Agrabah Cafe Restaurant Review

Agrabah Cafe is a buffet restaurant at Disneyland Paris in Adventureland. This review features food photos plus several showcasing the stunning Middle Eastern bazaar-inspired architecture and details, history of this location, and our take on whether this buffet is worth the money.

We’ve been hearing about Agrabah Cafe for a while, and the praise has been nearly universal from those we know who have had the chance to go. It was on our list of places to dine during our first trip…and our second trip…but we had never once spotted it open. So, when we learned that our white whale would be open one (and only one) day of our recent trip, we knew should take advantage. (We recommend consulting these Disneyland Paris Restaurant Hours before your trip for operating hours.)

The decision was thus made to rope drop the restaurant so we’d be the first guests inside. Just in case, ya know, Disneyland Paris decidedly to abruptly close after only serving guests for 44 minutes. You might laugh, but when it comes to the Disneyland Paris dining scene, nothing is too outlandish…

Fair warning: there’s a lot of geek-talk about the history of Disneyland Paris and some behind-the-scenes info concerning the theme of Agrabah Cafe. If you don’t care, you might want to scroll until you start seeing food photos. We won’t be offended if you do–it takes a great personality and superior intellect to be an uber-cool Disney nerd. 😉

For those brilliant readers who are still with us, we won’t bury the lede: Agrabah Cafe is a thematic gem. The atmosphere of dining in a back alley of a bazaar is so pitch-perfect that it’s hard to imagine this area as anything else.

But, it once was something else. When the park first opened, there was no restaurant, and this area was known as Adventureland Bazaar. This sub-land, if you want to call it that, was a labyrinth of shops and small streets.

The purpose of this sub-land was to incorporate the Middle East into Adventureland. Per Imagineer Tony Baxter, “When we were studying European culture…we realized that, for Europeans, Babar the Elephant and the tales from One Thousand and One Nights were what evoked visions of exotic faraway places.”

For this reason, the shops and the passageways connecting Adventureland Bazaar had a few inspirations, and contained numerous references to tales from One Thousand and One Nights.

After Disney’s Aladdin was released a year after Disneyland Paris opened (and the film proved to be a smash success), references to the films characters were added to the area, and the Aladdin walk-through, Le Passage Enchanté d’Aladdin, opened.

Originally, this Bazaar at the entranceway to Adventureland included the following shops: Les Trésors de Schéhérazade (Schaharazade’s Treasures), L’Echoppe d’Aladin (Aladin’s Shop – with one “d” as the movie had not yet been released), La Reine des Serpents (The Snake Queen), Le Chant des Tam-Tams (The Tam-Tams’ Song), and La Girafe Curieuse (The Curious Giraffe). Today, only The Curious Giraffe remains open. The rest have been repurposed, and now form Agrabah Cafe.

In addition to the area being inspired by Middle East mythology and Disney’s animated film, the area was said to pull its general style from the unbuilt Africa pavilion that Imagineer Ken Anderson designed for EPCOT Center. (Details of the design and inspiration for Adventureland Bazaar are pulled from Disneyland Paris: From Sketch to Reality – you can see photos and concept art for the area on pages 124-127.)

All of this is evident in the area, as there’s a real world meets mythology meets animation vibe to it all that gives Agrabah Cafe a fantasy-like feel, but one that’s firmly grounded in reality. Imagineering must have been satisfied with the results, as this style was later replicated nearly beat for beat in the Arabian Coast port at Tokyo DisneySea.

Given that Arabian Coast is one of my favorite ports at my favorite Disney park in the world, it should come as high praise that I think Agrabah Cafe is closely analogous to that port.

Of course, in being a repurposed area, there’s always the possibility that Agrabah Cafe could stumble thematically, not fitting its new space.

That is not even remotely the case. Upon wandering through for the first time, it was instantly clear to me that this is right up there with Walt’s – An American Restaurant for #1 on our Top 10 Themed Restaurants at Disneyland Paris list.

About the only place where Agrabah Cafe Restaurant stumbles thematically is the above-pictured room. The level of detail here is noticeably lower than the rest of the restaurant, and I wouldn’t be shocked if this were a gift shop that was converted after the rest of the restaurant to provided added capacity. At least on the day we visited, no one was being seated in here.

Of course, being a restaurant, it probably makes sense to talk food, and not just gush over theme…

It’s actually one of the better Disney buffet meals I’ve had period, being just a rung below Tusker House and Boma. Let me start by apologizing for the lack of food photos and their abysmal quality. I was so preoccupied with running around the beautiful restaurant to take photos that I really dropped the ball on these…

The highlights of the buffet are its Middle Eastern and Mediterranean cuisine, but there’s truly something for everyone. The meats pictured above are all approachable for any palate. Even the more exotic items are relatively mild, with bowls of spices available (including cumin and paprika) in case you want to enhance any of the flavors. I think this is a solid approach.

To be sure, there are plenty of items on the buffet that unadventurous eaters are going to skip–just like there are at Tusker House and Boma–but the buffet is so large and diverse that this should not pose a problem.

One of my favorite stations was the kebab area, where you could assemble your own gyro. It was also nice to see a lot of salad-based, hummus, and fruit options available alongside the more hearty fare. This buffet could be as healthy or as unhealthy as you want. Either way, almost everything I tried was delicious.

Desserts were likewise diverse and ambitious. This was a bit of an interesting mix, including huge tubs of yogurt, chocolate pudding, M&Ms (???), as well as more traditional items like pistachio pastry and baklava. I tried at least three different pistachio items, which I enjoyed to varying degrees. (One did not appeal to me at all, but one was delicious.) I appreciated these diverse options, even if I felt a couple really missed the mark.

By and large, though, the dessert options tasted good and were high quality.

Overall, this is our new #1 restaurant in Disneyland Paris for food quality, and #1 or #2 for theme. Historically, the food scene has been so poor at Disneyland Paris that we’re inclined to grade on a curve, but that was not necessary here. As mentioned, I’d put Agrabah Cafe Restaurant’s cuisine just below Tusker House, a Walt Disney World buffet that ranks very highly for me. This is now the second Disneyland Paris buffet that we’ve endorsed (after Plaza Gardens Restaurant–and this is way better than that), and based on our experiences at these buffets, I’m inclined to suggest a large midday meal at one of those followed by a late night post-closing dinner at Earl of Sandwich if you want the best, most-efficient Disneyland Paris dining experience. Whatever strategy you adopt for eating at Disneyland Paris, Agrabah Cafe Restaurant is an absolute must-do that is worth the time and money. For the rest of what you need to know to plan a visit to Disneyland Paris, check out our Disneyland Paris Trip Planning Guide.


8 Responses to “Agrabah Cafe Restaurant Review”
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