French Market Review
French Market is quite possibly the best counter service restaurant in Disneyland–if not the best, one of the best. It’s located in New Orleans Square, which is unquestionably the best land in Disneyland. Best restaurant in the best land? Now that’s a double threat! Like the rest of New Orleans Square, French Market captures the ambiance of the real New Orleans perfectly. It reminds me a lot of Cafe Du Monde and the area around it, except without the huge lines, throngs of malnourished horses being exploited by carriage drivers who don’t know how to take care of them, and lingering stench.
Actually, its striking resemblance to Cafe Du Monde–which I found to be a miserable tourist trap–is probably why it took us so long to experience French Market. Luckily, all of New Orleans Square is an idealized version of New Orleans so the unpleasant aspects of the real New Orleans have been vanquished. This includes French Market, which doesn’t generally have huge lines (except on “One More Disney Day” when the line was ridiculous!), has no horses nearby, and smells lovely thanks to plenty of flowers in the area.
The ambiance at French Market is pretty impressive. While it’s not nearly as quiet and tranquil as another favorite of ours, Hungry Bear Restaurant, it does offer a relaxing ambiance. The highlight of that ambiance is in the The Royal Street Bachelors, a 3-piece band that performs in the French Market open-air seating area on stage throughout the day. When the Royal Street Bachelors aren’t performing, guests can hear the sounds of the passing Disneyland Railroad trains and see the Mark Twain and Davy Crockett canoes pass in the distance on the Rivers of America.
As far as cuisine goes, French Market has a variety of entrees, and its menu keeps expanding! We dined there for the first time during “One More Disney Day” and we each had a couple of unique items exclusive to that menu. That same night, we returned for French Dip sandwiches, also unique to the “One More Disney Day” menu. A couple days later on that same trip, we returned once more, for items unique to the Bayou Bash Mardi Gras menu. Can you spot a trend here…?
Luckily, a few of these items have since made it onto the permanent French Market menu, which has received several tweaks in recent months and has expanded to include a number of new (and old) favorites in becoming the latest Disneyland restaurant to receive a new, more diverse menu. Disney recently shared the work done to French Market’s menu, and it looks spectacular.
Everything we’ve had at French Market has been exceptional, albeit a touch overpriced, even by Disney standards. This is partially, we suspect, due to us ordering “special” items that Disney priced at a premium. When reviewing “normal” menu items, it appears that they aren’t out of line with prices at other higher end counter service restaurants, like The Plaza Inn (stream of consciousness edit: French Market definitely isn’t as good as Plaza Inn, so it’s not the best Disneyland counter service).
I wouldn’t describe French Market’s menu as adventurous (I suppose there are a few slightly adventurous items on it), but it doesn’t contain a lot of theme park staples, like burgers, hot dogs, and pizza. We find this refreshing, but if you have kids who are picky eaters, French Market may not be a good choice for you.
Since most of the specific dishes we have enjoyed at French Market are not presently available, there’s little point in taunting you by describing them in detail. Instead, I’ll let you drool over the photos:
The clear highlight for me has been the French Dip sandwich, which was one of the best French Dip sandwiches I’ve ever had. It was easily better than anything else I’ve ever eaten at French Market. The meat was tender, moist, and flavorful, and the dip helped make the sandwich melt in my mouth. The house chips that came with it were similarly amazing, with their Cajun seasoning, which really differentiated them from normal homemade chips that are all the rage right now. The Bananas Foster cheesecake was also a highlight, and it was so good that I had two of them; it was decadent and managed to capture the flavor of Bananas Foster perfectly. Finally, the French-style chicken-pork sausage sandwich with homemade apple-carrot slaw; it was way overpriced at $15 for what it was, but it was incredibly delicious.
Of course, we’d be remiss if we reviewed French Market without mentioning the famous Mint Julep. Sorry, fans of this drink, but I don’t think it’s so great. It doesn’t have a whole lot of flavor, and is expensive for lightly flavored sugar water. (The real thing upstairs at Club 33 is infinitely better.) You might like it, so ask if you can taste a sample when you’re ordering at French Market to determine whether it’s for you.
Overall, while French Market may not be the #1 counter service in all of Disneyland, it comes close to the top spot thanks to an interesting menu that single-handedly refutes stereotypes about theme park food. It’s a great place to sit back, enjoy some great (albeit slightly overpriced) food, listen to the band, and hear the music play. It may not appeal to all guests, but the menu has enough variety that it should satisfy just about anyone who isn’t an ultra-picky eater. For us, French Market is one of the best places to relax in all of Disneyland, with food that really impresses.
Overall Score: 9.5/10
To read other Disneyland restaurant reviews, organized by location, check out our Disney Dining Reviews Index.
Are you a fan of French Market? What’s your favorite dish here? Please share your thoughts in the comments!
What do you suggest for picky eater kids? Can you get something for them somewhere else and bring it here to eat?
Funny about picky eater this is exactly why I haven’t eaten here yet. The menu lacks something that jumps to me. I think the review is spot on.
They used to have an amazing Cajun chicken sandwich on the menu. If that ever shows up again, give it a try. It was amazing!
Every trip my wife and I make to Disneyland always includes at least one dinner at the French Market.
We always like the French Quarter Chicken and the only complaint is the ‘seasonal vegetables’ are always Corn, Carrots and Green Beans. The are always the same, the corn is overcooked and mushy, the carrots are undercooked and hard as a rock and the green beans are so hard they require a knife to cut! One time my wife was trying to cut one of the carrots and it shot off of her plate and landed a good 20 feet away!
We always have to ask for the vegetables to be left off and they’ll add some extra potatoes to cover the lost. The CM putting the vegetable on your plate always understands!
Why do we order this? The chicken and potatoes more than make up for the rest of the meal, they are that good!
Agree, love this restaurant. The jambalaya deserves a mention- maybe not the best version I’ve had anywhere but a really solid rendition, which is high praise for theme park food! And def better than the frozen-refried options elsewhere in the park.
Wow! I really liked your website until this page. As someone from New Orleans, I am very offended. You may have considered that before posting such comments about the city of New Orleans.
Sorry–I’ve been to New Orleans a few times and don’t care for it. I don’t think the comments here are all that harsh (the bit about horses certainly isn’t untrue). Not everyone is going to like every city in the world. If someone didn’t like Indianapolis, I wouldn’t be personally offended.
There are no horse carriages in New Orleans, they are all mules, and that is why they look like they do. Mules look like sick Horses. lol.
Tom- big fan. it’s cool you don’t like our city, I do like your blog. I have used it for three trips so far. I wouldn’t have gone to Victoria and Albert’s and Jungle Skipper canteen(whatever the name is, but good) without your posts. What can I say, the french quarter stinks. The last time I was at my favorite pizza place in the quarter a rat walked by and no one skipped a beat from eating dinner. It;s a dirtier town. lol
Last month we finally tried the French Market & was not all that impressed.. I asked to see most of the items they were serving up (disappointed at how far from fresh the food looked) before deciding on the French Dip. I ordered a Mint Julep (as I always enjoy it at the Blue Bayou) and passed on desert (a Dile Whip was the next stop). I found the roast beef over cooked & dry, so the Au Jus was necessary to moisten it up a bit. Also, about half of my grapes were squishy & I had to exchange them twice. Reading your review, I will go back & give it another try, as I enjoyed the band & people watching with my refreshing drink (non-alcoholic does require some sacrifice). Perhaps I’ll delve into a piece of that cheesecake too!
That should say a Dole Whip!
I have had a few friends that were really disappointed with the French Market. They were specific about the French dip sandwich and said exactly the same as you: “dry, no flavor and overpriced”.
How have you not tried Cafe Orleans? I can’t even bring myself to hit up French Market, because I can’t stay away from the fries at Cafe Orleans. It’s a sickness, really.
I know, I know. We’re a bit ashamed of that!
Do they still have the fritters? When we were teenagers running around DL back in the day we would always go to New Orleans Square and get fritters and mint juleps.
We had an elderly neighbor who was an artist/painter at DL since it opened. I believe he knew Walt fairly well. (As I’m sure a lot of the original employees did.) He would give us books of Gold Key Tickets! It was “E” ticket rides all day long!!
I’ve never had fritters at French Market, sorry!
Awesome that you knew an original Disneyland artist, and pretty cool to have all those E-Tickets. Thanks for sharing that! 🙂
They have New Orleans fritters nearby at the Royal Street Veranda.
Actually French Market is quite possibly the best counter service restaurant by far at this location. great food at a resonable price.
We were very disappointed when my wife ordered the corn chowder and hot a breadbowl of moisterless ingredients. This chowder had been in the pot for way to long. The vhips that came with my sandwich were so hard that they were inedible. As a professional chef I find this unforgivable especially for the prices charges.