Summer of 2016: Disneyland Birthday Trip: Saturday, Part 3: DCA, Dinner at Carthay Circle

Who: Rich and Kathy
Where: Anaheim
What: Kathy’s Birthday Trip
When: July 8-10, 2016
Why: Kathy’s Birthday

Rich wrote this post highlighting our dining experience at Carthay Circle.

Dinner and Drink Selections


Kathy & Rich:
Carthay Diamond Martini (60th Anniversary Cocktail)
Classically prepared with Hendrick’s Gin (Rich) or Double Cross Vodka (Kathy), Lillet Blanc Dry Vermouth, and Gourmet Truffle Olives served with an Ice Sphere


Carthay Signature Fried Biscuits
Stuffed with White Cheddar, Bacon, and Jalapeño with Apricot Honey Butter


Kathy: Carthay Shellfish Cioppino
Royal Shrimp, Black Mussels, Manila Clams, Snow Crab Claws, Ramen Noodles, Lemon Grass, Pineapple

Rich: Grilled White Sea Bass (Sustainable Fish of the Day)
Avocado Relish, Tree Ripe Peach-Almond Gazpacho

DESSERT (Shared)

Meyer Lemon “Cracked” Meringue Tart
Fresh California Strawberries and a Birthday Candle


When the parade ended, we followed the end of the parade, and then entered Carthay Circle restaurant. After a brief wait in line, we approached the desk to check in for our 6:10 pm dinner reservation.


The hostess was friendly, and she asked us if we were celebrating a special occasion. We said yes, it’s Kathy’s birthday, remarking that the hostess’ name was also Kathy.

She invited us to sit in the lounge and wait to be escorted to our table. Soon, she returned with a personalized Happy Birthday pin for Kathy. Very nice.

After a brief wait, a host arrived and asked if we had dined at Carthay Circle before. We told him we had (Valentine’s Day 2015). He then escorted us up the stairs to our half-booth table just across from the table we had last visit. Our server Ernie quickly arrived to wish Kathy a Happy Birthday, take our drink and appetizer order, and tell us about the fish of the day.

We both ordered Martinis – Gin for Rich and Vodka for Kathy. The martinis were fantastic, perfectly made and delicious. And what can we say about the “biscuits!” They are not really biscuits in the traditional sense. They are hard to describe, but they are fried balls of goodness with an incredible cheese, bacon, and jalapeño filling. Rich ate them with apricot butter while Kathy ate them straight.

IMG_7122Kathy’s Vodka Martini/Birthday Pin

IMG_7093Rich’s Gin Martini


Basket of Carthay Circle Biscuits


Inside the Biscuits

We took Ernie’s suggestion for the light fish dishes, and we’re glad we did. Kathy’s cioppino was definitely light but full of flavor with a wonderful variety of seafood and yummy noodles and broth. Rich’s dish was so flavorful, he savored every bite. The combination of peach and almond in the gazpacho (more of a coulis) was delightful.


Kathy’s Cioppino


Rich’s Sea Bass

After perusing the dessert menu, we decided to share the lemon tart. Ernie delivered the dessert plate with a lit birthday candle adorning it, once again wishing Kathy a Happy Birthday. The perfect ending to a perfect meal.

IMG_7099Meyer Lemon Tart with Birthday Candle

Service throughout the meal was superb. Ernie was friendly, knowledgeable, efficient, and attentive. He was assisted by the equally adept Ryan (who we had seen on a YouTube video as a tour guide for 15-minute The Story of Carthay Circle Restaurant tour that occurs every day at 10:30 a.m.).

You can watch it here via Tim Tracker’s YouTube Channel:

Everyone we came in contact with wished Kathy a Happy Birthday, a nice touch for our sumptuous celebration.

Carthay Circle is one of our favorite restaurants on Disney property, in fact, it’s one of our favorite restaurants anywhere. We love the food created by the brilliant Andrew Sutton, the mostly unsung and under-rated chef of Napa Rose and Carthay Circle. We met Andrew at the 2010 Disney California Adventure Food & Wine Festival, and he’s as humble and gracious as he is talented. If Disney offers the cooking experience with Andrew Sutton at next year’s Disney California Adventure Food & Wine Festival, Rich would love to participate.

Napa Rose creates a lovely dining experience, but for atmosphere, Carthay Circle wins out. The beautiful recreation of the Carthay Circle Theatre–where Walt introduced the film “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs”–is stunning. And the service is much more Disney-like–friendly and fun.

This was a totally delightful experience, an ideal way to celebrate Kathy’s birthday with a terrific, memorable meal in stunning surroundings with top-notch service.

About Rich Eckardt

Byzantine Catholic Convert. Knight of Columbus. Celebrant of the Divine Office.