San Fransokyo Square is the new land based on Big Hero 6 in California Adventure at Disneyland Resort. This dining guide covers the entrees, sides, snacks, drinks and desserts we recommend eating and avoiding in DCA’s restaurant row.
For those who are unfamiliar with it, San Fransokyo Square has taken over Pacific Wharf. We’ve been huge fans of Pacific Wharf for years, and there’s a reason every counter service restaurant in this area made our list of the 23 Best Restaurants at Disneyland Resort. The dining scene here is really good, and although popular with the public, it’s underrated among diehard Disney fans.
Disneyland’s culinary team reinvented several of the menus a few years ago, and they’ve continued to get stronger since. San Fransokyo Square is the latest evolution of this area, and it pushes the culinary envelope even further. The new menus are a fusion of Japanese and Californian cuisine, mashing up Tokyo and San Francisco–as the name suggests–that is perfectly fitting for Big Hero 6.
San Fransokyo Square officially opens at Disney California Adventure on August 31, 2023. That’s when the full reimagining of the themed land will be completed, the Baymax meet & greet will debut, every restaurant and retail location will open, and the remaining construction walls will come down.
With that said, this Big Hero 6 land is currently in the midst of its transformation, and now open to guests visiting Disneyland Resort in the process. There are roughly two-dozen menu items coming to San Fransokyo Square that will roll out over the next few weeks at the following locations:
Lucky Fortune Cookery (now available)
Cocina Cucamonga Mexican Grill (debuts July 26, 2023)
Rita’s Turbine Blenders (debuts July 26, 2023)
Aunt Cass Cafe (debuts mid-August 2023)
Port of San Fransokyo Cerveceria (debuts mid-August 2023)
I was invited to a San Fransokyo Square media event to preview the new Big Hero 6 land, taste-test new menu items, and hear from the Imagineering and culinary team tasked with the transformation. From that and our extensive experience eating in Pacific Wharf, we’re putting together this work-in-progress food guide. As additional restaurants debut new items, we’ll return to update this.
Equally as important (to me…probably not to you), I got to hear the new 90-minute long background music loop featuring J-pop music from the Japan pavilion at EPCOT (Bijutsu-kan Gallery’s “Kawaii: Japan’s Cute Culture”).
It also features four songs from The Happy Ride with Baymax at Tokyo Disneyland: B-A-Y-M-A-X, A New Angle, Happy Song, and One Sweet Ride. This is the best new background music loop at Disneyland Resort since the BGM for DCA’s Food & Wine Festival added the 30 clean seconds of “California Love.” The San Fransokyo Square BGM is a certified banger. But I digress.
Let’s turn to cuisine, with reviews of some of the new and upcoming food in San Fransokyo Square…
Karaage-inspired Crispy Chicken Sandwich (Lucky Fortune Cookery) – I am an absolute sucker for karaage. I practically begged Disney to add it to the menu at the new Shiki-Sai: Sushi Izakaya, and extolled the virtues of Japanese convenience store fried chicken. Point being, I’m naturally predisposed to liking this dish, but also have reasonably high expectations for it.
Thankfully, this is on par with Family Mart’s Famichiki and 7/11’s Seven Chicken. (That’s high praise.) The fried chicken was perfectly-prepared, fantastically juicy and with the right amount of crunch. The Togarashi mayonnaise adds light spice and richness, without masking or overwhelming. It’s a perfect enhancement to the karaage.
This immediately jumps to the #1 spot on my list of entrees to eat in San Fransokyo Square–surpassing even the QuesaBirria Tacos, Pork Wonton Nachos, and Beef Bulgogi Burrito. I’ll be taste-testing this repeatedly over the next several months for the sake of very important research and quality control to make sure it can retain that top slot in the face of formidable competition.
San Fransokyo-style Street Corn (Cocina Cucamonga Mexican Grill) – This new dish is, somehow, the perfect marriage of Mexican and Japanese street food. I could easily see this being sold in Osaka’s Dōtonbori district or Sawtelle in Los Angeles, as this is an incredible and envelope-pushing dish by real world standards.
At first blush, this dish looks like ordinary elote–something that might be served at one of the festival booths or elsewhere in the park. Disney has done a pretty good job with regular street corn in the past, even in hot dog form.
This builds upon that success and takes the foundation of elote and turns it into something distinctly Japanese with furikake and bonito flakes sprinkled on top, plus a slathering of that deliciously-rich Togarashi mayonnaise. I don’t know how it manages to thread the needle, but it does–Disneyland’s culinary team did something special here and stuck the landing.
Without question, the San Fransokyo-style Street Corn is the most ambitious and interesting new item coming to the Big Hero 6 land. It’s also not for everyone–some might find the slightly fishy flavor off-putting. I absolutely love it, though. I could see Disneyland starting a new fusion food trend with this street corn.
Soba Noodle Salad (Aunt Cass Cafe) – Yet another winner for me, this turns cold summer soba (minus the dipping broth) into a salad topped with tofu, cabbage, edamame, carrots, roasted corn, scallions, and cilantro topped with crispy shallots and sesame ginger dressing.
This is a plant-based winner, far more ambitious and unique with the toppings than a standard salad. It’s also heavy on the sesame ginger flavor, which I personally love. With that said, this review presupposes that you’re looking for something lighter, cooler, refreshing, or plant-based. As much as I enjoy this, I wouldn’t order it over any of the carnivorous options in San Fransokyo Square–but that’s true of any salad.
Curry Beef Bread Bowl (Aunt Cass Cafe) – This is like the exact opposite of the Soba Noodle Salad: heavy, hearty, and meaty. (Sorry, somehow forgot to get a photo of it.)
The curry might sound intimidating as a menu item, but it’s Japanese style–which means that it’s mild and crowd-pleasing comfort food. It’s also delicious and extremely filling thanks to the carrots, potatoes, onions, and beef. The Boudin sourdough bread bowl is great for soaking up that heavy curry, making this an incredibly filling and satisfying dish (all of the bread bowls offer great value for money if you actually eat the bread–and you should!).
The Curry Beef Bread Bowl is a big winner…but also a winter item for me. It’s just too heavy and hearty for this time of year in Southern California.
Japanese-style Fluffy Cheesecake (Aunt Cass Cafe) – What makes this Japanese style is that it’s light, airy and, as the name says, fluffy. It’s also less over-the-top than New York style cheesecake, which is typical of Japanese desserts–they’re generally more restrained and without the overpowering sweetness.
I prefer this style of dessert, but I didn’t find this cheesecake to be particularly memorable. Given that this same location is also home to legendary bread pudding (at least for now!), it’s tough to recommend this cheesecake. Even if the bread pudding disappears, there are better dessert options at DCA. Just be prepared for more of a sugar rush with those.
Baymax Macaron (Lucky Fortune Cookery) – Disney California Adventure has served up macarons for Halloween, Christmas, and festivals for years; to my knowledge, this is the first one on a permanent menu.
I’m generally a fan of the Disneyland macarons. They satisfy the superficial desire for something Instagrammable, but are usually delicious (even if laden with artificial flavors and colors). This does the past incarnations one better, with a plain appearance and color, and rich chocolate-hazelnut spread and buttercream filling inside. It’s a must-order for the kawaii factor alone; the deliciousness is an added bonus!
Garlic Pinwheel Chips Mix (Port of San Fransokyo Cervecería) – These are the lone “food item” available at what’s otherwise the Karl Strauss Beer Spot. This reminds me of one of the snacks at Oga’s Cantina when it first opened–totally underwhelming and practically flavorless, but salty and something to eat while drinking.
The difference between Oga’s Cantina and San Fransokyo Square is that there’s a whole food court bursting with flavor that’s easily accessible here. Don’t waste your money or stomach space on this mix.
Honey Lemon-Ade (Aunt Cass Cafe) – This is Minute Maid Zero Sugar Lemonade with yuzu purée plus passion fruit and strawberry popping spheres. Flavor-wise, it’s essentially a citrus-skewing punch, with grapefruit, lemon, and orange flavors in the drink–plus the passion fruit and strawberry of the satisfying spheres.
The hint of honey is what seals the deal on this drink for me, taking what otherwise could be an overly sweet drinking and grounding it in a natural (or so it seemed) flavor. I was skeptical of this drink given the base, thinking this might be diluted or flavorless. In actuality, it’s damn good boba.
Or at least, it’s good boba to me. I’m admittedly not super into the craze and seldom order it when we’re out and about. (Just figured I should add that asterisk because many Californians are serious about their boba.)
Lychee Tea (Lucky Fortune Cookery) – This is not, as they say, my cup of tea. It could’ve been the best version of lychee in the world and I wouldn’t be in a hurry to order it again. So I’m hardly the one to be reviewing this. With that said, I’m almost certain this was not the best version of lychee tea, or even mid-tier tea.
Existing Menu Highlights in San Fransokyo Square:
QuesaBirria Street-style Tacos (Cocina Cucamonga) – There’s a reason for the order limit; the best dish in this area prior to San Fransokyo Square.
Pork Wonton Nachos (Lucky Fortune Cookery) – It’s pork, cheese, and spicy aïoli topped nachos…what’s not to love?!
Beef Bulgogi Burrito (Lucky Fortune Cookery) – Brilliant mashup of Korean and Mexican flavors; best burrito at Disneyland
Seasonal Bread Pudding (Aunt Cass Cafe) – If this sticks around, it’s always worth ordering. We’ve had at least 20 different varieties of this in the last 6-7 years, and at least 18 of them have been fantastic.
Mac & Cheese (Aunt Cass Cafe) – Once a secret menu item, the mac & cheese bread bowl is a fan-favorite for good reason. Simple and delicious.
Existing Menu Lowlights in San Fransokyo Square:
Other Tacos (Cocina Cucamonga) – Nothing necessarily wrong with these, they’re just too small and not as good as the QuesaBirria.
Teriyaki Chicken (Lucky Fortune Cookery) – Uninspired and ordinary.
Pot Stickers (Lucky Fortune Cookery) – Basic.
That’s it. Only 4 items on the existing lowlights list, and even that’s a bit of a stretch. After GCH Craftsman Grill (Disney’s Best Food You’re Not Eating), Pacific Wharf is where we eat for enjoyment most of the time at Disneyland Resort. (Combined, I’d estimate that 75% of our meals at Disneyland are either at GCH or Pacific Wharf.)
The menus are already stacked in this area, and are somehow, against all odds, only getting better with San Fransokyo Square. With this reimagining, almost all of the menu items that we don’t like are being removed, and a dozen-plus that either are delicious or look delicious are being added.
We still have to try the Beef Birria Ramen and both styles of Yaki Udon at Lucky Fortune Cookery, as well as the Shrimp Katsu Sandwich at Aunt Cass Cafe–but I have high hopes for all three. As noted above, this food guide to San Fransokyo is a work in progress, so we’ll report back once we eat those items and do further taste-testing of the dishes covered here. So stay tuned!
Any new menu items you’re excited to try in San Fransokyo Square? If you’ve had any of the dishes discussed here, what did you think? Are you excited to step foot in San Fransokyo Square from Big Hero 6? Looking forward to trying the new menu items, checking out the new shopping, or meeting Hiro and Baymax? Do you agree or disagree with our assessment? 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!