Spectacular cocktails and ambience at the Napa Rose Lounge
We. Love. Napa Rose. Have I said this before? I believe so, If not, forgive me – Napa Rose, at Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel and Spa, is now Mr. Cain Travel and I’s go to date night spot when we don’t have kids. More specifically, we hit up the lounge, where there’s an amazing bar menu, as well as the full restaurant menu available for patrons. You don’t need a reservation, but you do need to be there by 5 PM (earlier on busy days) to get a spot. Food service starts at 530, drinks and seating in lounge start at 5 – the servers are amazing, there’s a huge regular locals crowd that’s well known, the bar tenders will make you literally anything you want, and the wine selection is the best you’ll find in So Cal. They even have stuff available to taste (meaning some pretty pricey fancy bottles) “on tap” depending what’s on their Vintners Table that night, and honestly, their prices are reasonable! We consider this one of the best “values” at Disney – is it “cheap”? No. But for the quality of food, service and drink you get, you can’t beat, especially at “Disney prices” – there’s no comparable place I can think of at the Resort where you can get a 5 star meal, service, and fantastic drinks/wine to go with it, not to mention the ambience. It’s quiet, relaxing, and friendly – you can come dressed up, or you can come right from the parks. We’ve come to the lounge with our kids, though you could certainly go to the restaurant if you wanted to – we’re just too cheap to spend money on them for a full meal 😉 But in any case, this is on our “must visit” list for any Disney stay or even when we’re just out to dinner or the parks locally, and I can’t recommend it enough.
Beginning of the night in the Napa Rose Kitchen – Chef Counter View
One of the awesome friendly Soux Chefs hard at work
Wow, did I digress! Because the main highlight of this post, what we love most about Napa Rose when we really want to splurge? The Chef’s Counter! This exclusive experience must be booked a good 60 days in advance by calling the restaurant directly(714) 635-2300 (note, cannot do it online or through Disney Dining!) – there are 16 spots available each night, and there are two seatings – 530 or 830. If you’re into the late dinner thing and can stay up a lot later than I can, I hear the 830 is nice because there’s nobody coming after you and no rush. That being said, we’ve done it twice now at 530 and had no issues with timing, a very long relaxed dinner, and made it to bed on time full of food and wine! 😉 You pay $100 per person for the food alone, with an additional $55 per person for wine pairing… our first time we assumed this was for wine “tasting” – nope, it’s 5 glasses of wine, one glass per course of your meal. It’s a LOT. Do not drive home! It’s worth the cheapest of hotel stays to enjoy this one if you’re going to go for the wine! The food on it’s own is fantastic, too! You sit right in front of the kitchen and the chefs – you can actually get different viewpoints based on when you book and what you request, so I know next time we will request the dessert area or more central area for something different, but they’re all great! You can interact with the head chefs, ask questions at whim about any dish they’re making, and they’ll basically custom make the courses for your tastes.
An apertif 🙂
Amazing palate cleanser at the Chef’s Counter
You start the experience by meeting your awesome server, who clarifies food allergies and taste preferences, as well as how you like your meat cooked. Mr. CT and I went all in with being adventuresome, said to bring it on whatever they’ve got, no matter how scary. My MIL has some gluten and dairy allergies so noted those, and my FIL is a little more squeamish with new foods, and we all got totally different things (and wines) customized to us. If you are into cooking – or if, like me, you’re not so great at it – this experience is for you. It’s like being on the Food Network live, with tastes at whim, and a personal chef to ask questions of. It’s a dining experience like no other, and quite frankly for the price, a great value compared to what you pay at most “typical” dining places these days, especially in Southern California. If you’re not up for the counter, go for the main dining room – it’s still superb food, great service, and you can always try the Vintners Table for a set course selection that’s more exotic with some wine pairing options as well! 🙂
The main course – this one pretty traditional. Some more exotic, but they’re all delicious!
A Great Place to Celebrate! Can We Say Dessert? (And Port?)
The next time you’re in the So Cal Area, even if not at Disney, try to make a stop by Napa Rose – the Lounge is great and won’t disappoint (some of the best cocktails in the area), but if you’ve got something to celebrate and are looking for a special occasion, the Chef’s Counter will knock your socks off! 🙂
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