During the pandemic, we’ve had a lot more opportunities to dine at the Downtown Disney District than we had when we were filling our frog bellies with theme park yummies. The shopping and dining area offers a number of table-service restaurants as well as quick-service dining. With the theme parks and hotels being closed, Downtown Disney has become our destination rather than a path on the journey of getting to or from Disneyland or Disney California Adventure. Whether Downtown Disney is your final destination or a place to eat on your way to and from the theme parks once they reopen, use our hoppin' guide to dining at Downtown Disney to help you choose a restaurant.
If you're looking to plan your visit, check out our guide to Downtown Disney that includes insider tips and info. Once the Disneyland hotels reopen, Downtown Disney is just a short hop away for dining and entertainment.
We have hoppy news to share. Even though we no longer have free access to Buena Vista Street shops and restaurants during our Downtown Disney visits, there's a new ticketed food and beverage event hoppening inside Disney California Adventure. A Touch of Disney takes place select days March 18 through April 19. Tickets go on sale March 4. Hop over to our post on A Touch of Disney for all the yummy details.
Table-Service Restaurants at Downtown Disney
One thing is certain: It’s best to make reservations before dining at Downtown Disney restaurants. While the table-service restaurants accept walk-ins, at popular times, you’ll make life easier if you have a reservation. In fact, if parking at Simba Lot is full, you can show the police your reservation and they’ll let you in. If there’s a long line to get your temperature checked and get through security as your reservation time approaches, show a cast member proof of your dining reservation that’s in the next 15 minutes and you’ll skip the line. Most table-service restaurants at Downtown Disney open at 11 a.m. (although a few open a little earlier for brunch) while the theme parks are closed.
What is the best restaurant at Downtown Disney? It depends on what you are looking for. Each offers something different (and delicious, we may add). Dining is primarily outside at this time, with additional tables on patios with physical distancing in place between parties. Menus are available online (rather than a physical menu to handle) and plexiglass partitions are installed where people cannot easily distance from each other or employees. Take a look at the theming and menus of each location to decide what your family will most enjoy. All of the menus are available on the Disneyland app. Check them out ahead of time, especially since menus are more limited these days.
Ralph Brennan’s Jazz Kitchen
Take a culinary trip to New Orleans without leaving California. Dine on Creole and Cajun specialties (and all that jazz). You'll find French Quarter fare, such as gumbo ya-ya, Southern fried chicken, shrimp and grits (yum!) and pasta jambalaya. Don't worry — they have burgers, salads and familiar, kid-friendly favorites as well. In normal times, the restaurant is open for brunch, but currently, it’s lunch or dinner, with a limited menu. Look for holiday offerings and be sure to hop by for Mardi Gras on Fat Tuesday. Try some themed drinks any day of the year. The tadpoles love the nonalcoholic mint julep. Don't skip dessert! Beignets are calling your name. You can make your reservations through the Disneyland app or site, but otherwise, Ralph Brennan's accepts walk-ins. Call (714) 776-5200 for updates on daily operations and estimated wait times.
Uva Bar & Cafe
Sit right in the middle of the action at this outdoor patio bar-restaurant. Uva serves lunch and dinner (but has served breakfast in the past). You'll have many dishes to choose from, including tapas, burgers, salads and fish tacos with garlic fries or sweet potato fries. Each dish pairs perfectly with Uva Bar's extensive list of wine, beer, cocktails or even a root beer float. Uva Bar is the more casual sister bar/restaurant to Catal. You can make reservations through the Disneyland app or site, but call for same-day reservations at (714) 774-4442.
Happy Hour is Monday through Friday from 2 to 6 p.m. Breakfast has returned Saturdays and Sundays. You can add a mimosa flight or build your own mimosa!
Catal (open for dinner as of May 6)
Catal is the main restaurant for Uva Bar & Cafe. If you're feeling like a fancy frog and looking for fine dining during a normal time when it reopens, Catal offers modern Mediterranean food in their upstairs airy dining room. There is limited indoor dining downstairs. Catal is usually open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Lunch offers more casual dining, while dinner is more elegant. However, there is no dress code, so casual attire is appropriate. On some nights, you can catch a glimpse of the Disneyland fireworks from the patio. You can access reservations through Disneyland app or the restaurant’s site.
Ballast Point Brewing Co.
Ballast Point is the newest table-service restaurant at Downtown Disney. This one has a view from its upstairs patio. The research and development brewery has a three-barrel brewing rig and a selection of craft beers on tap. Hop in for brunch on Saturday or Sunday (from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.) or lunch and dinner at other times. Share a Bavarian pretzel, wings or fries with friends while you sip your beer, or go for a salad or burger. The kids menu has many great choices. You can make a reservation online here.
Naples Ristorante e Bar
Naples recently underwent a renovation and has a new, fresh look with a gorgeous expanded patio dining area and bar. It makes you want to sit down and chill out with a nice mocktail, Italian soda or maybe even something a little stronger from the impressive bar! Naples still serves up Italian food and wood-fired pizza, including some tasty new menu items to go with the new look. Share some appetizers or get started on salad before digging into the hearty entrees such as lasagna, house-made gnocchi, spaghetti or pizza. Save some room for gelato or New York cheesecake! You can reserve through the Disneyland app or site. For same-day reservations, contact the restaurant at (714) 776-6200.
Take a trip south of the border. Start out with guacamole or some loaded nachos before digging into street tacos, salads, enchiladas or especiales de la casa such as fajitas or carnitas. It was open for brunch previously (chilaquiles anyone?), but for now, it’s lunch or dinner. Your food will go nicely with a margarita, Mexican beer or a flight to taste three of the hundreds of types of tequila from the bar. You can make reservations through the Disneyland app and site, but for same-day reservations, contact the restaurant directly at (714) 535-5000.
La Brea Bakery Cafe
Known for its many varieties of freshly baked bread, La Brea Bakery Cafe serves brunch from 10:30 a.m. until 3:55 p.m. (may we recommend the avocado toast?), and offers tasty dinner plates beginning at 4 p.m. La Brea is the closest restaurant to the theme parks and is worth the short hop over. Salad- and sandwich-eaters have many choices here. You can even get your blueberry buttermilk pancakes or brioche French toast well into the afternoon. You can reserve through the Disneyland app or site, or La Brea accepts walk-ins.
Operations are modified slightly during COVID-19. It's kind of a blend between a table-service and quick-service restaurant. You can order at the counter, then you sit down and a server brings your food to your table. Alternatively, you can place a Mobile Order through your phone.
Splitsville is an eclectic restaurant and entertainment spot where you will find indoor/outdoor seating either at a bowling lane or at a table. You can enjoy hand-tossed pizzas, gourmet burgers, filet sliders, grilled avocado and ahi tuna, or even sushi. They have healthy options you’ll actually want to eat. The tadpoles will enjoy pizza, grilled cheese or chicken tenders while you can dig into something a little more adventurous such as short ribs or veggie bowls. Catch a game on the flat-screen TVs, or bowl a few games. There is something for everyone in this huge and unique dining space. You can reserve (when open) through the Disneyland app or site.
Quick-Service Downtown Disney Restaurants (Including Places to Get Tasty Treats)
If you are looking for a quick meal, snack or dessert, hop by these quick-service Downtown Disney restaurants, snack shops and kiosks. There is a strict face-covering rule at Downtown Disney (and you'll still need to mask up after receiving the COVID-19 vaccine). You may remove your mask once seated in a restaurant. If you are taking food to-go or from a stand without a dining area, you may remove your mask to eat food once you are seated on a bench or stationary and safely distanced from others.
Jamba (Mobile Order available)
For a smoothie or energy bowl on the go, hop into Jamba. Get the kids to drink their greens for a nutritious start to their day.
When you need to build your own personal pizza with a variety of toppings, then hop into the newly renovated Napolini pizzeria to design your own pie. They also offer fresh grab-and-go sandwiches, salads and desserts.
You can get your caffeine fix at the Starbucks near World of Disney. Take it to-go or sip it on the outdoor patio while doing some great frog (or people) watching. What’s better than one Starbucks location at Downtown Disney? TWO Starbucks locations! The second, smaller Starbucks West location is closer to the LEGO store.
Taqueria at Tortilla Jo's
Build your custom taco at this colorful outdoor patio in front of Tortilla Jo's. Add a margarita or Mexican beer to sip while you dine. At breakfast, feast on one of several breakfast burritos or entrees.
Ralph Brennan's Jazz Kitchen Express (Mobile Order available)
The Jazz Kitchen is one of our favorite stops for snacks such as New Orleans Beignets. They are so popular, it's about all they offer in their limited menu at this time!
Earl of Sandwich
Fans of inexpensive and tasty food (who isn’t?) make a habit of hopping by Earl of Sandwich. You can get hot sandwiches and kid-friendly options at this location near the Disneyland Hotel.
Black Tap Craft Burgers and Beer
Black Tap serves up burgers and signature, over-the-top CrazyShake milkshakes with a fabulous fusion of luncheonette-style food, beverages and old-school hip hop music! Order at the counter and take a seat on the patio. Choose from fried pickles, crispy Brussels sprouts, wings, burgers and fries. Wash it down with a craft beer. Even though this is a quick-service dining location, if you sit at the bar (during normal times), you can order there and be served. It's a good way to skip the order line. Or, if you just want a CrazyShake to-go, order at the CrazyShake Window for faster service.
Sprinkles (Mobile Order available - Temporarily closed)
If gourmet cupcakes are your thing, then Sprinkles cupcakes and cookies might hit the sweet spot. Lily loves this place!
Enjoy a fresh-baked flavored pretzel or pretzel dog with the appropriate dip, of course. Whether you go for the sinful cinnamon, cheese meltdown or pepperoni twist pretzel, be sure to wash it down with some fresh or frozen strawberry lemonade.
Marceline's is technically not a restaurant, but it's the place to get yummy treats. It's no secret that we love Disneyland caramel apples. We have a whole post about them. You can get all the caramel apples, crispy treats, Mickey cookies and other freshly made treats (such as the addictive churro toffee or holiday goodies) you'll find in the parks in Downtown Disney at Marceline's Confectionery. This is a great stop to hit on the way home, so you can take some time to enjoy your treats. Definitely join the Mobile Wait List as soon as you arrive at Downtown Disney, because the mobile wait frequently hits two to three hours! You can shop and dine while you wait your turn.
Salt & Straw (Mobile Order available)
Salt & Straw is handmade, organic ice cream. The flavors are creative, especially the monthly holiday flavors. Classics include honey lavender, strawberry honey balsamic with black pepper, chocolate gooey brownie, freckled mint chip (vegan) and others. You might think that the vegan flavors can’t possibly rival their dairy-rich counterparts, but you’d be wrong. They’re delicious. We tried all of the vegan and gluten-free flavors, too, and loved them as much (and possibly more) than the other flavors we tried.
Hop tip: Get a double scoop and share. A single scoop is $6 but a second scoop is $2. If you really can’t decide, ask for split scoops for an additional 50 cents. It's so hard to choose now that we cannot get samples these days due to COVID-19.
Kiosks with Food
- Kayla’s Cakes
- Wetzel’s Diggity Dog
- Blue Ribbon Corn Dogs
- California Churro
Closed Quick-Service Restaurants at Downtown Disney
The following quick-service locations are temporarily closed.
La Brea Bakery Express (but La Brea Bakery Cafe is open)
The counter and registers are being used for people ordering for La Brea Bakery. In normal times, this is your stop for breakfast snacks before entering the park. For lunch or dinner, you can get sandwiches made on fresh-baked bread. They also offer satisfying soups in a bread bowl, salads and even personal pizzas. They have an outdoor patio so you can relax and eat. Did you know about their Black Market gelato, sorbet scoops and push pops? Well, now you do. You're welcome. Ribbit!
Do you have an upcoming visit to Downtown Disney at Disneyland? If you need a hotel for your visit, your froggy friends can help you find a hopping deal at one of the hotels near Disneyland. For the latest information and what to expect at Disneyland Resort, hop over to our Disneyland reopening post.
Related: Our ∼Frogtastic∼ Guide to Cruising into Trader Sam's Enchanted Tiki Bar at Disneyland (Seriously, it's right next to Downtown Disney and not to be missed once it reopens!)