Napa Rose is a table-service restaurant in Disneyland Resort’s Grand Californian Hotel. The restaurant serves Californian fare, with a mix of steak, seafood and modern cuisine. While the restaurant is open for breakfast and dinner, this review will just cover dinner. Napa Rose doesn’t currently offer a DVC and Magic Key (Annual Pass) discount. In this post, we’ll discuss the restaurant’s atmosphere, food and value.
Years had passed since we’d been to Napa Rose. The first time we dined there was one of the best meals I’ve ever had, I wrote this review afterwards, which is a shock to read because I look much younger then and this website was quite a bit worse 7 years ago. That’s not to say it’s some beacon of light to the dark space that is the internet but, hoo boy, figure out how to format and write a little better, past Andrew!
We’d dined at Napa Rose one other time in between and it didn’t quite live up to the spectacular experience of the first visit, although it was still top notch. All of that out of the way, it seemed like it was about time to get back to Disneyland Resort’s most celebrated restaurant. Not to mention, it was our anniversary!
Napa Rose’s atmosphere and aesthetic has remained unchanged over the years, with natural light beaming in through wide windows on the far end of the restaurant. If you are lucky enough to sit over on that side of the restaurant, there are views into California Adventure. I wouldn’t describe those views as particularly interesting, as it’s mainly just the side entrance and greenery but it’s a view nonetheless.
That’s not to say the rest of the restaurant has less to look at. There are murals that invoke California’s famed vineyards adorning the lead up to the ceiling. Curved light fixtures hang down, with green and yellow pastel walls behind them. The kitchen at Napa Rose is open, adding life to the relaxed but elegant atmosphere. The restaurant doesn’t feel like a ‘Disney’ restaurant because there’s no lavish theme. Instead it reminds me of California Grill or Narcoossee’s in Walt Disney World; a classy restaurant with modern flair in an upscale Disney hotel.
I don’t think there’s a huge selling point in Napa Rose’s atmosphere. While I compare the restaurant to those two WDW signature spots, there’s no grand sweeping view of Magic Kingdom or sitting along the water at Napa Rose. The inside is similar to those restaurants and the experience, including the service, is what makes Napa Rose stand out. The hominess of the Grand Californian cascades down into the restaurant, giving it a more relaxed and Californian feel than those east coast counterparts.
That west coast vibe fits in with the food too, as executive chef Andrew Sutton (who also heads Carthay Circle) crafts a wine country inspired menu. There are staples on the menu but it does change often and seasonal offerings are commonplace. Along with the food, the wine list and cocktail menu are extensive and I’d wager a guess that they’re more interesting than you’ll find at any Disney restaurant in the world.
Speaking of, I don’t usually include drinks in these reviews but this one was exceptional. It’s a cocktail called the Nuevo Niche that includes Rum, Honey, Lemon Juice and a few other ingredients. This may be on the sweet side for some but it was one of my favorite cocktails I’ve ever had. I would happily get it again, although there’s so many others to try that it’d be hard to repeat.
We started with Crafted Maple Leaf Duck Trio served with Strawberry-Rhubarb Sauce. This was delectable and plated beautifully. The Strawberry Sauce gave the dish a nice burst to match with the savory Duck. While the other items we ordered were better, this was a wonderful way to start the meal at around $25.
I ordered the Grilled Prime Filet Mignon which, at the time, came with potatoes and a puree. Even just a few weeks later they’ve changed the accompaniments to a Summer Cherry Relish and Grilled Apricot. That sounds incredible and so were the ones that came with mine, as they paired perfectly with the Filet. Cooked to perfection, the steak melted in my mouth and was full of flavor. I’ve had the Filet here a few times and it is one of the best steaks I’ve ever had.
The prices also change often here, this is somewhere in the $55 to $60 range. That’s in line with a well thought of steakhouse and matches the description of a place you go to every now and again for a special occasion. While it’s hard to say anything that costs $60 is a good value, I did feel as if it was worth it.
Melissa ordered the Fish of the Season, in this case it was Halibut, which was served with Roasted Morel Mushroom and Spring Leeks Velvet. Halibut isn’t generally my favorite fish as I don’t think it has a ton of flavor but this wasn’t lacking in that department. The fish was buttery and delicious, paired perfectly with the sides. This came in the $45-$50 range and was exceptional, although I give the Filet the slightest edge.
Finally, we finished with a Warm Cherry Pecan Upside Down Cake that was served with ice cream. They kindly had it match the occasion! The cake was delicious and getting a bit of all the ingredients made for a surprisingly complex bite relative to most desserts. Like the rest of the menu, desserts are changed out routinely but I do recommend getting whatever sounds the best. I have a hard time seeing it being anything besides delicious.
While all of these items are expensive, there wasn’t a single item we tried that didn’t seem worth the money. No, we can’t dine at Napa Rose every month but going here for a special occasion every few years makes for an excellent experience. I’d love to try the chef’s table someday. Some ‘fancy’ restaurants do have you question whether it’s worth the money, I don’t think Napa Rose will ever fall into that category thanks to the quality of food and service.
Overall, I can’t recommend Napa Rose enough. It is one of the best Disney restaurants in the world, thanks to the menu, relaxed atmosphere and exceptional service. If you’re going to splurge a little bit more while at Disneyland, this is the place to do it.
Overall Rating – 10/10
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Categories: Restaurant Reviews