River Belle Terrace is a table-service restaurant in Disneyland’s Frontierland. The restaurant serves American comfort food, featuring some nods to southern cooking. River Belle Terrace pays homage to the riverboat and Rivers of America that sits outside of its patio. Magic Key (Annual Pass) and DVC discounts are accepted here. In this post, we’ll review the restaurant’s ambiance, food and value!
River Belle Terrace has the unique distinction of being a restaurant inside of three different lands. While the doors to get inside reside in Frontierland, the backside of the restaurant (the 9th wonder of the world?) is in Adventureland and the corner of River Belle Terrace rests right at the edge of New Orleans Square. To fit in with all of these spots, the facade acts as a transition of sorts. It’s not distinctly part of the wild west but the architecture isn’t far off. The pastel colors on the outside definitely fit in with both New Orleans Square and Adventureland. It’s kind of a restaurant without a home and the atmosphere and theme might suffer a little bit from that.
River Belle Terrace is aware of the best feature though, the name even reflects it. Rivers of America is just across the walkway from the shaded patio of the restaurant. Spending an afternoon or evening on that patio, watching the Mark Twain pass by is an ideal way to eat a meal. The chairs and tables are comfortable enough and there’s plenty of umbrellas to block the sun. Unless there’s a big heatwave, this would be our choice of where to eat your meal. It’s simple and relies on Disneyland charm to get by.
Things get more complicated inside from an atmospheric perspective. There are still nods to the beautiful riverboat and I would love to have one of those paintings in my home at all times. River Belle Terrace also has some unique lighting and lamps that I enjoy. After that, the restaurant feels old which, to be fair, it is.
Being in so many lands, I was curious what the theme would be inside. The decor ultimately settled into a Victorian theme, not all that surprising considering this seems to be a crutch in most theme park design. There are certainly nods to Victorian style in both New Orleans Square and Adventureland so it’s not completely out of place. Still, decorating something that resides in the wild west in this style is interesting. It doesn’t stand out like a sore thumb but there are some questions to be had. Unfortunately, the River Belle Terrace color scheme, wallpaper and other design choices felt a little tired. The inside honestly reminded me of Plaza Inn but less nice.
All this to say, the atmosphere inside isn’t great. There are certainly worse table-service atmospheres at Disneyland Resort and I wouldn’t even describe this as bad. Instead it’s just average and could use some work. Sitting outside really saves the atmosphere, as it’s beautiful and memorable.
Moving on to the food, here’s a look at the menu. The restaurant serves a mix of barbecue and southern food. We tried a good amount of the options so let’s get to it.
This was the Crispy Cornmeal Catfish & Shrimp listed as an appetizer but there’s plenty of food here for an entrée. Putting aside dessert, this was my favorite thing that we tried. The catfish was very tender and juicy and the shrimp had good flavor. The cornmeal batter on the outside had good flavor while staying away from getting too greasy. At $16, this is a decent option as an appetizer to share with others or just have for yourself. I think the price is fair as there was a good amount of fish and shrimp here.
Here’s the Pimento Mac and Cheese which is served with Brisket and an Herb Crumble. This didn’t taste bad by any means, but I didn’t think that the flavor was there. Both the cheese and brisket seemed fairly bland, to the point where I would have liked more seasoning. Having said all of this, I don’t find pimento cheese to be all that flavorful in the first place so maybe this isn’t a surprise. This was definitely more creamy than rich in flavor. At $22, I wouldn’t get this again.
The River Belle’s Chopped Salad is served with chicken and includes a BBQ Ranch Dressing and Black Bean Relish. We thought that the salad dressing was really good and ultimately made the dish. It was a little more zesty than your typical ranch dressing and was deliciously refreshing. There was plenty going on in the salad with the Black Bean Relish and but I’m not sure it made the whole dish that much better. The chicken was good but not great. Still, I enjoyed the salad as a whole although it’s overpriced at $19.
Finally, we got a season item. The Chicken and Brisket Grilled Cheese Sandwich was served with Brisket Grilled Cheese, Hot Chicken and Pickled Pepper Relish. Chances are that you’ll know if you want this simply based on the name alone. I was drawn in by the ridiculousness of it and, in that sense, it did not disappoint. The chicken had some spice to it, as did the relish, but those two components ended up being the highlights of the dish. There was way too much going on here and I knew that going in. It’s very large and just a gut bomb in waiting if you have it all to yourself. I think the brisket didn’t do the dish any favors and wasn’t very good here or on the Mac and Cheese. It’s a very filling meal but I wouldn’t get it again, especially with the hefty $25 price tag. The baked beans, on the other hand, were great and one of the best parts of the meal. They were very sweet, with seemingly quite a bit of brown sugar in them. We also liked the tater tots pretty well!
Moving on to dessert, this is the Pumpkin Spice Monkey Bread. This is also seasonal although Monkey Bread is generally on the menu. The Pumpkin Spice portion of this was a little heavy and overly sweet but we really liked the actual Monkey Bread. I think the original version of this would likely be better. This wasn’t bad but it didn’t have much depth to it and the pumpkin became a little much after while.
Saving the best for last, this was the House-Made Pudding which was chocolate with cookie crumbles on top. I’m a total sucker for pudding in general so I really enjoyed this. The pudding was rich and had great flavor. I’m not sure this was way better than other puddings but I really enjoyed it. At just $7, I think this is a nice addition to the meal.
Overall, the food and atmosphere at River Belle Terrace is a mixed bag. There’s a path to a very pleasant and good meal at River Belle as a few other options looked interesting to me and we liked the fish and salad. But a few options we tried left a lot to be desired, as did the atmosphere inside of the restaurant. The value seems fine and is in line with Carnation Café and Café Orleans, although River Belle Terrace was a step down in quality from those. I’d be curious to go back and try a few different things while sitting on the patio. For now, the restaurant is the worst of the table-service restaurants in Disneyland but still worth considering if everything else is booked.
Overall Rating – 7/10
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Categories: Restaurant Reviews
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