Originally opened as Aux Epices Enchantées, an authentic African design in the eclectic Adventureland of Disneyland Paris, this location has since been renamed to capitalize on the appeal of the Lion King, and a handful of movie-inspired decorations have been added. Thankfully, the core design of the restaurant is an opening day original, and it’s brilliant.
Restaurant Hakuna Matata is enhanced with African art and stylization throughout. There’s also a ton of texture, both literally and in terms of the array of patterns, tactile details, and other accents. It has a much more raw and genuine atmosphere than you’d expect given the name.
Far from a Lion King-inspired location, Restaurant Hakuna Matata actually reminds me a bit of something you’d find at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge. High praise considering the incredible quality and efforts at authenticity of that Walt Disney World hotel. See and read more in our Restaurant Hakuna Matata Review.
8. Lucky Nugget Saloon
The Lucky Nugget edges out another Frontierland restaurant, Silver Spur Steakhouse, to make it into the top 10. 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, and it’s similar in style, but superior in design to both that and its “upgraded” sister location, 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. See and read more in our full Lucky Nugget Saloon Review.
7. 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 of a hodgepodge, but Imagineer Tom Morris has shared that it’s actually meant to be a pastiche of Italian sites.
While that restaurant was incredibly short-lived, some details remain, and the overall look and overgrown adventurous ‘feel’ of Colonel Hathi’s remains. One aspect of Colonel Hathi’s that we particularly appreciate is that it offers well-themed indoor and outdoor seating, with the balcony feeling offering tranquility and seclusion. See and read more in our full Colonel Hathi’s Pizza Outpost Review.
5. Cowboy Cookout Barbecue
We have visited Cowboy Cookout BBQ more times than any other restaurant on this list. Our first visit, 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. The ribs served here are also among the best meals in all of Disneyland Paris counter service dining. See and read more in our Cowboy Cookout BBQ Review.
4. Captain Jack’s – Restaurant des Pirates
Captain Jack’s – Restaurant des Pirates (formerlyBlue 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 at which we’ve dined.
The dim lanterns and tavern-like atmosphere with casks and bottles all around give a great mood to the dimly-lit restaurant, as does the slightly-tiered seating. (Unfortunately, we have no good photos of that, but it really does look quite nice.) We’ve heard others have similarly-poor meals here, but Captain Jack’s recently opened from refurbishment with a new menu. We recommend it with hesitations in spite of that, especially if you’ve never dined at Blue Bayou or are a big fan of Pirates of the Caribbean, because the great ambiance makes this something special.
3. Toad Hall
Toad Hall bucks the trend, as it was a restaurant that was both brilliantly detailed and has 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.
2. Restaurant Agrabah Cafe
Formerly the Adventureland Bazaar shopping arcade, Agrabah Cafe was transformed into a restaurant and retains the beautiful design and texture of that intimate area, making it one of the thematic gems in Disney dining across the world. 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.
It’s easy to get lost in the web of dining rooms at Agrabah Cafe, and the passageways that now make up the restaurant have a mysterious vibe and a rich amount of detail giving them a sense of gritty authenticity. You’ll also find numerous references One Thousand and One Nights, which served as the inspiration for Adventureland Bazaar (there are now Aladdin details, too). Oh, and the food is actually good and inventive here, which is a rarity for Disneyland Paris. Since it’s a buffet, you can do a large late lunch, and skip dinner! See and read more in our Restaurant Agrabah Cafe Review.
1. Walt’s – An American Restaurant
No matter how awesome the thematic design of the other restaurants, they 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. I’d go as far as to say this is what Club 33 should be, an improvement on what currently exists at Disneyland.
The first time we dined here, our food here was not good, but there was a menu refresh prior to Disneyland Paris’ 25th Anniversary, and our meal last year was much improved. Irrespective of that, the cuisine really makes no difference; any Disney fan should salivate over the chance to eat here even if you were fed dog food. The design is beautiful, and it’s a loving nod to Walt Disney. You can see more of the different rooms in our Walt’s – An American Restaurant Review & Photo Tour.
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? Any questions? Your comments are half the fun, so please share any questions or feedback about dining in Disneyland Paris that you have in the comments!