Carnation Cafe is a historic Disneyland spot known for delicious American cuisine!
This spot has been a landmark on Main Street, U.S.A. since 1955, and offers modern versions of classic cafe dishes. We’ve been a big fan of this restaurant for a long time, as it is home to many classic Disneyland dishes including Walt’s Chili. Since Disneyland reopened in April, its restaurants have continued to reopen slowly. Recently, Carnation Cafe reopened and we had to stop by and check it out!
If you are a Disney history buff, you’ll love that this spot has been here since the park opened in 1955! It was originally an ice cream parlor, but later changed into a table service restaurant. Although reservations are highly recommended and can be difficult to snag, we were able to walk in and get a table after talking to a Cast Member at the check-in desk.
Much like the rest of Main Street, U.S.A., Carnation Cafe is full of Americana and early 20th-Century decor! It feels like you’ve stepped back in time.
We were led to our table, which of course had a carnation on it.
There is both indoor and outdoor seating available. Alright, it’s time to eat!
We scanned the QR code at our table to take a look at the menu.
All of the Carnation Café’s classics are back from starters like Walt’s Chili and Fried Pickles…
…two Gourmet Burgers…
…Sandwiches & Entrées like the Braised Short Rib and the Chicken-fried Chicken…
…and desserts like Apple Pie a la Mode and Seasonal Cheesecake.
The kids menu features a Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwich, a Hamburger, Chicken Fried Chicken, and Mac & Cheese.
We started off with a Carnation Café classic, Walt’s Chili! This dish is a Hearty Chili topped with Cheese, Sour Cream, Chives, and a Corn Bread Garnish for $9.
This was your standard beef chili with beans and was really flavorful. The toppings were a nice touch and we enjoyed the corn bread garnish. Walt’s Chili isn’t the best thing you’ll eat here, but if you are huge Walt Disney fan, it’s probably on your bucket list to try.
Next up was the Baked Potato Soup topped with Fried Potato, Bacon, Cheddar, Monterey Jack, Sour Cream, and Chives for $8. The recipe has changed with this dish: it’s chunkier and has more vegetables. It also has a more savory flavor from the bacon cooked into the soup. Another new addition were the chunks of fried potato, which were a nice touch! Although the soup is alright, we do hope it goes back to the original recipe that we know and love.
Our last appetizer was the Fried Pickles, which are Hand-battered Panko Fried Dill Pickles with House Sauce for $8.
Instead of five smaller pieces, it’s four bigger pieces, but our server said they might make the pickle slices thinner in the future. The batter was crisp and stayed on with each bite! If you are a fried pickle fan, you’ll probably enjoy these.
The Braised Short Rib with House-made Mac & Cheese and Seasonal Vegetables, available for $23, was a definite highlight of our meal!
The meat was juicy, flavorful, and fork-tender, and was delicious with the mac and cheese. We weren’t a huge fan of the mac and cheese on its own, but it was good with the short rib. We wished it was cheesier overall!
We also got the Roasted Turkey Club Sandwich for $14. The sandwich is made with Freshly Sliced Turkey, Applewood-smoked Bacon, Vine-ripened Tomatoes, Monterey Jack, Lettuce, Avocado Mayo and Lemon Aïoli on Toasted Sourdough. You get a choice of Fresh Fruit or French Fries as your side. This is a pretty standard turkey club, but it hits the spot if you want a fresh sandwich!
Finally, we finished off the meal with Apple Pie a la Mode with Vanilla Ice Cream and Caramel Sauce for $9! This tasted like a fresh homemade apple pie with just the right amount of cinnamon. The apples were really fresh and there was a huge scoop of ice cream to go with it.
This was a great meal overall, especially if you want to try some classic Disneyland food!
Nosh Or Not
Stop by Carnation Café if…
- You have picky eaters in your party. There are plenty of classic American cuisine options here, so there should be something for just about anyone.
- You are on a budget. Although there are some pricier options like the Braised Short Rib, there are plenty of budget-friendly options for a table service location.
- You are a Disney history buff. There is a LOT of history at this location, so if you want to see classic Disneyland decor and eat iconic Disneyland food, this is a great spot to visit!
Steer clear of Carnation Café if…
- You want something more fancy. This isn’t an upscale dining spot, so if you’re looking for somewhere fancier for a celebration or date night, check out a restaurant like Napa Rose at Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel
- You want something adventurous or different! Adventurous eaters might be a bit bored with the cuisine here since it is full of American classics.
- You want an on-the-go meal. Although our service was quick, it is still a sit down restaurant so it will take longer than a quick service meal would.
Carnation Cafe is a classic Disneyland spot, and for good reason! With filling, delicious food based on American classics, you can find plenty of familiar favorites. Although the food isn’t particularly dazzling or mind-blowing, it certainly gets the job done. With items like Walt’s Chili, Braised Short Rib, and Apple Pie a la Mode, you’ll be able to find a lot of comforting eats at Carnation Cafe! The pricing for this meal is pretty fair, so if you want a cheaper sit down option, this is a good place to try. Stop by if you’re looking for some classic cuisine and a break from a hectic day at Disneyland!
What do you think about Carnation Cafe? Let us know in the comments!