Best Disneyland Restaurants for First Timers

Okay. So I tried to come up with the Top Three Disneyland Restaurants for First Timers. But there was no way I could limit my picks to just three. So then, I said, hey, let’s try for the Top Five.

Even still.

So in the end, I cut myself off at Eight. :-)

Disneyland's Matterhorn

Matterhorn!

There is so much good food in Disneyland. Really, it was super hard not to just give you a list of pretty much every restaurant there, and call it a day.

But if you must narrow it down, these are the restaurants that I love. These are the spots that I’d go to every single time if I could. (And mostly, I do.)

Heading to Disneyland, or just dreaming about a pilgrimage there? Check out my picks for the places you have to visit during your very first trip. Whether you’re looking for a meal or a snack, you can’t go wrong with putting these spots on your list.

Cafe Orleans

If I could only eat at one spot in Disneyland for the rest of my life, I’m fairly sure that spot would be Cafe Orleans. Located on New Orleans Square, it’s offers some of the beautiful patio seating that Disneyland is known for.

Outdoor Patio at Cafe Orleans

Outdoor Patio at Cafe Orleans

But I’m going to be honest — Cafe Orleans claims the distinction of offering not just one or two, but three of my favorite Disneyland dishes. (And that’s pretty much all I ever eat there.) First, when you visit here, I insist you order the Pommes Frites. Tossed with Garlic and Parmesan, they’re served with a Cajun Remoulade ramekin. I also insist you order TWO remoulades. At least. Per person.

Cafe Orleans Pommes Frites

Cafe Orleans Pommes Frites

While I love their gumbo here as well, it’s the Monte Cristo Sandwich that I can’t live without. Pockets of bread layered with Ham, Turkey, and Swiss Cheese are lightly battered and deep-fried. Served with Berry Puree for dipping, this is pretty much something everyone should eat at least once in life.

Disneyland's Famous Monte Cristo

Monte Cristo at Cafe Orleans

Not a meat-eater? There’s also an All-Cheese Version. No. Seriously. There is.

Behold. The Three-Cheese Monte Cristo. Did I mention the Double Creme Brie?

Three-Cheese Monte Cristo at Disneyland's Cafe New Orleans

Three-Cheese Monte Cristo at Disneyland’s Cafe New Orleans

But save room for dessert — because you can’t pass on the Mickey Beignets served with Dipping Sauces.

Mickey Beignets with Sauces

Mickey Beignets with Sauces

Have this meal just once, and you can say “I’ve been to Disneyland” properly as far as I’m concerned.

Blue Bayou

But Cafe Orleans has an older, slightly more posh sister — Blue Bayou. And while I usually skip it in favor of Cafe Orleans, if you’re visiting the ‘Land for the first time, you really need to experience this place.

Because more than anything, Blue Bayou is an experience; it’s as much an attraction as a restaurant.

Blue Bayou Atmosphere

Blue Bayou Atmosphere

Because the restaurant is fashioned to look like a verandah on a river’s edge. Look below you into the water, and you see travelers, en route to explore the mysteries of the Pirates of the Caribbean.

Honestly, the food is less important here to me than the “view.” I have enjoyed the New Orleans Signature Gumbo. And in this setting, it’s even better.

New Orleans Signature Gumbo

New Orleans Signature Gumbo

And yep, to be honest, I like to order the Monte Cristo here, too!

Le Special de  Monte Cristo Sandwich

Le Special de Monte Cristo Sandwich

It’s a little fancier (and more expensive), but just as delicious.

Napa Rose

Some of my Disneyland dining choices are obviously sentimental; either I love the restaurant, the food, or both. But it’s not like they’re the tip-top of the culinary pyramid or anything. But then, there’s Napa Rose.

I Love the Napa Rose Outdoor Lounge Area

Start Your Napa Rose Adventure With a Glass of Wine on the Outside Patio

Nestled inside Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel and Spa, Napa Rose stands as a testament to fine California fusion cuisine, inspired by fresh farm-to-market ingredients.

Chef Sutton's Chili Base

Chef Sutton’s Chili Base — Even Base Ingredients are Created in House From Scratch

Chef Andrew Sutton is in charge here, and his menus make use of the freshest items. Prepare to be [Read more…]

DFB Reader Questions Answered: What’s a Great Spot for a Disneyland Date Night?

We’re opening our Disney Food Blog Reader Mailbag for another great question from you today!

And wouldn’t you know it? Romance is in the air. Our reader would like to know:

What’s a good idea for a great date night dinner in Disneyland?

What a fun question! And we definitely have some good ideas for this one. But as we all know, budgets vary. Let’s look at several options:

Special Occasion Date: Napa Rose

Looking for an extra special evening? Napa Rose wins our vote for the best dining experience in all of Disneyland.

I Love the Napa Rose Outdoor Lounge Area

I Love the Napa Rose Outdoor Lounge Area

The award-winning restaurant, located in Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa, offers a warm, relaxed environment. But it’s the food that we absolutely love here.

Chef Andrew Sutton creates a market-inspired menu of seasonal favorites, focusing on the bounty that California offers. And you can pair your meal with their superb list of California wines to enhance each course.

For an extra special treat, reserve the Chef’s Counter, and enjoy watching the staff as they craft your dinner before your eyes.

Veal Filet with Apricot Chutney and Summer Vegetables Entree at the Chef's Counter

Veal Filet with Apricot Chutney and Summer Vegetables Entree at the Chef’s Counter

Want a gourmet experience with a more relaxed vibe? Check out Steakhouse 55 Lounge in the Disneyland Hotel for delicious pub grub, inventive cocktails, and an atmosphere that is sheer Old Hollywood Glamour.

Under the Sea Date: Ariel’s Grotto World of Color Dinner Package

Dinner and a show? What could make for a better date?

If you’re looking for more than just dinner out, we love the World of Color Dinner Package at [Read more…]

Disney Food Post Round-Up: July 27, 2014

Wow! We have a plethora of Disney food news to highlight this week. Whether you start by digging into updates on the 2014 Epcot Food and Wine Festival or skip ahead to read about Kouzzina’s replacement, we think you’ll find some interesting tidbits. And don’t forget to check out our photo update of the NEW Club 33 in Disneyland!

33 Mosaic

33 Mosaic

One of our favorite items — the Disneyland Dole Whip new souvenir Tiki Cup or Bowl. Happy Belated Birthday, Disneyland!

You’ll find all the news on Disney food below; happy reading!

Disney Food News

What?! There’s more!!

Check out all the latest Disney Food News — even the stuff we don’t mention in posts on the blog! — on our Disney Food News Pin Board, including restaurant closures, Chai Cream no longer offered at Sanaa, Napa Rose Refurbishment, Tables in Wonderland Updates, and more!

DFB Reader Finds

If you find a fun new food — or other edible awesomeness — in or from Disney, share a photo with us on facebook or twitter so we can add it to our DFB Reader Finds each Sunday!

Facebook Friend Sharon shared two great pictures from Artist Point in Disney’s Wilderness Lodge. First up — Coast to Farm Pan-fired Ahi Tuna Lion and Glazed Pork Belly!

Coast to Farm Pan-fired Ahi Tuna Lion and Glazed Pork Belly

Coast to Farm Pan-fired Ahi Tuna Lion and Glazed Pork Belly

Or opt for the Seared Diver Scallops!

Seared Diver Scallops

Seared Diver Scallops

Thanks for sharing these gorgeous entrees!

DFB Guide to the 2014 Epcot International Food & Wine Festival

We’re thrilled to announce the grand launch of the DFB Guide to the 2014 Epcot International Food & Wine Festival e-Book! With over 220 pages and multiple bonus items, it’s pretty substantial! And just in time to make your plans — general public booking begins on July 31st!

2014 Food and Wine Guide 3D

In honor of our grand launch, we have a discount option for DFB readers (as always!). You can get the new mini-guide for $3 off the regular price for a limited time — just use code MENUS at the check-out!

The DFB Guide to the 2014 Epcot Food & Wine Festival e-Book

The DFB Guide to the 2014 Epcot Food & Wine Festival e-Book features all the info you need to know before you attend the Food and Wine Festival this year, from what’s NEW this year to touring strategies — and a new section with top tips on how to use MyMagic+ at the Epcot Food and Wine Festival!

And with the Epcot Food & Wine festival rapidly approaching, the time is now! Booking for festival events opens July 31st at 7AM ET, and our exclusive daily schedule of events is the most efficient way to plan your festival strategy. (Did you purchase a pre-order of the DFB Guide to the 2014 Epcot Food and Wine Festival and not receive your book? Let us know at Support@DFBGuide.com!)

With a detailed schedule of seminars and events for every single day of the festival, it’s a quick, easy way to decide what activities and events you want to book! Don’t waste time flipping between web pages, PDFs, and websites — just find the date you need and we’ve got it all right there in front of you. Just like that!

Find Everything That’s Going On During Your Visit in our FULL Daily Schedule of Events!

As always, we’ve made this guide instantly downloadable for your convenience, and easily installed on your mobile devices. It’s a PDF guide with [Read more…]

What’s Your Perfect Disneyland Dining Day?

Have you ever stopped to dream up your Perfect Disney Day? I bet I’m not the only one who’s whiled away the hours in this way. But I’m sure you won’t be surprised to find out that my daydreams about upcoming trips are frequently planned around — what else? — the FOOD!

So today, we’re going to have a little fun. I want to hear all about what your Perfect Disneyland Dining Day would look like! Where would you eat your meals? What would you have for snacks? Would it be an all fancy-meal affair? Or would treats and counter service eats make the cut too?

I’ll get the ball rolling on the food fantasy by sharing my picks!

Breakfast at Steakhouse 55

One of my favorite places for a serene breakfast is Steakhouse 55. This historic restaurant has been welcoming guests since the very earliest days of the resort. Formerly known as Granville’s, you’ll find a cool and classy atmosphere here with a retro vibe to it.

Steakhouse 55 at the Disneyland Hotel

Steakhouse 55 at the Disneyland Hotel

But the digs aren’t the only retro touch. The menu celebrates the past too, with classic dishes. That’s true for dinner as well as for breakfast.

And that combination of serene surroundings and delicious food with a touch of elegance makes Steakhouse 55 a great way to start your day on vacation.

New York Steak and Eggs

New York Steak and Eggs

Besides, how you can resist a good plate of steak and eggs? :-)

Morning Snack at Corn Dog Castle

I must admit, a plate of steak and eggs will probably keep me going for the better part of the day, so I’m likely to skip the morning snack after a meal like that in the real world. But this isn’t the real world at all — it’s the Best. Day. EVER! Right? So you guys, there’s totally gonna be a morning snack stop at Corn Dog Castle.

And making a choice here is no small feat. I mean, you’ve got the amazing classic Hand-Dipped Corn Dog, and you absolutely cannot go wrong with it. But there’s also the nearly-as-delightful Cheddar Cheese Stick if you’d like to skip the sausages altogether.

For me, on this Dream Day, I’m going all the way — and opting for the Hot Link Corn Dog!

Hot Link Corn Dog Meal

Hot Link Corn Dog Meal

In this case, that hand-dipped, made to order treat consists of crunchy Cornbread Coating that enrobes a Hot Link. And it’s definitely got a little zip to it.

Hot Link Corn Dog

Hot Link Corn Dog

Believe me when I say to you — Go there. Get this. One of the three options, anyway. A trip to Corn Dog Castle must be on your list. I insist. (You’ll thank me, I promise.)

Lunch at Cafe Orleans

OK, you guys KNOW that this place is going to be on my “list of anything awesome in Disneyland,” so if you’ve read all of my goings-on about the restaurant already, you’re allowed to skip this section. ;-D Yep. One of my very favorite Disney table service stops is Cafe Orleans.

As much as I love their Gumbo here, it’s the Pommes Frites that I never pass up. Perfectly cooked fries are tossed with Parmesan, Garlic, and Parsley and served with a side of Cajun Spice Rémoulade for dipping. So, so good!

Cafe Orleans Pommes Frites

Cafe Orleans Pommes Frites

Next, I always make space in my Disneyland eating plans for a [Read more…]

Best Table Service Restaurants in the Disneyland Resort

We’re counting down some of our all-time favorite spots to dine when we visit Disneyland!

Best Disneyland Table Service Restaurants

And while snacking abounds and counter service can be delicious, today we are turning our attention to our favorite table service spots.

While Disney’s original park may not offer the same number of dining locations as Walt Disney World, there are certainly some places that you won’t want to miss. And we love them for all different reasons. Some are sentimental favorites, while others offer fantastic food.

Head out with us as we tour our Top 6 Table Service Spots in Disneyland Resort!

Steakhouse 55

Our first stop takes us to a spot steeped in Disneyland history — Steakhouse 55 at Disneyland Hotel.

Dark, cool interiors are replete with luxury and plenty of nods to the past. Named for the year that Disneyland opened, of course, Steakhouse 55 channels a bygone era with the glamour of Old Hollywood. Close your eyes, and you can easily imagine power lunches by the entertainment elite taking place at the next table.

Inside the Cool and Serene Steakhouse 55

Inside the Cool and Serene Steakhouse 55

There’s more here than just posh surroundings, however. The food is incredible, too. For dinner, expertly prepared Steaks and classic steakhouse Sides are the draw. And don’t forget the famous 24-layer Chocolate Cake!

No time for an epic meal, but still want to experience this awesome place? Stop in for Drinks and delicious Pub Grub in the Lounge.

Bone-In Ribeye Steakhouse 55

Bone-In Ribeye Steakhouse 55

But don’t forget breakfast! If you’re after a quiet start to your morning, you can’t go wrong with specialities like Eggs Benedict or New York Steak and Eggs.

Napa Rose

When I’m up for a culinary experience with a modern, California vibe, I head to Napa Rose at Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa.

The Craftsman style and open floor plan gives the restaurant a warm, welcoming feel. It never feels too intimidating or hoity-toity, even though you are dining in one of Southern California’s most celebrated eateries.

Begin your evening in [Read more…]

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 [Read more…]

Limited Time Magic Dinners at Disney World and Disneyland Just in Time for Valentine’s Day!

Love is in the air — especially at Disney!

As 2013 continues to be the year for Limited Time Magic Events, Disney is hosting True Love Week at both Walt Disney World and Disneyland complete with specialty menus at several restaurants!

It's Romance Time at Disney!

Walt Disney World

As a Limited Time Magic addition during February 11-17, romantic dinners for two will be offered with prix fixe menus at select restaurants.

Specially-created menus at Artist Point at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge, The Wave…of American Flavors at Disney’s Contemporary Resort, the Hollywood Brown Derby at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, and Yachtsman Steakhouse at Disney’s Yacht Club Resort make an ideal setting for a romantic evening.

Book online at disneyworld.com/dining, or call (407) WDW-DINE.

The Hollywood Brown Derby at Disney's Hollywood Studios is the Perfect Setting for Your Romantic Dinner

Disneyland

Also during February 11-17, choose romantic dinners with prix fixe menus at the following restaurants: Blue Bayou and Café Orleans in Disneyland, Carthay Circle Restaurant in Disney California [Read more…]

Top 6 Disneyland Bars and Lounges

Let’s face it. Sometimes a Disney vacation can be absolutely exhausting! That’s why we like to seek out bars and lounges in which we can share fun with family and friends or relax while enjoying good food and special beverages.

Schweitzer Falls at Trader Sam’s Tiki Bar

A while back, we took a look at our Top 10 Disney World Bars and Lounges, and now it’s time to take a peek at our favorites in the Disneyland Parks and Resorts!

Here are our picks for Top Six Disneyland bars and lounges — a list that includes a little help from our Facebook Friends! Thanks for your input!

Ready to jump in? Here’s our favorite place to while away some time at the Disneyland Resort…

Trader Sam’s Enchanted Tiki Bar

Trader Sam’s should be your first choice for chilling out in Disneyland!

This is due to some great bartenders, unique drinks (often served in souvenir glasses), good food, and, of course, the interactive activities here. (Careful not to sit on the sinking bar stools!)

This place is an awesome tropical retreat located at the Disneyland Hotel. Check out our Trader Sam’s Review here!

Trader Sam’s Bar

While there is indoor and outdoor seating, all of the action is inside where there is limited seating (about 50 spots); so get here early as evenings may be quite crowded.

Cove Bar

Located in Disney California Adventure, the Cove Bar (not to be mistaken for Cove Cafe on the Disney Cruise Ships or the Cove Bar at Disney World’s Contemporary Resort…) is your place to escape the long lines and hot sun while enjoying great water-side views.

View from Cove Bar

Leave the thrills behind and savor specialty drinks and craft beers. The Raspberry Rain is a memorable choice! Look for an attractive menu offering my favorite, Buffalo Wings, and Lobster Nachos.

Hearthstone Lounge

Make the Hearthstone Lounge in the Grand Californian Resort a must-do in Disneyland.

Whether you are looking for some quiet alone time or bringing along friends, this cozy fireside lounge has a lodge theme and soaring ceilings that immediately relax you. And that’s before your first drink order!

Take a seat at the bar, on a cozy sofa, or at a [Read more…]

DFB Readers Choose! Best Disney Restaurants for Quiet Dining

Need a relaxing date night? Have a sleeping baby? Want to simply get away from the crowds and the bustle of the Disney parks for a while?

We asked our friends on the Disney Food Blog Facebook Page for their recommendations on quiet dining in Disney World and Disneyland, and we want to hear YOURS, too!

The locations mentioned the most in Walt Disney World were: Jiko at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge, Artist Point at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge, and Victoria & Albert’s at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort and Spa.

In Disneyland, Facebook Friends gave the most shout-outs to Blue Bayou in Disneyland Park and Napa Rose at the Grand Californian Resort.

Best Disney World Restaurants For Quiet Dining

Let’s take a peek at these top Disney Food Blog reader choices for quiet dining in Disney World!

Jiko

For romance, delicious dishes, and a peaceful meal inspired by low lighting and a calming water feature view, head over to the Animal Kingdom Lodge’s Jiko.

Jiko View

Facebook Friend Adhiraj G. recommends “Jiko later in the evening! great view, great service and quiet (in a relaxed sort of way)!”

Filet and Mac and Cheese at Jiko (Mac and Cheese can be ordered by request)

A window-side table offers a beautiful view during daylight hours while savoring the gourmet cuisine. Keep an eye on the soothing “sunset wall” at the back of the restaurant, which cycles through the [Read more…]

Aulani Food News: Hawai‘i Food & Wine Festival, and Kids Eat Free!

The second annual Hawai‘i Food & Wine Festival is a four-day event scheduled for September 6th – 9th, 2012. And the grand finale signature event, “Cuisines of the Stars” A Magical Journey of Food & Culture,” will be held from 6-9pm at Ko Olina Resort, featuring Aulani, on the last evening.

Participants at the many events can look forward to the expertise of 50 international master chefs, as well as renowned wine and spirit makers. Ethnic foods and beverages from around the world will be highlighted.

AmaAma View

Chef Andrew Sutton (Napa Rose, Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel) and Chef Patrick Callarec (Disney’s Aulani Resort) join the [Read more…]