Disneyland, California Adventure and Downtown Disney are not just for families. They’re now also destinations for food lovers. Here’s some upscale dining options to try the next time you visit Anaheim’s most famous address.
Storyteller Café, The Grand Californian Hotel
Make sure to leave plenty of time to explore The Grand Californian Hotel on your way to brunch at the Storyteller Café. Opened in 2001, The Grand Californian is the first hotel built by Disney inside a theme park. The 948-room structure seamlessly blends the amenities of a luxury resort with Craftsman style aesthetics. The six-story atrium lobby houses overstuffed chairs, Arts and Crafts style wood furnishings, a William Morris patterned marble and carpet floor, boxed artifacts, stained glass, a massive stone fireplace and mission style chandeliers.
Adjacent to the resort is the Storyteller Café, home to Disney’s upscale version of its famous character breakfast. Inside, carved dark wood benches, comfy booths and murals depicting California’s literary history make an inviting ambiance. Choose from the massive buffet including fresh fruit, smoked salmon, bagels, bacon, sausages, Eggs Benedict, French toast, Mickey Mouse waffles, biscuits and gravy and an omelet station or order off of the menu. The Café is open for breakfast and lunch, but the characters (Chip n Dale, Pluto and various bears) that pose for pictures and lead group dances throughout the restaurant only appear at breakfast.
Napa Rose, The Grand Californian Hotel
Also housed within The Grand Californian is one of Orange County’s best restaurants, Napa Rose. This hidden gem, helmed by Executive Chef Andrew Sutton, features French inspired contemporary California seasonal cuisine. Decorated in the same rustic Craftsman style as the hotel, the inviting dining room features floor to ceiling windows providing a view of California Adventure Park, an open chef’s kitchen, vaulted ceilings, a vineyard mural, metal light fixtures and a wine cellar housing over 600 bottles. Chef Sutton’s menu changes weekly, and includes a variety of sophisticated seasonal fish, shellfish, game, and meats. Standouts are the smiling tiger salad with tempura-fried lobster and spicy beef, roasted maple leaf duck, roasted pheasant and halibut with tempura-fried avocado. Appetizers, main courses and desserts are impeccable plated and every server is a sommelier ensuring perfect wine pairings.
Ralph Brennan’s Jazz Kitchen, Downtown Disney
The first California based restaurant of the famous New Orleans Brennan’s family food empire is Ralph Brennan’s Jazz Kitchen located in Downtown Disney. Filled with Big Easy atmosphere, the two-story romantic restaurant resembles a traditional French Quarter home with cast iron railings, a patio, and wrap around terrace. Diners can choose from inside the colorful Flambeux Room, outside upper level balcony to view nighttime Disney fireworks or downstairs courtyard or terrace dining amidst the fountain made of instruments and nightly live jazz. Standouts on the Southern inspired menu include Louisiana crab cakes, coconut crusted shrimp, Jambalaya pasta and BBQ shrimp and grits. Desserts include New Orleans bread pudding, beignets, deep-dish coconut cream pie and Creole red velvet roulade.
Carthay Circle, California Adventure
Disney’s newest Anaheim restaurant, Carthay Circle, pays homage to Hollywood’s landmark Carthay Circle Theatre where “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs” premiered in 1937. Located at the end of Buena Vista Street in California Adventure, the two-story restaurant embodies an upscale Old Hollywood feel with black and white photos of Walt Disney and his famous friends, iron chandeliers, plush booths and an extensive ceiling fresco of Snow White. The balcony seating provides an excellent view for the World of Color show. Menu standouts include firecracker duck wings, short rib ravioli, and grilled quail.
Blue Bayou, Disneyland
Located in New Orleans Square overlooking the Pirates of the Caribbean ride, the Blue Bayou restaurant is a peaceful retreat within the bustling theme park. Diners are surrounded by hanging lanterns, candlelight and fake fireflies amidst wisteria-draped latticework. Besides the private member only Club 33, Blue Bayou is the only upscale sit down dining option within Disneyland. The menu showcases a variety of Cajun items including their signature Monte Cristo sandwich for lunch and Royal Street seafood jambalaya, short ribs and Bayou surf and turf.