorgeous blue color, the lemonade comes with a fun pink straw topped with a large clump of cotton candy!   It’s such a photogenic beverage.  I did enjoy it, but no way would I be able to drink an entire glass.  Very sweet, but also a hint of sour.  Definitely worth a few sips.  I say get one to share!  The cotton candy on top is a very fun touch.

Cotton Candy Lemonade

Cotton Candy Lemonade

Overall, if you have the time to wait, the Cove Bar is a must visit while on a Disneyland Resort trip.  Both the atmosphere and food are incredible.  You’ve got great views of Paradise Pier, great drinks, great food.  I also love that you can modify the menu items with no problem.  It’s easy to change up the meat, make a dish vegetarian, add alcohol to a non-alcoholic drink…. You know the important stuff!  You really can’t go wrong here.

Do you have a Cove Bar favorite?  Have you visited since the expansion?  Was it worth the wait? Let us know in the comments below!

Heather Sievers is the Disney Food Blog’s Dining in Disneyland columnist. See more of her columns here!

Comments

  1. Milinda says

    Thanks for posting! We are heading to Disneyland for the second time – but we haven’t been since 2008. I’m really excited to try out this cotton candy lemonade. Any flavored lemonade always catches my eye!

  2. says

    Cotton Candy lemonade? I have no choice now. I must find my way to the Cove Bar on our next visit. I enjoyed this lovely description of your experience. I hope to enjoy the same!! Thanks for sharing.

  3. says

    Milinda – Have a fun trip! The Cove Bar is great!

    Caroline – If you can go early in the day it’s a little less crazy. Enjoy!

  4. Kathe says

    I go to Cove Bar every visit, at least once a year. Have the Lobstet Nachos and a beer!!! Yummy!!!
    Going in May and will have to check out the expansion!!

  5. Emalee says

    Bummer! Went to cove bar and they put the buffalo wings back on and removed the chorizo fundido! Was looking forward to trying the fundido but at least the lobster nachos are still there and amazing :)

  6. Heather Sievers says

    Emalee – Serious bummer! It’s SO good. If you are looking for a yummy fundido, the Carthay Circle Lounge has an excellent one.

  7. Foobar67 says

    They aren’t jalapenos, but serranos, which are hotter. I asked the bartender because I thought they seemed a little on the hot side for jalapenos. But I love the nachos! No visit to DCA is complete without lobster nachos.

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