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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. It offers you a chance to relax, rest your feet, and cool off with either air conditioning or a refreshing drink.
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
My favorite table service restaurant at California Adventure is Carthay Circle. It is easy to miss this gem right on the trolley route 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. Rumor has it that the dining room patio has a fantastic view of the Disneyland fireworks for late diners at 9:30 p.m. There are also World of Color dining packages you can book 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.
Join Your Favorite Characters at Ariel’s Grotto
Frog Family's Note: Ariel's Grotto is currently under refurbishment during the transformation of Paradise Pier into Pixar Pier. You can see all Disneyland refurbishments here.
Our favorite family-friendly table service restaurant at California Adventure that guarantees entertainment for Tad and Lily is Ariel’s Grotto. Guests may join Ariel and other princesses for breakfast, lunch or dinner. The menu has choices from the sea or mainland, but prices do range from about $30 to $60. You can sit inside or out.
Travel to Wine Country at Alfresco Tasting Terrace
When Leap and I are having a date night in the park, we like to park ourselves at the Alfresco Tasting Terrace to enjoy the view and the food/wine. You can sample wine flights and nosh on some appetizers like a charcuterie and cheese board, rustic bruschetta, beef tenderloin sliders, and some other Italian treats that won’t break the bank. While you can definitely bring your children with you, we like to save this table service restaurant for nights when the kids are busy with their own fun.
Chill at the Coast at the Cove Bar
Frog Family's Note: The Cove Bar is currently under refurbishment during the transformation of Paradise Pier into Pixar Pier. You can see all Disneyland refurbishments here.
The Cove Bar is a family-friendly outside bar on Paradise Pier (behind Ariel’s Grotto). You feel like you are dining on a boardwalk at the coast. Share some lobster nachos, flatbreads, or tri-tip sliders for a fun snack. There are refreshing cocktails for the adults. It’s your vacation, too!
Whenever we visit Disneyland, we like to plan at least one night out of these table service restaurants at Disney California Adventure. If you are considering Ariel’s Grotto or Carthay Circle’s Dining room, 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.