Cocina Cucamonga is a counter-service restaurant in California Adventure that serves Mexican food. The dining location was originally in Pacific Wharf which has now transitioned to San Fransokyo Square. Cocina Cucamonga does accept a Magic Key and DVC discount. In this post, we’ll review the restaurant’s atmosphere, cuisine and value.
In recent years, Disney California Adventure’s glorified food court has seen a rise in quality. Lucky Fortune Cookery has some exciting options and Pacific Wharf Cafe (soon to be under a different name) always has a few of the best festival items and everyone loves bread bowls! Cocina Cucamonga, like so many theme park Mexican restaurants, was mid at best. That’s no longer the case!
Sadly, that doesn’t change that this is in a glorified food court. There’s nothing wrong with that per se, it’s just not a super appealing place to sit down and have a meal. The tables are fairly tight in this area and it always seems to be crowded no matter the time of day.
Maybe that’s a point in favor of the validity of having these places in theme parks. No doubt, just having a few restaurants within walking distance so the whole family can get what they want is convenient! Reminds me of those mall days when I would get the questionable Chinese food while my friends kept the Sbarro in business. Then we’d meet in the middle and feast on below average cuisine. Except, it’s better than that.
This is one of the reasons why San Fransokyo Square isn’t a bad idea, even if it’s a slightly boring, and questionable budgetary, one. The area could use some cosmetic changes to make the seating more inviting. All of these restaurants are popular and have good food so making this area look more inviting makes sense. I’m not sure that the footprint of San Fransokyo is big enough to hold more people but that’s a post for another day.
Cocina Cucamonga has an ordering counter (highly recommend mobile ordering here) and then all of the seating is outside. It’s a cat and mouse game of trying to find a somewhat secluded table with shade. There are plenty of umbrellas around but the seating is right on top of each other so you might be best off to just take the first spot you see available. Overall, the atmosphere isn’t very good but it’s passable. There is a stage here during a few of the festivals to add some entertainment and that plusses the area a little.
Moving on to the food, here’s a look at the menu! As you can see, outside of a few side options, it’s all tacos here. Perhaps because of that, all of the options are under $13. That makes Cocina Cucamonga one of the least expensive spots in Disneyland Resort. Years ago the restaurant offered more options than just tacos but since the tighter focus, the quality has really jumped up.
The best of the tacos is the QuesaBirria which consists of Braised Beef and Cheese with Tomatillo Salsa and Consomé. As the Birria craze has reached a fever pitch, there’s no shortage of amazing options in Southern California to find it. Some of those places are exceptional! That Cocina Cucamonga can hold up to those is quite a testament for a restaurant in a theme park. This is one of the best counter-service entrees in the whole resort.
The Braised Beef is juicy and tender while being full of rich flavor. Mix that with the cheese and it would be more than good enough on its own. I really enjoy the Consomé too! If you’re unfamiliar, this is the broth that the beef is braised in. Whether you dip the taco in there or eat it afterwards, this is an excellent augmentation to the meal. At $12.49, this is a pretty good value and in line with the real world. I wish there were 3 tacos, but that’s just because they’re so delicious.
Carne Asada, Al Pastor and Pollo Asado tacos are also offered at Cocina Cucamonga. The Al Pastor tacos, pictured above, are my favorite of the bunch. The pork is juicy, albeit a little salty. Add in some lime and a nice salsa and then these are delicious! I like the Carne Asada tacos too but they are a little more dry than the other options. Between $11 and $12, the prices are decent. It’s a little smaller than some portions at Disneyland Resort but that’s nice at times!
Overall, Cocina Cucamonga has quickly ascended the list of my favorite counter-service restaurants at Disneyland Resort. While the atmosphere is nothing to write home about and will hopefully improve with the cosmetic changes, the food is really tasty and the prices are some of the lowest in both parks. If you like tacos, go here!
Rating – 9/10
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Categories: Restaurant Reviews