With my fifth grader knee-deep in a state project on Louisiana, this seemed like a good time to try the New Orleans-themed Ralph Brennan’s Jazz Kitchen in Downtown Disney during our latest trip to Disneyland.
Ralph Brennan’s Jazz Kitchen in Downtown Disney in Anaheim is the first California-based restaurant of the famous New Orleans family. The two-story restaurant features traditional French Quarter architecture with iron railings, a patio, and wrap around terrace.
Inside, there is a dining room and open-air courtyard, and a New Orleans-style jazz club named Flambeaux's. The club is decorated with upside-down umbrellas and bright colors, and a big, splashy baby grand piano. Upstairs, you will find more inside dining and an outdoor ‘Jazz balcony' with seating that overlooks Downtown Disney and provides a prime view of Disneyland’s nighttime fireworks. Wherever you sit, you’re going to be listening to jazz. No surprise there! If you go at dinnertime, the music is live. If you go for lunch, as we did, you still get to enjoy the music.
What to Order
What is New Orleans famous for? Music and food! And at Ralph Brennan’s Jazz Kitchen you get both.
Standouts on the Southern inspired menu include Louisiana crab cakes, red beans and rice, coconut crusted shrimp, Jambalaya pasta and BBQ shrimp and grits. Desserts include New Orleans bread pudding, beignets, deep-dish coconut cream pie and Creole red velvet roulade. We chose the Gumbo Ya-Ya and Blackened Chicken Mac & Cheese, which as the name suggests is all ooey gooey cheesy decadence.
Whether or not you are a fan of Creole style cooking is somewhat irrelevant; the experience of eating at the Jazz Kitchen is all about the ambiance, and the menu offers some toned down favorites to suit all tastes. My son, we discovered – after a few bites of this and that – is not a fan of Louisiana cooking, and so the cheeseburger was a welcome if somewhat boring choice on the kids’ menu.
When To Go
Ralph Brennan’s Jazz Kitchen is open daily from 11am to 10pm, 11pm on weekends, with live music daily from 6-10pm.
Keep in mind that although the food is equally good no matter what time of day you visit, lunch prices are nearly half of what you’ll pay for dinner. But when you go for dinner, you are also paying for the live show. If it’s just a quick bite to satisfy a Louisiana craving you’re after, consider stopping by the adjacent Jazz Kitchen Express counter service restaurant.
If you are visiting the Disneyland Resort for a weekend or longer, consider making a reservation for the Jazz Kitchen’s Sunday Brunch Fest, offered every Sunday from 10am to 3pm. Along with the restaurant’s signature entrees, the brunch menu features such Louisiana breakfast favorites as Crab Cakes and Eggs, Bananas Foster French Toast, Chicken & Waffles, and the Cajun Omelet.
We thoroughly enjoyed our lunch in the courtyard and the lively jazz music that accompanied our meal. Combined with a festive atmosphere and friendly service of the Mardi Gras beaded wait staff, Ralph Brennan’s Jazz Kitchen is well worth the time away from the parks. And if you happen to have a 10-year old researching Louisiana culture for a school project, you really can’t get much closer to the real thing without booking a flight to New Orleans.
Healthy Tip for This Destination
The food here is delicious, but very rich and often fried or drizzled with calorie-laden sauces. Indulge, but don’t go crazy. Consider sharing a heavier dish, and balancing your meal with a salad. I had the French Quarter Side Salad and it was very tasty, a good size portion, and sprinkled with pecans for a little extra punch of Louisiana flavor.