In terms of food, I would argue that Disney’s California Adventure provides the best culinary options of the two parks. I know, it’s a BOLD claim. I love eating at Disneyland too, but in terms of options I just always find myself eating more at California Adventure. As such, here is a list of what I consider to be the best places to eat while you’re visiting.
Buena Vista Street
Fiddler, Fifer, and Practical Cafe
This is one of my favorite stops, usually for a little breakfast and an afternoon pick me up. It’s where the Starbucks is located but unlike the one on Main Street in Disneyland it actually has plentiful seating. So you can get your coffee and breakfast sandwich while you finalize your plan of action for the day. They usually have copies of the Buena Vista Bugle along the window seats so you can catch up on what’s happening a the park that season. It just has a great vintage Hollywood vibe.
Carthay Circle Restaurant and Lounge
Speaking of vintage Hollywood vibes, look no further than the Carthay Circle Restaurant and Lounge. It’s a bit pricey, so make sure you either saved up specifically to eat here and/or do the dining package for World of Color to make the price a little more justifiable. Either way, I think it’s definitely worth the price as I have yet to try anything I didn’t like. If you don’t want to pay for a whole meal then the lounge is a great option. You can just order a drink and a couple of appetizers while still getting to enjoy the ambiance.
Studio Catering Co. and the Hollywood Lounge
In Hollywood Land the only places to go really are Studio Catering Co. and the Hollywood Lounge. Studio has the taco options everyone loves to love, especially the pork belly ones during the fall season. The only downside to going to either of these is a lack of seating – literally a lack of chairs. There are standing tables sprinkled around the area but the last thing you want to do is stand and eat when you’re looking for a break in the excitement. The Hollywood Lounge just has drinks, so you’ll want to wander there after you’ve placed your taco order.
Yes Flo’s exists, but really the only place I’m interested in going is the Cozy Cone snack stands. They’ve got popcorn, churros, ice cream, chile con queso, pretzels and a bunch of frozen drinks that you can get with or without alcohol. My favorite things are the bacon mac and cheese, the cheddar garlic bagel twist, garlic parmesan popcorn, and the vodka and pomegranate limeade.
Pacific Wharf Cafe and Ghirardelli Soda Fountain and Chocolate Shop
I have to admit, I rarely eat here having lived near and gone to college in San Francisco. Not because they’re pale imitations or anything, but just because it’s all offerings I’m used to eating or having access to normally. Clam chowder in a bread bowl and Ghirardelli ice creams aren’t as enticing when I know I wouldn’t have to go far to get them in my everyday life. However, Boudin is a stop I’ll usually make when I’m with people for whom it’s not because I’m only human and I have a soft spot for it.
Also Ghirardelli ice cream is that good so I wouldn’t say no either.
Ariel’s Grotto was redesigned into the Lamplight Lounge when Paradise Pier was remade into Pixar Pier. I honestly think it’s better now than it was before, they even have cute coasters with sketches of your favorite Pixar characters that you can take with you if they aren’t too warped by your drink’s condensation (they’re cardboard). I’ve gotten their tuna poke the last couple of times I’ve gone and I always feel really full after. I’ve had the chicken sandwich as well, but it’s huge so be prepared.
Jack-Jack’s Cookie Num Nums
If you leave without one of these delicious, giant num nums why did you even go? I cannot stress enough how happy this cookie makes me.
Paradise Gardens Park
Paradise Garden Grill
I only eat here during the fall and winter holidays when it gets made over with Coco and Elena of Avalor themes. It’s where I go to get my Mexican food fix, the Al Pastor torta is excellent. I know I said before I don’t usually like to eat things I have easy access to in the everyday but I’m a sucker for al pastor anything. Off season the menu has things like sliders and meatball sandwiches.
Of all of the lands at California Adventure, this is probably the one I spend the least time in or at least the one I eat in most rarely. So I really don’t have any recommendations. There’s a restaurant next to Soarin’ that I think sells the usual burgers, pizza, etc. So if that’s what you like then I suggest heading there. I can only remember eating there once, way back when California Adventure first opened (is that dating myself? yikes) because my brother and sister were picky eaters and what kids say no to burgers and fries? I think that was back when McDonald’s was still being sold in the park (ok, now I’m really dating myself) so it was a guarantee win for my parents. Actually now that I think about it, maybe the McDonalds was down in the Pier/Paradise Gardens area….I don’t know I’m just rambling now.
Festival of Holidays/Food and Wine Festival
Ok guys, if you can get yourselves to California Adventure for one or both of these food festivals I HIGHLY recommend it. The food is delicious and the thrill of running from cart to cart looking for delectable treats is one I just cannot accurately describe. You just have to experience it for yourselves. I still think of the ghost pepper mac and cheese I had one time. It hurt me, but it was delicious. Oh and a chorizo queso fundido, my mouth is watering.
What are your favorite places to eat at California Adventure? Let me know in the comments below!
Featured Image via Pinterest, https://www.pinterest.com/pin/553168766725854354/
I'm a writer based in California. I received my Bachelor's and Master's in Literature from San Francisco State University. I dream of one day writing books of my own and maybe even being part of a writer's room for a show! I love to talk about pop culture, books, and travel to anyone willing to listen. Some of my favorite topics in those categories are "Avatar the Last Airbender", "Gilmore Girls", the works of J.R.R. Tolkien, Mexico, and Paris. My favorite thing in the world though is my dog, he's just the cutest!