Tuesday, April 08, 2014

Carthay Circle - Disney California Adventure - Anaheim

There was a time when California Adventure couldn't get any respect. When it first opened, it was the park that Roy Disney, nephew of Walt, criticized as being built-on-the-cheap. Even The Simpsons lambasted it. And you know you're on the wrong side of history when you are ridiculed by Homer Simpson. But with a new CEO and Pixar's John Lasseter leading the charge, DCA has had a rebirth. The attractions got better, and the restaurants, well, they've become attractions.

The e-ticket restaurant here is Carthay Circle, a brand new tower of a building that was erected in the spot where a giant sun sculpture previously did nothing.

Not counting Club 33, this is, without a doubt, the best restaurant inside either of the theme parks. You dine upstairs in a gilded rotunda room and its few hidden tributaries, the space designed to look like a Golden Age Hollywood steakhouse in Walt Disney's day. Your fellow diners are likely to be dressed in suits, ties and nice dresses, not in Mickey Mouse t-shirts.

And the food is done under the direction of Andrew Sutton, the current chef of Napa Rose (which is technically not in a theme park). As such, you will feast on steak cooked exactingly over pan sauce. A hunk of pork chop will be flavored deeply, sweet as it is moist, served with pears roasted with thyme and au jus. Salad will be composed of French radish, garden peas, shaved fennel, showered with parmesan over a bed of frisee and radicchio. Desserts like a warm apple pecan pound cake and chocolate mousse will look like art, the latter decorated with crunchy pearls--an extra touch of Disney magic.

And of course, wine is served here, because every kid who loves Disneyland and was content on corn dogs and Coke all eventually grow up. Thankfully Disney California Adventure has grown up too.

Carthay Circle
Disney's California Adventure
1313 S Disneyland Dr
Anaheim, CA 92802
(714) 781-3463

Samurai Burrito - Fountain Valley


At 2:07 PM, Anonymous dee said...

Went there for the World of Color package and food was very good! Hubby ordered burger which was huge and juicy, I ordered the steak salad and it was a bit spicy but also cooked very well. The dessert was the best part though, there were so much food we had to take mine home (it was the chocolate cake). Hubby and I both wanted it but alas father in law got to it first. I

At 7:24 PM, Blogger elmomonster said...


Actually we did the World of Color Package too! I didn't mention it in the review, but what did you think of the seating (or lack thereof)? I thought the special Carthay Circle section was, well, not that special--it was as far back as the general area, and we were craning our necks above the hundreds of heads who were way in front of us. Though the food was great, we were deciding whether the Package upcharge was worth it...we concluded: no.

What did you think?

At 9:01 PM, Blogger Greg Hao said...

ugh. so, like club 33, i gotta pony up the cash to get into california adventure just to eat here?

are some of the food available at napa rose, or at least similar choices? (incidentally a restaurant that i quite like.)

At 6:52 AM, Blogger elmomonster said...


Napa Rose is still the better restaurant. I think Sutton is actually there, whereas this restaurant he's there in spirit (unless there's some sort of underground tunnel that connects this one to Napa Rose or they figured out cloning).

BTW, Disneyland used to offer a 2-hour shopping pass which allows you into the park for free so that you can eat and do shopping (you surrender your credit card number with the ticket booth so that if you stay longer than that you get charged for the full day), but I think they discontinued that.

But in any case, this place is best for peeps who have annual passports more than anything.

You're still better off with Napa Rose (which is why I qualified this post as saying that Carthay Circle is the best restaurant "inside" the theme park!)

At 1:15 PM, Blogger ChristianZ said...

I keep meaning to go to at least try their tacos, but I think that's a kid's menu item.

At 2:22 PM, Blogger elmomonster said...


With that said. Carthay is actually slightly cheaper than Napa Rose; and if you can believe it, also prettier!

At 2:24 PM, Blogger elmomonster said...


Hmm...yes, I think you're right. But if it's good, that wouldn't stop me! I have no shame!

At 2:59 PM, Anonymous dee said...

We got really good area to view the World of Color, it is separated from the other restaurants that have the package (Ariel's Grotto and Wine Country Trattoria). Carthay Circle's reserved area is more center I think. Since there are no seating for World of Color it depends on whether you have really tall people in front of you or not, lol.
I did a calculation on how much we would spend if we ordered the food vs going with the package and I think we made out a bit since we picked lunch.

At 3:04 PM, Anonymous Dee said...

Oh BTW, I also prefer Napa Rose better although I didn't have a good experience at the Chef's Table. Chef Sutton was there but he didn't come over to customized our menu (I don't even remember him coming over to talk to us). We love the food though and have taken our family there as well.


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