The 100th Anniversary Celebration of The Walt Disney Company kicked off at Disneyland Resort on January 27th, 2023. So it seems only fitting that we talk about some special EATS for a special year.
From Corn Dogs to fine cuisine, and from longtime favorites to brand new bites, let’s dig in to the BEST FOOD in Disneyland Resort for 2023!
Best Snack Items
Corn Dog at The Little Red Wagon
I’m tellin’ ya… there’s not much that beats a Disneyland signature: the HAND-DIPPED Corn Dog.
In Disneyland, you’ll find them at the Little Red Wagon, and in Disney California Adventure, Corn Dog Castle is their home.
Jack-Jack Cookie Num Num at Jack-Jack Cookie Num Nums
Let’s make a Pixar Pier stop at Jack-Jack Cookie Num Nums for the signature Jack-Jack Cookie Num Num!
Served warm (and that makes all the difference), this thick and ooey-gooey classic pairs perfectly, of course, with the milk you’ll also find on the menu at this little snack stand by the Incredicoaster in Disney California Adventure.
SNICKERS Sundae at Clarabelle’s Hand-Scooped Ice Cream
Of the celebratory Disney100 snacks that we’ve tried so far, the SNICKERS Sundae is the one we’ve already come to crave!
The 100th Anniversary offering at Clarabelle’s Hand-Scooped Ice Cream is made with butter-pecan ice cream topped with a chocolate shell, caramel sauce, whipped cream, chopped peanuts, and SNICKERS bar pieces served in a waffle cup. Just excellent!
Salt & Straw
Okay, save a little MORE room for a little MORE ice cream, while you’re at it… because you’ve simply got to try a scoop or two of handmade, small batch ice cream at Salt & Straw!
And fret not… if you’re not in the mood for Turkey Ice Cream or BUG ice cream, there are oodles of other flavors to try, like Salted Malted Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough, Black Olive Brittle & Goat Cheese, and Honey Lavender. (But trust me… don’t knock that Turkey Ice Cream ’til you’ve tried it!)
Beignets at Ralph Brennan’s Jazz Kitchen Express
You should be aware that Ralph Brennan’s Jazz Kitchen is currently undergoing a transformation into the Jazz Kitchen Coastal Grill & Patio, and both the full service restaurant and the Jazz Kitchen Express are offering modified experiences with limited menus at the moment.
Thankfully, the currently limited menu at the Jazz Kitchen Express still features the beloved Beignets, so don’t pass up the chance to grab a nice fresh batch!
Best Items at Quick Service Restaurants
DOLE Whip and Bao Buns at The Tropical Hideaway
We’ve made a lot of fuss over the Specialty DOLE Whips that pop up at The Tropical Hideaway in Adventureland… and with good reason! You can pick your favorite flavor from among the classic Pineapple, Strawberry, or Mango (we’ve also seen Raspberry) or even swirl any two. The Strawberry DOLE Whip Sundae is a new addition — and a total winner!
And the Chile-Mango Whip tops a Pineapple and Mango Swirl with chamoy, mango, and chile-lime seasoning. (Tajin-seasoned DOLE Whip has been a Disneyland fan favorite for years!)
But The Hideaway boasts a unique savory option that has also earned it some bragging rights, and that’s the Bao Bun. Options include the Lime Chicken Bao, Char Siu Bao, and Spiced Vegetable Bao.
Grab an assortment, follow ’em up with your DOLE Whip of choice, and you’ve got yourself a great time in Adventureland, right there.
Ronto Wrap at Ronto Roasters
From our very first visit to Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge when it opened in 2019 in Disneyland, there was a dish that stood out then, and still does now. We’ll always travel to a galaxy far, far away to visit Ronto Roasters for a Ronto Wrap!
“Ronto Meat” (that’s grilled pork sausage to us earthlings) is served up in a pita with roasted pork, slaw, and a tasty peppercorn sauce. And the Ronto Morning Wrap (served during breakfast hours) with grilled pork sausage, scrambled eggs, cheddar cheese, and peppercorn sauce, is just as good.
Choco Smash Candy Bar at Pym Test Kitchen
The Choco Smash Candy Bar is made with dark chocolate, peanuts, caramel, nougat and chocolate brownie. Sounds pretty good, right? But what makes the Choco Smash Candy Bar so special is its “Celestial-Size”!
In keeping with its clever theming inspired by Ant-Man and The Wasp in Avengers Campus, the food shrinks and grows in the Pym Test Kitchen, which adds a HUGE (no pun intended) element of fun to the tasty bites! (We also totally dig the Quantum Pretzel here along with the Not-so-Little Chicken Sandwich.)
Soup in a Bread Bowl and Bread Pudding at Pacific Wharf Cafe
Pacific Wharf Café has made a name for itself with savory soup selections served up in SOURDOUGH BREAD BOWLS, along with smashing seasonal Bread Puddings.
So that’s why we were happy to learn that when Pacific Wharf completes its transformation into San Fransokyo Square this summer, the current Pacific Wharf eateries will still have a home there!
Disney has shared that some new menu items will be arriving in the Big Hero 6-themed area, but we are sure hoping that ultimately, these signature eats at Pacific Wharf Café will stick around.
Best Items at Table Service Restaurants
Plaza Fried Chicken
Plaza. Fried. Chicken. I don’t know if you need me to say much more than that, but allow me to sing the praises of Plaza Inn’s signature dish. Though you’ll find pasta dishes and Pot Roast among the comfort food selections, the Fried Chicken is — and always has been — where it’s at.
I don’t know exactly what’s in those “distinctive herbs and spices” that the Plaza Inn chefs use to season the three golden-fried pieces you receive on your plate (which is also packed with mashed potatoes, seasonal veggies, and a buttermilk biscuit), but I’m guessing pixie dust is one of them, because the juicy chicken covered in the crispy batter is about as good as it gets.
River Belle Terrace
Burnt Ends Grilled Cheese. Loaded Bites (tater tots). Buttermilk Fried Chicken Sandwich. Seasonal Monkey Bread!!!
And now you know why it’s nearly impossible to choose from all of the Southern comfort food — with a twist — at River Belle Terrace. True, this spot has had a few misses, but the good FAR outweighs the not-so-good. And dining within view of the Rivers of America never hurts, either.
New Eats at the New Earl of Sandwich Tavern
Are you an Earl of Sandwich fan? Then you might want to know that you have MORE to love now that the Earl of Sandwich Tavern is open in Downtown Disney!
Now, you can certainly still stop at the quick-service Earl of Sandwich location (currently found at the former spot for La Brea Bakery). But along with sandwiches, the Earl of Sandwich Tavern offers a complete menu of dishes, sides, and salads, AND a full bar!
That Mac-N-Cheese Burger is just one of the items on the expansive menu, and you can see more here.
CrazyShake™ at Black Tap Craft Burgers & Shakes
Save some room — and I do mean some SERIOUS ROOM — for a CrazyShake at Black Tap! Options for these over-the-top concoctions include — but are by no means limited to — Cookies ‘N Cream Supreme, Strawberry Shortcake, The CakeShake, the Bam Bam Shake (with Fruity Pebbles®), the Cotton Candy Shake and MUCH MORE!
You can grab one inside the full Black Tap Craft Burgers and Shakes restaurant or the spot’s dedicated CrazyShake™ Window!
Trader Sam’s Enchanted Tiki Bar
Okay, we’re talking about the best food in Disneyland, right? Weeeellll… Trader Sam’s Enchanted Tiki Bar doesn’t exactly boast the best food. It’s not bad, but it’s not great — at least that was the case on our most recent visit.
But what IS great? The fun and flavorful drinks served up in collectible souvenir tiki glasses in an ENCHANTED atmosphere like no other (complete with super fun Skippers — your servers — and great interactive bar gags), so we simply must include it in a Disneyland Dining Must-Do!
Best Distinctly Disneyland Option
Monte Cristo at Café Orleans
You’ve heard it from us before, and you’ll hear it from us again. It’s simply not a “Best Food in Disneyland” list without the Monte Cristo from Café Orleans! This is a Disneyland MUST-DO, as far as we’re concerned.
A touch of sweet (a dusting of powdered sugar and seasonal preserves on the side) meets LOTS o’ savory (sliced turkey, ham, and Swiss cheese) in this battered and fried sammie. In fact, its official name is the Battered & Fried Monte Cristo, leaving no doubt as to what’s in store. Pair it with the included side of Pommes Frites, and it’s pretty much the perfect meal.
P.S. You can get the Monte Cristo at Blue Bayou Restaurant, too (but alas, it’s served with a market fruit salad there, so we always recommend picking it up at Café Orleans to get those fries along with it!)
Best Distinctly Disney California Adventure Option
Lobster Nachos at Lamplight Lounge
When Disney’s California Adventure’s Paradise Pier was transformed into Pixar Pier, a beloved dish from what was once the Cove Bar made it onto the menu at what is now Lamplight Lounge: the Lobster Nachos. We’re talking about a huge pile of warm lobster with black beans, aged cheddar-Oaxaca cheese sauce, a shredded cheese blend, pico de gallo, sliced Serrano Chiles and chipotle crema. BAM!
And great news! You can order the Lobster Nachos whether you dine downstairs at Lamplight Lounge (which is where you’ll be seated if you make an Advance Dining Reservation) or if you choose the alfresco Boardwalk Dining experience for walk-up guests!
Still to Come in 2023
Though we can’t yet deliver a verdict on whether these upcoming eateries will land on a future “Best Of” list, we’ve certainly got high hopes for some spots on the way this year, and we think they will very likely be must-dos in 2023! Especially the first on the list…
We can hardly wait for the NEW Tiana’s Palace to open in Disneyland’s New Orleans Square this year!
Disney has shared that the restaurant will serve “authentic New Orleans flavors inspired by Tiana’s friends and adventures in this quick-service style restaurant.” And we already know it will be a must-visit, since the beloved Mickey Beignets will be served at the Mint Julep Bar which will reopen as part of Tiana’s Palace!
P.S. Get your Mickey Beignets at Royal Street Veranda in the meantime!
Good Boy Grocers
It’s rare that we would ever put a grab-and-go spot on any “Best Of” list. Not that I have any problem at all with Cuties mandarins, grapes, Babybel snack cheese, pickles, and the like. But these are all things you can pick up pretty much anywhere, including your own local grocery store.
But can you pick them up in something called a “Perfect Picnic Basket” complete with a MICKEY GLOVE HAND THING?
Nope. And THAT’S why Good Boy! Grocers, which opens in the reimagined Mickey’s Toontown on March 19th, has made our list!
Our curiosity is also piqued by the Cheesy Pizza Flop-Over and Pepperoni Pizza Flop-Over coming to Café Daisy, also opening in Toontown on March 19th. These are essentially pizzas with mozzarella, provolone, and tomato sauce (and pepperoni) in a fold-over style. And I’ll gladly take one of each for research purposes.
And we’re ready to try Daisy’s Dressed-up Dog — an all-beef foot-long hot dog, chili-cheese sauce, mac & cheese, and parmesan potato crispies with house-made chips and Daisy’s Goody-Goody Donuts with cinnamon sugar.
Bring it on, Toontown!
Port of San Fransokyo Cervecería
We’re also looking forward to checking out the Port of San Fransokyo Cervecería when it opens along with San Fransokyo Square in Disney California Adventure this summer.
You can read everything we know about it so far here!
“But DFB,” you may be thinking… “What about other new restaurants on the way, like Din Tai Fung, Porto’s Bakery and Cafe, and Paseo and Centrico?” Well, the thing is, those upcoming eateries do not have an announced opening timeline, so we aren’t including them on our 2023 list. But you can click on any of those restaurant links to learn more about these locations!
Okay, we’ve got one more for you… again, remember when I mentioned fine dining in Disneyland earlier? Well, check out this video from our DFBGuide YouTube Channel to learn about a certain $15,000 MEAL in Disneyland!
Click HERE to find our BEST DISNEYLAND SNACKS for 2023!
So, that’s our list of the BEST FOOD in Disneyland in 2023! Which items are going on YOUR list to try?
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