Today, we are headed back to one of the most interesting dining experiences in all of Disneyland — Blue Bayou!
This historic spot has been wooing Disneyland guests with its odd mixture of mysterious New Orleans charm and marauding pirate adventure ever since it first opened in 1967. Where does the fusion come from? Well, it’s a little strange. The restaurant is in New Orleans Square, but it’s situated at the beginning of the Pirates of the Caribbean ride path…so it’s kind of a mash-up. 😉
We took in dinner at the Bayou a while back, and I was much more interested in the atmosphere than the food. In fact, the meals sort of reminded me of conference food (if you’ve ever been to a catered conference for hundreds of people, you know what I mean).
But, as we all know, one of Blue Bayou’s biggest claims to fame is that outrageous Monte Cristo Sandwich, which is only available for lunch. And so, that’s the meal that we made our advance dining reservation for this time.
Let’s head in!
As I mentioned, you’ll enter Blue Bayou from New Orleans Square. You’ll be glad for the break from the busy activity of the narrow streets you’ve left behind.
If you’ve done any research at all before your trip to Disneyland, then you already know that, among other must haves, the Monte Cristo Sandwich here rates high on the food requirement list when you visit the Park That Started It All.
After checking in at the window in the front of the restaurant, you’ll wait for your buzzer to buzz in a tiny lobby. Once your name is called, you’re headed…right back outside it seems! But this time, you’ve been transported to a Louisiana bayou, and night has fallen. Give your eyes a little time to adjust from that bright California sunshine, and then have a look around.
Behind you, you’ll see a two-story building built in the finest tradition of The Big Easy.
You’ll be seated on the patio of this building, beneath paper lanterns and a thick canopy of live oaks dripping with Spanish moss.
And while there are wonderful details all around that immerse you in the bayou theme, here’s where I make my seating TIP: when you first arrive and check in, be sure to request a table by the water. They are the best seats in the house, in my opinion.
And why is that? Because not only are you furthest away from the lobby and kitchen in this area (and being seated by the kitchen can and does ruin the ambiance), but you also have a fantastic view of the bayou — as well as adventurers sailing off to partake in a little pirate-y fun!
Besides giving you a glimpse of the Pirate boats, these seats also get you closer to the water and the bayou that lends the restaurant its name. Just take in the detail of the ornate lamps and the cypress tree. Incredible!
Really — the lighting is perfect. Certainly lives up to the name, yes? And I love the little boat and shanty.
Even with “street” lamps, paper lanterns, and quaint little table lamps it is still seriously dark in here. Like, hard-to-read-your-menu dark.
Be forewarned and bring a little light to help out if you have a hard time reading in low light situations.
Seated at our perfectly situated, waterside table, it was time to take a look at the menu. Again, apologies for the crazy, crazy light!
The first thing that you’re likely to notice about the menu is that it is rather small. The second is that it’s pretty pricey. Included with each entree is your choice of either the Blue Bayou House Salad or the New Orleans Gumbo. More about those in a minute.
There are also a couple of fun “mocktails” available — since, as we all know, Disneyland is a “dry” park. (Well, with the exception of Club 33, anyway.) While I’m not a big fan of the Mint Julep, I’m game for anything with the word “lemonade” in it! And so it was a Louisiana Lemonade for me!
Now, besides being fruity and delicious, with the lemon flavor offsetting the sweet Mango and Raspberry, it was also seriously fun with the addition of a glow cube. These are not as prevalent in Disneyland as they are in Disney World, so it was fun to find this one here.
Soon we made our selections, and our server brought our complimentary Bread Service. On our previous visit, the bread basket only consisted of Sourdough Rolls. But I was happy to see a new addition to the mix, Sweet Potato Biscuits.
They looked a bit like scones, and were quite good, especially when spread with a little butter.
My husband opted to start with the Blue Bayou House Salad. It’s a really beautiful dish, topped with a Candied Pecan garnish and served with Lavash. The dressing is a light and flavorful Vinaigrette.
But there was no way I was passing up the New Orleans Signature Gumbo. It’s one of my favorites!
Rich and thick with exactly the right amount of kick, I get this signature soup every single chance I get, whether I’m at Blue Bayou or Cafe Orleans. And it was just as good as ever.
Soon, we were ready to dig into our entrees. I know you saw this coming from a mile away, but I went with the Monte Cristo Sandwich.
Let’s just pause a second to take it all in.
First off, we’ve gotta discuss this Fruit Skewer. A new addition since the menu refresh earlier this year, it’s very pretty, but it’s not the same as previous sides with this sammy. I know — it’s hard to even finish the sandwich, so why am I complaining, right?
The sandwich itself is still a sublime combination of Turkey, Ham, and Cheese, egg-battered and deep-fried. Served with a trio of Dipping Sauces, it just doesn’t get any better than this.
My husband decided to go with the Slow Roasted Beef Strip Loin. The steak came with a side of Au Gratin Potatoes (which were ah-mazing!!) and a garnish of French-Fried Onions. This was fine; but nothing special. It was the side dish that carried the entree.
We also snagged an extra side on the menu. The Boursin Cheese Mashed Potatoes are actually served with the Buccaneer’s Boneless Beef Short Ribs. I really wanted these to be awesome, but they were pretty much just standard mash. Nothing special here.
I easily would have gone for extra of those au gratin potatoes that my husband got. Those were well worth ordering an extra side.
You might think that my sandwich curbed my desire for dessert. But I have a responsibility to show you the goods! And besides, there were some great options.
I opted for the Key Lime Tart. This felt mass produced and didn’t have the tartness I was hoping for.
We also tried the Chocolate Cake. To begin, I thought it was a really pretty dessert. The crisp, caramelized sweetness of the Lace Cookie contrasted nicely with the Ice Cream and Whipped Cream.
But the real showstopper here was the inside of that cake. Once we got a fork into it, we could see this amazing filling, which was like a cross between Hot Fudge and Ganache. This was quite good.
So, I feel just about the same about Blue Bayou after this visit as I did after the previous one. The atmosphere is fun — and the waterside table is definitely a MUST — but the food just doesn’t do it for me. I’d much rather head across the street to Cafe Orleans and have the monte cristo there…along with their stellar pommes frites and Mickey beignets with dipping sauces. A better meal, and cheaper, too!
I know that a lot of you love Blue Bayou, so I can’t wait to hear your thoughts and experiences!
Is Blue Bayou a must-do for you? Leave a comment and tell us if it’s on your to-do list!