Where to Eat: Lunch at Storytellers Cafe in Disney's Grand Californian Hotel

March 10, 2015, 10:31 AM · Walt Disney World visitors rarely take time from the middle of their days to visit hotel restaurants for lunch, but at the Disneyland Resort, where the hotels are only steps away from the parks, lunch back at the hotel isn't nearly the same time drain on your day.

The Storytellers Cafe at Disney's Grand California Hotel offers a popular character breakfast buffet in the morning but switches at lunch to a conventional a la carte menu for diners seeking a break from the parks.

Storytellers Cafe

The restaurant's interior continues the Arts & Crafts theme of the hotel, offering diners a warm and inviting space filled with Craftsman touches, reinforced by murals and other artwork depicting storytelling on the California frontier.

Inside the Storytellers Cafe

Lunch at the Storytellers Cafe begins with bread service, which includes a pillowy loaf of white bread as well as a smaller muffin of cornbread. (If you want more of the popular cornbread after you've finished yours, just ask!)

Bread service at Storytellers Cafe for lunch

I started with what might be the restaurant's signature dish, the Nebraska Charred Corn Chowder ($7.99). A true chowder, with a consistency between a soup and a stew, this starter comes loaded not just with the eponymous roasted corn but plenty of roasted chicken, crisp bacon, onion, and potatoes, not to mention a generous splash of hot sauce.

Nebraska Corn Chowder

This is comfort food, with tasty chicken and bacon bathed in luscious cream and flavored with the balance of sweet corn and spicy hot sauce. Bland, it is not. A bowl of this, coupled with one or two of those cornbread muffins, would make a filling lunch for most park visitors.

But when food is this good, why stop? For the main course, I continued with the Salmon and Spinach Salad, with sautéed button mushrooms and roasted red peppers in a balsamic vinaigrette ($16.99).

Salmon and Spinach salad

Crisped on the outside, yet with a buttery interior, the warm salmon paired well with the cool spinach. The only problem with this salad is the challenge of getting each one of its elements — the salmon, the spinach, some mushroom, and a pepper — on the same forkful so that you can taste them all together. I gave it my best effort. My first five minutes with this salad are a bit of blur, to be honest, as I tore through it, enjoying the delightfully balanced mix of protein and veggies. I wish I could describe the salad for you more articulately, but all I remember is "nom, nom, nom... more!"

With no Disney Dining Plan or no characters at this meal pumping demand, getting into the Storytellers Cafe at lunch was easy. I walked in just before noon on a late winter weekday with no reservation and was seated immediately. It seemed that many of the seats around me were filled with Disney executives, which should tell you something. The people who know this place know that this is the place to go for lunch.

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Replies (3)

March 11, 2015 at 5:19 AM · Totally agree. This is a great place to sit and have a relaxing lunch, especially if you've been in the parks for days. Nice atmosphere (all those trees outside) and good food.
March 11, 2015 at 7:39 AM · I must try this restaurant some day. Although I tried many fine restaurants at Disney World, I just haven't decided on visiting the Disneyland Resort restaurants. As local, I tend to be less free spending.
March 11, 2015 at 10:57 AM · The food options sound good! Might have to consider stopping by the next time I'm on the West Coast.

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