New Restaurants Opening at Downtown Disney

All-new restaurants are coming to Downtown Disney! Disneyland has revealed opening timelines for restaurants under construction, while also announcing a couple of new dining options that’ll take the place of Tortilla Jo’s and sharing first looks at the upcoming locations.

For those who are unfamiliar with the multi-year overhaul of the Downtown Disney District at Disneyland Resort, this project is partially new concepts replacing existing venues all over the district plus expansion into the area that formerly housed AMC Theater. Previously, that space closed to become a new luxury hotel–a plan that was ultimately scrapped due to a standoff between Disney and the (former) city council in Anaheim. (Since then, Disney has worked hard to mend fences with the local government–hence DisneylandForward likely being rubber stamped later this month.)

Consequently, large swaths of Downtown Disney have been a veritable construction zone for the last year-plus. Some of this is out of the way–pretty much everything in the AMC area doesn’t impact crowd flow. But other reimaginings, such as Céntrico (which is literally in the center of the main walkway–hence its name), have created pinch-points around construction walls.

Anyway, here’s a sneak peek at the all-new dining in the works at the Downtown Disney District at Disneyland Resort! Starting in Spring 2024, guests can savor innovative flavors and culinary creativity with three new Mexican dining experiences, plus timing for the arrival of Din Tai Fung, future plans for more new restaurants and more sweet treats!

With a vibrant expression of his native food and culture, Mexico’s first Michelin-starred Chef Carlos Gaytán is bringing authentic Mexican fare to the Downtown Disney District. His dishes will take guests on a multi-sensory journey to the heart of his homeland of Huitzuco, Mexico, through three distinctive concepts opening in the next few weeks.

Paseo, Céntrico and Tiendita will open in May 2024 according to Disney! Since this announcement, Patina Group has narrowed that even further, indicating that Paseo, Céntrico and Tiendita will officially open on May 2, 2024. (That also leaves the door open for soft openings on a walk-up basis in late April.)

A stunning staircase will lead you to Paseo’s show-stopping dining room and bar area lined with rich woods, tiles, textures, leathers and custom accents that celebrate Mexico’s craftsmanship culture. An extended upper patio will offer exceptional new views of the district!

Paseo is in the location previously occupied by Catal, and is brought to life by Patina Restaurant Group.

Chef Gaytán’s connection to his homeland comes to life as he pairs his love of Mexico with French culinary style and technique.

Standout Paseo menu items will include colorful ceviches, Mama’s cochinita pibil (roasted marinated pork), lamb barbacoa and the mejillones (mussels) pictured above.

Céntrico, the courtyard bar and restaurant, will be an energetic, central gathering place serving upscale Mexican cuisine and tequila-based cocktails. Its open, airy spaces designed with custom wood elements and lush greenery will welcome you into its outdoor canopy.

Featured dishes at Céntrico will include quesabirrias, chicken enchiladas, tlayuda (a Oaxacan shareable dish reminiscent of a pizza with a perfect crunch) and one of Chef Gaytán’s favorites, Caesar salad.

Céntrico replaces Uva Bar and looks to be a nice plussing of the outdoor central courtyard lounge. We were just at Downtown Disney a few days ago, and in looking over the construction wall, Céntrico appeared to be pretty close to finished. Over course, I couldn’t see behind the bar or into the kitchen where dishes are actually prepared, but the outward appearance made it look as though Céntrico could make a surprise debut any day now.

At Tiendita, you’ll experience Mexican heritage flavors and street-food staples on the go. This quick-service walk-up spot is across from Céntrico and next-door to Paseo. It’s currently fully behind walls, so difficult it’s difficult to say how far along it is relative to Céntrico.

Guests will order through a self-service kiosk located outside, and pick-up their items inside Tiendita. The menu options will include esquites (roasted corn), fish tacos, ice cream- stuffed chocolate tacos, and breakfast favorites like chorizo breakfast burritos and chilaquiles (marinated tortilla chips with egg). You may even see the expert culinary team at work inside.

Din Tai Fung Opens in Summer 2024!

Din Tai Fung, a Michelin award winning restaurant chain from Taiwan, will open in Summer 2024 at Downtown Disney! Din Tai Fung will bring its signature soup dumplings (Xiao Long Bao), wontons, noodles, steamed buns, bok choy, pork chop fried rice and other flavorful dishes served family style.

We cannot wait for this. We love Din Tai Fung, and not having to hassle with South Coast Plaza will be a definite plus. (Not like Disneyland crowds are any better, but the key difference is that I actually want to visit Disneyland and am there often. South Coast Plaza…not so much!)

It’s really difficult to gauge progress on Din Tai Fung. At one point last year, there was a flurry of activity and the location made a ton of progress in the span of a couple months. The visible pace has slowed since, but that doesn’t mean it’s not actively and quickly moving forward inside–there’s only so much that’s visible over the walls. Also, it doesn’t help that I’m used to covering Cake Bake Shop construction, and the glacial pace of that project might be throwing off my ability to judge progress.

Nevertheless, my bet is that Din Tai Fung opens closer to the end of the summer season (I’ll go with mid to late July) than the beginning. It probably does help that Din Tai Fung can hire and train staff outside of Downtown Disney, then reassign them to that location once it’s ready.

New Steakhouse and BBQ Concepts Coming to Downtown Disney!

More mouth-watering plans are underway for Downtown Disney at Disneyland (photo unrelated). Two new restaurant concepts – a steakhouse restaurant and an adjacent barbecue eatery – are in the works for the Downtown Disney District. These will be located on the footprint of the former Tortilla Jo’s.

As a reminder, Tortilla Jo’s closed permanently at the end of last month. The counter service side of the venue, Taqueria by Tortilla Jo’s, will stay open until April 13, 2024. Good riddance. It’s also worth noting that the Tortilla Jo’s complex was/is massive, so this is going to be a big steakhouse and BBQ joint.

This news is bound to be met with consternation and controversy. Barbecue is one of those things about which people have oddly strong regional alliances, and then on top of that, all of the California haters are going to come out of the woodwork. In response, I’ll simply say two things. First, Tortilla Jo’s was a shockingly bad Mexican restaurant in an area known for great Mexican cuisine. Even if the replacement were an Applebee’s, it’d arguably be an improvement.

Second, California has good BBQ! I’m not kidding! In fact, California has good everything. With the possible exception of maybe New York City, Southern California is the world’s biggest melting pot. If there is a cuisine that exists, there’s a great version of it here. That includes barbecue. I don’t purport to be a BBQ expert with comprehensive knowledge of all the area’s best locations, but Heritage Barbecue in San Juan Capistrano can hold its own against any BBQ joint.

So it’s entirely possible that Patina Restaurant Group will deliver more great BBQ to Southern California. Or maybe they won’t! But the notion that California is incapable of good BBQ is patently false. And I’d be willing to bet that this steakhouse and barbecue joint will outperform, especially relative to Tortilla Jo’s.

Expansion & Reimagination of Marceline’s Confectionery 

Something sweet is underway at Marceline’s Confectionery. An all-new, expanded and completely reimagined confection experience will feature your favorite treats and fun new tasty offerings. While work on this location will soon be in progress, you can visit Marceline’s cart coming soon to Downtown Disney to pick up your caramel apples, churro toffee and other handcrafted goodies.

During this transformation of Marceline’s, The Disney Dress Shop has temporarily moved to the WonderGround Gallery location, and select items from WonderGround Gallery may be found in Disney Home.

Ultimately, mostly good to great news here for Disneyland fans. While some of the new restaurant interiors (and exteriors, for that matter) look a bit bland and generically modern, this should amount to massive culinary improvements at Downtown Disney. And that’s what really matters.

Hopefully these plans continue, as Downtown Disney could really benefit from upgrades to compete with real world outdoor malls in Southern California. Downtown Disney needs a comprehensive aesthetic overhaul and new restaurant and retail lineup…pretty much across the board.

It’s no longer 2001. The competition has intensified, while Downtown Disney has been left in the past. Fortunately, Imagineering won’t have to venture too far for “research trips” to figure out how to improve Downtown Disney–the best mall in Southern California is only a few miles from their Glendale offices.

Planning a Southern California vacation? For park admission deals, read Tips for Saving Money on Disneyland Tickets. Learn about on-site and off-site hotels in our Anaheim Hotel Reviews & Rankings. For where to eat, check out our Disneyland Restaurant Reviews. For unique ideas of things that’ll improve your trip, check out What to Pack for Disney. For comprehensive advice, consult our Disneyland Vacation Planning Guide. Finally, for guides beyond Disney, check out our Southern California Itineraries for day trips to Los Angeles, Laguna Beach, and tons of other places!


What do you think of this news about Disneyland Resort? Are you excited that Downtown Disney is getting reimagined (to some degree)? Or do you think DtD is already perfect, far and away the best mall in Southern California? Will Din Tai Fung cause you to visit Downtown Disney? Any other restaurant or retail locations at the Glendale Galleria/Americana at Brand that Disney should bring to Downtown Disney? 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!

13 Responses to “New Restaurants Opening at Downtown Disney”
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