Pixar Pier’s Brilliant Brunch

Walt Disney famously said, “Disneyland will never be completed. It will continue to grow as long as there is imagination left in the world.” When it comes to Pixar Pier, that quote seems to have been taken literally, although I’d argue that imagination is the last thing that’s fueling this project.

Fortunately, imagination is one thing fueling the new brunch menu at Lamplight Lounge, a bar and restaurant located at the entrance to Pixar Pier at Disney California Adventure. This space was previously the home of Cove Bar and Ariel’s Grotto, and remains one of the bright spots of the Pixar Pier debacle.

This Lamplight Lounge brunch menu review features food photos and thoughts on our recent experience with the new weekend brunch service. Suffice to say, this is the best meal we’ve had at Lamplight Lounge yet, and arguably overshadows even our best Cove Bar experiences. Seriously, brunch at Lamplight Lounge is that good.

Offered only on weekends from 8:15 a.m. until noon, brunch at Lamplight Lounge is currently a limited offering. Given its popularity thus far (and the general demand for Lamplight Lounge), we would not be surprised at all to see brunch expanded to include weekdays–especially during peak seasons.

Our line about ‘imagination’ above wasn’t just an awkward transition (although it probably was that, too). This menu offers some clever items and thoughtful twists on more traditional dishes. In addition to the entrees themselves, you’ll also find a an inventive drink menu, including the popular Cinnamon Toast Cocktail, Beermosa, and Mimosa Flight.

In our full Lamplight Lounge Review, we spent a lot of time focusing on the interior design of the restaurant. Particularly, that it isn’t really themed to anything, but features a lot of Pixar decorations on the walls.

Theme v. decor might seem like a distinction without a difference, but think of it this way: theme is transportive, creating the illusion that you’re in another time or place. By contrast, decorations are ornamentation; it consists of things like art, posters adorning walls, or oversized props on display. Both have their place, and in terms of decorations and eye candy, Lamplight Lounge offers a lot to see.

For our brunch at Lamplight Lounge, Sarah ordered the Lamplight Chilaquiles: “House-made Tortilla Chips, Cheddar Jack, two Eggs-Up, Queso Fresco, Red Onions, Cilantro-Serrano Sour Cream, and Sliced Avocado, topped with 3-Chile Red Sauce and Pepitas.”

Chilaquiles are a traditional Mexican comfort food is often served at breakfast (think of them as “breakfast nachos” if that helps), and can be a clever way to put leftovers to use. One of the things I love about Disneyland is the abundance of chilaquiles on buffets (see our Disneyland Resort Character Meal Guide for more info), which are often the best option served. Seriously, could we get chilaquiles on some breakfast menus at Walt Disney World?!

These are exceptional chilaquiles, with fresh and high-quality ingredients being used, and a bit of spice brought to the table. Even if you’re a local with extensive chilaquiles experience, these are an absolute winner. The portion is also huge; I could see ordering this along with the Indulgent French Toast for a shareable savory and sweet meal.

I ordered the Brunch Burger: “Grilled Custom Burger Blend with American Cheese, one Egg-Up, Roasted Green Chile, Lettuce, and Paprika Aïoli on a Toasted Amish Bun served with fresh fruit.”

I mentioned this in a recent Walt Disney World restaurant review, but I still remember way back in the day (5 years ago) when Carthay Circle Restaurant did the unprecedented and unthinkable by introducing a $20 gourmet burger. Disneyland locals lost their minds, contending that a burger should never cost $20.

It was (and still is) an exceptional burger, yet that price was (and still is) difficult to stomach even at a restaurant as superlative as Carthay. Nowadays, $20+ burgers seem to be so commonplace at Disney table service restaurants that it’s barely worth mentioning that this burger costs $22. With the rest of the menu likewise being so pricey, it doesn’t stand out.

The Brunch Burger does, however, stand out in terms of flavor. The beef blend is tender and juicy, and not the kind of patty that “needs” to be concealed by egg or sauces. To the contrary, those things here only add to and enhance the flavor, providing nice texture, a mild kick–and a huge mess–to this item.

Don’t order the Brunch Burger if you want to eat a tidy and proper meal; do order it if you want something fantastic and don’t mind running to the restroom when you’re finished to wash your hands. (Maybe I’m just unnecessarily sloppy, but napkins were not enough for me.)

We really debated ordering another item “for the sake of research” (or, to be honest, because so much of the menu sounded fantastic) but we ultimately opted against it.

Other items that caught our eyes at nearby tables were the Indulgent French Toast and Crab & Potato Cake Benedict. Our friends who have tried the Indulgent French Toast raved about it.

Although I didn’t see it anywhere, I’m also super-curious about the New York Avocado Toast. I do think there’d be something a bit on the nose about a millennial ordering $28 avocado toast, though. (It’s topped with steak.)

Overall, brunch at Lamplight Lounge is another small step towards redeeming Pixar Pier. This area of Disney California Adventure still isn’t good, and it boggles my mind that it isn’t finished a full year later, but I suppose “what’s done is done.” We’ll definitely be back for more brunch at Lamplight Lounge, both for the sake of research and because this is one of the best meals we’ve had at Disneyland Resort–and we’ve had a lot of great meals at Disneyland!

If you’re preparing for a Disneyland trip, check out our other planning posts, including how to save money on Disneyland tickets, our Disney packing tips, tips for booking a hotel (off-site or on-site), where to dine, and a number of other things, check out our comprehensive Disneyland Vacation Planning Guide!

YOUR THOUGHTS

Have you had the chance to try brunch at Lamplight Lounge yet? What’d you have, and what did you think of it? Do you agree or disagree with our assessment of the menu quality? Any questions? Hearing your feedback—even when you disagree with us—is both interesting to us and helpful to other readers, so please share your thoughts below in the comments!


8 Responses to “Pixar Pier’s Brilliant Brunch”
  1. Katie June 17, 2019
  2. Robin June 16, 2019
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  4. Rachel June 15, 2019
  5. Keith Goodnight June 15, 2019
    • Tom Bricker June 15, 2019
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