Boardwalk Pizza & Pasta is a counter service restaurant at Disneyland Resort in Disney California Adventure that serves Italian favorites with a California flair. The menu specialties of the restaurant include flatbread pizza, pasta dishes, and salads, all of which are prepared in on-stage kitchens. Boardwalk Pizza & Pasta was added to Disney California Adventure in the Paradise Pier land in 2011, replacing the eclectic Pizza Oom Mow Mow. Besides the fact that both served some form of pizza, they have little else in common. To me, Pizza Oom Mow Mow was like Disneyland’s version of Chester & Hester’s Dinosaur Treasures found at Disney’s Animal Kingdom in Walt Disney World. Dinosaur Treasures is incredibly tacky and over the top, but there’s just so much detail and delightful gags that I can’t help but enjoy it.
The look of Boardwalk Pizza & Pasta is in keeping with the rest of Paradise Pier, as Disney has scrubbed most of the remnants of the ostentatious Route 66 theming in favor of a more elegant Victorian look. This has largely been lauded by Disneyland commentators, and there is no denying that Boardwalk Pizza & Pasta is much more elegant than Pizza Oom Mow Mow, but I still find myself missing Pizza Oom Mow Mow. It may have been tacky and over-the-top, but it was rife with detail and character. It told a rich story, whereas Boardwalk Pizza & Pasta suffices at looking pretty with minimal rich detailing. It still has a lot of detail and is quite ornate, but it’s not the kind of place you can explore like you could Pizza Oom Mow Mow.
Anyway, since this review is about Boardwalk Pizza & Pasta and not a historical look back at Pizza Oom Mow Mow, I’m getting a little off-topic.
While Boardwalk Pizza & Pasta does have on-stage kitchens, don’t let this angle fool you into thinking that the food here is fresh. It sits out under heat lamps after it’s prepared, and business is often very slow at Boardwalk Pizza & Pasta (as noted by others who have reviewed Boardwalk Pizza & Pasta–so our experience wasn’t a fluke), meaning that food can be sitting out for a while before it’s purchased. When we first visited Boardwalk Pizza & Pasta, it was close to noon on a weekend, and no one else was in the restaurant. It was so empty that I was able to take the interior photos accompanying the review here. We didn’t want cold food, so we decided to try back later.
When we finally did eat here on a weekend evening, it was busier, and our food was fresh. Sarah ordered the Chicken Sun-Dried Tomato Pasta, which she liked, but was not crazy about. To me, it seemed similar to the pasta we tried at Redd Rockett’s Pizza Port, but it wasn’t quite as good as the pasta there. Still, not bad.
I opted for a flatbread, of which there are several varieties. Most of them looked pretty good and fresh, but I’m a sucker for mushrooms, so I ordered the Portobello Mushroom and Spinach flatbread. It was pretty good, with flavorful (and plentiful as compared to the other flatbreads) cheese and mushrooms that were surprisingly good. I don’t know what Disneyland has done with its flatbreads, but between Village Haus and Boardwalk Pizza & Pasta, it’s as if you’re receiving table service (appetizer) quality flatbreads at counter service restaurants. This is a marked improvement from even 2010.
Overall, Boardwalk Pizza & Pasta is a nice restaurant that could be very bad if you grabbed a pasta or flatbread that had been sitting there for 20 minutes under a heat lamp. This issue is exacerbated by the fact that this restaurant, tucked into a back corner of Paradise Pier, doesn’t see nearly the traffic that Pizza Port sees, making it imperative that guests request freshly made foods or visit during the busiest times. Even since Disney California Adventure’s big reboot and the opening of Cars Land, it’s rarely crowded here.
Beyond the food, the restaurant looks elegant with its theming, but even though the detail-work is great, the restaurant still seems very plain. To its credit, Boardwalk Pizza & Pasta looks beautiful at night, and in the summer, live music performs here on the weekends, making it a great place to relax and be entertained while eating and enjoying the scenery of Paradise Pier. As it stands, Boardwalk Pizza & Pasta is an average restaurant as compared to all of the counter service options in Disneyland Resort, but is well above-average when compared to other Disney California Adventure restaurants.
Read our other Disneyland Resort restaurant reviews.
Has the food you’ve ordered at Boardwalk Pizza & Pasta been “fresh” or has it tasted like it’s been kept preserved under a heat-lamp? Planning on eating here? Share your thoughts in the comments!