You and your family have met the challenge of finding a parking space, walked sometimes very far to get to a Disney Tram or Bus, waited in line to get on the transportation that will take you to The Happiest Place on Earth, exited Disney Transportation where you wait in another line to get your bags checked and to go through a metal detector, wait in another line to enter the Park, then wait in line for the rope to drop signaling the opening of Disneyland for the day. You have been trampled on, nailed in the heels by someones stroller, ran into by guests that are so excited to be there that they are too busy looking at the buildings than to pay attention to your personal space and you end up for the first few hours waiting in lines for a few moments of joy where you can sit in an attraction and not have to think about anything. By the time lunch rolls around you are ready for a nap but since you paid an arm and a leg to get in, a nap will not be happening today. What you need is a nice lunch and a rest. A great place to take this rest? Cafe Orleans, where you can sit, relax and feel civilized again.
Watch our video on how to make your own MONTE CRISTO SANDWICH below!
Cafe Orleans is in the heart of New Orleans Square in between Pirates of the Caribbean and the Haunted Mansion and rests on the banks of the Rivers of America. Cafe Orleans offers some classic Disneyland items and is lighter on your wallet than its more popular and higher in demand sister restaurant The Blue Bayou. First things first. Priority Seating. Any restaurant in the Disneyland Resort that has a wait staff (also known in Disney Terms as Table Service) will require you to call 714-781-DINE where you can pick a day and a time to make a Priority Seating Reservation. This does require a credit card to lock in your reservation and if you do not cancel it within 24 hours, they will charge you for the reservation so be there or be Square! Assuming that you have made the Priority Seating Reservation you will approach the greeter for Cafe Orleans (if you are looking at the restaurant with your back to the Rivers of America then it is to the right of the restaurant) give them your name and tell them what time your reservation is for. If you try to just walk up you may not get a table depending on how busy the day is. Our record of obtaining a same day walk up and getting a table is about 50/50- if it is raining you can kiss this chance goodbye as about half the tables get wet and they will not seat anyone beyond Priority Seating Reservations during this time.
You will then be seated as close to your Priority Seating time as possible. Now you are finally off your feet. They will come by with your menus and ask you for your drink orders. You are hopefully starting to relax now as you look around at your amazing view of the Rivers of America. Its very serene so don’t fall asleep. If you have kids they won’t let you fall asleep anyway.
The menu consists of New Orleans based food, very close to what you will find at Ralph Brennans Jazz Kitchen in DTD (watch our video here), in our opinion the food quality and portion size at Ralph Brennans are a step better than Cafe Orleans but thats splitting hairs depending on who you ask and its a long walk from the middle of the park, so thats that. This is also the only other place besides the Blue Bayou Restaurant that you can get a long standing Disneyland favorite, the Monte Cristo Sandwich. This delicious sandwich is turkey, ham and swiss inside of two thick pieces of bread which are then dipped in batter and then deep fried. It is sprinkled with powdered sugar and served with raspberry jam. This is a very rich. We usually order this along with an entree salad and then split both. Don’t worry non meat eaters, they also have a three cheese version of the Monte Cristo which consists of Swiss, Mozerella and Double Cream Brie, good thing you will be walking this puppy off the rest of the day. Because we usually get this combo, we wanted to try something different for the sake of this review. We ordered the Braised Beef Crepe and the Crescent City Salad with pan seared salmon.
The Braised Beef Crepe, hearty braised beef in a Borelaise sauce with Cremini mushrooms and pearl onions; made to order, served with pea puree $19.99, was good but if you are not a light eater, the serving size was rather small. The taste was equivalent to a really good stew wrapped in a crepe. The pea puree added a nice bright flavor to offset the richness of the crepe. In our opinion there should have been a second crepe on this plate for the price so at least we would feel full, but it is perfect for a light eater.
The next dish we ordered was Crescent City Salad with pan seared salmon, choose blackened chicken or pan-seared Atlantic salmon on top of fresh mixed greens, tossed with caramelized pecans, red grapes, navel orange segments, caramelized onions, chopped green onions, roasted sweet corn, and orange-cilantro vinaigrette; with pan-seared Atlantic salmon $18.99; with blackened chicken $16.99. We had this salad on several occasions in many variations over the years. This was the latest version of the salad. The caramelized pecans make the salad and the salmon was nice and light though the size of the portion of salmon has decreased over the years. The salad again is probably geared more toward a light eater but is a perfect size for heartier eaters if you pair it with the Monte Cristo Sandwich.
The rest of the menu is not standard Theme Park fare which makes Cafe Orleans a nice break from burgers and hot dogs. Click here for the menu. Some standouts on the menu are the Pomme Frites served with Cajun Spice Remoulade. These are super delicious topped with garlic and parmesan although we do not recommend ordering them if you are also having a Monte Cristo because the amount of fried food quickly becomes overwhelming. The other standout are the Mickey Mouse shaped beignets. They are served with two dipping sauces which are creme anglaise (vanilla bean sauce) and Fruit Coulis (which is a berry sauce). Each time we have ordered these they have come out hot as if they were made to order. They are a delicious way to end the meal. Although, again, if you order the Monte Cristo it may be guilding the lily to order another deep fried item. Luckily there is a bathroom nearby if you jump on the deep fried train.
After you eat your meal when you have began to regain your strength and had a chance to catch your breath but you want to ride something nice and easy, your luckily sandwiched between Pirates of the Caribbean and Haunted Mansion until the food settles and you are ready to plow through the rest of your day.
Be aware that there is a $4.00 split plate charge here. They usually don’t blink twice if you are sharing with a small child but as the kids get older it really depends on your waiter/waitress. If they bring up the split plate charge than realize that you are pressing it with the age of the child you are sharing it with. How do we get around this? We have ordered the Pomme Frites and the appetizer salad before and asked them to bring it out as the meal for one person and the other person orders an entree and then share.
All in all Cafe Orleans is a nice break from the chaos of the crowds and gives you a nice break to re-energize for the rest of your day! Happy Eating!