During my recent trip to Disneyland, I thought I would check out some restaurants that I’ve never tried before. One such place was Café Orleans, located in New Orleans Square in Disneyland Park. I, like so many other Disneyland visitors, have always opted to dine at Blue Bayou. Often touted as the best restaurant in Disneyland, how could I possibly go anywhere else? But on this vacation, I decided to expand my horizons and try something different, but similar to my old favorite.
Knowing that Café Orleans is another fan favorite, I planned ahead and booked a reservation for lunch about a month in advance. I was surprised at how easily I was able to get a reservation, because I’m used the Walt Disney World scramble at 180 days out. The morning of my lunch, I walked over to Disneyland to spend some time exploring New Orleans Square. Café Orleans is located in the heart of New Orleans Square between Pirates of the Caribbean and Haunted Mansion with gorgeous views of the Rivers of America from the quaint outdoor patio. I had just enough time to enjoy the classic must-do attractions, explore the shops, find the hidden entrance to the famous Club 33, and chat with my favorite pirate Captain Jack Sparrow before checking in for my reservation.
Despite the low crowd levels in the park that day, Café Orleans was incredibly busy. There were dozens of guests roaming about waiting their turn to be seated. I grabbed a spot on a nearby bench in the middle of the action to wait. Within about 15 minutes my name was called and I was promptly seated at a table near the corner of the patio.
My friendly server greeted me and began by taking my drink and appetizer order. Anyone who knows me well, knows that my favorite food are French fries, so there was no way I was going to leave without trying the legendary Pommes Frites. As busy as the restaurant was, I didn’t have to wait long for them to arrive, and they were everything that I had been dreaming about. The simple fried potatoes were delivered piping hot, crispy on the outside, fluffy on the inside, and sprinkled with a salty blend of garlic, parsley and parmesan. They were served alongside a smooth and creamy Cajun spice remoulade that was reminiscent of the dipping sauce you get with a fried onion at other restaurants. After a busy morning of touring, I was starving and dug right in while placing my order for the well-known Monte Cristo Sandwich. Honestly, I could have made a meal out of the fries alone, but I had to stop myself to wait for my entrée to arrive.
Soon after my server brought my Monte Cristo to the table, and I stared at it for a moment wondering to myself how on earth would I ever be able to eat even a quarter of it. The sandwich was huge, and I was wishing I had cut myself off sooner from those addictively delicious Pommes Frites. But nonetheless I took my first bite, and it was heaven. For those of you that have never had the pleasure, the Monte Cristo is a battered and deep fried turkey, ham, and Swiss sandwich that is lightly dusted with powdered sugar. It arrives with an incredibly sweet berry puree that when spread on the Monte Cristo helps to cut some of the richness, and makes it feel a bit less likely that you’ll have a heart attack on the spot. Just as I had suspected, I was only able to conquer a quarter of the sandwich, before I was ready to move on to dessert.
Café Orleans, aside from its Pommes Frites and Monte Cristo, is best known for its Mickey Mouse shaped Beignets. But at this point, I wasn’t sure my heart could take much more fried food so I opted for the sweeter Coconut Cake and an Espresso to recharge me for my afternoon in the park. The Coconut Cake did not disappoint and was a perfect way to end the heavy meal with its light vanilla cake, sweet coconut cream, and crunchy toasted coconut. Plus the Espresso, said to be one of Walt’s favorites, had just the right kick to pep me up and get me ready for a busy afternoon of touring.
Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed my lunch at Café Orleans, and found it to be a fantastic alternative to the more expensive and more difficult to reserve Blue Bayou.
Café Orleans Basics
Location: New Orleans Square in Disneyland Park
Hours: Open seven days a week, usually 11:30 am until 8:00 pm or later
Serves: Lunch and Dinner
Price Range: Moderate $16– $21 Per Adult
Style: Table Service, Patio and Indoor Seating
Dress Code: Casual
Family Friendly: Yes
Reservations: Highly Recommended, can be made up to 60 days in advance online or by calling 714-781-DINE (daily between the hours of 7:00 am and 9:00 pm Pacific Time).
Discounts: For Disneyland Annual Passholders and DVC Members