Disneyland Paris was built with stunning attention to detail, and this is carried through to the themes of its restaurants. During our time in Disneyland Paris, we spent a lot of time exploring the restaurants–even if we didn’t eat at them–to appreciate fully their depth and character. We thought it would be fun to put together a list of 10 that we think have some of the best themes. However, since we were not able to visit every restaurant (some were either closed or table service restaurants that didn’t allow stray guests inside), this is not a top 10 list in the traditional sense. Rather, it’s the top 10 of the ones we saw, which were most, but not all of them.
Ranking the restaurants for theme was not particularly easy. I almost called this the “Top 10 Cool Disneyland Paris Restaurants” because I think some of the restaurants on this list aren’t so much themed as they are beautifully decorated, but I ultimately decided against it because I think “cool” is a hokey buzzword. Some restaurants are arguably not themed, as they convey their backstory or motifs through conspicuous design choices, props, art, and photos on the wall. Other restaurants are truly themed in the sense that they are meant to transport you to another time and place, making the guest a part of the “story” or whatever you want to call it. Regardless, I think you probably understand what is meant by “themed” and hope no one is too nitpicky with the term given that Disney often uses it very broadly, too.
An important note is that this list focuses solely on theme. Food-quality does not enter the equation at all with our rankings of the restaurants. While Disneyland Paris is a beautiful, highly immersive theme park that excels at many things, food preparation is not one of those things. This is both shocking and disappointing given its proximity to one of the culinary hotspots of the world, but c’est la vie.
With that said, so much of the Disney experience is about theme and sense of place. As a result, if you’re visiting Disneyland Paris, we recommend trying a few of these restaurants despite our comments about food quality, as you’d be missing a big part of the overall experience if you skipped them and ate every meal at Earl of Sandwich. Weeks after you visit a Disneyland Paris restaurant, you or your kids probably won’t be raving about one burger versus another, demanding that you phone Zagat immediately. However, you will probably fondly recall dining in a room based on concept art for Discoveryland/Tomorrowland for a long time. Such is the nature of a meal at Disneyland Paris–the food at a restaurant should be important, but it’s really not.
Let’s dig into the top 10 Disneyland Paris restaurants for theme…
Of the restaurants we saw in the hotels, Inventions was the most ambitious. Located in Disneyland Hotel, we started almost every morning at this breakfast buffet that showcases the golden age of invention. There are numerous Victorian inventions hanging from the ceilings and technical designs and other conceptual art hanging from the walls. Honorable mentions for other hotel restaurants go to Chuck Wagon Cafe, Parkside Diner, and Redwood Bar and Lounge.
9. Cable Car Bake Shop
This one is a personal favorite because it really felt like an intimate bake shop, like the kind you’d actually find stuffed in between two other businesses on some European side street. Despite its small size, the restaurant was beautifully done and ornate, with gorgeous stained glass light fixtures, cable car artwork, and other great details. If I were a local to Disneyland Paris, I could see myself often stopping here and siting in a booth, slowly drinking a coffee on a cold day.
8. Lucky Nugget Saloon
The Lucky Nugget edges out another Frontierland restaurant, Silver Spur Steakhouse, to make the list. Both restaurants have masculine woods and ornate detail-work, but I prefer the style of the counter service Lucky Nugget to the table service steakhouse. The Lucky Nugget was modeled on the Golden Horseshoe at Disneyland. Think of it as similar in style, but superior in design to both the Golden and Diamond Horseshoe. Thankfully, Disney chose not to simply elevate the name a step further, and spared us the Platinum Horseshoe Saloon. Lucky Nugget is gorgeous, from the ornamentation on the lamps to the woods, to the ceiling. The highlight for me, though, is definitely the mural behind the stage, beautifully depicting Thunder Mesa.
7. Cafe Hyperion
Basically, Cafe Hyperion makes the list because of the giant zeppelin airship that was adapted from the abandoned Tony Baxter-designed Discovery Bay project originally slated for Disneyland. There are some detailed murals depicting world travel based loosely on The Island at the Top of the World above the ordering bays and some steampunk touches, but thematically, the inside is mostly cavernous. As the park’s largest restaurant, it’s loud and really busy, but still worth taking a peek at early or late in the day.
6. Pizzeria Bella Notte
Pizzeria Bella Notte is an Italian counter service restaurant in Fantasyland, serving primarily pizza. The restaurant features a Lady and the Tramp motif, with a variety of decor based upon the film, including murals of the movie and sculpted columns of characters. The architecture of the restaurant appears a bit hodgepodge-ish, but Imagineer Tom Morris shared with Designing Disney that it’s actually meant to be a pastiche of Italian sites. From the beautiful light fixtures to the tiles and brickwork, the restaurant has a lot of rich texture and beauty. Bonus points because the food here was actually pretty good when we dined here! We have more photos from Pizzeria Bella Notte in Part 7 of our Disneyland Paris Trip Report.
7. Colonel Hathi’s Pizza Outpost
I think I love the story behind Colonel Hathi’s Pizza Outpost in Adventureland more than I do the actual restaurant. Originally a sister-establishment to the Adventurers Club, this restaurant was named The Explorer’s Club. You can read all about it and see interior photos on Parkeology. While that restaurant was incredibly short-lived, some details remain, and the overall look and overgrown adventurous ‘feel’ of Colonel Hathi’s remains.
4. Cowboy Cookout Barbecue
We never dined at Cowboy Cookout BBQ as it was mostly burgers (and we had been advised against eating burgers in Disneyland Paris), but we visited a couple of times, and I fell in love with the place. The second time we stopped there, a live country music band was performing Christmas songs in French, and that was pure perfection. The restaurant looks look a worn barn on the inside (we have a few more photos of the interior in this installment of our Disneyland Paris Trip Report). The rustic details of this restaurant are really well done, and its location tucked away in the back of Frontierland away from the hustle and bustle make it feel like it’s not in a theme park at all.
3. Blue Lagoon Restaurant
Blue Lagoon Restaurant is Disneyland Paris’ version of Blue Bayou, set along the banks of Pirates of the Caribbean. We dined here and had an awful meal (are you spotting the trend?) coupled with terrible service, but the ambiance was exceptional–even better than both versions of Blue Bayou! The dim lanterns and tavern-like atmosphere with casks and bottles all around give a great mood to the restaurant, as does the slightly-tiered seating. We’ve heard others have similarly-poor meals here, but we recommend it in spite of that, if only for that great ambiance.
2. Toad Hall
Toad Hall bucks the trend, as it was a restaurant that was both brilliantly detailed and had good food! Toad Hall Restaurant is a counter service restaurant located in Fantasyland that is themed after an English manor owned by Mr. Toad, from Disney’s The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad. It specializes in fish & chips, which are quite good. The decor in Toad Hall shows Mr. Toad as a character who borders on being a pathological narcissist who could go toe-to-toe with Jay Gatsby. Each of the rooms is stuffed with art and memorabilia that shows a different admirable quality, skill, or interest of Mr. Toad. Between those things and the pieces of classic art depicting Mr. Toad, what he thinks of himself is quite clear. This is one of the most interesting Disney restaurants anywhere. You can see more of it in our Toad Hall Review & Photo Tour.
1. Walt’s – An American Restaurant
No matter how awesome Toad Hall may be, it cannot top Walt’s – An American Restaurant, located on Main Street. Walt’s is the every-guest version of Club 33, a restaurant so steeped in Walt Disney, The Walt Disney Company, and Disneyland Paris that you almost feel like you should put your hands in your pockets as you walk around, so as to not break any of the pieces seemingly everywhere. Our food here was not good (others love the food here, so what do we know), but the cuisine really makes no difference, as any Disney fan should salivate over the chance to eat here. You can see more of the different rooms in our Walt’s – An American Restaurant Review & Photo Tour.
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Have you ever dined at any Disneyland Paris restaurants? Which did you like best? Which did you think had the best theming? If you haven’t been to Disneyland Paris, which restaurants look most interesting to you? Your comments are half the fun, so please share any questions or feedback about dining in Disneyland Paris that you have in the comments!