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Grand Californian Hotel - Storytellers Cafe

by ZZZ

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5/5.05/5.05/5.05/5.05/5.0 Outstanding
4/5.04/5.04/5.04/5.04/5.0 Recommended
3/5.03/5.03/5.03/5.03/5.0 OK, but not great
2/5.02/5.02/5.02/5.02/5.0 Disappointing
1/5.01/5.01/5.01/5.01/5.0 Poor

Lunch and dinner dishes feature fresh California ingredients. A weekend dinner buffet is offered.


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Average Reviewer Rating:   3.8 out of 53.8 out of 53.8 out of 53.8 out of 53.8 out of 5  Number of Grand Californian Hotel - Storytellers Cafe Reviews: 35
4.0/5.04.0/5.04.0/5.04.0/5.04.0/5.0   8/21/09 - 8/23/09
Reviewer: Sansarc Pacific Palisades, CA     August 26, 2009
We had lunch twice at this restaurant -- once on Friday, 8/21/09 and once on Sunday, 8/23/09. I had made an advance reservation for the Friday lunch, but had NOT made a reservation for Sunday, 8/23/09, but we were seated promptly for both meals without any problem or wait.

We loved this restaurant! The interior is so charming. Truly, the decor appealed to all of us -- adults and teenager alike. There was so much to look at. In fact, after we ate lunch, we "toured" the restaurant to view all of the paintings.

We ordered off of the lunch menu even though, on Sunday, the breakfast buffet was still available. For both of our visits, we shared the chicken quesadillas as an appetizer. The slices were generous and filled with chicken, spicy Jack cheese and green peppers. Delicious. The guacamole was arranged back inside of an avocado half, too! Fun idea.

Our entrees were served in a timely way after the appetizers on Friday, but on Sunday -- the wait staff brought everything out at once, then realized their mistake, apologized, and brought back our entrees until a few minutes later.

Over these two meals, we had the Cobb salad (all three of us on Sunday), the slow-roasted turkey clubhouse sandwich and the charbroiled burger. The Cobb salad had lots of fresh ingredients, plus my husband was able to change out the bleu cheese dressing for a honey balsamic. I thought it was nice of them to offer this. They also left out the avocado for one of us. I really enjoyed the clubhouse sandwich. It wasn't too big -- but it was still generous. The bread was good, too! Sometimes the bread in these sandwiches is just plain old white bread, but this bread had depth and flavor. The turkey was not the deli-sliced turkey, but genuine turkey breast. I was impressed. The sandwich and the Cobb salads weren't too salty either. Everything tasted wonderful. We were very happy with our selections. It felt like our entrees were made by an actual kitchen staff and not "processed" by an assembly line -- I can't explain it any better than that! It was high quality food.

For dessert on our first day, we shared the chocolate brownie. I think we had brownies at almost every restaurant during this trip for dessert for some reason! They were all good -- this one, too. It came with ice cream and chocolate sauce.

We would love to go back here for dinner sometime. We really enjoyed it. Plus, it was nice to get away from the parks and sit down in a quiet, calm atmosphere.
3.0/5.03.0/5.03.0/5.03.0/5.03.0/5.0   June 6 and 7, 2009
Reviewer: bennette South Orange County, CA     June 14, 2009
We ate dinner here twice on a recent visit by my sister's family. We like Storyteller's because it is calmer than most other restaurants in the park and because they offer food that is more appealing to us and our family, particularly the vegans. My niece and nephew are both allergic to dairy and this restaurant is able to accommodate them easily with no advance notice.

I was disappointed at these visits however, in the decline in food quality, which was strongly evident. I am aware of the changes in the economy, as we all are, but the food quality and choice was not equivalent to the prices, which I usually have no problem paying.

At our first meal, two adults had the buffet, my sister had the cheese ravioli, and I had a chicken dish that was similar to coq au vin with chicken and bacon. The kids both had the pasta with olive oil instead of sauce with a side of fruit and apple juice which our waitress was happy to water down.

My chicken dish was fine and a reasonable size. The onions and chicken in it were tasty, as was the sauce. The bacon appeared to be an afterthought, sprinkled over the dish and did nothing to add to the flavor so I did not eat it.

My sister's ravioli was a good sized portion and surprisingly came with a number of vegetables other than the asparagus mentioned on the menu. She was happy with it.

I basically thought the buffet looked cheap and downgraded. There was a field greens salad without most of the items that come when your order it from the menu; some kind of pasta dish; generic looking salmon and chicken; sliced roast beef; chicken nuggets; and some generic looking desserts, mostly cheesecakes and some type of clafoutis. The chicken nuggets looked like they came from McDonald's only dryer. People ate, but at $26.99, it really didn't seem worth it, even after our 15% AP discount.

Our waitress was quite good and didn't seem phased when my six-year old niece stood up on her chair, announced it was her birthday, and said if there was anything the waitress wanted to do for people with birthdays, she was ready. (We do not know where she gets it!). She got a little strawberry angel cake with sprinkles and a white chocolate "Celebrations" painted decoration.

At our visit the next day, we couldn't get the podium staff to confirm an ADR time so we did as they suggested and hung out for a seat about twenty minutes. We were seated quickly but drinks and bread took forever to come (and I do mean forever, like thirty minutes for water). We were near meltdown when it finally showed up. I had ordered the special lemonade fruit punch with one light up Tinkerbell and one light up Cars vehicle because the Cars option is new. The kids were very excited with their color changing straws.

I had a glass of pinot grigio; my sister had a glass of Edna Valley chardonney; and my brother-in-law; after waiting half an hour for water, broke down and ordered a very strong rum drink.

My husband and brother went back for the buffet which looked identical to the day before. I noticed they both ate a lot less this trip. My sister didn't want anything on the menu and ended up ordering the kid's mac and cheese which looked pretty awful to me. She was more or less past the point of eating when it came so I'm not sure it mattered. I really couldn't find anything on the menu that was appealing (it is so much smaller than it used to be) and ended up ordered spaghetti (SPAGHETTI!) for $18.99! It was very bland and overcooked. The sauce had been fancied up a bit with vegetables but it was basically the equivalent of the Spaghetti Factory, with less bread and no salad. The kids had chicken nuggets and fruit.

Today's waiter was hard to find although my niece did manage to track him down for her birthday cake (sigh; the rest of us were READY to go).

We've always loved Storyteller's in the past but it is getting harder to justify. I could have a much better meal at Roy's, the Cheesecake Factory, or California Pizza Kitchen down the street at the GardenWalk and I think that's what we'll be doing in the future if we are without little kids.
3.0/5.03.0/5.03.0/5.03.0/5.03.0/5.0   12/25/2008
Reviewer: JadaB Pleasant Hill, CA     February 23, 2009
We came to Storytellers for a christmas dinner buffet because we had done the breakfast buffet during a trip in May and thought it was great. I know it seems a little unfair to base this decision on the dinner buffet, since it is not the usual for Storytellers, but thought it might help someone in deciding their christmas dinner in the future. :-)

Here is a breakdown of what we had:

-corn chowder, was incl. w/ the buffet. You had a choice of a caesar salad, but the waitress didn't ask and just brought us this. I can't complain though, b/c I thought this was probably the best part of the meal. Very chowder-y if that makes sense, very good and rich.

-corn bread: delish! Their corn bread was very good, we enjoyed the basket of it that they brought with butter. All I can say is yum!

**buffet: we both had a little of each of what they had to offer
-rice:your basic wild rice

-mac n'cheese: I must say I love most mac n' cheese, but this was very runny and not very cheesy tasting at all

-mushroom tortellini:when I saw this on the buffet I was very excited to try it! I was let down when I tasted how bland it was, maybe if it has a sauce to accompany it, it would have complimented the tortellini?

-chicken/sliced pork: the chicken and pork were pretty dry, even after being carved up right before us. They both had a basic herb rub on them, very simple.

-chicken nuggets-the same as the ones in the park, I must admit I love them lol

-mashed potatoes-these were pretty good, not too buttery or salty

-variety of desserts: they did have a whole section of the buffet devoted to desserts in a tart style, I guess would be the best way to describe them. Mini pies and cakes, chocolate mousse, etc.

Everything was just ok. I wanted so much to love this dinner buffet, but I felt it was missing that yum factor that so many other places in the park have.

The service was good, not great, not bad either. Everyone was pleasant and we appreciated the fact they were there helping us enjoy our christmas vacation, when they could have been home with their own families.

There were some people next to us who ordered off the menu, a spaghetti dish and a meat dish that looked really good.

Overall, I would definitely come back for the breakfast buffet, the food tasted much more fresh and more variety. The breakfast is worth 4 planets. Maybe order off the menu if we were to come back for dinner.

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