Red Rose Taverne is a new Disneyland counter service restaurant themed to Beauty and the Beast. This location is temporary, replacing Village Haus for a limited time in 2017. At present, it’s unknown how long Red Rose Taverne will run in this form, but we’re guessing at least until the home release of the live-action Beauty and the Beast.
Given the Red Rose Taverne’s popularity, we wouldn’t be surprised to see its run extended through early 2018. We visited Red Rose Taverne right when it opened on an offseason weekday, and still waited 28 minutes. Later the same day, the restaurant’s line was significantly longer. Opening weekend, the wait was over 2 hours.
In fairness, Disneyland locals will wait in line hours for a free sticker if someone tells them it’s limited edition. Things usually die down once the initial rush of obsessive APs is exhausted. However, in this case, I think these long lines are going to remain for a while–probably through the summer. Here’s a look at why we think that’ll be the case…
It’s not because of the Beauty and the Beast theme. Not a ton was done to distinguish this from Pinocchio-inspired Village Haus. Decor cues seemed to be borrowed from Gaston’s Tavern (except a lower-grade version of that) rather than Be Our Guest Restaurant. Stickers were used to cover existing murals, faux stained glass pictures were hung, a few antlers were added to light fixtures, some dishes were added to displays, and a fabric sign covered the Village Haus signs.
Fortunately, despite Pinocchio and Beauty and the Beast being set in different countries, Village Haus is actually a pretty good stand-in for a French village. In large part, this is why Red Rose Taverne works. As soon as you cover up the Pinocchio murals, pretty much all of the themed elements of Village Haus also work here.
I’m actually a bit surprised Eisner didn’t notice this during the heyday of direct-to-video sequels and “repurpose” animation cels from Pinocchio by swapping out characters and calling it Beauty and the Beast 2. Perhaps the growing nose would’ve been the perfect way to confront Gaston’s narcissism.
One thing I’ve learned in my days of Disney blogging is that it’s imperative to include Be Our Guest puns in any post about Beauty and the Beast dining. So, please pretend I made some “clever” comment here about the eating receptacles inviting you to be their patrons.
Also, ask the dishes to attest to the quality of the restaurant’s cuisine.
It really doesn’t matter how the restaurant looks, how it looks, as long as they prepare and serve it with a flair. (Oops, mixed up my lyrics there.)
Life is a culinary cabaret, old chum! (And again.)
The atmosphere is mostly solid here, but that’s because the ambiance was mostly solid at Village Haus. The changes made are by no means profound, and even calling them lateral moves is a stretch.
The added thematic elements are pretty lazy across the board. If Red Rose Taverne does become permanent, I hope more effort is put into this later.
To some extent, I suppose that should be expected: this is a temporary repurposing of a space that was built with something else in mind. That it wouldn’t be a downgrade is the best-case scenario.
The look here works mostly because the real-world inspiration for both Pinocchio and Beauty and the Beast is similar. Aside from that, the overlay for Red Rose Taverne is not going to knock anyone’s socks off.
One thing for which I really didn’t care was the melding of the animated and live action worlds. Red Rose Taverne features murals and other details from the animated film, but there are dishes that clearly represent the live action characters.
The insinuation could be that the dishes actually looked like their live action counterparts in real life, but appeared different when animated. This doesn’t work for me–it requires breaking the fourth wall, and would also require complete consistency between the two films. (Also, I think it’s probably best for both films that they’re allowed to stand on their own.)
Or, perhaps there’s a “story” here to explain this away. Maybe the animated Beauty and the Beast was based upon a true story, and the new movie is actually a documentary about what was previously dramatized. Makes perfect sense!
Now, the food. We met up with Guy Selga of TouringPlans for this “Everything on the Menu (Except Salad Because LOL @ Salads)” Review. If you’re averse to reading (can’t blame ya!), Guy posted this video of our meal at Red Rose Taverne:
Some people are saying it’s an early contender for the 2018 best documentary short Oscar…
I don’t want to rehash everything from the video (but I also know many of you won’t watch it), so I’ll offer brief synopses of the food.
My favorite thing was the Poutine Flatbread. This was incredibly light on the gravy (probably a wise move), which made it pretty dissimilar from poutine, but it was exceptional. I was apprehensive about the flavors mixing properly, but they did, and the quality was incredibly high.
I doubt anyone has ever uttered the line, “that pizza topped with french fries has a complex flavor profile,” so I’ll be the first. This will be one of my new go-to meals at Disneyland.
Beast’s Burger was similarly excellent. Until this, the best counter service burger at Disneyland Resort was the Carnitas Angus Burger at White Water Snacks in Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel. This trumped that by using a superior roll, and also having delicious pommes frites as the side. Another highly recommended option.
The Slow-Cooked Beef Poutine was yet another winner. This was closer to traditional poutine, and offered a generous amount of tender, slow-cooked beef along with a good amount of cheese curds on top of waffle fries. I’ll definitely be getting this again.
This is the Enchanted Cauli-Flower Sandwich. Okay, now surely we are getting to something that won’t garner rave reviews…right? Wrong. Against all odds, this was somehow delicious.
I’m still skeptical that this wasn’t somehow injected with meat-deliciousness, because a cauliflower sandwich had no business being this good. If not, it’s an A+ vegetarian option at Disneyland. (This is basically the new Fried Green Tomato Sandwich now that it’s gone from Hungry Bear Restaurant.)
At any other restaurant, I feel like the Chicken Sandwich a la Lumiere would garner some praise. With apple slaw and onion-bacon jam, it’s an inventive and high-quality dish. In the context of this meal, though, it was the weakest item we tried.
The chicken was meh (pretty common of Disneyland counter service restaurants) and the toppings didn’t save it. If you’re in the market for a lighter option, it might be satisfying, but there are much better options at Red Rose Taverne.
I loved the Grey Stuff. It’s a delicious, somewhat light white chocolate mousse, with a raspberry cake center. It was different than the Walt Disney World version, and in my opinion, better.
The Lemon Rose Cake didn’t do much for me. The lemon and raspberry didn’t compliment one another well, and the dessert was small.
Actually, both desserts offer poor value for money, but that’s par for the course with desserts at Disneyland these days. I’d recommend the Grey Stuff despite that, particularly given the quality and cool-factor of eating something from the movie.
Above is the full menu. I cannot imagine these prices lasting long, so expect a 20% bump if you’re going after March 2017.
At present, everything we tried represents an excellent value relative to other counter service restaurants at Disneyland. The entree ingredients seem high-quality across the board, and the side of pommes frites is a significant upgrade over the standard Disney fries.
Overall, Disneyland has really invited people to be their guest with Red Rose Taverne. While the thematic overlay is meh (at best), the restaurant’s cuisine is shockingly good. We’d go as far to say that Red Rose Taverne is on par with French Market and Plaza Restaurant as the best counter service option in all of Disneyland. Unlike those restaurants, which have seen portion size cuts and price increases over the past several years, Red Rose Taverne is also a good value for money. Also unlike those restaurants, Red Rose Taverne has some lengthy wait times. If you’re a tourist reading this, it’s hard to recommend waiting in line 1-2 hours for counter service food. It’s not that good. (If you’re a local, you were probably going to waste that time, anyway, so go for it.) It’ll be interesting to see whether lines die down once the newness wears off, or if this remains popular due to the food quality.
Do you agree or disagree with our take on Red Rose Taverne? Any thoughts on the cuisine here, if you’ve tried it? Would you like to see a permanent Beauty and the Beast restaurant at Disneyland? Share any questions, tips, or additional thoughts you have in the comments!