REVIEW: Storytellers Cafe reopens with delicious non-buffet meal at Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa

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

Arrival

Diners receive three hours of free valet parking at the Grand Californian and they will verify the name on your reservation at the door. If you’re arriving through Downtown Disney District, you can show them your reservation on your phone for them to drop by.

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Customers can check in for their reservation through the Disneyland app and will receive an SMS 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 the Storytellers Cafe is inspired by Californian 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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You can still see chefs 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 entrees, a dessert, and a huge starter of your choice.

Little bread

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Before aperitifs, they bring bread rolls.

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These are typical sourdough buns with soft butter balls.

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

Aperitifs

Roasted corn chowder

with roast chicken, bacon and cilantro

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This soup, along with 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 pieces of tender potatoes, grilled corn kernels and crispy bacon inside.

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We had a hard time finding pieces of chicken but didn’t miss it. The texture wasn’t too thick but it was still a good filling soup.

Mixed green salad

Cucumber, carrot ribbons, tomato, radish and honey and balsamic vinaigrette

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It was nothing too special. It’s just a typical salad that was too garnished. If you don’t like the balsamic vinaigrette or want to control its quantity, ask for it on the side.

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The vegetables were fresh and we ate a small plate, but save room for all the other offerings to come.

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Shishito peppers in blister

Garlic-Ponzu and Lemon Reduction

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Obviously, if you don’t like peppers or spices, skip them. The smaller, more blistered and blackened peppers weren’t super spicy.

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The flavor is best after squeezing fresh lemons all over, so do that first. You will need the acid to cut some of the spices and the citrus will wake up the ponzu sauce.

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Those who want to brave the spices will be rewarded with these well-seasoned peppers.

Garlic Soy Glazed Chicken Wings

Fresno Chili, Togarashi spices, furikake, carrot and celery ribbons

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Although they are an aperitif, our wings arrived long after our entrees. The kitchen was struggling to send food now that it’s no longer a buffet, but the slightly slow service didn’t bother us. The wings were of good quality and very plump.

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The garlic soy frosting was quite sticky, but gave the wings a slight Asian flavor that wasn’t spicy.

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

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These were good and would delight most wing enthusiasts.

Entrances

Classic Pepperoni Pizza

Premium Pepperoni, Grana Padano and Aged Provolone

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

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Unless you really like pizza or have a very picky eater, we’ll skip this. You get a whole pizza, but we really can’t go over the fat.

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It has a decent flavor and the pepperoni and cheese seem to be of high quality, but it was lacking in the sauce. The super thin crust just lets in the fat.

American Wagyu Burger

Toast, mushroom spread, beer cheese sauce, grilled onion, tomato, lettuce, pickles and fries or fresh fruit

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

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It is an excellent choice of entry. We could tell the meat was of high quality. It was a thick, super juicy patty with an amazing flavor. All the toppings mixed well.

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

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The grilled onions have been sautéed to perfection and add texture. The pickles and tomato gave it the necessary acidity.

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

Dessert

Chef’s choice of bread pudding and assorted cookies

with fresh strawberries, ice cream, custard 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 peanut chunks for a great peanut butter taste.

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

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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 looked a bit out of place.

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The real star was the incredible bread pudding.

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It was hot which melted the ice, but it didn’t bother us.

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

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The custard added enough sweetness without being overpowering.

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The whipped cream made it lighter as needed.

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This was by far the best bread pudding we have had on the 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

The service was a bit messy as the Cast Members adapted to the seated style instead of a buffet. The experience lasted almost two hours, which is something to keep in mind if you are short on time. The atmosphere was very relaxing and the decor is beautiful. Everything was delicious except the fatty pizza. As a local we would definitely stay there again, especially with the ability to park at the hotel.

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



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