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REVIEW: Storytellers Cafe Reopens with a Delicious Non-Buffet Meal at Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa

As the phased reopening of Disneyland Resort continues, we’re seeing the return of more dining locations. At Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa, Storytellers Cafe has reopened as a sit-down restaurant instead of a buffet.

Arrival

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Diners get three hours of free valet parking at the Grand Californian and they will check the name on your reservation at the gate. If you arrive through Downtown Disney District, you can show them your reservation on your phone to be let through.

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Guests can check-in for their reservation via the Disneyland App and will get a text when their table is ready. Or guests can check in with the host and wait to be called.

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The decor and architecture of Storytellers Cafe is inspired by California folklore.

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Guests are seated at a distance, with many tables left empty.

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The buffet area is closed.

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Chefs can still be seen working behind the counters.

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Menu

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The English and Spanish menus are accessible online and via QR code. The prix fixe meal is $39 per adult and $25 per child. You get a ton of food for that price, including four family-style appetizers, dessert, and a huge entrée of your choice.

Dinner Rolls

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Before appetizers, they bring dinner rolls.

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They are typical sourdough rolls with soft butter balls.

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Unless you absolutely love bread, skip it. There is a ton of food coming your way and you don’t want to fill up on bread.

Appetizers

Roasted Corn Chowder

with Rotisserie Chicken, Bacon, and Cilantro

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This chowder, as well as the burger and bread pudding, was our favorite. We would have been happy with several bowls of this.

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There were giant chunks of tender potatoes, kernels of roasted corn, and crispy bacon inside.

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We were struggling to find chunks of chicken but didn’t miss it. The texture wasn’t too thick but it was still a hearty, good chowder.

Mixed Green Salad

Cucumber, Carrot Ribbons, Tomato, Radish, and Honey-Balsamic Vinaigrette

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This wasn’t anything too special. It’s just a typical salad that was overdressed. If you don’t like balsamic dressing, or want to control how much there is, ask for it on the side.

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The veggies were fresh and we ate a small plate, but save room for all the other offerings coming your way.

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Blistered Shishito Peppers

Garlic-Ponzu Reduction and Lemon

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Obviously, if you don’t like peppers or spice, then skip these. The smaller, more blistered and blackened peppers were not super spicy.

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The flavor came out better after squeezing the fresh lemons all over, so do that first. You’ll need the acid to cut some of the spice and the citrus wakes up the ponzu sauce.

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Those willing to brave the spice will be rewarded with these well-seasoned peppers.

Garlic Soy-glazed Chicken Wings

Fresno Chile, Togarashi Spice, Furikake, Carrot and Celery Ribbons

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Though they are an appetizer, our wings came well after our entrées. The kitchen was struggling with sending out food now that it’s no longer a buffet, but we didn’t mind the somewhat slow service. The wings were good quality and very meaty.

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The garlic soy glaze was pretty sticky, but gave the wings a light Asian flavor that wasn’t spicy.

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The furikake added a bit of salt, which really brought out the garlic flavor, but wasn’t overpowering.

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These were good and would make most wing-lovers happy.

Entrées

Classic Pepperoni Pizza

Premium Pepperoni, Grana Padano and Aged Provolone

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Unfortunately, this turned out to be the same greasy mess of a pizza we’ve had before.

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Unless you truly love pizza or have a really picky eater, we would skip this. You do get an entire pizza, but we really can’t get past the grease.

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It has a decent flavor and the pepperoni and cheese seem to be high quality, but it was lacking in the sauce. The super thin crust just let the grease soak through.

American Wagyu Burger

Toasted Bun, Mushroom Spread, Beer Cheese Sauce, Grilled Onion, Tomato, Lettuce, Cornichons and French Fries or fresh Fruit

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This burger is cooked to your preference and comes with a choice of fruit or fries. We went with the fries.

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This is a great entrée choice. We could tell the meat was high quality. It was a thick patty and was super juicy with amazing flavor. All the toppings melded together well.

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The bun was hearty enough to keep the burger together but not so thick that it was all bread. The real star was the beer cheese sauce. It was so good and had a nacho cheese consistency, but was much better quality.

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The grilled onions were sautéed to perfection and add some texture. The pickles and tomato gave it some needed acidity.

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The fries were crispy, salty, and the perfect side for this excellent all-American meal.

Dessert

Bread Pudding & Chef’s Choice of Assorted Cookies

with fresh Strawberries, Ice Cream, Crème Anglaise, and Whipped Cream

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One of the cookies was peanut butter and the other was oatmeal chocolate chip.

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The peanut butter cookie was soft, delicious, and had chunks of peanuts for a good overall peanut butter taste.

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We assumed the oatmeal cookie would be hard, but it was also soft and broke in half easily.

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Both cookies were good but nothing too special.

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The four strawberries on the side were small and seemed a bit out of place.

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The real star was the amazing bread pudding.

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It was warm, which caused the ice cream to melt, but we didn’t mind.

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The bread was soft and sweet with a deep vanilla bean flavor.

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The crème anglaise added enough sweetness without being overpowering.

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The whipped cream lightened it up when needed.

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This was by far the best bread pudding we’ve had on property. It was layer after layer of gooey goodness. We couldn’t finish it but they brought us a box so we could take it home for later.

Overall

Service was a bit messy as Cast Members adjusted to the sit-down style instead of a buffet. The experience took almost two hours, which is something to keep in mind if you’re short on time. The ambiance was very relaxing and the decor is beautiful. Everything was delicious, except for the greasy pizza. As a local, we would go back for sure, especially with being able to park at the hotel.

What would you order at Storytellers Cafe? Let us know in the comments.

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Christopher M
Christopher M
4 months ago

Were there any raisins in the bread pudding? I much prefer that dish without them.