Flo’s V8 Cafe is a counter-service restaurant in Disney California Adventure. Located in Cars Land, Flo’s acts as a centerpiece to the land – the epicenter of neon and where the locals gather. Flo’s serves American food and accepts DVC and Magic Key (Annual Pass) discounts. In this post, we’ll review Flo’s lunch and dinner offerings as well as the atmosphere and value.
While we’ve been to Flo’s for breakfast before, the restaurant had somehow escaped us for dinner. The menu has slowly changed over the years and it never really drew me in until I was told that the fried chicken was excellent and measured up to Disneyland’s Plaza Inn. As my quest to eat at every place in Disneyland Resort rages on, hearing about the fried chicken was really all the convincing I needed.
No matter how good the food is (which we’ll get to in a second), the atmosphere at Flo’s will generally reign
king queen. Guests can eat inside at one of the different dining rooms filled with records and wordplay, mostly based around famous songs reworded to be played by fake bands of cars. It’s all in good fun as Flo’s does the 50’s diner theme really well. My favorite place to sit inside at the restaurant is to the left of the ordering bay. There are large windows to overlook Radiator Springs Racers, while still enjoying the AC and some of those records and posters. If it’s not too hot outside and you’re looking for a quiet place away from the crowds, sitting just outside of those rooms is a great option as you can hear and watching the cars zip by.
The other option is to sit outside right under all of that neon and color. This is definitely not quiet but it’s beautiful in its own right. Many guests pass through here as tables are set along the main street of Cars Land. Sitting out here right around sunset is the perfect mix of ambiance and show, as you can watch the neon turn on while sipping on a milkshake.
One of the only downsides to Flo’s atmosphere is that the restaurant is popular so the ordering bay can get backed up. Now that mobile ordering is so easy to use, we recommend going that route as it will save you a good amount of time. I also wish that the restaurant used real plates and silverware, which they have in the past. That’s getting nitpicky though. As far as counter-service restaurants go, Flo’s has one of the best environments in all of Disneyland Resort.
Moving on to the food, here’s a look at the menu. It does seem that Disneyland is slowly expanding menus over the last month, not even taking into account the specialty items. We went with some tried and true classics while there.
We’ll start with the main item – Flo’s Famous Fried Chicken. I won’t beat around the bush, we need to give the people what they want and that’s a direct comparison to Plaza Inn, which I love. Flo’s certainly measures up and they are very similar. Breaded but not too greasy while also being full of flavor, I think the biggest difference in these places is the seasoning used. Even that is pretty similar though. I think the winner of Chicken Wars™ is so close that it likely depends on how fresh it is on the day you get it. In far fewer words, I really like Flo’s Famous Fried Chicken although it has gotten worse in recent years.
The sides with the meal is where Flo’s may have passed Plaza Inn. Instead of just regular mashed potatoes, Flo’s had Garlic Mashed Potatoes and they were delicious. I also liked the roasted vegetables, carrots and broccoli, quite a bit. I was expecting them to taste like once frozen, mushy vegetables. They might have been frozen at some point but they were made well and tasted fresh to me. Shame on me for low expectations, I suppose. At $19.49, even the price is the same as Plaza Inn although their plate comes with a biscuit. The quality is a little less than a table-service meal so the price is okay, but not great. This is certainly a shareable plate, as well.
We also tried the hilariously named Chicken Fenders which were, you guessed it, chicken tenders served with steak fries. These were also good albeit not on the same level. Chicken tenders in theme parks can be terrible, seemingly straight from the freezer and with the lowest quality meat. The Chicken Fenders were much better than that, being juicy and having a good flavor to them. While steak fries are one of the worst kinds of fries, in my humble opinion, these were good enough. Again, everything tasted fresh and that’s more than you can say about this type of meal at Disneyland sometimes. At $11, these were a decent price but not some great value.
On subsequent visits, we’ve also tried the Ka-Cheeseburger ($13.29) and Ramone’s Low and Slow Club ($12.99). I don’t really enjoy the cheeseburger, there are much better options throughout Disneyland Resort. The Club Sandwich is much better, although not as good as some options in San Fransokyo.
We also tried a vanilla shake with ‘road gravel’ (Oreos) on top. This was a good shake but nothing special compared to most milkshakes. If you’re in the mood for one that’s a little cheaper than this is a good option. If you want something better and are willing to spend a little more, walk a few steps down the road to Ghirardelli.
Overall, we came away very impressed with Flo’s. I’d put off eating dinner there for years because the menu never interested me. Now, the restaurant is one of my favorite counter-service options in California Adventure. That’s not a very high bar but we found the food to be good and the atmosphere to be great. The prices are on the high side for a counter-service option but that’s not a huge surprise considering the popularity of the restaurant. If you like fried chicken, or American food, go to Flo’s! If you don’t like those things, then grab a milkshake or get food elsewhere and then go eat it at Flo’s. Either way, go to Flo’s!
Overall Rating – 8.5/10
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Categories: Restaurant Reviews