A Review of All California Adventure Dining

Updated March 2016

So, we covered all of your Dining Options at Disneyland. And, we’ve learned about Character Meals available at each of the DLR Hotels and in the parks, too.

Now, it’s time to check out Disney’s California Adventure! Here’s the first big difference that you’ll find between the two parks: Many DCA restaurants serve beer, wine and/or cocktails. (I’ve noted which ones do, below, and the menus provide details.)

As before, you’ll find two styles of dining at the parks:

Quick Service – No waiter or waitress; Walk to the counter to order and retrieve food

Table Service – Waiter or waitress service; Some reservations needed or recommended

***In addition to these dining options, you’ll find churro, popcorn, pretzel, ice cream, coffee and soda carts throughout the park.

Quick Service

Award Weiners

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Price Range: $15 and under

Location: Hollywood Land

The Main Idea: Walk up counter with gourmet hot dogs with drinks and desserts

What People Love: Chili Cheese Dog and Sicilian Sausage

Alcohol served: Karl Strauss Red Trolley Ale

Yelp Rating: 3 stars

Menu

 

Bayside Brews

bayside-brews

Price Range: $15 and under

Location: Paradise Pier

The Main Idea: Walk up counter with six craft beers on tap and soft pretzels

What People Love: Jalapeno Cheese-filled Pretzel

Alcohol Served: Sierra Nevada Pale Ale, Sierra Nevada Torpedo IPA, Blue Moon Belgian White, Pacifico Cerveza, Bud Light Pale Lager, Seasonal Choice

Yelp Rating: 4.5 stars

Menu

 

Boardwalk Pizza and Pasta/Garden Grill

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Price Range: $15 and under

Location: Paradise Pier

The Main Idea: Pizza, pasta and salads with indoor/outdoor seating

What People Love: Portobello Mushroom & Spinach Flatbread Pizza and Five Cheese Ravioli; Mediterranean Skewers at Garden Grill

Alcohol Served: Bud Light, Sangria

Yelp Rating: 3.5 stars

Menu

 

Clarabelle’s Hand-Scooped Ice Cream

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Price Range: $15 and under

Location: Buena Vista Street

The Main Idea: Walk up counter with hand scooped ice cream and sundaes

What People Love: The Kitchen Sink Sundaes (several options)

Alcohol Served: None

Yelp Rating: 4 stars

Menu

 

Cocina Cucamonga Mexican Grill

Cocina-Cucamonga

Price Range: $15 and under

Location: Pacific Wharf

The Main Idea: Walk up counter with Mexican dishes and salads with dining on the deck

What People Love: Soft Tacos Monterey and Fajita Salad

Alcohol Served: Tecate, Dos Equis Ambar, Red Sangria

Yelp Rating: 2.5 stars

Menu

 

Corn Dog Castle

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Price Range: $15 and under

Location: Paradise Pier

The Main Idea: Walk up counter with yummy corn dogs and drinks

What People Love: Original Corn Dog (same recipe as the famous Disneyland dogs) and Cheddar Cheese Stick

Alcohol Served: None

Yelp Rating: 4.5 stars

Menu

 

Cozy Cone Motel

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Price Range: $15 and under

Location: Cars Land

The Main Idea: Cone shaped walk up counters including churros, soft serve ice-cream, chili con queso served in a bread cone, pretzel bites and flavored popcorn

What People Love: Flavored popcorn (flavors rotate – try the Dill Pickle if it’s in season!) and Churros

Alcohol Served: Vodka Lemonade and Vodka Pomegranate Limeade

Yelp Rating: 4 stars

Bonus tip: Super cute photo ops here, day and night

Menu

 

Fairfax Market

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Price Range: $15 and under

Location: Hollywood Land

The Main Idea: Walk up counter with healthy options including hummus, veggie cups and trail mix

What People Love: Pickle Spears and Hummus

Alcohol Served: None

Yelp Rating: 2.5 stars

Menu

 

Fiddler, Fifer and Practical Cafe

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Price Range: $15 and under

Location: Buena Vista Street

The Main Idea: Sandwiches, salads and Starbucks favorites served with a large indoor seating area

What People Love: Bacon and Gouda Breakfast Sandwich and  Roast Beef & Provolone Sandwich Box

Alcohol Served: None

Yelp Rating: 4 stars

Menu

 

Fillmore’s Taste-In

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Price Range: $15 and under

Location: Cars Land

The Main Idea: Walk up counter with healthy options including fruit, veggies and drinks

What People Love: Pickle Spears and Pineapple Spears

Alcohol Served: None

Yelp Rating: n/a

Menu

 

Flo’s V8 Cafe

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Price Range: $15 and under

Location: Cars Land

The Main Idea: Comfort food served with indoor and outdoor seating

What People Love: Brioche French Toast for breakfast, Beef and Cheddar Sandwich, Veggie Tater Bake, Pie-o-Ramas, and shakes

Alcohol Served: Fess Parker Reisling, Silverado Chardonnay, MacMurray Ranch Pinot Noir, Red Sangria, Racer 5 IPA, and Red Rocket Ale

Yelp Rating: 3.5 stars

Menu

 

Ghirardelli Soda Fountain and Chocolate Shop

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Price Range: $15 and under

Location: Pacific Wharf

The Main Idea: Yummy, rich sundaes and hot drinks with outdoor seating

What People Love: Treasure Island Warm Brownie Sundae, Earthquake Family Favorite, Sundaes, Quake Shakes and Ice Cream Floats – really anything!

Alcohol Served: None

Yelp Rating: 4 stars

Menu

 

Lucky Fortune Cookery

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Price Range: $15 and under

Location: Pacific Wharf

The Main Idea: Asian dishes including chicken, beef and tofu with outdoor seating by the water

What People Love: Beef Asian Rice Bowl and Edamame

Alcohol Served: Sapporo

Yelp Rating: 2.5 stars

Menu

 

Pacific Wharf Cafe

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Price Range: $15 and under

Location: Pacific Wharf

The Main Idea: Sandwiches, salads and sourdough Mickey shaped bread by San Francisco’s Boudin Bakery with outdoor seating

What People Love: Egg and Bacon Boule for Breakfast, Chinese Chicken Salad and Tomato Bisque

Alcohol Served: None

Yelp Rating: 4 stars

Menu

 

Paradise Pier Ice Cream Company

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Price Range: $15 and under

Location: Paradise Pier

The Main Idea: Walk up counter with soft serve ice cream and floats

What People Love: Coke and Rootbeer Floats

Alcohol Served: None

Yelp Rating: n/a

Menu

 

Rita’s Baja Blenders

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Price Range: $15 and under

Location: Pacific Wharf

The Main Idea: Walk up counter with margaritas and chips

What People Love: Rita’s Grand Margarita and Tropicool (non-alcoholic)

Alcohol Served: Margaritas

Yelp Rating: 3.5 stars

Menu

 

Schmoozies Smoothies

Schmoozies

Price Range: $15 and under

Location: Hollywood Land

The Main Idea: Walk up counter with smoothies and other drinks

What People Love: Strawberry Banana Smoothie and Coffee Drinks

Alcohol Served: None

Yelp Rating: 3.5 stars

Menu

 

Sonoma Terrace

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Price Range: $15 and under

Location: Pacific Wharf

The Main Idea: Beer, wine and cold plates served with outdoor seating

What People Love: Beer or Wine with a Warm Bavarian Pretzel

Alcohol Served: Yes, plenty! (see menu)

Yelp Rating: n/a

Menu

 

Smokejumpers Grill

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Price Range: $15 and under

Location: Grizzly Peak Airfield

The Main Idea: Burgers and fries with indoor/outdoor seating

What People Love: Cheeseburgers, Grilled Chicken and Jack Sandwich and the Garden Vegetable Burger

Alcohol Served: Budweiser, Bud Light, Karl Strauss Handcrafted Beer, and Red Sangria

Yelp Rating: n/a

Menu

 

Table Service

Reservations are recommended for table service restaurants (noted below). Click on the link for each restaurant to make a reservation or call (714) 781-DINE (3463) between 7:00 AM and 9:00 PM daily (Pacific Time).

Alfresco Tasting Terrace

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Price Range: $15 and under (but varies with wine selections)

Location: Pacific Wharf

The Main Idea: Wine flights with appetizers

What People Love: Beef Tenderloin Sliders and Bruschetta

Alcohol Served: Yes, plenty! (see menu)

Yelp Rating: n/a

Menu

 

Ariel’s Grotto

***Reservations highly recommended

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Price Range: $30-$60

Location: Pacific Wharf

The Main Idea: DLR’s only Princess dining option (at breakfast and lunch) with the World of Color Dining Package for evenings

What People Love: Spinach-Artichoke and Egg White Frittata for breakfast, Fire Roasted Corn Cakes, and Grilled Lobster Tail Salad

Alcohol Served: Beer and cocktails

Yelp Rating: 3.5 stars

Menu

 

Carthay Circle Restaurant

***Reservations highly recommended

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Price Range: $30-$60

Location: Buena Vista Street

The Main Idea: California Adventure’s answer to fine dining with fabulous indoor seating and a retro-glam ambiance; World of Color Dining Package is available here

What People Love: Menu changes seasonally….hard to keep up! Prix-Fix Menu is included as an option, which some people love.

Alcohol Served: Wine, beer, cocktails

Yelp Rating: 4 stars

Menu

 

Cove Bar

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Price Range: $15 and under

Location: Pacific Wharf; upstairs from Ariel’s Grotto

The Main Idea: Sip cocktails while sitting outside, enjoying the view

What People Love: Lobster Nachos and Bayside Fish Tacos + newly renovated extended patio

Alcohol Served: Yes, plenty! (see menu)

Yelp Rating: n/a

Menu

 

Wine Country Trattoria

***Reservations highly recommended

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Price Range: $15-$30

Location: Pacific Wharf

The Main Idea: Wine and food pairings with healthy options; World of Color Dining Package is available here

What People Love: Tuscan Salad with Sauteed Shrimp, Roasted Vegetable Panini and Quattro Pomodoro

Alcohol Served: Beer, wine and cocktails

Yelp Rating: n/a

Menu

And, there you have it! Dining at California Adventure is quite different from Disneyland. I hope you enjoy it.

 

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12 COMMENTS

  1. I have reservations for Ariel’s Grotto for lunch. My kid is 11. I know she won’t eat from the adult menu. Will she be able to order a kid’s meal? Or will I still pay the cost for her as an adult? I am trying to figure out if this is worth the cost. Thanks.

    • Disney won’t verify ages for meals, so you should be able to order from the child menu. It technically goes up to age 9, but I used it for a short time frame after for a couple of my kids as they were adjusting to a more complex palate.

  2. Carthay Circle is, unfortunately, not the restaurant it used to be. We have dined there many times over the years since it opened; usually dining at Carthay Circle two or three times a trip. We had dinner there this week on Monday. The food was mediocre and the overall service was poor. The entire experience felt like a poorly managed, mass production line of a large national chain restaurant like a Chilis or Applebees. Unfortunately, that was about the quality of the food as well. The cocktails were still delicious, but the quality of the dining was well below the size of the check.

    We kept our Wednesday dinner reservation hoping that our Monday experience was an anomaly. Unfortunately, the service and the food were even worse on Wednesday. We canceled our Friday reservation.

  3. I’m really enjoying all of your thorough reviews and lovely pictures! We’ve been to disneyland countless times, but really love to research the food options and make a good plan. Thank you!!!!!!

  4. I want to take my 3 yr old daughter to ariels groto restaurant, she eats very little do i wanted to share my plate with her, my question is do they allow it? Also do they charge per person per plate or what? I heard they charge 50$ per person

  5. We just tried Carthay Circle last weekend and were very disappointed. We don’t drink alcohol and sometimes get bad service because the server realizes our bill will be less. But this was ridiculous! Our server was horrible! Its disappointing to spend over $60 per person and over two hours and walk away feeling like we wasted time and money!

    • I’m so sorry, Julie. I hope you let the restaurant know or Disneyland/California Adventure in general. We had fantastic service and it’s disheartening to hear you didn’t. Alcohol or not, fine dining or not, Disney usually delivers on service. I’d definitely let someone know if you haven’t already.

  6. I have a question about arielles grotto…we have reservations for lunch for character dining so does this mean we will not get WOC fast pass? AND then also, if I understand right they do offer WOC FP for dinner but is that without characters?
    Thanks!

    • It depends on what reservation you made. Call the dining line, Devin, to see what you reserved and make changes according to what you were hoping to achieve. Here is the phone number: (714) 781-DINE (3463) between 7:00 AM and 9:00 PM daily (Pacific Time).

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