Recently, I wrote a post ranking the Disney World hotels we’ve stayed in. Much to everyone on planet Earth’s surprise, it was slightly popular. In this day and age, what do popular items always
need get? Sequels! So, we’ll turn this little idea into a series of posts. While there are no more hotels to rank, there are plenty of restaurants to rank and that’s where we will head.
While I always feel a little strange writing about hotel bathrooms, I’ve never had that sensation while writing about food. I like food. I don’t particularly like hotel bathrooms. That’s just one of the differences between the two! Since we started this series in Disney World, we’ll head over to Disneyland this time. That includes Disneyland, California Adventure, Downtown Disney (although we haven’t eaten at any of the table-service) and the resorts. I will also break the restaurants into two types – counter-service and table-service – with this installment being table-service at Disneyland. If you’re familiar with the parks at all then you know that there are far more restaurants at Disney World than Disneyland so this could be a shorter installment.
Before we jump into the ratings, there are a few caveats. First of all, as the title tries to state, we haven’t eaten at all of the restaurants in either resort. If one that you love isn’t in the list then please drop us a note in the comments and we’ll be sure to try it on the next trip.
Just like the hotel post, I will try to balance all of the factors – value, quality of food, atmosphere, etc. To be honest, I rely more heavily on the quality of food than others because table-service restaurants tend to have a similar price range. On that same note, I will include signature and regular table-service restaurants into this post. Let’s get to the rankings!
8. Disney’s PCH Grill (Paradise Pier Hotel)
First of all, only 8 table-service restaurants? Seems a little weak but as I was scrolling through the list there really that many I wish I had gone to. There are a few I’d like to try in Downtown Disney but even those aren’t all that interesting to me. We’ve eaten everywhere in Disneyland and California Adventure outside of River Belle Terrace and the restaurant formerly known as Ariel’s Grotto. Disneyland thrives in counter-service restaurants but there is a lack of table-service options.
As for PCH Grill in Paradise Pier Hotel, we had the character breakfast buffet here. They had a few interesting options including Chilaquiles and a smoothie bar but overall the food wasn’t very exciting. The value isn’t great and the restaurant’s atmosphere feels like a buffet in a hotel, not up to Disney’s standards. The character meets are pretty fun and the food is fine but this is a pretty easy choice for last place. For the record, I think I’ve eaten at ESPN Zone a long time ago and that would be last place but I don’t remember it well enough for that to be fair.
Another easy pick as I think there’s a large jump from 7 to 6 and then another big jump from 6 to 5. The restaurant has a beautiful location, nestled between Cars Land and the pier. Unfortunately, the value and food doesn’t live up to the scenery. Wine Country Trattoria mainly focuses on Italian cuisine. The food was fairly bland and, while the prices were fine, there wasn’t any great value. I likely won’t go here again unless they revamp the menu.
I’ve gone to Storyteller’s for lunch and enjoyed the experience. The restaurant is quite beautiful with elegant with murals and a somewhat rustic look. This is a great place to escape the hubbub of the parks and relax for a while. As for the food, I thought it was good but didn’t find the menu very interesting. I did like some of the healthier alternatives that Storyteller’s offered. If you go, order the wings as an appetizer. You won’t regret it. Breakfast and dinner also look pretty interesting to me.
5. Blue Bayou Restaurant (Disneyland)
I’ll get this out-of-the-way, if this was a ranking of what restaurants Disneyland first-timers should go to then Blue Bayou would be in the top 3 and probably number 1. That’s not what this post is though. Blue Bayou does one thing extraordinarily well and that’s offer the best atmosphere of any restaurant at Disneyland. Eating inside of Pirates of the Caribbean is undoubtedly special and a Disney fan rite of passage. Unfortunately, that’s where my compliments end. The food is good but not great and definitely hit and miss. The value is bordering on terrible. Guests are certainly paying for the experience more than the meal. While that’s unflattering, know that all of my top 5 are very good restaurants and ones that I like at least every few trips. Picking between 3, 4, and 5 was a tough choice but Blue Bayou ended up last of those 3 due to its overpriced menu.
I must admit that we’ve only been to Steakhouse 55 for breakfast but if that’s any indication then the restaurant serves great food at dinner too. As for breakfast, I think it’s the best option on property. The menu is fairly large and diverse with nothing being all that overpriced. The Eggs Benedict are our favorite but the steak and eggs were also delicious. While a classic, sophisticated steakhouse isn’t the most exciting theme, the photos of Walt throughout make the restaurant more interesting. This is another place that’s great to slow down and rest. I also think the value is there for both breakfast and dinner.
Another gorgeous restaurant and special atmosphere with somewhat overpriced food. Carthay Circle rests inside of California Adventure’s park icon and the inside (and outside) of the faux-theatre are beautiful. The restaurant has lovely paintings on the ceiling and extravagant chandeliers. The food was very good and the menu a mix of California and American inspired food. The biscuits are what Carthay Circle is known for but I enjoyed our whole meal just as much as them. While guests pay a pretty penny for this restaurant, it is slightly cheaper than Blue Bayou and a wonderful experience.
Cafe Orleans thrives due to its location, recognizable items, and value. Sitting outside at Cafe Orleans as the sun starts to set is a quintessential Disneyland moment. The Prommes Frites and Mickey Beignets are some of my favorite items to eat at Disneyland. While I find it a bit rich, the Monte Cristo is another fan favorite. On top of that, the value is certainly there at Cafe Orleans. Entrees typically are under $20 and some of the food is the same as what’s served at Blue Bayou. The one drawback of Cafe Orleans is that the entrée selection isn’t all that interesting or diverse. Still, the setting, value and famous menu items get this the top spot for in-park dining.
This isn’t much of a contest, Napa Rose is the best restaurant on Disneyland Resort. I’ll get the two negatives out-of-the-way. One, our first experience was one of the best meals I’ve ever had but the second experience wasn’t as good. Two, this is a very expensive place to eat. Entrees run between $30-$50. With that out-of-the-way, Napa Rose is one of my favorite restaurants in the world. The inside matches that of the beautiful Grand Californian and is bolstered by natural light through large windows. The menu is always interesting and diverse, featuring steak and fish among other options. Desserts are fantastic, as well. To this day, my first meal at Napa Rose is likely my favorite I’ve ever had. As the most upscale restaurant at Disneyland, I’d recommend this to anyone who’s looking for a nicer night out while on vacation (or locals) or to anyone who just likes really good food.
Those are my rankings of Disneyland table-service meals. I’m looking forward to adding to the list over the years. What would you add or change? Let us know in the comments! If you enjoy what you’re reading here on Wandering in Disney please subscribe to the blog and like our Facebook page. You can find both of those on the right side of this page. Thank you for reading, we really appreciate it!