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…]

Disney Food Pics of the Week: Some Favorite Fried Appetizers

It’s time for Disney Food Pics of the Week!

We’re all trying to eat better for us these days, right? But still, every once in a while, it’s fun to indulge a little! Today, we’re taking a look at some of the great photos that you’ve shared with us on Disney Food Blog Photo Extravaganza, our Flickr page, as we highlight some of our Favorite Fried Appetizers!

Pommes Frites at Cafe Orleans

Photographer: Daniel Staten

One of my top spots to eat in all of Disneyland is Cafe Orleans! And when I’m there, I can’t resist having all of my favorites — their Monte Cristo Sandwich, Mickey-Shaped Beignets — and of course, Pommes Frites with Remoulade for dipping! They’re outta this world!! (Kudos to Daniel for getting two sauces; good choice!)

Pommes Frites from Disneyland's Cafe Orleans

Pommes Frites from Disneyland’s Cafe Orleans

Fritto Misto at Via Napoli

Photographer: Tana Murphy

Whenever we are in the mood for pizza at Disney, it’s time to head to Via Napoli in Epcot’s Italy Pavilion. But they also have some amazing appetizers as well. Their Fritto Misto Platter is an assortment of Fried Cheese, Arancini, Veggies, and Calamari and is served with Pomodoro Piccante Sauce. I LOVE this platter.

Fritto Misto at Epcot's Via Napoli

Fritto Misto at Epcot’s Via Napoli

Wok Fried Green Beans at Yak and Yeti Restaurant

Photographer: Roger Weeks

Looking for something just a touch [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…]

The “Everything On the Menu!!” Dinner Review of Be Our Guest Restaurant in Disney World

Mystery has surrounded the creation of the Beauty and the Beast-themed Be Our Guest Restaurant — Disney’s newest dining location — since we first saw the Be Our Guest Restaurant concept art!

From the announcement that beer and wine would be served for the first time at a Magic Kingdom restaurant to our most recent Be Our Guest guest review, we’ve explored the Beast’s domain from afar.

Be Our Guest Bridge Entrance

Well, not anymore. I finally was able to dine at the Be Our Guest Restaurant in the New Fantasyland at Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom! And over the course of several meals I (and my various dining companions) ordered everything on the menu. (Well, the adult menu anyway.) I know how important it is to know what you’re getting when you’re planning your dining in Disney World, and I wanted to be thorough with this one for you guys.

After months (and months) of speculation about the decor and menu, stepping inside Be Our Guest Restaurant was truly exciting.

Be Out Guest Restaurant Check-In Area

After dining there several times this weekend, I’m anxious to bring to you my take on the food, beverages, and decor. So, let’s get started…

Atmosphere

Guests begin their experience by checking in at the Bridge entrance — a bit like a Gatekeeper’s area. This is where you make your requests for a dining room if you’d like — the Ballroom or West Wing (the Rose Gallery is usually used only for lunch, though some overflow tables are seated there during dinner currently).

Once you’re checked in, you’ll be given a pager and asked to wait on the bridge. Once your page goes off, head toward the large restaurant entrance to be greeted by the Beast’s servant who will take you to your table!

Be Our Guest Restaurant Entry Doors

Beast's Servant Leads Us To Our Table

Once you’re inside the castle, be sure to peek into the Beast’s Study. It’s the room where lunch guests make their orders, and is located right through the hallway where the Knights are all whispering to one another!

In the study, you might see Beast himself greeting his guests!

This was a surprise for those of us dining at the restaurant the first night of reservations. We’d all been told that Beast would not appear, but at 45 minute intervals throughout the evening he walks through the restaurant (with great fanfare and cheering) and then settles in [Read more…]

Review: Ralph Brennan’s Jazz Kitchen in Disneyland’s Downtown Disney

Come with me as we head to the Big Easy – by way of the Downtown Disney District in Disneyland – and experience the party at Ralph Brennan’s Jazz Kitchen!

View from our Window

Set in the heart of Disneyland’s shopping and entertainment district, the restaurant offers the perfect marriage of “N’awlins” jazz and flavorful Cajun cuisine – the two sensual experiences that put this famous Louisiana city on the map in the first place.

Atmosphere

With a refined decor that is both understated and yet fun at the same time, you will swear that you have been somehow magically transported directly from Anaheim to the heart of the French Quarter. Several dining rooms on two levels of the restaurant surround a vibrant [Read more…]

Best Places to Eat Outside at Disney World and Disneyland

While the heat can sometimes be overbearing, there are plenty of months during the year when dining outside in Orlando and Anaheim can be quite pleasant!

View From Front Patio at Epcot's Rose and Crown Restaurant

Readers and Facebook Friends chimed in on the best places to eat OUTSIDE in Disney World and Disneyland via the Disney Food Blog’s Facebook page. The top votes went to Flame Tree Barbecue, Rose & Crown, and Casey’s Corner at Walt Disney World for their outdoor ambiance. The most suggested outdoor locations at Disneyland were Cafe Orleans, Carnation Cafe, and Hungry Bear!

Walt Disney World

It can get hot in Orlando, but throughout much of the year it can be lovely to dine outside! Here are the restaurants that took the top spots for outdoor dining in Disney World:

Flame Tree Barbecue
The Animal Kingdom’s attention to detail is exemplary, so it’s no surprise that Flame Tree Barbecue was the most mentioned outdoor locale!

The best seats are found near the water overlooking the Discovery River, where a water-side pavilion provides a shady respite. Despite the beauty of this location, Lori W., Heather W., and D.J. R. warned about the “aggressive birds” looking to partake of your counter-service meal.

Your View From the Flame Tree Barbecue

John G. remarked “No seating is better than [Read more…]

What Disney Foods Do YOU Crave?

Well, I’ve been home from Walt Disney World for two weeks now, and I’m already craving some dishes and snacks I know I’m going to have on my next trip (um…Karamell Kuche, anyone?).

So, a while back, I asked over on the Disney Food Blog Facebook Page: What Disney Dish Are You Craving Today? I got some fantastic answers! Let’s take a trip down a delicious road of favorite dishes and menu items in Walt Disney World… (Note: You’ll see some sad news about the Jiko Filet with Mac and Cheese about halfway down the page. I’m just warning you.)

A Few of the Classics…

With all the changes in Disney World’s menus lately, it’s nice to know these favorites have been around for a good long time:

Fried Chicken at 50’s Prime Time Cafe
This classic, simple dish has been on the menu at 50’s Prime Time Cafe in Disney’s Hollywood Studios for ages, and we’re glad it’s not going away!

Fried Chicken at 50's Prime Time Cafe

‘Ohana
Folks wrote about loving the wings appetizer and the dessert — that fabulous Bananas Foster Bread Pudding — at [Read more…]

Review: Disneyland’s Cafe Orleans

All right, all. I have to come clean. After trying many of the Disneyland restaurants — including some of the hoity-toity ‘spensive ones — I have come to the conclusion that Cafe Orleans is my favorite restaurant in the Disneyland Resort.

Atmosphere
Cafe Orleans (known as Creole Cafe until 1972) started out as a counter-service restaurant, but was refurbished into a table-service restaurant in 2006. The decor of the restaurant includes its famous stained-glass, which accents rich color choices and dark-wood walls and tables.

Indoor Seating Area

Famous Stained Glass Details

Indoor Seating Area

Currently, the Princess and the Frog overlay (hopefully temporary) gives the place [Read more…]

RIP Figaro Fries

Well, it’s happened. Sold for so many years at Magic Kingdom’s Pinocchio’s Village Haus, topped expertly with cheese, lettuce, ranch dressing, and tomatoes and desired by many, Figaro Fries lived a good life.

Figaro Fries

It was touch-and-go there at the end. Even after they were discontinued from the menu, Figaro Fries held on, coming back again and again for limited times. However, it seems as though this time, our delicious friends are gone for good.

Now, I know we could take this time to mourn, but instead, let’s be thankful for what we still have. (One thing we’ve learned about Disney restaurants is that they’re always changing; as Pocahontas says — you can’t step in the same river twice (that was her, right?).) So let’s take today to celebrate our crispy, salty, oily, and cheesy cravings for french fries by honoring what we’ve got left!

The Newspaper Chip
Thanks to Rose & Crown and the Yorkshire County Fish Shop, we’re still good to go on the chips-served-in-fake-newsprint!

Rose and Crown Newspaper Chips

Yorkshire County Fish Shop Newspaper Chip

The Waffle Fry
Found at T-Rex in Downtown Disney, the waffle fry offers consolation with seasonings and ideal texture. The surface area means [Read more…]