When you are spending a day at the Disneyland Resort, it can be hard to stop and sit down for a nice meal. With so much to see and do, you may feel the urge to press on, but I highly recommend checking out some of the best table-service restaurants at Disney California Adventure. Dining offers you a chance to relax, rest your feet and cool off with either air conditioning or a refreshing drink. Plus, we think some of the best food at Disneyland can be found at Disney California Adventure!
It is a lot of work keeping the family organized and making sure everyone’s needs are met, but you have to take care of yourself, too. That’s why I always make some reservations at several table-service restaurants at Disney California Adventure (and in Disneyland, too). When we sit and dine, we find that we get enough rest and energy to hop though a few more hours in the park. Plus, each restaurant offers a completely different way to experience California without leaving the park.
Best Table-Service Restaurants at Disney California Adventure
Step into Historic Hollywood at Carthay Circle
One of my favorite table-service restaurants at California Adventure is Carthay Circle. It is easy to miss this gem near the entrance to the park. If we don’t have reservations to eat there and can’t get in, it is also fun to relax in the Carthay Circle Lounge and order delicious bar bites. Even though kid fare is not on the lounge menu, they have some secrets they can pull out for young tadpoles like Lily, keeping everyone happy. There are also dining packages you can book for World of Color and Frozen — Live at the Hyperion through Disney Dining Reservations.
You can order some fun adult cocktails, but the best part about Carthay Circle is that you forget that you are in an amusement park for a while. The crowds and heat stay outside and you enter another era: Hollywood’s Golden Age. The restaurant is designed after a glamorous theatre built in 1926. When you are done eating, surprise! Disney is right outside the door and ready for you to take it back on.
We've had the opportunity to dine on the patio of Carthay Circle. That seating offers you a chance to dine in style, but with an ear for the hustle and bustle of entertainment in the theme park below. As it turns out, we had the patio to ourselves, which was fun! It's a little less-glamorous than dining inside. However, it's a great option for families with busy tadpoles who might find the inside too quiet for their family. Plus, rumor has it that the patio has a fantastic view of the Disneyland fireworks for late diners at 9:30 p.m.
Dine at a Tuscan Villa at Wine Country Trattoria
Wine Country Trattoria serves lunch and dinner in an outdoor patio setting. They offer more than 25 wines by the glass. That assures that you will find the perfect one to complement your food. This location offers dining packages for reserved viewing areas for World of Color.
Just to the right of the Wine Country Trattoria check-in area is a staircase that leads you to the next stop on our culinary journey.
Try Bites and Drinks on an Elevated Outdoor Patio at Alfresco Tasting Terrace (now reserved for Annual Passholders and their guests)
When Leap and I are having a date night (or day!) in the park, we like to park ourselves at the Alfresco Tasting Terrace to enjoy the views of Cars Land and the food and wine/cocktails. Be aware that this cozy, elevated restaurant is now reserved just for annual passholders and their guests, so you'll need to find an annual passholder buddy to take you. You just need one pass per group. This dining and lounge experience features five new signature cocktails. Each one is inspired by the history of Disney California Adventure.
The food bites are toadally tasty. From flatbreads to meatballs to bruschetta to a yummy chicken Caesar piadina to a charcuterie and cheese board, you'll find plenty to fill you up. You can definitely bring your children with you. However, we like to save this table-service restaurant for nights when the kids are busy with their own fun.
Chill at the Water's Edge at the Lamplight Lounge
The Lampight Lounge is located on the former locations of the Cove Bar and Ariel's Grotto. The upstairs outside bar area offers fun drinks and bar bites, or "shorts", to share.
The downstairs dining area offers a full menu with "Bites" and "Bigger Bites" (entrees). You can also hop in for brunch on Friday, Saturday or Sunday. Downstairs has both indoor and outdoor seating.
The restaurant takes both reservations and walk-ins. This family-friendly gastropub is located at the entrance to Pixar Pier. It has great views of the water, fun cocktails, creative nonalcoholic mocktails and tasty eats. Share some lobster nachos, tuna poke or tasty crispy piggy wings. Or, dip into the bigger bites. Those include salads, sandwiches, a salmon PLT, a cheddar burger or ratatouille. You also find a kids' menu and plant-based options available upon request.
The Lamplight Lounge pays homage to the artists who inspired the Pixar films we love so much, with sketches and artwork to enjoy as you dine. You can't beat the view from the Lamplight Lounge! Here's a hop tip: Lamplight Lounge usually closes before the World of Color begins, but if you have a late seating outdoors at night, you might be able to stay in place to watch the show.
Whenever we visit Disneyland, we like to plan at least one meal out at one of these table-service restaurants at Disney California Adventure. If you are considering the Lamplight Lounge, Wine Country Trattoria, Carthay Circle’s dining room or any of the dining packages, make a reservation. Keep in mind that there are also many great California Adventure quick-service restaurants to choose from for when you don’t have time to stop ... but it’s definitely worth taking the time to try some of the table-service restaurants! You do so much to take care of the family. Let somebody take care of you, even if it is just for one meal.