Sunday, August 12, 2012

Carthay Circle Theater restaurant - Review

Part of the fabulous revitalization of Disney's California Adventure is the new restaurant Carthay Circle Theater, which is positioned right at the end of Buena Vista Street (essentially, in the 'icon' spot of the park, so you see it right when you come in). It's an upscale restaurant, expensive, posh, and very tasty. You'll want to try it at least once.

Reservations are accepted, but I can't judge if they are needed. I would have said they should be needed, but we saw lots of empty tables upstairs. Maybe they don't have the operational details figured out yet? I've heard a few horror stories about the service sometimes taking forever, so go in with an extra dollop of patience.

The lobby and bar are downstairs, but you go upstairs to dine. The walls are richly appointed; you feel like Hollywood royalty of the 1930s up here, which is the whole point. In that, it resembles the Brown Derby restaurant in Disney's Hollywood Studios, which is also kind of the point. Here at Carthay, you'll find lots of sub-rooms that give different levels of privacy. Don't miss the murals in the ceiling of the main dining room (and while you're looking around, watch for the Snow White stuff in the lobby, since Carthay Circle (the real one) is where that movie had its premiere.

But you're here for the food. We had the house biscuits (white cheddar, bacon, jalapeno and apricot honey butter - yum!)

The Korean Pulled Pork Sandwich ($18) was delectable, but small in size.

The Kobe Beef Cheek Sliders ($19) were even more delectable, but, well, small in size.

Our kids tried the tacos and the sloppy joe's style sliders - both were tasty, but overpriced.

There's a trend in my review, obviously. The food is expensive. You shouldn't come here starved and hoping to get big portions, but rather hoping for fine dining and upscale flavors. I knew to expect that, and wasn't disappointed at all. But with my kids in tow, I won't be back often. It was more of a single experience rather than something I'll do frequently.

Kevin Yee is the author of numerous independent Disney books, including the popular Walt Disney World Earbook series and Walt Disney World Hidden History.