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Best Anaheim Restaurants

AOL PICK from our Editors

Anaheim’s best restaurants are fast and family-friendly—although overpriced—but there are also a few fine-dining establishments for businessmen with expense accounts or anyone in need of an adult meal away from all things Mickey. Unfortunately, Anaheim restaurateurs are well aware they’ve got a captive audience, so forget about dinner specials, and be prepared for the wallet-draining even a simple meal can cause.

Anaheim White House Restaurant

Neighborhood: Disney Resorts District Price: Expensive

Set in a 1909 Colonial-style house, this elegant restaurant oozes romance, thanks to its Victorian décor, candlelight and intimate rooms. Since 1987, Italian Bruno Serato—who was actually born in France—has earned a loyal following for his Northern Italian cuisine with some French items thrown in. Many dishes are named for celebrities (some no longer with us). A poached salmon with white-chocolate-infused mashed potatoes is a popular menu item. A good selection of Californian and European wines pair nicely with the restaurant’s menu.

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Napa Rose

Neighborhood: Disney Resorts District Price: Expensive

Situated inside Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel, this sophisticated restaurant was designed in keeping with the Arts and Crafts-style of the hotel, including reproductions of Charles Rennie MacKintosh stained-glass windows and Craftsman-inspired seating throughout the restaurant and lounge. On a nice night, ask for a table outside by the fire pits, surrounded by the hotel’s beautifully landscaped grounds. Fresh seasonal ingredients are the focus of Napa Rose’s California wine country-inspired cuisine, so the menu changes regularly. Depending on the night, main course selections might include strawberry-sage-barbecued duck breast or spit-roasted prime rib of pork with ranch-style black beans. Or, if you really want to live large, order the four-course seasonal tasting menu with specially selected wines. Dessert might be goat cheese flan with Riesling-soaked tropical fruit salsa or chocolate crepes with caramelized banana ice cream, and it’ll be worth the calories. The restaurant features an impressive wine cellar with 50 by-the-glass selections, so you’re sure to find the perfect wine to accompany your meal.

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Napa Rose  

Catal Restaurant and Uva Bar

Neighborhood: Disney Resorts District Price: Expensive

After a day at the parks, head to this Mediterranean eatery and tapas bar in the heart of Downtown Disney run by celebrity-chef Joachim Splichal’s restaurant group. Upstairs, Catal Restaurant offers a series of quiet, intimate rooms, providing a relaxing spot to dine on a menu rich with flavors from the Mediterranean. Braised Angus short ribs with poached farmers market vegetables or roasted halibut with olive oil artichoke, black olives and potato mousseline are among the winning selections. Downstairs, the more casual Uva Bar (which means grape in Spanish) features an inviting outdoor pavilion-style patio and a lighter, more affordable menu, including appetizers like Manchego salad and a selection of burgers. There are more than 40 wines by the glass.

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Blue Bayou

Neighborhood: Disney Resorts District Price: Moderate

Located in the Pirates of the Caribbean ride, this dark, cool Southern-inspired restaurant resembles a dock on a peaceful bayou, complete with faux fireflies. As Disneyland’s only reservations-accepted restaurant, it’s a nice place to enjoy lunch or dinner away from the crowds. Try the Monte Cristo (a turkey, ham and Swiss cheese sandwich dipped in batter and grilled) for lunch. The dinner menu includes additions such as filet mignon and surf & turf. While a glass of wine would be a nice accompaniment to your meal, unfortunately, no alcohol is served anywhere in Disneyland (except in the exclusive Club 33.)

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Blue Bayou  

K’ya Restaurant

Neighborhood: Disney Resorts District Price: Moderate

Located in Hotel Ménage, this sleek, modern eatery features a fun and well-priced Street Fare menu, serving up small-plate portions of dishes from around the globe. Coconut shrimp is a winner, as is the ahi poke with papaya, avocado and spicy soy vinaigrette, and the Jamaican jerk chicken wings. Because portions are small, you’ll need to order at least two selections per person. Or order a burger at the BYOB burger—it’s a bar where you can select from 60 toppings. The restaurant lures a busy Happy Hour crowd to its modern indoor lounge, where locals join hotel guests lounging on comfy sectional sofas, for half-priced beverages. On a nice night you can sip cocktails under the thatched roof of the outdoor bar area, which serves as the perfect perch from which to watch nearby Disneyland’s nightly firework display. The restaurant is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

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Goofy’s Kitchen

Neighborhood: Disney Resorts District Price: Moderate

Want to check “pictures with Disney characters” off your list before even entering the park gates? Make a reservation for breakfast at this buffet-style restaurant inside the Disneyland Hotel, where Goofy, Pocahontas, Aladdin and others will make tableside visits to pose for photos and sign autographs. The buffet offers a huge selection, from made-to-order omelets to tri-tip and ham carving stations, to Mickey Mouse-shaped waffles and peanut butter pizza. The restaurant is open for breakfast, brunch and dinner and, surprisingly, the food is pretty good for a buffet, though don’t expect it to be winning restaurant awards anytime soon.

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Wine Country Trattoria

Neighborhood: Disney Resorts District Price: Moderate

This tribute to Napa Valley in the Golden Vine Winery at Disney’s California Adventure didn’t fare too well when it first opened. However, after closing for a complete overhaul, the casual Italian restaurant successfully reopened in June 2010. You can dine outside by a lovely fountain, or indoors in the hacienda-inspired dining room. The dinner menu includes fresh seafood, braised meats and “pasta your way.” Lunch selections include salads and grilled panini. A nice selection of wines by the glass and bottle are an added bonus for Disney-goers who really want to get in the spirit of wine country.

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The Catch

Neighborhood: Platinum Triangle Price: Moderate

The place to go before or after a ballgame at the Big A, this sports-themed seafood establishment practically sits in the Angel Stadium of Anaheim parking lot. Enjoying appetizers and martinis or a burger and beer in the lounge before the game is the way to go here. However, you can opt for a pricier steak or seafood dinner in the main dining room. Moved to a new location after 32 years, The Catch is now located on the ground floor of a luxury condo building. Park here and take a shuttle to the game or a concert at the nearby Grove of Anaheim.

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Napolini

Neighborhood: Disney Resorts District Price: Budget

For a quick slice of pizza, a panini, pasta or a freshly tossed salad, stop at this Italian deli in Downtown Disney. The menu may be limited, but there’s a nice selection of combo meals; for instance, a slice of pizza, salad and a drink, or a half-sandwich, soup (or salad) and chips, both under $10. There’s also a selection of salads to grab and go for Disneylanders on the run.

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La Palma Chicken Pie Shop

Neighborhood: Downtown Anaheim Price: Budget

Old-school chicken pot pies are the specialty at this homey diner, which has been an Anaheim landmark for more than 50 years. A chicken pie dinner includes house made chicken noodle soup and salad, a palm-sized pie chock-full of chicken, mashed potatoes with gravy, and a roll. Chase that with a slice of homemade pie, and cholesterol be damned!

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La Palma Chicken Pie Shop  

Mrs. Knott’s Chicken Dinner Restaurant

Neighborhood: Anaheim Adjacent Price: Budget

Cordelia Knott’s fried chicken has been an Orange County staple since 1934. She may no longer be in the kitchen of this restaurant just outside the gates of Knott’s Berry Farm, but you can sample her signature dish served with fluffy buttermilk biscuits and Knott’s jam, mashed potatoes with rich gravy, corn kernels, soup or salad and a slice of pie for only $15.90. Unfortunately, this giant meal is seriously nap-inducing, so you might want to opt for something smaller, or split the chicken meal.

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