• Nicole Leonetti

Disneyland Restaurant Guide

Yes, there are many places to eat and drink at Disneyland, but I wanted to provide a convenient list of my favorites. I’ve organized them alphabetically by location and hope to add to this list in the future as updates are made and/or new places open. The important thing to understand is that I do not go to Disney for the food. I go for the magic and it’s always a lovely bonus when there is good food to be had at this magical place. In this guide, I will let you know why I enjoy these places. This is not an exhaustive list of every dining establishment at Disneyland. I have been to 99% of Disney’s dining establishments so chances are there is a good reason if a certain place is not listed.



CALIFORNIA ADVENTURE:

Award Wieners: I mean – the name just always makes me giggle. Yes, it’s a counter-service hot dog place, but it’s convenient and the hot dogs are a good time. I enjoy the Uptown Chili Dog. This place is located in the “Hollywood Land” section of the park.


Bayside Brews: This is just a quick service spot to get beer, but it’s my particular spot. Conveniently located, they have mobile order which is fantastic because the line can get a tad long. They have a good selection of beers (I usually just order a Pacifico). You can also satisfy your Mickey Pretzel craving at this spot.


Carthay Circle: Carthay Circle is California Adventure’s “high-end” sit-down restaurant. I feel like the dining experience is very dependent on where you are seated. If possible, ask if they have a table in the center room where you have views of the kitchen and lovely décor. The food is good wherever you sit, but don’t you want to sit in style? Carthay Circle’s entrees change seasonally, but to start I highly recommend the Warm Cheddar Parkerhouse Rolls as well as the Yukon Potato Croquettes. They have amazing cocktails, which you should definitely order to celebrate the fact that you got reservations here! You need to plan in advance for this place.


Carthay Circle Lounge: Great place for snacks and cocktails with indoor and outdoor seating. They have a totally separate lounge menu from the main restaurant with fun appetizers and amazing cocktails. If you cannot get reservations in advance, you can always try to be added to their walk-up list. Their G&T’s are my favorite!


Cocina Cucamonga Mexican Grill: Quick service Mexican food located in the Pacific Wharf “food-court” area of the park. There are a few places you can get Mexican food within the Disneyland Resort, but this is my favorite. Love their tacos – especially the QuesaBirria ones – and it’s easy to mobile order at this location.


Cozy Cone: The cutest place to get snacks in the park! Located in “Radiator Springs”, each cone has different snack and beverage options. My favorite is the Chili “Cone” Queso – it’s both adorable and yummy.


Lamplight Lounge: Table service restaurant with indoor and outdoor seating. Their food is decent, they have good cocktails, and they have some good finds on their wine list. It may be basic, but their House Salad is pretty good. Make ressies in advance!


Lucky Fortune Cookery: Quick service Asian food located on Paradise Wharf. Mobile ordering is available, and I love their Spicy Szechuan Chicken with Sautéed Veggies and Rice.


Paradise Garden Grill: Ok, this one is tricky because Paradise Garden Grill always has different food… Seriously, it’s a surprise every time! For food, it typically depends on what is going on at the park. They have different menus for Viva Navidad, Food & Wine, and Lunar New Year. The menus are typically pretty good, and they have a little stage in the outdoor seating area with live entertainment that is always enjoyable! I would recommend stopping by to see what’s going on next time you are there.


Pym Test Kitchen: Located in Avengers Campus, this place is known for their extremely large and extremely small Instagrammable food. Originally, I was skeptical since I know very little about the Avengers, but I was pleasantly surprised that the food is actually good! I’m especially a fan of their Not So Little Chicken Sandwich.


Shawarma Palace: This is going to sound crazy, but this is my favorite place to eat within all of Disneyland Resort! It’s just a little kiosk that sells chicken shawarma, but I love it. There are two carts – one on either side of Avengers Campus. I always get the “New York’s Tastiest” which is a Chicken Shawarma Wrap with Garlic Spread, Coconut Yogurt-Tahini Sauce with Pickled Veggies. So good!


Sonoma Terrace: I’ve probably spent more time at Sonoma Terrace than any other place at Disney. It’s my happy place where I can relax, people watch, and sip sparkling wine. They have a nice beer & wine list with ample seating - make sure to grab a shady spot!



DISNEYLAND:

Bengal Barbecue: This place is all about skewers! They have a variety of beef, chicken, and vegetable skewers that are perfect as a savory snack or a quick meal. Located right across the way from Jungle Cruise and Indiana Jones, it’s an area of the park that I frequent often. My favorite is the Banyan Beef Skewer, which is their hot and spicy beef option.


Blue Bayou: Blue Bayou is magical! A table service restaurant located within the Pirates of the Caribbean ride, when I was really little I thought the people dining in this restaurant were animatronics! Just a cool setting where you see the boats from the ride go past as you enjoy their creole inspired menu. They have all the favorites such as Gumbo and Jambalaya, but I’ve also been quite happy with the steak on their menu. Bonus! In recent years, they started serving beer and wine in Blue Bayou. This was not allowed in the past due to Disneyland rules, but I think the wine has been a welcome addition! They do have a walk-up waitlist, but I highly recommend reservations.


Hungry Bear: I love Hungry Bear! It’s just simple, quick service burgers, fries, and onion rings, but in such a fun setting in Critter Country. Mostly covered outdoor seating along the water.

Jolly Holiday Bakery & Café : This is a Mary Poppins-themed quick service restaurant that has many sandwiches, salads, and baked goods to choose from. They have outdoor seating with great views for the parade when you don’t want to deal with the actual parade crowd. This is also where you can get my favorite Disney treat – the Matterhorn Macaroon!


Oga’s Cantina: Located in the Star Wars themed “Galaxy’s Edge” area of Disneyland, Oga’s is basically a bar. It has a very limited (and bizarre) snack menu so it’s best to just stick with the drinks. My favorites are the Toniray Blue Wine (Chardonnay) and the Jet Juice cocktail (Maker's Mark Bourbon, Ancho Reyes Chili Liqueur, Stirrings Pomegranate Liqueur, White Grape Juice, and Lemon Juice). The vibe is fun in here – even if you are not a Star Wars fan. They take reservations, but you can usually get in late night using the walk-up list.


Tiki Juice Bar: Located in Adventureland right outside of the Enchanted Tiki Room, this is where you go to get your Dole Whip fix! If you haven’t had a Dole Whip yet, please go to Disneyland right now to get one. It’s just pineapple heaven! You can either do the Dole Whip Soft Serve or the Dole Whip Float – both are amazing!



DOWNTOWN DISNEY:

Ballast Point Brewing Co: This place is fun! It’s a brewery with good beer and yummy bar food – how can you go wrong? The flatbreads are pretty good, but I really love the Bavarian Pretzel Bites with the Beer Cheese and Beer Mustard!


La Brea Bakery Café: This is a great spot for breakfast before going into the parks. They have a great breakfast sandwich, and you can enjoy it with a mimosa, as well! It’s open for lunch and dinner too, but I usually find myself there around breakfast time.


Naples Ristorante e Bar: Naples is a good time! I prefer their outdoor seating as it has a fun, buzzy atmosphere. We usually get a salad, pizza, and some good Italian wine to enjoy as we people watch.



HOTELS:

Grand Californian:

GCH Craftsman Bar: This is a poolside lounge with a relaxing vibe, which is a great escape from the craziness of the parks. They have specialty cocktails, a nice wine list, and a wide variety of food options. I love the Shawarma Chicken Skewers and the Cali Sliders!


Hearthstone Lounge: This is basically the lobby bar of the Grand Californian and it’s a great place to unwind after a long day at the parks—especially if you are staying overnight on property. They have a few TVs in case there is an important game on. They also have a notable wine list which is always a good thing. They have small bites that are offered late so you can usually find me there snacking on some Shishito Peppers.


Napa Rose : The most upscale dining option at Disneyland – Napa Rose is a lovely restaurant. They typically have a multi-course tasting menu option or a regular a la carte option to select from. They also have a great wine list! Make those dining reservations well in advance!


Storytellers Café: This is a great Character dining experience for breakfast. They are open for lunch and dinner, as well, but at breakfast they have the Mickey’s Tales of Adventure Breakfast Buffet. It’s a great place to meet Mickey and his friends and it offers decent breakfast fare.


Disneyland Hotel:

Goofy’s Kitchen: It’s a breakfast buffet at Disney – I mean – the food is not going to wow you, but nothing will offend you and you can have as much as you like of the good stuff. When I want to get really crazy, I go through the kid’s portion of the buffet where they have Mac & Cheese Pizza or similar fun items like that. This is a Character meal and there are a wide variety of characters that will come by and visit your table! I really enjoy the characters coming to you instead of having to wait in lines to see them throughout the park. The interaction is always fun and it’s a great place to get photos with your favorites.


Trader Sam’s Enchanted Tiki Bar: This is one of my favorite places in Disney, but it’s very popular so you have to plan ahead and make reservations if possible. It’s an amazing tiki bar with the most fun cocktails. I love the Shipwreck on the Rocks (Maker's Mark Bourbon with Agave Nectar and freshly Muddled Lemon and Mint)! They also have really good food options like a Poke Bowl, Pork Gyoza, and the Panko Crusted Long Beans.


Paradise Pier:

Not a bad place to stay but skip the food….

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