The Avengers, Olaf from Frozen, Lightning McQueen and Mickey Mouse – it’s hard to beat a fun day out at this Disney theme park. From the attractions, to the characters, to the food, there is something fun for everyone. For those who like to visit Disney for a one-of-a-kind food experience, we have put together a list just for you. Here are the Top 10 Restaurants at Disney California Adventure Park.
10. Carthay Circle
This iconic restaurant sits on the second floor of a reproduction of the original Carthay Circle Theatre. The original theatre was in Los Angeles and it had it’s own place in history, especially in terms of Disney history. Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs was premiered at the Carthay Circle Theatre in the late 1930’s, and it was the first feature-length film that Walt Disney had ever created. This restaurant serves American cuisine and is considered as fine dining in the Disney parks. The food served is unique and modern, and the overall vibe of the restaurant makes you feel like you are stepping into an Old Hollywood movie set. There are so many different dishes to try, but the one thing you have to start your meal off with? Carthay Signature Fried Biscuits. These golden-colored biscuits are full of mouth-watering ingredients, including bacon, jalapenos, white cheddar, and an apricot-honey butter. For a main course? You can’t go wrong with the pan-roasted filet mignon, which is served with an amazing and unique orange vinaigrette that is you simply need to try. Although Carthay Circle is a pricier choice, it is a fan-favorite, and with an amazing atmosphere, delicious food, and attentive service, Mickey would surely give it a thumbs up.
9. Lamplight Lounge
The Lamplight Lounge is located inside a former-warehouse factory (turned lounge) and is full of hidden treasures and objects to look at, all to commemorate the famous films of Pixar Studios. Many Pixar artists and employees have visited this restaurant and over the years they have left behind little tokens of their work. For example, in the hallway leading to the restrooms, you can find quotes from Pixar films that were put there by Pixar employees themselves. When it comes to food, the Lamplight Lounge offers unique American dishes that are served beautifully and taste amazing. For example, one of the yummiest finds on the ‘Bites’ menu, is the Crispy Piggy Wings. This dish may sound a bit silly, but it is anything but! The Crispy Piggy Wings are pork drumettes that are tossed in a chili-ginger sauce, sprinkled with sesame seeds and served with cilantro and coleslaw. They are tender, spicy yet a bit sweet, and a perfect way to begin your meal (or eat them as your meal!) Another favorite? The Lobster Nachos – yes, lobster on nachos! Fresh tortilla chips, hot lobster, aged cheddar-oaxaca cheese sauce, chipotle crema, pico de gallo, and black beans – now that is a meal we can get behind. The Lamplight Lounge is the perfect choice for someone who wants the fine dining experience without the extremely high price tag. The atmosphere along with the food make the Lamplight Lounge one of the best restaurants at Disney California Adventure Park.
8. Wine Country Trattoria
A little bit of Italy in the middle of Disney – what could be bad about that? Wine Country Trattoria is a casual dining option for those seeking an Italian experience to compliment their day. The second you visit this restaurant you are immediately transported to a Tuscan-style villa that is perfectly designed with Italian accents. The meals at Wine Country Trattoria include some of your favorite Italian dishes, from Spaghetti Bolognese to Linguini Alla Vongole, not to mention their two main mouth-watering desserts. Some of the best appetizers on the menu include their Fried Calamari and their Rustic Bruschetta, both of which are a must-try. The first dessert option that the restaurant offers is the Wine Country Tiramisù. This classic Italian dessert is made with a twist, as it is topped with a Ghirardelli chocolate sauce, making it even more decadent. The second dessert option is the Ghirardelli Chocolate and Caramel Panna Cotta. This cream-based dessert is perfect for chocolate lovers and is another great choice of dessert. You can’t go wrong with either – so you might as well order both. Overall, Wine Country Trattoria offers the perfect ambiance for an Italian-inspired meal and is one of the best sit-down restaurants for a unique dining experience at Disney California Adventure Park.
7. Flo’s V8 Café
One of the coolest vibes in the whole park, Flo’s V8 café is an American diner that offers the best comfort food in the park. The café’s theme is based on the Cars movie, and it really does feel like you’re stepping back into the past, when neon lights and old-fashioned décor was a common site. Flo’s offers both breakfast and lunch/dinner menus, making it a great stop in your day whether you stop by first thing in the morning or after the sun goes down. For breakfast, the café offers a Classic American Breakfast, French Toast, a Chicken Tamale Breakfast, or a plate of seasonal fruit. They also make classic Disney waffles for kids, which are, of course, shaped like Mickey Mouse, and probably a favorite of adults as well. For lunch/dinner, the café offers too many options to list, but a few fan favorites include Flo’s Famous Fried Chicken, and the Blue Plate Special, which includes pulled pork in a yummy chipotle BBQ sauce, so you know it’s going to be good. Have dietary restrictions? All Disney restaurants offer some sort of dietary and allergy option, just make sure to ask. Flo’s offers most of their meals in a gluten, egg, fish, milk, nut, or soy free version, which is great for those with allergies or intolerances. If you are seeking the perfect comfort meal before or after your Disney adventures, definitely check out Flo’s V8 Café the next time you’re in the park.
6. Cocina Cucamonga Mexican Grill
One of the best quick service restaurants in the whole park is the Cocina Cucamonga Mexican Grill. Overlooking the waterfront, this Mexican-inspired restaurant is the perfect stop for those seeking a lot of flavor in a small amount of time (and for a cheap price too!) There aren’t a ton of options on this restaurant’s menu, however, there is not one thing you could order that doesn’t taste great. One of the best items on the menu is the Torta Ahogada Al Pastor, which is made up of pork al pastor, a black bean spread, queso fresco, crema, salsa, cabbage, and a side of cilantro-lime rice. The pork al pastor is so tender and delicious, you won’t believe that it’s from a quick service restaurant. Everything is made to order and so you are always guaranteed a fresh meal. Cocina Cucamonga Mexican Grill also offers versions of their meals in kids portions. They have a choice of tacos, bowls, or quesadillas (with the meat of their choice!). A day at the park can sometimes turn into a very expensive experience very quickly. Disney isn’t known for their cheap prices, but with restaurants like this, they make the experience a lot more affordable. If you’re a fan of the Mexican Pavillion’s food in Epcot (Disney World Florida) you will definitely be a fan of this place. We would recommend the Cocina Cucamonga Mexican Grill for those wanting to get the same Disney dining experience without it hurting your wallet.
5. Smokejumpers Grill
Another quick-service classic, Smokejumpers Grill is a casual-style restaurant offering a pretty straightforward menu of burgers, sandwiches, and chicken tenders. The theme of the restaurant is based on the actual smokejumpers – firefighters who work in the wilds of nature. A beautiful tribute to their work, this restaurant is a reminder to all of the sacrifices they have made. Smokejumpers Grill is the perfect spot for a picky eater, as basically everything on the menu is classic-American and it doesn’t serve anything that is too far out there, making it the perfect restaurant for the whole family. There are a few things on the menu that are a bit more unique (but still classic) including the Spicy Buffalo Chicken Sandwich and the Campfire Chili Cheeseburger. The Spicy Buffalo Chicken Sandwich is served with a yummy avocado-ranch and blue cheese sauce, coleslaw, and with a side of their Waffle-cut fries. Every main meal on the menu is served with your choice of these Waffle-cut Fries or Onion rings (both of which are served crunchy, hot, and fresh-to-go). If you’re looking to make your sides a bit more interesting, Smokejumpers also offers Chilli Cheese Fries, which are the classic side of Waffle Fries but topped with a black bean chili and melted cheese. Aside from the main meals, Smokejumpers also offers a few sweet treats, including their Cobbler Shake. The Cobbler Shake consists of a classic vanilla milkshake topped with cobbler filling and whipped cream – a drink and dessert all in one.
4. Pacific Wharf Café
By the waterfront, the Pacific Wharf Café offers sandwiches, soups, salads, and sourdough bowls that are hearty and fresh. A unique aspect to this café? All of the soups and salads that the café offers are served in a bread bowl, that is actually is made from a sourdough recipe that has been around for over 170 years – and has stayed a secret the whole time. The sourdough bread is made in a bakery right next-door to the restaurant. You can even take a tour of the bakery, where you will most likely find yourself absolutely delighted by the smell of freshly baked bread that will stay with you throughout the tour. With a San Fransisco vibe, the atmosphere at the Pacific Wharf café itself is very simple and you cannot actually sit in to eat your meal, but you can sit right outside of the restaurant at one of the many water-side tables that give you a much better view of the water, park, and restaurant. With the always sunny California weather, sitting outside and eating is definitely part of the Disney experience. With ingredients so fresh, it can be difficult to decide what to order from the Pacific Wharf Café. One fan favorite meal from this café is the Turkey Pesto Club. This sandwich is made with the famous sourdough bread, crispy slices of bacon, turkey, swiss cheese, and a pesto aioli. The second you bite into this sandwich, you’re going to want to come back for another. The best dessert on the menu is the Seasonal Bread Pudding, which includes a cookies and cream cheesecake filling, whipped cream, crumbled up cookies, with a fresh raspberry sauce.
3. Lucky Fortune Cookery
Craving some good Asian cuisine? The Lucky Fortune Cookery offers a quick service meal that is sure to satisfy all of your sweet and sour cravings. This is a take-out restaurant, so you can either choose to grab your food and continue your journey through the park, or you can take it to one of the picnic tables right outside the doors and enjoy it sitting down. Some of the best entrées from Lucky Fortune Cookery include their Beef Bulgogi Wrap, which is served with garlic-flavored chips (similar to a prawn cracker consistency), and their Szechuan Chicken, which is served with vegetables and perfectly steamed rice. If you’re looking for more of a snack, the Cookery offers both Chicken Wings made Korean-style and Pot Stickers, both of which are perfect if you are on-the-go. They also serve a really delicious Vietnamese iced coffee which is perfect for a hot day in sunny California. At night, Lucky Fortune Cookery is a sight to be seen – with its neon sign and bright lights, it’s hard to miss it when you walk by. Although the inside isn’t as intricately decorated as the other restaurants on this list, the smell alone emanating from the restaurant is sure to captivate your attention and tempt you to stop by and try a bite.
Schmoozies! is a quick service restaurant at Disney California Adventure that offers a menu of smoothies, lemonades, coffees, and shakes. Not quite the go-to place if you’re seeking an actual meal, but the drinks that Schmoozies! offers are sure to quench that sweet tooth perfectly. Starting off with their smoothies, there are many to choose from, including their Make Mine Mocha Smoothie, Mango Madness, Berry Schmoozie, and Strawberry Banana Sensation. Whether you’re looking for something containing coffee or fruit, Schmoozies! has you covered. The lemonades that the restaurant offer include a seasonal lemonade that is a fusion of lemonade and lavender. This drink will remind some guests of the famous Violet Lemonade that you can find seasonally at Epcot – which is a drink that is so unique in taste, it is nearly impossible to figure out what it actually tastes like. Because it’s all about the drinks at Schmoozies, it’s one of the most popular quick service restaurants in Disney California Adventure Park, as the weather makes it necessary to get a cool-down treat during your day. Our number one recommendation? The Churro Shake. The Churro Shake consists of brown sugar and cinnamon flavored ice cream, cinnamon churro cereal, all topped with whipped cream and churro toffee. The perfect cool down, pep up, sweet treat while on-the-go at the park.
1. Award Wieners
With a name that would make anyone laugh, Award Wieners is the best place in Disney California Adventure Park for a classic American treat. With a choice of hot dogs and sausages, this quick serve restaurant is sure to leave you feeling full and satisfied. One of the best items on the menu is the Uptown Chili Dog, which is a beef hot dog, covered in chili, cheese, and corn chips, all served alongside a portion of crispy fries. What about those looking to satisfy their sweet tooth? Award Wieners offers a dessert called Funnel Cake Fries, which are fried pieces of funnel cake dough, topped with whipped cream, rainbow cereal, and the most delicious topping of all – condensed milk. Many people refer to this restaurant as a gem in Disney California Adventure’s quick-service roster, which is only further proven by its always-present line-ups. Luckily, Disney offers mobile ordering, which means you can order your food for pick up and avoid waiting in a long line. If you’re a fan of a hot dog, a cold drink, and a good price – make sure to check out Award Wieners the next time you’re hopping around the park. And if you see Mickey walking around – tell him we say hello.