Today we continue our series of posts, ranking all of the Disney restaurants we’ve eaten at. I’ll turn my attention to table-service restaurants at Disneyland for this post. If you missed our Disneyland counter-service rankings, click here.
These rankings include any restaurant we’ve eaten at in Disneyland, California Adventure, Downtown Disney and the hotels. If you’re familiar with the parks at all then you likely know that there are far more table-service restaurants at Disney World than Disneyland so we don’t have nearly as many restaurants ranked here as the Disney World version of this post.
Before we jump into the rankings, there are a few caveats First of all, as the title tries to state, this post only includes restaurants we’ve eaten at. If one that you love isn’t on the list then please drop us a note in the comments and we’ll be sure to try it on the next trip.
I will try to balance all of the restaurant factors – value, quality of food, atmosphere, etc. To be honest, I rely heavily on the quality of food as opposed to other factors 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!
12. Disney’s PCH Grill (Paradise Pier Hotel)
First of all, only 12 table-service restaurants? Seems a little weak but as I was scrolling through the list there really aren’t 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. Disneyland thrives in counter-service restaurants but there are 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 9 to 8 and then another big jump from 8 to 7. 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.
The restaurant has a lovely atmosphere if you sit out on the patio and watch the Mark Twain River Boat pass by. Unfortunately, the food and the inside of the restaurant doesn’t live up to those lovely settings. Serving American food, the restaurant felt a little bit hit and miss with their items. That said, there do seem to be some promising options and I think you could do worse than this restaurant. The desserts are pretty good!
I’ve gone to Storyteller’s for lunch and enjoyed the experience. The restaurant is quite beautiful with intricate 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.
One of the most charming restaurants in any theme park, don’t let Carnation Café placing in the bottom half of the rankings fool you, this restaurant is quite good. The atmosphere is beautiful, especially if you’re able to sit outside on Main Street in all of its splendor. Carnation Café also offers the best value of any table-service restaurant regardless of whether it’s breakfast, lunch or dinner. Now, the food isn’t quite as upscale or inventive as most of the other places on the list and that’s why it places below the others. With options that are cheaper than a lot of counter-service restaurants, this is a perfect place to go for a great value!
7. Ralph Brennan’s Jazz Kitchen (Downtown Disney)
This New Orleans inspired restaurant is a good amount of fun and the quality of food is easily the best of anywhere we’ve discussed so far on this list. With different Cajun options on the menu, the restaurant has some delicious food and a decent atmosphere. There are cool decorations throughout the restaurant. This ends up seventh on the list due to the top six offering something very unique. The Jazz Kitchen is very good but I’m not sure it’s anything different from what you can find out in the ‘real world’.
6. 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. 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 and Walt Disney World. 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 6 are very good restaurants and ones that I like at least every few trips. Picking between 3, 4, 5 and 6 was a tough choice but Blue Bayou ended up last of those 4 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.
Our newest addition to the list lands in the top 4 thanks to the ambitious and delicious menu. The Lobster Nachos are right up there with the single best items I’ve had at Disneyland and the Potato Skins and Salmon PLT weren’t far behind. Lamplight Lounge has a nice atmosphere, giving guests their fill of Pixar memorabilia. The real star of the atmosphere is sitting alongside the water and staring out across the rest of the park. It’s a gorgeous setting with fantastic food.
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. While guests pay a pretty penny for this restaurant, it is slightly cheaper than Blue Bayou and a wonderful, elegant experience.
Cafe Orleans thrives due to its location, recognizable items, and value. Sitting outside at Café 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 Café Orleans. Entrees are typically around $20 and some of the food is the same as what’s served at Blue Bayou. The one drawback of Café 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 at 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 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! Planning a trip to Disneyland? Check out our Planning Guide to help you get started. 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!
Categories: Restaurant Reviews