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  • [Question] Downtown Disney Restaurants

    Ok.... here's our current plan for our DL trip in October.....

    We arrive on a Monday (late afternoon) and we already have reservations at Medieval Times in Buena Park for dinner that night.

    On Tuesday night, we already have reservations for the Carthay / WofC dinner package.

    On Wed night, we were considering dinner at the Rainforest Cafe in Downtown Disney, but have no reservations yet.

    On Thurs night, we were considering dinner at the ESPN Zone in Downtown Disney, but have no reservations yet. This will be a birthday night for one of us.

    Friday, we head back home.

    What are your opinions on the Rainforest Cafe and ESPN Zone? Would you suggest different restaurants for those 2 nites? I do think we'd like to stay in Downtown Disney, but it's not set in stone.

    Price isn't "too much" of a concern (but don't want to get too crazy), but we are two hungry men, ages 43 and 48.

    All your suggestions are greatly appreciated!!!



  • #2
    Re: Downtown Disney Restaurants

    If you're sans kids, I would choose ESPN over the Rainforest Cafe.

    Also, I really like Tortilla Joe's. Tortilla Jo's | Dining & Restaurants - Downtown Disney | Disneyland Resort

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    • #3
      Re: Downtown Disney Restaurants

      I love the Rainforest Cafe for its atmosphere, but in my opinion the food isn't that great and their prices are considerably high. I'd probably opt for ESPN myself. Also, what Stomper said. I've heard great reviews about Tortilla Jo's.

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      • #4
        Re: Downtown Disney Restaurants

        If you are two adults, I would recommend Catal. It is more upscale than the other restaurants there. Good food, and it is really fun in the evening to just relax on their patio overlooking Downtown Disney with a scotch.
        "Greetings, Starfighter! You have been recruited by the Star League to defend the Frontier against Xur and the Ko-Dan Armada."

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        • #5
          Re: Downtown Disney Restaurants

          ESPN Zone has good food, but it's pretty standard stuff. With Rainforest Cafe you're really paying for the atmosphere as opposed to great food. If that's what you want, great, but I'd personally seek out more interesting food than either restaurant offers.

          If you're willing to spend more, consider Napa Rose at the Grand Californian.
          My Micechat cruise trip report, Part 1:http://micechat.com/14795-disney-wonder/

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          • #6
            Re: Downtown Disney Restaurants

            Rainforest is good for the kids. I'm not sure where you're from but they have them throughout the country at big malls.
            ESPN is like Dave and Busters themed for sports. They have an arcade upstairs.
            I personally like the food at Ralph Brennan's Jazz Kitchen. The Pasta Jambalaya is amazing! They have bananas foster prepared right at your table. They have live music most nights.

            Call ahead the day of for a reservation (714) 781-DINE or (714) 781-3463
            With kind regards,
            The Tony

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            • #7
              Re: Downtown Disney Restaurants

              I think Rainforest cafe is kinda pricey

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              • #8
                Re: Downtown Disney Restaurants

                I'm watching this thread, as I'm also visiting in October and looking for some Downtown Disney locations that stay open a bit later and have good drinks.

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                • #9
                  Re: Downtown Disney Restaurants

                  Unless there's a sporting event you really want to catch, I'd skip both. ESPN has decent food, but it is sports bar food. The screening room side with the coaches is nice, but if there is a Lakers, Clippers, Ducks, or Kings game that day, it will be busy. You can walk around if you'd like to just see the early 2000s decor (Kobe & Shaq, Tiger Woods, NHL 2nite, etc.). Rainforest Cafe food isn't terrible, but it is nothing special either.

                  For two hungry guys, I'd recommend Steakhouse 55 at DLH. The steak I had there rivaled the steaks I had at the celebrity chef owned places in Las Vegas. I've yet to dine at Napa Rose, but I've only heard good things. In Downtown Disney I would have to say that Catal and even their UVA Bar is probably the best place to eat. I've been nothing but disappointed with the Italian place and have had mixed experiences at the Jazz Kitchen. There's so many good, authentic Mexican places in Orange County that Tortilla Jo's pales in comparison for me. House of Blues just redid their menu and I haven't tried the new menu. I've had good meals at other La Brea Bakerys, but I've only had the express side at Downtown Disney and I didn't like my sandwich.

                  You might also want to consider the Big Thunder BBQ inside Disneyland Park. About $20 for all you can eat BBQ and sides.

                  There are also several good options within walking distance at the GardenWalk or K'ya at Hotel Menage.

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                  • #10
                    Re: Downtown Disney Restaurants

                    Originally posted by Spongeocto4 View Post
                    I think Rainforest cafe is kinda pricey
                    Compared to what? I find their prices comparable to TGI Friday's but with better atmosphere.
                    "Greetings, Starfighter! You have been recruited by the Star League to defend the Frontier against Xur and the Ko-Dan Armada."

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                    • #11
                      Re: Downtown Disney Restaurants

                      Rainforest Cafe serves a nice breakfast. Breakfast is much less noisy (you can actually hear the sounds of the Rainforest instead of blaring music), much less crowded and unless you're pounding down the Mimosa's, it's also a lot cheaper than dinner.

                      I concur with those above who recommend Tortilla Joe's.....my favorite DTD restaurant.
                      Waiting for Godot Micechat.com

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                      • #12
                        Re: Downtown Disney Restaurants

                        After going to the Rainforest Cafe in March I will be staying away from them from now on. The wait times are too long (prepare to wait 1-2 hours), the food is overpriced, and you don't really get that great of food or service for what you pay for. The atmosphere is fun but it isn't worth the hassle, imo.
                        I have been to ESPN Zone twice and it is pretty decent and has a lot to offer in terms of atmosphere, but like others have said it is pretty standard with burgers and fries type meals. I also have an ESPN Zone about 25min from where I live so I usually pass it over for that reason.

                        I personally like Ralph Brennan's Jazz Kitchen. It isn't all that expensive and the food is real good.
                        Merrily on our way to nowhere at all.











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                        • #13
                          Re: Downtown Disney Restaurants

                          You may also like Bubba Gump's food.
                          It is about two or three times as far away as Rainforest, and in the opposite direction.

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                          • #14
                            Re: Downtown Disney Restaurants

                            Bubba Gump's is another overpriced place due to environment but their food is actually pretty good.
                            Merrily on our way to nowhere at all.











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                            • #15
                              Re: Downtown Disney Restaurants

                              Uva Bar next to Catal in DtD is fun. No reservations required, just walk up. The menu was recently revamped -- small plates, good burgers, great people watching. The bartenders are very friendly. Agree with the pp about the Jazz Kitchen. The popcorn shrimp and bananas foster are lots of fun. If you are willing to go off property, GardenWalk has Roy's (nice happy hour) and Cheesecake Factory (generous portions).

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                              • #16
                                Re: Downtown Disney Restaurants

                                Thanks for all your replies everyone!

                                You all really have me 2nd guessing my original choices. I'll have to check out all the menus again, with all your comments in mind. I don't think I'm interested in Big Thunder BBQ. I think we'd rather ride the rides until closing then go to dinner, rather than spending the last hour or so eating.

                                We do love Mexican Food and a giant Margarita or six :thumbup: Perhaps Tortilla Joes?

                                Also... I did see Lobster Mac n Cheese on the House of Blues menu. Sounds awesome. Has anyone tried this? How is the portion size?

                                Hmm? Decisions Decisions.


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                                • #17
                                  Re: Downtown Disney Restaurants

                                  Go for Ralph Brennan's Jazz Cafe... the food is amazing. Tortila Joes is a hack job of a mexican restaurant.

                                  Rain Forest is fun for kids..but the food is blah....If you don't mind a walk PF Changs @ Gardenwalk is always great

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                                  • #18
                                    Re: Downtown Disney Restaurants

                                    Originally posted by produceguy View Post
                                    Thanks for all your replies everyone!

                                    You all really have me 2nd guessing my original choices. I'll have to check out all the menus again, with all your comments in mind. I don't think I'm interested in Big Thunder BBQ. I think we'd rather ride the rides until closing then go to dinner, rather than spending the last hour or so eating.

                                    We do love Mexican Food and a giant Margarita or six :thumbup: Perhaps Tortilla Joes?

                                    Also... I did see Lobster Mac n Cheese on the House of Blues menu. Sounds awesome. Has anyone tried this? How is the portion size?

                                    Hmm? Decisions Decisions.
                                    Not sure where you are from and if you maybe want to stay disney or disney area. But we really like bayside restaurant, cannery or blue water grill. Bluewater has a nice view of the marina. They are all newport beach restaurants.

                                    If you arent as concerned about atmosphere try boiling crab (there are multiple locations), they have cajun style seafood that is totally awesome (can read on yelp). But the wait times can be long.

                                    Finally there is a hole in the wall place japanese bbq place (cook your own food on a grill) where you can get kobe beef short ribs that are completely phenomenal. the place is called tsuruhashi. It is in a strip mall and the ambience is very plain, but the food is amazing (get the kobe beef short ribs only and maybe seafood/veggies).

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                                    • #19
                                      Re: Downtown Disney Restaurants

                                      We are from Idaho.

                                      We'd really like to eat in DTD.

                                      We have a PF Changs here (which we love), and lots of Mongolian BBQ's. We also figure we can do burgers and sandwiches anytime.

                                      Seems many of you either really like Tortilla Jo's or really dislike it.

                                      All I know right now, is that I can't decide.... and I'm hungry!


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                                      • #20
                                        Re: Downtown Disney Restaurants

                                        Ok.... I think we've decided. One night Jazz Kitchen and one night at House of Blues. Unless you guys change our minds again )


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