REVIEW: Paradise Garden Grill at the 2018 Disney California Adventure Food & Wine Festival

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The Paradise Garden Grill is again participating in this year’s Food & Wine Festival. Though not a food booth, or “Festival Marketplace” as they are called, this eatery does feature a special menu specifically for the festival. In addition, the Festival Beer Garden is located within the seating area here, making it a great way to enjoy festival food and beer while seated in the shade.

Many of the items are carried over from last year’s festival. We were pleased to see the prices remained the same as last year. The new item this year is the No “Meat” Ball Sandwich which replaced last year’s vegetarian option, the potato and cheese pierogis with vegetarian sausage. Note that the dishes here are full-sized meals, so plan to share if you want to sample some of the offerings from the booths as well.

 

Beer-battered Cod with Steak Fries, Sweet Slaw and Spiced Remoulade, $12.99

A repeat from last year, but no matter – it was one of our favorite dishes last year, and is virtually identical this year.

What we said last year:

While simply cod, this is probably one of the best counter-service fish entrees – it is very, very good for what it is. These are large, quality pieces of whitefish, and I really love the thick steak fries that accompany them. The slaw was vinegar-based, not creamy, and we didn’t care for it.

This time around, the fish and fries were just as good as last year. The slaw was again a vinegar-based variety, but I actually found it fairly decent this year. We didn’t mention the remoulade last year, but it’s the same this year, and it is very good. A great accompaniment for the fish, and super tasty when you dip the fries in it as well.

 

Sausage Trio Platter with Braised Red Cabbage and Warm Potato Salad, $13.99

Another repeat from last year. What we said then:

The sausage trip was probably my second favorite meal here, next to the cod. I wish I could tell you what kind of sausage each of these was, but the menu did not indicate it and the cast member at the register did not know what they were. Regardless, all three were tasty and the warm potato salad was enjoyable as well. The mustard was a good German-style offering that paired well with the dish.

This year, the sausage was again very good, but I think the warm potato salad wasn’t quite as good. The cabbage was again forgettable, while the mustard was again quite good.

 

No “Meat” Ball Sandwich with Marinara Sauce topped with melted Mozzarella Cheese and served with Kettle Chips, $10.99

This is the new item on the menu this year, and it was unbelievable, literally. I couldn’t believe it was meatless. I thought they must have mixed up the meatballs from the next-door Boardwalk Pizza & Pasta! But we were assured they were a soy-based meat substitute. My daughter, who is quite a picky eater, but loves meatballs, actually ate this and said it was pretty good. Do note that as a meat-eater, you’ll probably equate this to a trip to Subway,but it will be a nice treat for those who want to have a meat-less version.

Unfortunately the kettle chips served on the side were mediocre at best, and seemed a bit stale.

 

Beer-braised Pork Tacos with Pickled Apple Slaw, Black Beans and Queso, $10.99

Another holdover from last year. What we said last year:

Not my favorite dish, but the pork tacos were enjoyable. I feel the California crowd will be a little harsher on tacos than I and will likely hate these though. They kind of tasted like something you would get from the Mexico booth at any Epcot Festival.

Although they weren’t great last year, unfortunately I think the tacos were worse this year. The weakest item on the menu – the meatless meatball sandwich was better.

 

Large Soft Pretzel with Beer-Mustard Dipping Sauce, $5.29

This was also a repeat from last year. We said then:

It’s a pretzel. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a very good pretzel, not your typical theme-park offering, but nothing too unique either.

We liked it again this year, and we liked the spicy mustard that accompanies it. Overall a decent deal if you’re looking for a snack.

 

Salted Caramel Budino with Vanilla Bean Chantilly Cream, $3.99

Both desserts were holdovers from last year, and both were very good then and are very good now. From last year:

This was one of my favorite items in the entire festival. I like just about anything with a salted caramel flavor, and the blend with the chocolate crumbles and Chantilly cream is pretty much perfect.

 

Bienenstich Cake with Caramelized Almonds and filled with Vanilla Bean Custard, $3.99

Last year’s take:

This didn’t sound like something I would enjoy, but it ended up being another favorite. The cake was nice and soft, filled with a sweet custard, accented nicely by the honey drizzle and almonds. If you aren’t a chocolate fan, this may be your favorite dessert from the entire festival.

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About the author

Jason Diffendal

Jason has been a lifelong fan of the Disney parks since his first visit at age 2. His biennial pilgrimages during his childhood accelerated into semi-annual visits by the year 2000, when he also Joined the Disney Vacation Club. Luckily, Jason’s bride-to-be was also a Disney fan, which allowed his infatuation with the Disney parks to continue, and ultimately culminated in their wedding at Disney's Wedding Pavilion in September 2003. Early in 2007, Jason began his involvement with the planning for what became Celebration 25, the unofficial fan gathering to commemorate the 25th anniversary of Epcot®. Soon thereafter, Jason met Tom Corless at a pin trading meet in New Jersey, and became part of the WDW News Today podcast starting with Episode 17. Jason has been involved with the WDWNT Network ever since, and can't seem to escape no matter how hard he tries.
Contact Jason at [email protected]

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