Are you planning a trip to the Disneyland Resort and wondering where you might want to eat? You've come to the right place. Join us as we run down the ten best casual and quick-service dining spots throughout the two theme parks, three hotels, and Downtown Disney District. Looking for a more substantial meal? Head over to our rankings of Disneyland's top ten best table service restaurants and Disneyland's top ten best snacks. If you want to dine with Mickey and his pals, learn more about Disneyland character dining.
French Market Restaurant
Think the French Quarter of New Orleans, not Parisian food. The cafeteria-style restaurant offers substantial meals such as Seafood & Chicken Jambalaya and Herb & Garlic Salmon Creole. One of the more popular dishes is the Chowder & Salad Duet which pairs clam chowder served in a sourdough bread bowl with a garden salad. It is a great spot to dine outdoors and watch the boats plying the Rivers of America.
From our panel of judges: Dusty Sage of MiceChat.com says that the French Market Restaurant is always a great option and that he loves its old-school vibe. "This quaint restaurant feels like somewhere Walt would have dined."
Location: New Orleans Square at Disneyland
Food: Cajun-Creole and American
Hungry Bear Restaurant
The small counter-service restaurant features sandwiches and burgers and includes some interesting choices such as the Pioneer Chili Cheeseburger with sides of sweet potato fries and nicely battered onion rings. The Crispy Chicken Sandwich is slathered in a honey-mustard sauce -- to please hungry bears, no doubt. Another standout selection is Big Al's Chicken Salad, which dresses lettuce and chicken with intriguing toppings such as watermelon, candied pecans, and dried cherries. The lovely, shaded seating area overlooks the Rivers of America.
From our panel of judges: Laura Gilbreath of AllEars recommends the Fried Green Tomato Sandwich and says to save room for the individual handmade pies. Yum!
Location: Critter Country at Disneyland
Redd Rockett's Pizza Port
The usual suspects -- pepperoni pizza, spaghetti, and meatballs -- are here (although Disney gussies up the names such as "Mars-inara with Meteoric Meatballs"). But the surprise is the salads, which are large and appealingly fresh. They include Caesar chicken and the unique Planetary Pizza Salad, which marries lettuce with pepperoni, tomatoes, olives, and Parmesan cheese. An incongruous Asian chicken salad somehow made it to the menu as well. For (mostly) Italian theme park fare, our panel of judges says the food is pretty good. Amid the din of Tomorrowland, the atmosphere is a bit frenzied, however.
Location: Tomorrowland at Disneyland
Food: Pizza (duh!) and pasta
Cozy Cone Motel
Impossibly cute and clever, the Cozy Cone brings the wigwam-style motel depicted in the film, Cars, to life, but repurposes the cone-shaped motel rooms as food stands. Each one features something to munch on and a drink, most of which are served in cones (and have silly cone-centric names). Among the choices are "chili cone queso," which is tasty Fritos-enhanced chili served in an edible bread cone, and Fillmore's Fuelin Groovy'ades, a tasty and refreshing lemonade or pomegranate limeade. You can top off that last one with some vodka if you are so inclined.
From our panel of judges: Lou Mongello of WDW Radio is hip to this California trip of a roadside noshery. "The Cozy Cone Motel doesn't just make you feel as though you've stepped into the world of Cars and pulled into Sally's roadside motel, but food always tastes better when it's served in a cone!"
Location: Cars Land at Disney California Adventure
Food: Snacks and beverages
Take a culinary tour of the Golden State at this counter-service restaurant with sandwiches, soups, and salads that feature native California ingredients. Both the salads and soups are served in San Francisco-style sourdough bread bowls that are baked at the nearby Boudin Bakery. (Tip: Pop into the entry of the bakery for a free sample of the yummy bread, but don't feel obligated to take the mostly boring bakery tour.) Choices include Sonoma Chicken & Apple Salad, Santa Rosa Corn Chowder, and the Carmel Roast Beef Sandwich. (I'm not sure why Clint Eastwood's hometown gets a shout-out for roast beef.) Beware of the notoriously long lines here.
From our panel of judges: Doug Barnes of The Season Pass Podcast highly recommends the Monterey Clam Chowder.
Location: Pacific Wharf at Disney California Adventure
Food: California-inspired American
It's really more Mexican-style than authentic Mexican. But hey, the rifles at the Frontierland Shootin' Exposition aren't exactly authentic either (thank goodness), and they are still mucho fun, si? Good choices include the grilled fish tacos and, for those with hearty appetites, the Burrito Sonora. In general, the portions are generous here. The setting, which looks like a hacienda patio and features lovely, colorful tiles, puts your neighborhood Taco Bell to shame (which, admittedly, doesn't require too much effort).
Location: Frontierland at Disneyland
This tiny restaurant barely has any seating and is really more of a place to grab an eat-on-the-run snack. The portion sizes of the featured item, Jungle Skewers, are not all that large and reinforce this more as a between-meals treat stop than a bona fide restaurant. Choices include a hot and spicy Banyan Beef Skewer and a sweetly spiced Chieftain Chicken Skewer. Steer clear of the bland Tiger Tails breadsticks.
From our panel of judges: Robb Alvey of Theme Park Review raves about the bacon-wrapped asparagus Safari Skewer. "OMG! I could just die thinking about it!"
Location: Adventureland at Disneyland
Sandwiches and salads with a Southern flair are featured here. While it is quaint and cute, the restaurant is small and offers limited indoor seating. That's OK, however, since the ample outside seating on the terrace offers stunning views of the Rivers of America and the stately Mark Twain Steamboat.
Good choices include the Vegetable Po' Boy and the Mississippi Turkey Breast, which are served on tasty baguettes with baked beans. The Rosemary Turkey Breast Salad is also quite good. The restaurant also serves breakfast and features Mickey Mouse Pancakes -- a whimsical way to start your day.
Nobody on our panel of judges picked the River Belle Terrace as their top casual/counter-service restaurant, but nearly everyone included it on his or her list. That shows its broad appeal and also demonstrates the reverence it merits as one of Disneyland's original restaurants.
Location: Frontierland at Disneyland
We must admit: We're a bit surprised by our panel's number-two pick. With overlooked classic Disneyland dining spots such as Plaza Inn and the Royal Street Veranda not making the cut, we find it hard to fathom that this unassuming walk-up spot on the boardwalk generated so much excitement. But clearly, we're in the minority. Our judges seem to be suckers for barbecue and skewered foods, and Paradise Garden Grill has what they deem to be the resort's best place to get a quick bite of grilled goodness.
You build your skewer by choosing chicken, steak, spicy ground beef, or vegetables and tofu, then pick a sauce, including tandoori-spiced yogurt and tzatziki. All skewers include rice pilaf, cucumber salad, and pita bread. A Greek salad is also available. If you have room, the strawberry brownie skewer and the baklava are both gooey, decadent treats. The outdoor seating, which is set amid some nice gardens is quite nice.
Location: Paradise Pier at Disney California Adventure
The highlight of the Disney California Adventure Expansion, which transformed the resort's second gate into a worthy sister park to Disneyland, was the 2012 opening of Cars Land. Its featured restaurant is a splendidly retro, neon-charged diner that offers tantalizing dishes in an inspired setting. Flo's garnered more top picks from our judges than any other casual restaurant throughout the resort and easily cruised to the number-one position.
Rotisserie entrees include NY strip loin and pork loin with a scrumptious Coca-Cola BBQ sauce. The diner's newfangled take on classic shepherd's pie is the Veggie Tater Bake. Instead of ground beef, the dish features soy crumbles; if I hadn't been told, I would have thought I was eating the standard meat-laden dish -- and a very tasty dish at that. Beverages include overly sweet milkshakes as well as Racer 5 IPA, a craft beer that is quite good. For dessert, there are Flo's Pie-O-Ramas, mini pies that feature intentionally misshaped "ugly crusts." The apple-cheddar got my motor running.
Location: Cars Land at Disney California Adventure
Food: American comfort food with a twist