Disneyland's Top 10 Best Table Service Restaurants

  • 01 of 11

    Number 10: Storytellers Cafe

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    Hungry for some info about where to eat throughout the Disneyland Resort? You've come to the right place. This is a rundown of the ten best table service and buffet dining spots at the two theme parks, three hotels, and Downtown Disney district.

    Looking for a lighter meal or some snacks? Head over to our rankings of Disneyland's top ten best quick-service and counter-service restaurants and Disneyland's top ten best snacks. Or perhaps you are looking for info about Disneyland character dining. See who is on the panel of expert judges that determined the rankings at the Best Disneyland Dining feature.

    Let's start the rundown with the restaurant that nabbed the tenth spot at Disneyland Resort, Storytellers Cafe.

    Location: Disney's Grand Californian Hotel
    Cost: Moderately high ($20 to $35 per adult) Attire: Theme park casual
    Food: American
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    Search for discount Disney's Grand Californian Hotel & Spa rates at Trip Advisor.

    Less adventurous (and costly) than its...MORE neighboring eatery, Napa Rose, the whimsically themed Storytellers Cafe nonetheless has some delicious dishes such as sea bass with bok choy, eggplant, and ponzu sauce and citrus shrimp with orzo. In addition to heartier fare, the restaurant offers flatbread appetizers. Storytellers offers an ample and tasty buffet as well as ala carte items. Whatever you order, save room for the sinful warm cakes with ice cream.

    A word of caution (or a great tip, depending on your perspective): I once endured the Chip ​'n Dale Critter Breakfast and would recommend you steer clear of it if you are looking for a low-key, quiet place to start your day. The food was fine, but the raucous procession of children and characters singing and marching through the restaurant, led by an incredibly loud "park ranger" who kept time by smashing two rubber fish on guests' tables was unbearable for me. If you have children of a certain age, they might find the high-energy shenanigans delightful.

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  • 02 of 11

    Number 9: Tortilla Jo's

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    Location: Downtown Disney
    Cost: Moderately high ($20 to $35 per adult)
    Attire: Theme park casual
    Food: Mexican
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    You'll find fine Mexican fare, including hand-made tortillas (not necessarily made by Jo, however), mountainous nachos, and, of course, margaritas as well as a wide variety of tequilas. The freshly made guacamole is quite good.

    Tortilla Jo's earned kudos from a number of our judges, although none of them gave it their highest marks. While the food is tasty, it isn't necessarily all that adventurous or markedly better than your average Mexican restaurant. But if you have a craving for a south-of-the-border meal, Jo's is your place. For a more casual meal (although the main dining room is pretty casual), consider the outdoor, quick-service Taqueria located next door.

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  • 03 of 11

    Number 8: Naples Ristorante e Pizzeria

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    Location: Downtown Disney
    Cost: Moderately high ($20 to $35 per adult)
    Attire: Theme park casual
    Food: Italian, including pizza
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    With casual fare such as panini and pizza mixed with more adventurous dishes like Brasato (braised short rib served on polenta), the menu at Naples is a bit schizophrenic. But it's all good if a bit pricey (Scusi? $45 for a large pizza?). The upstairs dining room, which is a bit removed from the Downtown Disney hordes, can offer a more hushed atmosphere. For a quick (and cheaper) bite, consider trying the adjacent Napolini.

    From our panel of judges: Robb Alvey of Theme Park Review says that based on his trips to Italy, the pizza and pasta at Naples is about as close as a paisan could get to authentic and is among the best in the area.

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  • 04 of 11

    Number 7: Catal Restaurant

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    Location: Downtown Disney
    Cost: Moderately high ($20 to $35 per adult)
    Attire: Theme park casual
    Food: Mediterranean
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    The Art Deco atmosphere is striking, as is the ambitious menu. Having visited Spain and fallen in love with its cuisine, I can attest to Catal's fare. Specialties include mouth-watering items like braised lamb shank served with yukon gold mashed potato, horseradish, snow pea, and red wine port sauce, as well as scallops with cauliflower cream, charred brussels sprouts, pickled garlic, frisee, and bacon vinaigrette. Yum! Other dishes include paella and a variety of steaks. Catal's lively Uva bar offers lighter fare with alfresco seating in the center of the Downtown Disney promenade.

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  • 05 of 11

    Number 6: Trader Sam's

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    Location: Disneyland Hotel
    Cost: Moderate (Under $15 per adult, not including alcohol -- which is almost a given here)
    Attire: Casual
    Food: Island-inspired American
    Reservations: Not accepted
    Search for discount Disneyland Hotel rates at Trip Advisor.

    Trader Sam's has been a big hit since its launch in 2011. The "Enchanted Tiki Bar" takes its cue from the Jungle Cruise ride, where Trader Sam is identified as the Amazon's (literal) head salesman. The whimsical decor is a hoot.

    More a lounge than a restaurant, Sam's features tropical drinks and cocktails and includes some interesting non-alcoholic options. But it has some delicious, mostly Asian, dishes to accompany the imbibing such as fish tacos, chicken-lettuce wraps, and panko-crusted Chinese long beans. Be aware that the space is quite small and can get crowded, and that service can be spotty.

    From our panel of judges: Dusty Sage of MiceChat.com says that the interactive tiki-themed environment will hook you and keep you coming back, while...MORE Doug Barnes of The Season Pass Podcast declares the Ahi Poke among his favorite treats in all of Disneyland Resort.

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  • 06 of 11

    Number 5: Cafe Orleans

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    Location: New Orleans Square at Disneyland
    Attire: Anything goes at the theme park restaurant
    Cost: Moderately high ($20 to $35 per adult)
    Food: American with an emphasis on Cajun-Creole
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    You can order the famous Monte Cristo sandwich found at the Blue Bayou. But, unlike the Blue Bayou's perpetual night ambiance, Cafe Orleans offers outdoor seating -- and lower prices. The limited menu also includes New Orleans-inspired dishes such as fried green tomato sandwich, Creole ratatouille, and a chicken muffuletta sandwich. Consider the chicken or seafood crepes; this is the "French Quarter" after all. And the garlic-heavy pommes frites are to die for -- although you will need industrial-stregth mints to accommodate your Disneyland buddies after the meal.

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  • 07 of 11

    Number 4: Ralph Brennan's Jazz Kitchen

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    Location: Downtown Disney
    Cost: Moderately high ($20 to $35 per adult)
    Attire: Casual
    Food: Cajun-Creole
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    Let the good times -- and the tasty dishes -- roll at this New Orleans-inspired eatery. Bold items include jambalaya and Gumbo Ya-Ya, a stew with a dark roux and creole seasonings. For lunch, try a po-boy, which is a classic, overstuffed New Orleans sandwich. For dessert, consider Bananas Foster, which is set aflame for dramatic flair. As its name implies, live jazz is often featured at the restaurant. To sample the yummy fare, consider walking up to the take-out window at the adjacent Jazz Kitchen Express.

    From our panel of judges: Rick West of Theme Park Adventure says that the hot beignets are heavenly.

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  • 08 of 11

    Number 3: Steakhouse 55

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    Location: The Disneyland Hotel
    Cost: High ($35 to $60)
    Attire: Casual, but you wouldn't feel out of place dressing up at this fine dining establishment.
    Food: American featuring steaks (naturally!)
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    The dishes rival any high-end steakhouse chain, but the prices at Steakhouse 55, while high, are quite reasonable in comparison. And the upscale restaurant offers something no Morton's or Ruth's Chris could ever match: an old Hollywood ambiance that includes vintage photos of Walt Disney hobnobbing with movie stars.

    One of my favorite Disneyland dining tips: If you are looking for a relatively quiet way to start your day (as I like to do), consider visiting Steakhouse 55 for breakfast. The old-school menu hits the spot, and the relatively hushed atmosphere is a welcome contrast to the frenzied mob scene next door at Goofy's Kitchen.

    From our panel of judges: AJ Wolfe of Disney Food Blog says that...MORE Steakhouse 55 is a classic. "They don't rely on 'fussing up' the menu items or the plates to make it seem 'fancy.' They expect that you know good food when you see it."

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  • 09 of 11

    Number 2: Blue Bayou

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    Location: New Orleans Square at Disneyland
    Cost: High ($35 to $60)
    Food: Cajun-Creole
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    Let's face it: In just about every regard, many of the restaurants with lower rankings are "better" than Blue Bayou (particularly Steakhouse 55). But located inside the Pirates of the Caribbean attraction, Blue Bayou is so utterly unique and such a Disneyland classic, it easily outscored nearly every other eatery in the resort.

    Entrees include New Orleans-inspired dishes such as jambalaya and the famous Monte Cristo sandwich. (The first few bites of a Monte Cristo taste great, but the deep-fried concoction is quite filling and can become a chore to finish.) The food is leagues above standard theme park fare, but it is often hit-or-miss. And service is generally rushed. The emphasis seems to be on turning over the tables at the wildly popular restaurant rather than doting on the guests. Still, with the crickets chirping, the lanterns flickering, and the boats gently...MORE passing by, there's no denying its charm and its legendary status.

    From our panel of judges: Lou Mongello of WDW Radio says that the ambiance is spectacular and the menu quite diverse. Despite the many options, "I can't seem to get away from ordering the spectacular Buccaneer's Boneless Beef Short Ribs every time!"

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  • 10 of 11

    Number 1 (Tie): Napa Rose

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    Location: Disney's Grand Californian Hotel
    Cost: High ($35 to $60)
    Attire: Casual, but it is a fine dining establishment, and appropriate attire would make sense.
    Food: California fusion
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    Search for discount Disney's Grand Californian Hotel & Spa rates at Trip Advisor.

    Our esteemed panel of travel writers couldn't quite settle on one restaurant as the very best throughout the resort, and Napa Rose ended up sharing the top honors with an upstart. But nearly all of the judges gave high, if not their highest marks to The Grand Californian's signature eatery. And for good reason. It excels in every category, including inspired, creative dishes, lovely atmosphere, impeccable service, and a California-centric wine list.

    The menu changes with the seasons and features local ingredients. Entrees include items such as Strawberry Sage BBQ Duck Breast with polenta panzanella and Sauteed Santa Barbara White Sea Bass with artichoke tapenade and yellow tomato essence....MORE Consider starting your meal with wildly inventive sushi appetizers or a tantalizing pizetta. And do allow room for dessert; Napa Rose offers some heavenly choices.

    From our panel of judges: Laura Gilbreath of AllEars says that the Napa Rose is, in her opinion, the best restaurant on property and a great place for a special occasion dinner.

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  • 11 of 11

    Number 1 (Tie): Carthay Circle Restaurant

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    Location: Buena Vista Street at Disney California Adventure
    Attire: Theme park casual is fine, but attire befitting the fine dining atmosphere would be welcome as well.
    Cost: High ($35 to $60)
    Food: Creative American with some Asian influences
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    The updated dining survey of travel journalists took place soon after Disney California Adventure held its grand reopening in June 2012. Among the additions to the park was the Carthay Circle Restaurant, and it proved so popular, it immediately vaulted to the top of the poll (sharing the number-one spot with Napa Rose). It's easy to see why.

    Tucked into the elegant Carthay Circle Theater, the restaurant, decked out as a retro supper club, has a welcoming, old-school vibe. The menu, however, embraces contemporary cuisine and features fresh, locally sourced ingredients. Dishes might include inspired creations such as Sierra golden trout with hot almond apricot couscous and lemon chimichurri and grilled quail stuffed...MORE with prosciutto-wrapped peaches.

    A couple of tips:

    • By ordering an entree together with an appetizer or a dessert, you will be entitled to reserve viewing for ​World of Color.
    • If it's impossible to get reservations for the highly popular restaurant for your preferred time, consider dining at the Carthay Circle Lounge on the first floor of the building. While it is small, there are often seats available, and the food, cocktails, and ambiance are quite wonderful (and the cost is much less than the upstairs restaurant).

    More Disneyland dining rankings: Now that you know the best table-service restaurants, discover the best casual/quick-serivce/counter-service places to eat as well as Disneyland's top 10 best snacks.