Today, we are headed back to one of the most interesting dining experiences in all of Disneyland — Blue Bayou!
This historic spot has been wooing Disneyland guests with its odd mixture of mysterious New Orleans charm and marauding pirate adventure ever since it first opened in 1967. Where does the fusion come from? Well, it’s a little strange. The restaurant is in New Orleans Square, but it’s situated at the beginning of the Pirates of the Caribbean ride path…so it’s kind of a mash-up. 😉
We took in dinner at the Bayou a while back, and I was much more interested in the atmosphere than the food. In fact, the meals sort of reminded me of conference food (if you’ve ever been to a catered conference for hundreds of people, you know what I mean).
But, as we all know, one of Blue Bayou’s biggest claims to fame is that outrageous Monte Cristo Sandwich, which is only available for lunch. And so, that’s the meal that we made our advance dining reservation for this time.
Let’s head in!
As I mentioned, you’ll enter Blue Bayou from New Orleans Square. You’ll be glad for the break from the busy activity of the narrow streets you’ve left behind.
If you’ve done any research at all before your trip to Disneyland, then you already know that, among other must haves, the Monte Cristo Sandwich here rates high on the food requirement list when you visit the Park That Started It All.
After checking in at the window in the front of the restaurant, you’ll wait for your buzzer to buzz in a tiny lobby. Once your name is called, you’re headed…right back outside it seems! But this time, you’ve been transported to a Louisiana bayou, and night has fallen. Give your eyes a little time to adjust from that bright California sunshine, and then have a look around.
Behind you, you’ll see a two-story building built in the finest tradition of The Big Easy.
You’ll be seated on the patio of this building, beneath paper lanterns and a thick canopy of live oaks dripping with Spanish moss.
And while there are wonderful details all around that immerse you in the bayou theme, here’s where I make my seating TIP: when you first arrive and check in, be sure to request a table by the water. They are the best seats in the house, in my opinion.
And why is that? Because not only are you furthest away from the lobby and kitchen in this area (and being seated by the kitchen can and does ruin the ambiance), but you also have a fantastic view of the bayou — as well as adventurers sailing off to partake in a little pirate-y fun!
Besides giving you a glimpse of the Pirate boats, these seats also get you closer to the water and the bayou that lends the restaurant its name. Just take in the detail of the ornate lamps and the cypress tree. Incredible!
Really — the lighting is perfect. Certainly lives up to the name, yes? And I love the little boat and shanty.
Even with “street” lamps, paper lanterns, and quaint little table lamps it is still seriously dark in here. Like, hard-to-read-your-menu dark.
Be forewarned and bring a little light to help out if you have a hard time reading in low light situations.
Seated at our perfectly situated, waterside table, it was time to take a look at the menu. Again, apologies for the crazy, crazy light!
The first thing that you’re likely to notice about the menu is that it is rather small. The second is that it’s pretty pricey. Included with each entree is your choice of either the Blue Bayou House Salad or the New Orleans Gumbo. More about those in a minute.
There are also a couple of fun “mocktails” available — since, as we all know, Disneyland is a “dry” park. (Well, with the exception of Club 33, anyway.) While I’m not a big fan of the Mint Julep, I’m game for anything with the word “lemonade” in it! And so it was a Louisiana Lemonade for me!
Now, besides being fruity and delicious, with the lemon flavor offsetting the sweet Mango and Raspberry, it was also seriously fun with the addition of a glow cube. These are not as prevalent in Disneyland as they are in Disney World, so it was fun to find this one here.
Soon we made our selections, and our server brought our complimentary Bread Service. On our previous visit, the bread basket only consisted of Sourdough Rolls. But I was happy to see a new addition to the mix, Sweet Potato Biscuits.
They looked a bit like scones, and were quite good, especially when spread with a little butter.
My husband opted to start with the Blue Bayou House Salad. It’s a really beautiful dish, topped with a Candied Pecan garnish and served with Lavash. The dressing is a light and flavorful Vinaigrette.
But there was no way I was passing up the New Orleans Signature Gumbo. It’s one of my favorites!
Rich and thick with exactly the right amount of kick, I get this signature soup every single chance I get, whether I’m at Blue Bayou or Cafe Orleans. And it was just as good as ever.
Soon, we were ready to dig into our entrees. I know you saw this coming from a mile away, but I went with the Monte Cristo Sandwich.
Let’s just pause a second to take it all in.
First off, we’ve gotta discuss this Fruit Skewer. A new addition since the menu refresh earlier this year, it’s very pretty, but it’s not the same as previous sides with this sammy. I know — it’s hard to even finish the sandwich, so why am I complaining, right?
The sandwich itself is still a sublime combination of Turkey, Ham, and Cheese, egg-battered and deep-fried. Served with a trio of Dipping Sauces, it just doesn’t get any better than this.
My husband decided to go with the Slow Roasted Beef Strip Loin. The steak came with a side of Au Gratin Potatoes (which were ah-mazing!!) and a garnish of French-Fried Onions. This was fine; but nothing special. It was the side dish that carried the entree.
We also snagged an extra side on the menu. The Boursin Cheese Mashed Potatoes are actually served with the Buccaneer’s Boneless Beef Short Ribs. I really wanted these to be awesome, but they were pretty much just standard mash. Nothing special here.
I easily would have gone for extra of those au gratin potatoes that my husband got. Those were well worth ordering an extra side.
You might think that my sandwich curbed my desire for dessert. But I have a responsibility to show you the goods! And besides, there were some great options.
I opted for the Key Lime Tart. This felt mass produced and didn’t have the tartness I was hoping for.
We also tried the Chocolate Cake. To begin, I thought it was a really pretty dessert. The crisp, caramelized sweetness of the Lace Cookie contrasted nicely with the Ice Cream and Whipped Cream.
But the real showstopper here was the inside of that cake. Once we got a fork into it, we could see this amazing filling, which was like a cross between Hot Fudge and Ganache. This was quite good.
So, I feel just about the same about Blue Bayou after this visit as I did after the previous one. The atmosphere is fun — and the waterside table is definitely a MUST — but the food just doesn’t do it for me. I’d much rather head across the street to Cafe Orleans and have the monte cristo there…along with their stellar pommes frites and Mickey beignets with dipping sauces. A better meal, and cheaper, too!
I know that a lot of you love Blue Bayou, so I can’t wait to hear your thoughts and experiences!
Is Blue Bayou a must-do for you? Leave a comment and tell us if it’s on your to-do list!
I feel exactly the same way! The hubby and I were just in Disneyland, and we had planned to go to the Blue Bayou. However, after taking a look at the menu, we just couldn’t justify the prices…as much as we wanted that gorgeous atmosphere.
I love Blue Bayou! I went there with my Uncle just after Memorial Day and were really lucky to get in without an ADR (and a very short wait too!). The gumbo is delicious. Actually, everything I had there was delicious. Best part was not warning my Uncle that Disneyland was a dry park and he wouldn’t be able to get his usual beer with lunch.
Dan Heaton says
Wow. $30+ for a lunch entree is pretty crazy, even with the atmosphere. That said, it would be hard for me to skip it and take a shot at least once. It does look like you get a lot of food, so that’s a good start at least. I can’t imagine what the dinner prices are, though.
I totally agree with you about the food. While I like the salad and gumbo (though a little too spicy for me), the entrees are always just average. However Blue Bayou will always hold a special place in my heart, it’s where my husband proposed 🙂 The restaurant went out of their way to seat us early AND waterside and brought my ring out on a place of roses and lilies. Of course due to the low lightening, I couldn’t even see my ring!
TV Watcher says
I really want the Blue Bayou to be good or at least get better, but the food really is really nothing special. Especially given the prices. I was hopeful when I heard they were revamping the menu but alas the food quality didn’t seem to improve. I’ve given the Blue Bayou another chance every year or two and am always disappointed.
I love the Blue Bayou for its ambiance and Air Conditioning – especially on a hot day or after hours of walking around the park! We always share the gumbo and jumbalaya which I think are fantastic. Along with the bread, it’s enough for two. I agree that snacks, sundaes and desserts are better and easier at other eateries around the park. But for $32 for two + tip and any drinks you might get, it’s well worth the experience and ability to “escape” from a theme park – especially Disneyland (where we don’t have as many full-service dining options like other Disney resorts =o)
We had a terrible experience there last trip. We all ordered Monte Cristo’s, the food was over an hour arriving ( it was first seating they were not that busy) when it arrived they were cold and swimming in grease. It was like biting into a vat of grease. We all were sick after as the grease was old that were using. The Monte Christo’s were like biting into rubber. Although you pay for the atmosphere and it is amazing, the food is horrible and we will never go back. And to think for that slop we paid top dollar, almost 80 for lunch for 4. Awful.
Cheryl Donofrio says
My husband and I went there several years ago, because of the rave reviews in the guide books and the various Disney boards. Why do people think a place is automatically romantic just because it’s dark? In this case, it’s dark and noisy. Not my idea of romantic! My husband couldn’t see the menu, so he just ordered the same thing I did – the Monte Cristo, which came with a black raspberry dipping sauce, if I remember correctly. It wasn’t as big, and definately wasn’t that expensive. I don’t remember my jaw dropping at the prices. But honestly, it wasn’t my favorite restaurant in Disneyland, and at the current prices, I wouldn’t bother to go back. I’d take your cue, and go across the street.
Wow, I can’t believe I’d ever pay $25.99 for a Monti Cristo sandwich, but at least you got soup or salad and bread with it. That said, I do like these sandwiches and to have one every so many years as a special treat is wonderful, but they’re very hard to find. The restaurant near my home that had them (for about $12 – $14.00) had excellent ones, but the place closed down. 🙁 It’s hard to find them and when you do, not all places make them correctly. If I ever get out West to the DLR, I would certainly like to get one at the Cafe Orleans. Do they serve the black raspberry jam with it? Thanks for a nice report.
Vickie Backus says
When we were there for the 50th Aniversary the food was excellent but it has really declined in quality since then. It has gone from a “must do” to “optional” on our trip plans. Too bad because the location is a 10. Hopefully Disneyland gets the message and give the Bayou some love once the Club 33 Renovations are done.
Was there on Halloween for lunch with a table dead center on the water. They moved the surf & turf to lunch as a special because of MHP and it was amazing. My mom had the short ribs, but would have been just as happy to go back to the Plaza Inn for the pasta!
I hadn’t been in three years and with so many choices…it may be three years again. However, service was wonderful and as we were celebrating my mom being one year cancer free…worth paying for atmosphere. My mom waved at every boat that went by!
My partner and I ate at the Blue Bayou three times (one dinner and two lunches) during our most recent trip to Disneyland in October 2013. We love this restaurant due to the immersive, but not cheesy, theming. The atmosphere at this restaurant makes it a truly unique dining experience and a must do for us on every trip we make to Disneyland. This year we noted the option to upgrade your starter to a zesty Shrimp Cocktail. It was indeed zesty and a refreshing start to the meal. If you love the New Orleans Signature Gumbo like I do, they will still bring it out to you if you ask for it when you order the Shrimp Cocktail upgrade. Sometimes the sides (Au Gratin Potatoes) steal the show from the proteins, but the quality of the food is solid. Overall the Blue Bayou experience is definitely worth the effort to make an ADR and request a table by the water. It’s expensive, but the Blue Bayou is located inside Disneyland so the expense is to be expected.
If I’m just after a Gumbo and Monte Cristo sandwich I’ll head straight over to Cafe Orleans. I love the Bayou but you often have to wait ages for a table even after making advance dining reservations. And because the restaurant is popular I always feel I’m being rushed and the interaction with your server isn’t what its like at other Disney Restaurants where the server will make the effort to engage in conversation to find out where your from and the recomendations.
Does anyone know the recipe for the house salad recipe at the Blue Bayou? I love it, and haven’t been able to find it anywhere. Thanks for the help.
If we make reservations for around 3:00 pm (when they’re not busy), would they mind us just going for dessert?
Erin — You can absolutely just go for dessert!
Hold up- is that dragon fruit on the fruit skewer with the monte cristo?!
Anyway, their dinner has never disappointed me. Tesoro Island chicken breast is great, Filet mignon is awesome, and the vanilla creme brulee…omg! I can’t wait to go back for my anniversary!
Blue Bayou New Orleans Square says
The atmosphere is so classic that it would be hard to skip…but your rating of the food is spot on. When you have so many other choices such as the Carthay Circle restaurant, Catal, or Napa Rose…there is no reason to have bad food.
I went to the Blue Bayou in September – realising it was an actual restaurant whilst on the Pirates of the Caribbean ride was really great advertising.
My main – a pork chop on mash – was pretty ho-hum (especially for the price). But the house salad was delicious. I don’t usually eat my salad, but I ate the whole damn thing (then proceeded to have a stomach ache from eating far too much).
I think my salad looked a tiny bit different to yours though. Mine had the lettuce/spinach stuff, red onions, yellow capsicum (peppers) in pasta-like strips, blue cheese, walnuts, cranberries or raisins, and their signature dressing.
I know the menu looks a little short, but I feel like short menus are pretty standard for Disneyland eateries. I mean, the Golden Horseshoe (or maybe the concession stand?) has like 2 carnival-type options on their printed menu, then 2-3 more scattered on various “specials” boards.
Jo Jo says
Just finished a late lunch at the Bayou. We were more than a liitle disapointed about not getting a table by the water given that I made the reservation 30 days In advance and checked in extra early. However, the Halloween special pork chop did not disappoint this piggie lover. When I requested the recipe, I was told that it would available by email soon. As soon as I receive it, I will share. After a quick change into elastic waist pants, it will be back to the park for our first ever dole whip!
I went here with a mate about 10 years ago, and I felt exactly as this blogger did, the menu didn’t ‘grab’ me. The salad entree, however, left us laughing, as at the time it was just half a lettuce with some of the ‘heart’ leaves scooped out and some other greens and dressing in their place! Left us a bit speechless, really, we had expected so much more than just ‘half a lettuce’ dumped on our plates!
Took my daughter here the day after Thanksgiving for her 11th birthday. I made reservations about a month in advance (for 12:30 lunch). Checked in 10 minutes early & asked for a table by the water. They said the extra wait would be about 30 minutes but we really only had to wait until 5 minutes after our reservation time. My daughter wasn’t fond of the adult menu so they let her order off of the kids menu (it stats 9 & under). I ordered the Monte Cristo & I thought it was a little sweet for me. My daughter however loved it & ate more of that than her mac n’ cheese. She loved sitting by the water & our waitress was super sweet & attentive. The food isn’t amazing but the experience is. They even brought out a special birthday desert, which made her day. I don’t know what it was but it was pure chocolate kind of a cake/brownie thing with chocolate frosting & shaped like a Mickey head. I was AMAZING! Now she wants to go back every time. We’ll definitely do it again & try something else on the menu. It was totally worth our time & money.
Heather rodwell says
I just want to say that I agree! The atmosphere makes this place. It holds a special place in my heart, as I used to stare at the people eating while I was on the ride growing up. Year after year I would wish we could eat there. Now as an adult, I can’t help but take the kids there each time we visit the park. The only thing that saddens me is the service. I have encountered rude, subpar service here. I, giving it another go next week, crossing my fingers for a more pleasant experience.
Mark Atkinson says
This is the most wonderful restaurant of any Disney park, and that’s saying something. Monte Cristo, Mint Julep, braised short ribs, water side table…
you forgot to mention the bathrooms are nicest of the entire park.
I love blue bayou. Go every visit. The new light up menus are awesome and they accomadte to splitting the monte cristo amazing. 4 seperate plates and 3 dipping sauces!! No extra charge. I have never had bad service and last time only waited 5 minutes for a water view!! I think they really stepped it up during the 60th
Have never had a bad experience with Disney until dining at Blue Bayou. We did the preferred seating package with Fantasmic with our dinner reservation. My son and I sent our food back with 1 bite taken off of each and the waiter never enquired as to whether anything was wrong with our food. My husband did enjoy his dinner. We were given seat cushions at the end of dinner to sit on the sidewalk (this is apparently what they call preferred seating). When we arrived home Yahoo had published an article on worst places to dine at Disney of which Blue Bayou was listed, wish I would have seen article prior to visit and $260 dinner tab.
Wilson Cutter says
we had the pleasure of eating here, expensive yes but we had an outstanding service and food. Cool atmosphere too.
Thank you so much for this post! My dad always took us to Disneyland from the the I was 4 years old until I was about 13, let’s just say MANY years ago. Every single time, we ate at the Blue Bayou. I have the best memories of that place. We’d stand in line for hours if we had to, just to be able to sit by the water, hear the screams of the “pirate boats” going over the waterfall in the background and to eat the delicious food. As a rule, I got the Monte Cristo with the beautiful powdered sugar on top. Whenever I order it now, someplace else, I’m always a little let down. It’s just not the same!
Thanks again for the post and the pictures. Loved it!