Many foodies ask, is there a culinary pulse in the Disneyland Resort? The answer is a resounding Yes! Many of my friends ask isnt Disneyland just for kids? I say NO! you havent learned how it make an Adult Disney Adventure. In this blog post, I will be providing one possible route to have a fulfilling adult experience at the Disneyland Report.. You will find out by the end of this post how to feast like a suckling pigs and pull off some adult style shenanigans at the Disney resort.
The Uva Bar is located in the middle of Downtown Disneyland, adjacent to the Build a Bear store. If you were to casually read the menu, you might not give the Uva Bar a chance due to its limited menu. Although limited, Uva’s offering are seasonal, vibrant and perfect for a high-end casual meal. As a major plus, Uva bar serves up some really nice adult beverages
The menu is seasonal and features “Bar Smacks”(appetizers), Entre Salads, Sandwiches and Burgers, Specialties and Deserts. The appetizers can vary widely in their portion size, so if you find something that attracts your eye, be sure to ask the waiter. We ordered two seasonal items (Tuna Tartar Tacos and the flatbread) and two semi-permanent menu items (Grilled Crostini and Manchego Cheese Salad). Uva also features a very nice selection of micro and craft beers, that also rotates seasonally. I ordered the “North Coast Blue Start Wheat” beer and Daniele ordered a glass of Zaca Mesa cuvee wine from their respectable wine list. I did mention that we were doing an Adult Disney, which means that you eat well and develop a very nice buzz before entering the park (No adult beverages are served in the park … ).
The first dish to come out was the Crostini, which was fingerling bread rolls coated in olive oil and roasted on an open flame. The crostini is then topped with a whipped ricotta, which had a lovely guey and viscous consistency. Attop the whipped ricotta was a series of oven roasted heirloom cherry tomatoes and drizzled with balsamic.. The dish had very nice aromatics from the roasted tomatoes and balsamic. When I took the first bite, the crostini was extremely crunchy and firm, although when I bit down , it was very chewy at its core. This combination of chewy and crunchy was a nice texture counterbalance. The combination of the sweet savory of the whipped ricotta paired against the sweet acidity of the tomatoes and balsamic. I give this dish a 4 out of 5 on my scale,I would order it again.
The Flatbread’s seasonal flavor was a tomato base, with grated parmesan cheese, roasted yellow corn, grilled red onion, goat cheese and center cut bacon. The bread itself was very thin in true flat bread style. The edges and parameter where very crispy and crunchy and the center was both crunchy on the bottom and steamy soft on the ingredients side. This dish is also a study of opposing flavors. The sweetness of the grilled red onions, corn were opposed to the richness of the goat cheese. Additionally the saltines of the cheese and bacon was opposed by the sweetness of the corn, tomato sauce and canalized onions. The flatbread was excellent in flavor, but the ingredients were spread a little too haphazardly such that each bite was like eating a completely different flatbread. This dish gets a 4 out of 5 on my scale, I would order it again and I will recommend it.
The Manchego Cheese Salad was comprised on arugula lettuce, thinly shaved slices of Manchego cheese, apples, dates, walnuts and a walnut vinaigrette. I also added chicken to the dish. Overall the presentation was well put together, although when I took my first bite, I had a hard time tasting any other flavor but salt. Sadly, it appears that the kitchen double salted this dish on accident? My other complaint is that the dates were too large and should have been at least quartered instead of served whole.. The walnut vinaigrette was lite and had subtle hints of walnut;a great dressing, but yet again the flavor was overpowered by the salt. I think this dish could have been fantastic, as the flavors in the recipe theoretically should taste good together. We ended up just eating the chicken off the salad, which was cooked and seasoned flawlessly. This dish was a shame. If I had to go for a physical I would blow my blood pressure results as a result of eating this salad. I ordered an extra North Coast Wheat beer to purge my system of the salt and add a little accelerate to my adult Disney experience. This dish gets a 2 out of 5 on my scale, I should have sent it back.
Tuna Tartare Tacos- This was my favorite dish of the meal. It consisted of three crispy wonton pastries and quick fried into taco shells.The shells were light, with a clean flavor that didn’t take away from the star of the show, the tuna tartar. The shells and stuffed with a seasoned Tuna Tartare and topped with fresh guacamole and micro greens. The tuna tartare, as per its name, is served raw. The consistency was partially cubed and partially macerated. The Tuna and guacamole and had a very cool and smooth texture in the mouth. The flavor was fresh and light, with a slight hint of soy sauce. After eating the three tacos I wanted to eat more; this is a sign that I really enjoyed it. This dish was a 5 out of 5 in my book, great culinary idea and execution.
My final thoughts
Overall eating at the Uva bar was a pleasant experience with good service and excellent food. With the exception of the Manchego Salad, the food was extremely enjoyable and prepared with a lot a of thought placed on balancing flavors and textures. The location in Downtown Disney is a great place to meet with friends for a drink and a bit of food before heading into the park. After eating great food you will feel be stuffed like a suckling pig; after downing several adult beverages you will walk with a little swagger in your step. Next, I recommend jumping on the monorail station located near the Rain Forest Cafe to make a quick jump in the park. Note, the monorail shuts down for about an hour after the fireworks show, so you may have to hoof it to the main entrance #epicfailure.
Overall I give the Uva Bar a 3.5 out of 5, meaning I will come back here again especially if I want something casual and with outdoor seating. Although a 3.5 also means that I might look at other options including going to some other restaurants in Downtown Disney. The only thing keeping me from giving the Uva Bar a 4 rating was the epic failure of quality control on the manchego salad.
Addendum: The Best Places in the Disneyland Resort to Eat and Drink like a Suckling Pig Before Going into the Park
- Trader Sams (located adjacent to the Disneyland Hotel- near the pool)- great for tropical drinks. Hint: Order your food in the adjacent quick service restaurant and they will deliver it to your outdoor patio table
- Uva bar (Downtown Disney)- I think you read enough to get the drift
- Jazz Kitchen (Downtown Disney) – Order a mint Julip and try the Catfish
- Catal (Downtown Disney) - Seasonal menu and consistently great Mediterranean inspired dishes Perhaps a nice bottle of a Central Coast California Meritage will put you in the right footing.
if you are feeling ritzy:
- Napa Rose (connected to the Grand California Hotel) – A foodie’s Nirvana a bottle of wine is a must with this meal. You will leave with a smile
- Steakhouse 55 (next to Goofy’s Kitchen and inside the Dreams Hotel)- Order the rib-eye with a big red wine. You will leave fat and happy.
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