If you’ve been following our adventures this past weekend, you’ll know that we spent the better portion of our visit at the premiere of Pixar Pier at Disney California Adventure. The retheme of the land transformed the previous Ariel’s Grotto restaurant into Lamplight Lounge, a place where Pixar animators would (according to story) often hang out in and leave mementos from the work they did. We stopped by on Thursday to check out the upstairs bar that replaced the famous Cove Bar, you can check out that full review here. Downstairs inside of the restaurant offers an expanded menu with more entree-style options instead of quick bites. With an expanded crew we ventured downstairs to experience the larger menu.
We started with two from the ‘Bites’ menu, also available upstairs at the bar, and a few drinks. Below is the menu available downstairs.
Crab and Tuna Roll – Stone Crab with Avocado, Jicama, Yellowfin Tuna, and Fireball-Yuzu Sauce – $19.00
This was a fantastic dish. We didn’t have high hopes for theme park sushi, but this one knocks it out of the park. It is definitely on par with top sushi restaurants in your average town.
Lobster Nachos – warm Lobster and House-made Tortilla Chips with Black Bean, Pico de Gallo, Chipotle Crema, an Aged Cheddar, and Oaxaca Cheese – $20.00
When the Cove Bar closed, everyone was worried that the Lobster Nachos were gone. Well, the favorite dish managed to stick around, and it’s still quite good. I don’t know that I’m on the hype-train with these that everyone else is, but they’re enjoyable enough if you like lobster and/or nachos.
Plot Twist – Absolut Citron Vodka, Midori Liquer, White Cranberry Juice, and Fresh Lime Juice – $14.25
We are usually big fans of Midori drinks, but this one missed the mark like The Good Dinosaur.
Open Ocean With A Splash – A Frozen Cocktail made with Bacardi Raspberry Rum, Bols Blue Curaçao, Liquid Alchemist Orgeat, Agave Nectar, and Fresh Lime Juice – $13.75
It’s a pretty drink visually, but nothing special. It tastes like a big blue slushy with alcohol. It’s good, but nothing out the ordinary if you were looking for a fun drink.
Six Tentacles – Kikori Japanese Whiskey, Yuzuri Yuzu, Liquid Alchemist Passion Fruit, fresh Lime Juice, and Agave Nectar – $14.25
This was a favorite. Lots of bold and tart flavors, but nothing visually stunning if you wanted a drink that was good for picture taking (because apparently that’s what matter now).
Celtic Cure – Jameson Irish Whiskey, Green Tea, Liquid Alchemist Ginger, Lemon Juice, topped with Club Soda and a dash of Angostura Bitters – $13.25
The club soda and ginger give this a flavor comparable to a mule, so I’d suggest this anyone who likes such drinks.
The Sequel – A Bubbling Cocktail with Absolut Citron Vodka, Bacardi Gran Reserva Maestro de Ron Rum, Liquid Alchemist Passion Fruit, fresh lime juice, and Agave Nectar – $15.00
Visually a fun drink, as it is delivered bubbling like the other novelty drinks at Lamplight. Once you are able to drink it, it’s a very sweet flavor with a hint of tartness in it. One of our favorites at the establishment.
Server Room Chill – A Fizzy Cocktail with Plymouth Gin, Aperol, Agave Nectar, and Ruby Red Grapefruit Juice – $15.00
A fun bubbling drink with great fruit flavoring hides the gin, leaving you sad like the opening of UP. The dry ice makes for a chilling sip each time, a delicious and fun drink that you’re better off trying than the non-alcoholic one if you want something that takes a good picture or video for social media.
Sunrise Spectacular – Maker’s Mark Bourbon, Tropical Juices, Agave Nectar, and a dash of Angostura Bitters – $13.25
Smooth and sweet, another highlight of our trip to Lamplight Lounge.
Teaser – Greenbar Bright Gin, Greenbar Hibiscus Liqueur, Lime Juice, Agave Nectar, Tonic Water – $13.25
This is a great take on a gin and tonic. Floral and fruity flavors make this quite the refresher.
Nectar in the Rye – Redemption Rye Whiskey, Lemon Jioce, Creme de Peche, Amontillado Sherry, Agave Nectar – $13.25
This drink had a very earthy flavor, soft yet strong. The sherry lightens up the whiskey.
The Short – Plymouth Gin, Lime Juice, Lemon Juice, Agave Nectar – $14.25
This was surprisingly good. A strong tart and gin flavor.
‘Bigger Bites’ Menu – Only Available Downstairs
Kids Menu – Pasta – Corkscrew Pasta with creamy Cheese Sauce and Cheddar Fish served with a flower pot of Veggies with Hummus and fresh Fruit – $10.00
This was another favorite dish from Ariel’s Grotto that made it to the Lamplight Lounge menu. This is a standard offering on the kids’ menu here, but adults can request an adult (double) portion as an entree, which is what we ordered. Be warned, however, that the double portion is somewhat small, as you can see in the photos.
Spinach Salad – curly Spinach with warm Wild Mushrooms, Soft Poached Egg, Charred Onion Vinaigrette, Shiitake “Bacon”, and Blue Cheese Toast – $21.00
A very good light option on the menu, this offering combines wild mushrooms and crispy Shiitake mushrooms with a great dressing to give a fantastic flavor. The soft poached egg is a little odd to put on top of a salad, but it was fine if you aren’t the type that’s grossed out by undercooked egg. The blue cheese toast was also excellent, providing a bit of a tang from the blue cheese to offset the savory mushrooms.
Salmon PLT – Grilled Salmon with crispy Pancetta, Romaine Lettuce, Roasted Plum Tomato, Lemon-Bacon Aïoli, and Toasted Focaccia served with Malted Fries – $23.00
This sandwich was fabulous. The salmon was perfectly cooked to medium-well, and with the roasted plum tomato and lemon-bacon aïoli packs a lot of flavor into this somewhat-messy sandwich. The fries were good; not your typical theme park fries, while the pickled vegetable garnish was edible but not a favorite.
Chicken Sandwich – Crispy Chicken with Spicy Chili Glaze, Vinegar Slaw, Pineapple Butter, and Toasted Amish Bun served with Malted Fries – $21.00
Lamplight’s version of the spicy chicken sandwich paired a hearty piece of fried chicken breast with a spicy Asian-style chili glaze, topped with slaw. This was a favorite among those looking for a spicy offering.
Ratatouille – Roasted Eggplant and Bell Pepper Ragoût with Zucchini Noodles, warm Burrata Cheese, Smoked Tomato Sauce, and Basil Aïoli – $19.00
Cheddar Burger – grilled custom Burger blend with Tillamook Cheddar, Roasted Plum Tomato, Red Onion, Avocado Ranch Spread, and Toasted Amish Bun served with Malted Fries – $22.00
Donuts – warm fluffy Donuts with Dipping Sauces – $9.00
Who doesn’t love donuts? A staple of Southern California food culture, the Lamplight Lounge version doesn’t disappoint. The donuts were warm and crispy, and the house-made sauces paired perfectly. Mixing the chocolate and strawberry sauces led to the ultimate flavor combination, but you won’t be sad if you only dip the donuts in one of the two.