Disneyland might not be open yet (and we miss it dearly), but Downtown Disney has still been one of our favorite date night or family getaway spots recently. As restaurants have continued to open in the shopping and dining district, table-service locations have been modifying their experiences with limited capacity, seating, and menus. BUT, they’re just as great as we remember them to be!
Downtown Disney dining has been exclusively offering outdoor seating for guests to relax and enjoy their meals in the nice California weather. For a while, select restaurants started to reintroduce indoor dining again (with limited capacity) once California law permitted it, but they’ve since been pushed back to only outdoor dining, as the county Disneyland resides in has moved to the strictest tier of the state’s Coronavirus protocols.
Since we’ve been back in the district, we’ve already kicked back with a few drinks over at Ballast Point Brewing Co., and snacked on a cupcake or two at Sprinkles. We even explored all that the newly reopened Buena Vista Street in Disney’s California Adventure had to offer, including al fresco dining at Carthay Circle Lounge. But, there’s nothing like an evening with great Mexican food and even better company (oh, and LOTS of chips and salsa).
So we’re heading to Tortilla Jo’s in Downtown Disney — those refried beans and enchiladas have been calling our name!
Check-in Process and Seating
When guests first arrive to indulge in all that Mexican food, the outdoor dining area is sectioned off to people walking past or lining up to check-in.
Many Disney World restaurants are currently using the Mobile Dine Check-in feature, but as for anybody visiting Tortilla Jo’s or other sit-down dining locations in Disneyland, they will wait in a socially distanced line before reaching the hostess counter to check-in.
A hand sanitizing station is available for guests to use, and masks are required at the restaurant, as they are around the rest of Downtown Disney. The hostess will confirm your reservation before you’re taken to your table.
We were led to our table out on the restaurant’s patio area. Again, note that, at this time, dining is limited to outdoors only in California due to Orange County entering the most restrictive tier of state restrictions. This could change to allow indoor dining (Tortilla Jo’s DID allow it dining indoors until this changed recently) once Orange County moves to a higher tier.
Seating is distanced so guests are kept apart from one another while they’re dining. The Cast Members are required to wear masks at all times, but guests are able to take them off when they are seated at their table and eating or drinking here.
For those of you who haven’t yet had the pleasure of visiting Tortilla Jo’s, here is what the inside typically looks like (pre-social distancing requirements). It features some really great Mexican-vibe decor, including this mural!
Seated at our outside table, it was time to take a look at what’s on the menu!
The tables each have stickers that have a contactless menu QR code that features the restaurant’s slightly reduced options.
As you can see, while the menu is still technically “limited” during the phased reopening of Disney, there’s still a TON to choose from at Tortilla Jo’s! In fact, for someone who hasn’t been here before, you’d probably have no idea that it’s missing some of its usual dishes.
Note that the stellar “made to your liking” Guacamole IS still available, but it’s just not prepared tableside due to health and safety measures. Your server will ask how spicy and what options you’d like added and it will be prepared in the kitchen. Tortilla Jo’s fresh made guac is downright delightful and, while the very customizable tableside presentation was nice, we’re still glad to see it’s available. If you’ve never tried it, it’s well worth the $16 price tag.
Like most Mexican restaurants, Tortilla Jo’s offers a combination plate for guests who can’t decide on just ONE thing off of the menu (definitely us). Here, you can pick 2 items for $21, or 3 items for $26. Our combo of Mexican cuisine included a Crispy Taco and Chicken Enchiladas along with Mexican Rice and Refried Beans.
The chicken inside the enchiladas had great seasoning, but we were ALL about that salsa verde on top! The sauce added a kick of bright, fresh flavor to the somewhat simple flavors in the enchilada. The Crispy Taco had a fresh-fried corn tortilla filled with ground beef (you can also order shredded chicken) — no pre-packaged boxed tortillas here! The crispy shell combined with the Cotija cheese and pico de gallo on the inside really hit the spot.
Next up on our trio of dishes, the Tacos de Carne Asada was a HIT for us. The grilled steak cooked with adobo sauce and an onion-cilantro mix had a crazy amount of flavor that came through with every bite. They’re very simple and straightforward, but taste great. And, as always, the refried beans and rice on the side are a plus for us! This dish is offered for $21 and is worth every penny!
Last, but certainly not least, we weren’t expecting to get such a HUGE amount of food with the Shredded Chicken Burrito ($21). On the side, it comes with Mexican rice, extra pico de gallo, and sour cream. But, with that big of a portion, you might need to share it with one of your friends or family members! It barely fits on the plate and it’s almost the size of a football! 😂
The burrito is packed with refried beans, Monterey jack cheese, and salsa rojo, along with all that tender chicken. Anybody else here already OBSESSED after looking at how much melted cheese is inside that burrito?!
Not surprisingly, this was a monster of a meal. We could have easily split this with two people.
And, with all of those delicious meals, we left Tortilla Jo’s more than happy (and very, very full) to pop over to the World of Disney… and we maybe even saved room for dessert at Black Tap. 😉
Nosh or Not
Consider dining at Tortilla Jo’s if:
- You’re REALLY craving Mexican food! Although there are plenty of great restaurants in Downtown Disney, Tortilla Jo’s is the only spot where you can be at an actual specified Mexican restaurant in the district.
- You enjoy fresh ingredients in your meals! Tortilla Jo’s uses quality meat and produce in its dishes, which means that you can expect plenty of fresh flavor when you’re dining there.
- You’re game for unlimited chips and salsa (which are BOMB), since Tortilla Jo’s brings the complimentary appetizer to your table for free (and will keep refilling them as needed!).
You may want to skip Tortilla Jo’s if:
- You’re looking for an inexpensive date night or family outing! Tortilla Jo’s can get pretty pricey for Mexican food, especially when you’re looking at the cost of other Mexican joints outside of Downtown Disney. While $21 for many of their plates seems a tad steep, it’s important to remember that the meals are all cooked using high-quality ingredients (that might make it worth the cost for you).
- You want more bang for your buck when it comes to food! If you’re looking for a bigger meal for a fraction of the cost, Tortilla Jo’s may not be your first choice. For the amount you’re paying, the portions of the meals could be bigger (with the exception of that Shredded Chicken Burrito!). However, there’s still the unlimited chips and salsa that you could easily fill up on while you’re there, too!
- You’re looking for more unique dining. You can get Mexican food just about anywhere you live, so if you’re looking for something you’ll only find at Disneyland, consider heading to Buena Vista Street to dine at Carthay Circle Lounge.
Though it can be pricey for Mexican food, Tortilla Jo’s has been one of the most reliable places to dine whenever we’re in Downtown Disney. The eats in Downtown Disney tend to skew more towards fast-food type options or smaller bites so if you’re looking for a solid, hearty meal, Tortilla Jo’s will do nicely (especially with limited options in Downtown Disney right now!).
At the end of the day, it is basically the same grub you’d find at your local Mexican joint but prepared fresh with quality ingredients. So if you’re looking for truly unique eats, this might not be the spot for you. You’re going to find all your basic Mexican staples like enchiladas, fajitas, burritos, and more. That said, everything we ordered still tasted great! It was all fresh and flavorful, so no complaints here!
However, most of the plates from Tortilla Jo’s are over $20, so the eats here don’t come cheap! If you’re looking to dine in the district on a budget, some of the other restaurants around Downtown Disney might be a better choice. Regardless of the price tag, we still think that Tortilla Jo’s is one of best restaurants in Downtown Disney to have a reliable meal, high-quality ingredients, and a relaxing time.
Take a look at the new Disneyland Walkway and Park Reservation signs we spotted near Downtown Disney!
What has your dining experience been like back in Downtown Disney? Let us know in the comments below!