Back in early July, I wrote about Quick Service Dining in Disney California Adventure. Several choices available there thankfully now that the new Paradise Pier quick service restaurants are up and running (and getting really good reviews). When it comes to Table Service dining in DCA, your choice gets narrowed down to 2 - Wine Country Trattoria and Ariels's Grotto. Rumor has it that there will be a 3rd choice available in 2012 when the Carthay Circle Theater opens.
Wine Country Trattoria: I think Mrs. DisneylandTraveler and I have eaten at the Wine Country Trattoria 3 times in our travels to Disneyland. I have never been disappointed with any of the meals I have eaten there and while Mrs. DLT has enjoyed WCT, I don't think her enthusiasm runs quite as deep as mine. I tried the home made soups, adventurous salads, and tasty pasta dishes and enjoyed them all. Mrs. DLT sticks with a staple - lasagna which she liked but from the look on her face, I know she has had better even if it comes out of a box and has the name Stouffer's on it. I had her try the dessert tiarmasu for the first time at WCT. It's decadently rich flavor was a bit much for her but I enjoyed it. We've always eaten out on the patio and one year made a reservation that would coincide with the Pixar Play Parade that marched right along side of us while we were dining. Great idea, great fun. Of course there is wine available at the Wine Country and the selection is very good but this being Disney, the price was a little high and the pour is what you would call far from being generous. Prices are in the reasonable range for Disney with World of Color dining packages available. Wine Country Trattoria gets an enthusiastic recommendation from the Disneyland Traveler.
Ariel's Grotto: Controversy. I first ate at Ariel's Grotto back in 2004. We had children in our dining party and since AG is character dining, it seemed like a fun thing to do. Characters great - food bad, really bad. I think I had meatloaf. How do screw up a meatloaf? They found a way by saturating it with a really gross tomato based gravy. I think it was the single worst dining experience I have ever had in one of the Disney parks. We went back in 2007 when my niece wanted her daughter to get the "princess" treatment for her daughter on her birthday. All the princesses came out, and there are some great pictures from the birthday party. Recalling my horrible experience in 2004, I really played it safe and went with a chicken caesar salad. Hard to get that wrong and it was fine. But there were about 15 of us their that day and almost to a person, everyone complained about the quality of the food especially those that had what Disney tried to pass off as a "chicken pot pie". "Jack nasty" was one of the quotes. But the menu changed a few years back with more of a Mediterranean spin to it. When World of Color premiered last year, Mrs DLT took the plunge and opted with a WOC Ariel's Grotto Dinner Dining Package. And somehow all the past bad experiences were removed from our memory with a truly fine a memorable dining experiences. The price fixed meal with appetizer tower, entree, and dessert plate set up back close to $40 each but with a WOC fast pass at a prime viewing location, it was all well worth it and we would be more than willing to try it again on a future trip. Still wish I could get the taste of that meatloaf out of my mouth though.