Carthay Circle is located fairly close to the front of California Adventure. You do need an admission to the park in order to access this restaurant which is basically in the square at the end of the main road from the entrance. This was actually our second time visiting. I remember the first time being fairly underwhelming, so I felt it was wasteful to even spend the time to document it. This time around, my partner wanted to check this out again. As usual, you have to make sure you get reservations way ahead of arrival, or else there’s a sketchy wait time. For this, I lowered my expectations greatly, so let’s see how it went.
Ambiance & Service
The decor was surrounded in nostalgic Art Deco surroundings, and takes you back in time a bit.
From the Carthay Circle restaurant site:
Carthay Circle Restaurant occupies the second floor of a meticulous reproduction of the iconic Carthay Circle Theatre in Los Angeles. The original Carthay Circle Theatre—built in 1926—was one of the great movie palaces of Hollywood’s golden age and it played a pivotal role in Walt Disney’s life. His first feature-length film, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, premiered there in 1937, and in 1941 groundbreaking stereophonic “Fantasound” was installed for the West Coast premiere of Fantasia.
The design and décor reflects the romance and glamour of that bygone era with rare artifacts and references to the early Disney era. Peruse Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs Courvoisier cels—the only animated art ever to hang in Walt Disney’s home—and the charming pastoral scene from the movie painted on the ceiling of the main dining room.
Despite the older feel for it, the service was attentive and fast.
The Wildberry Lemonade ($6.50) came with all natural lemonade with flavors of blackberry, strawberry, raspberry, and blueberry with a spritz of purified sparkling water. This was decent, albeit a bit sweet for me.
The Crispy Gochujang Fried Shrimp ($26) came with spicy cucumber salad, hajiki, and yuzu-tahini vinaigrette. This wasn’t very good, and I’d skip it unless you really desire fried shrimp bathed in American made gochujang. The shrimp was crispy, but the sauce was a bit too sweet with a lot of imbalances in the gochujang flavors.
The Warm Cheddar Parker House Rolls ($14) came with calabrian chili-pine nut romesco butter. The bread rolls were good, but not for the price we paid.
THe Roasted Rocky’s Free-range Chicken ($46) came with grilled artichokes, spring garlic, and red fresno chimichurri. The chicken was quite good and tender since it was sous vide. However, some parts of it did not cook all the way to the bone.
The Maple Leaf Duck Breast ($48) came with multi grain pilaf, cashews, trumpet mushrooms, and cherry coulis. The duck breast was surprisingly very tender, and the flavors of the sauce adn coulis were balanced.
The Signature Thick Cut Pork Chop ($48) came with green garbanzo beans, spring onions, bacon lardons, and tangerine. The pork chop was surprisingly very tender, and had good flavors with all its condiments.
The Sautéed Haricot Verts ($14) came with sesame seeds, garlic, scallions, and yuzu kosho aioli. These surprisingly had really good flavors surrounding it, and they were cooked nicely.
Note: not pictured here was the Beef of New York Schnitzen ($52) which came with apricot butter, warm potato salad, and creamy mustard. This was unfortunately the worst main course of the night. The steak was basically thin patted fried beef steaks, and it reminded me a bit of what the “country fried steak” I had at IHOP several years ago. I would definitely skip it for the other mains instead.
Carthay Circle is a decent inside-the-park restaurant. I think the food here is just OK, and it’s not really something that you have to go to. The price point is rather expensive for what it is, but if you want finer dining in California Adventure, then this would be it.
Don’t come here if you are hungry…. Portions are insanely small, while the price is extremely high… I get it’s supposed to be a fancy restaurant…. But it’s inside a theme park….
And this Yelper still decided to visit the restaurant. They were complaining about the $28 crab cake, but unsurprisingly, the menu and prices are posted online and outside.
Getting a reservation is very difficult for places in Disney and this one is not any different. You really have to wait online when the reservations open up.
The reservations were not that difficult to get if you know when they come online. They have availability for several hours after they do appear. Now see what happens in New York City for the hot restaurants. They often are picked up within seconds.
- Apr 17, 2023 - Initial revision.