This week, the Disneyland Hotel has opened a new counter service restaurant called Tangaroa Terrace. The restaurant is based on the concept of “casual island dining,” and I can assure you the food fits the island theme and the atmosphere is definitely casual.
The atmosphere here is second only to French Market in my opinion. The patio dining area is comfortable and elevated so that you can have a view of the newly redesigned Disneyland Hotel pool’s cool monorail water slide if you so choose. However, this doesn’t mean you have to be poolside. In fact, they did an excellent job using island-style foliage to separate the pool area from the restaurant seating.
Tangaroa Terrace is adjacent to Trader Sam’s Tiki Bar (which I will definitely be reviewing in the very near future as well), which features live Hawaiian music. Sit close enough to Trader Sam’s on the patio, as we did, and you can hear the music just fine, adding to the wonderful atmosphere. In case you were wondering, I asked a cast member where the “line” was that separated Tangaroa Terrace from Trader Sam’s, and she answered, “the furniture.” You see, Trader Sam’s features comfortable couches and lounge chairs, whereas Tangaroa Terrace does not. We enjoyed our atmosphere and company so much, that we stayed awhile after finishing our meal, and I am sure many of you will want to do the same.
The menu at Tangaroa Terrace sticks to its island theming and continues with Disneyland’s new emphasis on tastier food at counter service restaurants throughout the resort. What also seems to be a trend are two new menu items, sweet potato fries and flatbreads. I have no problem with the “whenever there is a new menu we will have a flatbread” concept. However, I do have a slight problem with the sweet potato fries focus. I don’t mind those being an option. I know they are hip and unique. I know our foodie culture in 2011 can handle such tastes that used to be considered “exotic.” I understand all that, but what if I want boring old-fashioned french fries with my burger or sandwich? Am I just out of luck? Yes, I am. All I’m asking for is the option to order old fashioned fries OR sweet potato fries. That is all. I’m done now.
In terms of the menu, we enjoyed everything we ate. For burger lovers, they have a Hawaiian ($10.19) and a regular 1/3 pound Angus Cheesburger ($9.49) I must say, the pineapple slice was huge and fresh as was the bacon. The Kalua Pork Flatbread features pulled pork, barbecue sauce, cilantro, and red onion for $8.99 while a Cheese Flatbread is a dollar less. Both were good. Kids have a choice of a hamburger or chicken nuggets for $5.99, or grilled salmon ($6.99). All kids meals come with Jasmine Rice and Fresh Fruit and a beverage.
The menu has two salad options, both priced at $8.49. The Asian Chicken Salad has a mix of lettuce, cabbage, carrots, bell peppers, cucumbers, enoki mushrooms, and cashews, topped with a sesame vinaigrette and crispy rice noodles. The Tofu Salad features crispy coconut panko breaded tofu, a mix of lettuce, cabbage, carrots, bell peppers, and grape tomatoes, topped with a citrus vinaigrette. The value of the salads is good. It would be hard to find an Asian Chicken Salad as good at the same price outside the resort.
The Panko-crusted chicken breast sandwich at $9.49 was definitely one of our favorites, the chicken was moist, crispy, and fresh, and all of the ingredients on the sandwich complemented the overall taste very well. As someone who doesn’t normally like anything out of the ocean, I must say that the Panko-crusted Mahi-Mahi ($9.49) was outstanding also. The fresh lime tartar sauce went well with the flaky flavorful fish. All of the dishes are made to order in the open kitchen. After ordering at the touch screen monitors, you pay the cashier, are seated, and wait for your food to be delivered to your table.
In addition to the freshly prepared items, Tangaroa Terrace has a variety of grab-and-go items including a variety of island desserts, snacks, pastries, sandwiches, and beverages. Breakfast is available daily until 11:00 AM (Yet another quest for me to go on soon). They have banana french toast, a breakfast platter, breakfast wrap, or an egg white, veggie, and tofu bake for $6.99 and grilled cinnamon-spiced oatmeal cakes for $5.99. In addition to Kid’s Breakfast Meals, Tangaroa Terrace offers grab-and-go pastries, cereals, and parfaits as well.
In the future, Tangaroa Terrace does plan on offering select special menu items at dinner similar to the dishes found on the Trader Sam’s menu. The chef told me he hoped to see these additions within the next few weeks. As for Disneyland, they keep improving the state of counter service dining at the resort. As for me, I have another place to add to my list of favorites and two more Culinary Quests on the horizon, breakfast and Trader Sam’s.