Front of restaurant at night

Carthay Circle Restaurant Review

4.8

Carthay Circle Restaurant is one of the premier dining locations at the Disneyland Resort, offering upscale cuisine in a replica of the iconic Carthay Circle Theatre from Hollywood’s golden age. Located in Disney’s California Adventure Park, the restaurant provides guests a refined yet approachable dining experience influenced by the diverse flavors of Southern California. This article will delve into the restaurant’s menu, pricing, location, mobile ordering, Magic Key holder discounts, operating hours, and its rich history.

Exterior of restaurant with signage

Type of Cuisine

The menu at Carthay Circle Restaurant focuses on seasonal, locally-sourced ingredients to create modern dishes with global inspiration. You’ll find starters like Farmers Market Garden with Baby Heirloom Tomatoes, Artichokes, Palmito, Basil-Pistachio Vinaigrette. Entrees such as Ginger-Lemongrass Fried Free Range Chicken and Jamaican Jerked Kingfish, and desserts like Artisan Cheese Tart.

While dishes range from Moroccan to Latin American, the cuisine emphasizes fresh, high-quality ingredients rather than adhering to a specific ethnic style. The restaurant also offers an extensive wine list from California vineyards.

Menu and Pricing

Carthay Circle’s lunch menu ranges from $14 for appetizers like fried shrimp bao buns up to $40 for an angus flank steak cobb salad. Dinner entrees start around $30 for pasta dishes and go up to $75 for a 20oz New York steak. Sides like seasonal vegetables and macaroni and cheese cost $8-12. Desserts like citrus posset and bread pudding cost $14 each.

The restaurant also offers prix fixe menus starting at $54 per adult and $17 per child, which includes an appetizer, entrée, and dessert. These menus celebrate different cuisines, like a Latin-inspired menu with ceviche and ropa vieja. Kids can order from a separate children’s menu with dishes like chicken tenders, pasta, and grilled fish for $14 each. Items like quesadillas, grilled cheese, and turkey sandwiches drop down to $12.

Here’s a glimpse of what you can expect:

Starters:

  • Crispy Gochujang Fried Shrimp: spicy Cucumber Salad, Hajiki, Yuzu-Tahini Vinaigrette
  • Heirloom Tomato & Mango Salad: Fresh Herbs, Whipped Bellwether Farms Ricotta Cheese

Entrees:

  • *Grilled “Prime” Ribeye Steak: Blue Cheese Polenta, Charred Onion Puree, Red Grape Chimichurri.
  • Rigatoni Pasta with Italian Spiced Lamb Sausage: Fava Bean, Tender Radish, Grana Padano, Sungold Tomatoes.

Desserts:

  • Pumpkin Chocoflan: Orange Segments, Pomegranates, Pumpkin Anglaise.
  • Citrus Poached Pear, Cranberry-Orange: Hazelnut Spiced Cake, Pear Mousse, Caramel Sauce.

Dinner Menu

Location and Atmosphere

Carthay Circle Restaurant is located inside a detailed recreation of the iconic Carthay Circle Theatre on Buena Vista Street, the main entrance area of Disney’s California Adventure. The restaurant features two levels: the main dining area on the first floor and the more intimate Lounge on the second. The Lounge offers a relaxed environment where guests can enjoy a selection of small bites, signature cocktails, and fine wines.

Outside, an elegant fountain and gardens surround the building. Inside, the restaurant continues the upscale art deco theme with features like chandeliers, grand staircases, and décor inspired by the theater’s 1937 opening. Floor-to-ceiling windows provide views looking out over Buena Vista Street and the rest of the park.

Carthay Circle Restaurant Location

Hours of Operation

Carthay Circle Restaurant serves lunch and dinner daily. Hours are typically:

  • Lunch: 11am – 3pm
  • Dinner: 5pm – park close

During slower seasons, dinner service may start at 4pm. The restaurant is closed during major refurbishments of Disney’s California Adventure.

Mobile Ordering & Reservations

  • Unfortunately you can’t mobile order directly from Carthay Circle.
  • Advance reservations are available through the Disney website or mobile app. It’s highly recommended as same-day reservations can fill up rather quickly or may not be available at all.
  • All members of your party must be present before being seated.
  • If you don’t have a reservation you can add your party to the mobile walk-up list.
  • If you can’t make your reservation remember to cancel at least 2 hours before otherwise you can be charged up to $10 per person. 
  • An 18% gratuity charge will automatically be added on parties of 8 or more.

Magic Key Holder Discounts

Disneyland Magic Key holders receive the following discounts at Carthay Circle:

  • Imagine Key Pass – 10%
  • Enchant Key Pass – 10%
  • Believe Key Pass – 10%
  • Dream Key Pass – 15%
  • Inspire Key Pass – 15%

You must show your valid pass at the restaurant to receive the discount.

Water Fountain Feature at Carthay Circle with Red Roses and Green Trees

History of the Restaurant

Carthay Circle Restaurant opened in June 2012 alongside the grand re-opening of Disney’s California Adventure Park. It takes its name from the iconic Carthay Circle Theatre in Los Angeles, which premiered films like Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs in 1937. The building is a detailed replica of the theater exterior, which was demolished in 1969.

Disney even recreated the theater’s opening night menu for the restaurant’s debut. With its upscale ambiance and cuisine by noted chefs like Andrew Sutton, Carthay Circle Restaurant was an integral part of the billion-dollar redesign of the California Adventure park. The restaurant remains one of Disneyland’s finest dining experiences a decade after opening.

Conclusion

Carthay Circle Restaurant at Disney California Adventure Park is a culinary masterpiece that combines the finest California cuisine with the elegance of old Hollywood. With a diverse menu, upscale pricing, online reservations, and exclusive benefits for Magic Key holders, it’s a dining destination that caters to those seeking a high-end dining experience.

Front of restaurant at night
Carthay Circle Restaurant Review
The Final Word
Carthay Circle Restaurant provides a first-class dining experience in the middle of Disney's California Adventure park. With its upscale ambiance, seasonal California cuisine, and historic Hollywood inspiration, it's a special location.
4.8