The Best Restaurants in Downtown Disney, Anaheim
Sometimes even the biggest Disneyphile needs a break — a break from the crowds, a break from the long lines, and a break from the heat. I know I do. Early on I learned firsthand that long days at Disney with kids are wonderful, but sometimes you just need to stop, regroup and recharge.
I suggest having a game plan for your next family vacation to visit the Mouse at DLand, or at least become familiar with some of the best restaurants in the neighboring Downtown Disney district so that you have options. Eating inside the parks is not always the wisest decision.
The World of Downtown Disney
Some of the best Disney magic happens just steps from the entrance of the Disneyland and Disney’s California Adventure theme parks in Anaheim, CA. Downtown Disney is our favorite place to head morning, noon or night whether it be for a quick bite, souvenir collecting, or just some well-needed downtime. Did someone say, “Happy Hour?”
Many visitors don’t realize that Downtown Disney is the home to some of the biggest culinary names in Orange County. This information alone makes it very hard to narrow down the selection to just a few key restaurants. Italian, Mexican and California-American cuisine is just the tip of the Matterhorn when it comes to the many dining options in the Downtown Disney district.
Where to Eat in Downtown Disney?
Before the parks open, do yourself a solid and stop by Ralph Brennan’s Jazz Kitchen for some New Orleans beignets. These French-style donuts dusted with powdered sugar are made fresh throughout the day and taste delicious.
Tip: They also have a non-alcoholic Mint Julep (spearmint lemonade) that hits the spot on hot afternoons.
As you disembark the tram, it’s nearly impossible to ignore the aroma of fresh baked breads filling the air thanks to La Brea Bakery Cafe. Known for their artisanal sandwiches and California cuisine, this last stop before the parks is perfect regardless if you get it to go or opt for table service.
Tip: Do your best to resisting giving into your “carb-fix” until lunchtime. The brunch menu is well worth the wait.
Catal Restaurant is not only my favorite dining destination inside Downtown Disney, but very well might be our favorite spot in all of Anaheim! This signature steakhouse serves farm fresh seasonal specialties inspired by Mediterranean cuisine. Nothing on the menu disappoints.
Tip: Make an 8:30 pm reservation for a late dinner and request to eat outside on the balcony. Your party will have a front row seat to watch the Disneyland fireworks during dessert.
Happy Hour starts early at the House of Blues, now located outside of Downtown Disney on the other side of the parks. As in 2 pm early, but that’s not the only reason to visit this Anaheim staple. The voodoo shrimp appetizers and slow-smoked pulled pork go very nicely with the selection of signature cocktails.
Tip: Make sure to see what big names are playing the HOB venue. It’s a great place to see your favorite bands live.
Finally, a great spot for everyone in your family is Rainforest Cafe Downtown Disney. What a fun place! You’ll find plenty to look at and a great menu to satisfy even the most discerning (read: picky) palates.
Tip: Go early and not too hungry. This is quite the popular spot so it’s not uncommon for it to get quite busy during the lunch and dinner rush.
During high-season, make sure to call (714) 781-DINE to secure reservations at your favorite Disney restaurants. Otherwise you can bet your zip-a-dee-doo-dah you won’t be able to get a table due to other park goers.
Conveniently located just steps away from both Disney theme parks and Hilton Anaheim, the Downtown Disney district does not require tickets, offers free parking for up to four hours (with validation), and also has great stores like LEGO, Build-A-Bear, and Sanuk and a 12-theater AMC multiplex.
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Know Before You Go
- John Wayne Airport is the nearest airport to Anaheim.
- If you’re looking for a family-friendly beach, Huntington Beach is the way to go.
- For beach bonfires, local supermarkets sell wood and lighter fluid.
- At theDisneyland® Resort, Oga’s Cantina in Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge is the only location that sells alcohol.