Boardwalk Pizza & Pasta is a counter-service restaurant in Disney California Adventure. Located in Paradise Gardens Park, this casual eatery serves Italian fare including, you guessed it, pizza and pasta. Boardwalk Pizza & Pasta does offer a Magic Key (annual pass) and DVC discount. This review will cover the restaurant’s atmosphere, cuisine and value.
Like a number of restaurants at Disneyland Resort, Boardwalk Pizza & Pasta took a while to reopen after the COVID closure. Some of that was due to staffing issues while there also wasn’t a need for certain restaurants, as capacity was reduced. Boardwalk’s location wasn’t doing it any favors as it’s kind of lost in no man’s land in DCA. From the entrance of the park, this would be the farthest restaurant away in terms of walking distance. It’s also in between the Golden Zephyr and Silly Symphony Swings which aren’t exactly the who’s who of attractions. In other words, there’s not a lot of foot traffic over there.
For that reason, I’d never been in Boardwalk Pizza & Pasta even before the closure. The outside of the building blends in with the rest of Paradise Gardens Park, a park land that continuously surprises me. Why does it surprise me? Not because it’s some groundbreaking land or utterly terrible. Simply because I forget that it exists even though I’m inside of California Adventure weekly. It’s the land that isn’t spoken of. We have the standout lands in DCA. Heck, we even have Pacific Wharf and Hollywood Land but Paradise Gardens Park? For those unaware, this land stretches from the Little Mermaid attraction to the swings and is mostly nondescript. That means that the outside of the building is mostly forgettable. What’s inside is surprising though.
Boardwalk Pizza & Pasta doesn’t have indoor seating but the ordering bays and lighting are pretty inside. It’s a spacious area with three separate places to pick up your food, divided into pasta, pizza and salad sections. Maybe it’s the lack of foot traffic that keeps it so clean and calm. The architecture is mostly modern, with chandeliers and strips of lighting across the ceiling beams. The restaurant is organized and aesthetically pleasing, almost to a shocking degree compared to other counter-service places in California Adventure.
All of the seating is outside and that doesn’t live up to the inside. It’s not a bad place to sit, with live music often being played at the nearby stage. There’s also plenty of shade to go around. It’s a bit cramped, especially on a crowded day, but it’s not a bad place to have a meal. It’s just a word that we keep coming back to, nondescript. Much of California Adventure’s counter-service options are lacking in atmosphere, aside from Flo’s, so this isn’t a reason to knock it if you’re looking for a place to eat.
Moving on to the food, let’s take a look at the menu! One of the brightest spots of the menu is that there isn’t anything over $12 unless you order a whole pizza, which will serve 4-6 people. That is a very affordable menu and increasingly rare in any theme park, not just Disneyland. As I already mentioned, there are pastas, pizzas and salads. We haven’t made it to the salads yet but they did look pretty tasty when walking by. Then again, it’s hard to pick a salad when there’s pizza and pasta around.
This is the current specialty at Boardwalk, a Shrimp Scampi Pizza. I’m hoping that it transcends the specialty title and becomes a mainstay because it is absolutely delicious. The creamy base mixed in with shrimp makes for a great flavor. For being a Disney counter-service pizza, the crust is well made. There are a few other ingredients mixed in here but they aren’t as noticeable as the shrimp and sauce. If you like seafood, you will like this even if you’re unsure of seafood pizza. At $8.99 the price is a little steep but this is filling for just being a single slice. We recommend it, as it’s the best pizza in either park at Disneyland Resort. Admittedly, that’s not saying much but this is delicious and our favorite item at Boardwalk Pizza & Pasta.
Moving on to the pastas, this is the Five Cheese Ravioli served with Pesto Sauce and Toasted Pine Nuts. We enjoyed this, finding it filling and flavorful. They go a little heavy on the pesto here and that is the predominant taste. I think a little more of the tomato relish would lighten up the dish some but the flavors mixed well with the balsamic glaze and pesto all complimenting the cheesy ravioli. It’s not going to blow you away but it’s a solid and steady dish. At $10.99, this is a pretty good value for a filling meal.
We’ve also tried the Chicken Sun-dried Tomato Pesto. This consisted of Campanelle Pasta tossed with Sun-dried Tomato Pesto Cream. Of the three dishes we’ve tried this was easily the least favorite as there wasn’t enough differential in texture and the chicken was disappointing. That said, it was a decent dish and I liked the Sun-dried Tomato mixed with the Campanelle Pasta. I just thought the others were better. At $11.99, this is the most expensive thing on the menu and we wouldn’t recommend it even though it’s not a terrible value for what you get.
Here’s the Italian Chef Salad which comes with Salami, Capocollo, fresh Mozzarella, Pepperoncini, Roasted Red Peppers, Marinated Olives, Cucumbers, Tomatoes and fresh Greens with a Red Wine Vinaigrette. There’s a lot going on here! If you’re someone who wants salad but also needs a little more fuel for going around the parks, this is a good option. The additional ingredients provided some oomph to the greens and everything tasted fresh. As far as counter-service salads go, this is one of my favorites at Disneyland Resort. It comes in at $10.49, which is a reasonable price for this dish.
Finally, we had the breadsticks and they tasted like standard Disney breadsticks. They were soft and warm so points there. For $5, it’s a nice little addition to a pasta dish but you could spend that $5 elsewhere for a better value.
Overall, I came away pleasantly surprised by Boardwalk Pizza & Pasta. The food was good and more ambitious than the run of the mill offerings when it comes to pizza and pasta. From the ordering experience to the actual food, the whole meal was enjoyable. The outdoor seating isn’t anything to write home about but the rest of the experience exceeded expectations and ends up putting the counter-service spot among the best in California Adventure.
Overall Rating – 8.5/10
Have you tried Boardwalk Pizza & Pasta? Let us know your thoughts, along with any questions you might have, in the comments! Planning a trip to Disneyland Resort? Check out our Disneyland Trip Planning Guide to help you out. If you enjoy what you are reading here on Wandering in Disney please share this post with your friends and like our social media pages. You can also subscribe to the blog via WordPress or email. All of those links are on the right side of this page. Thank you for reading, we really appreciate it!
Categories: Restaurant Reviews