Nestled in a quiet corner in Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa is a small little lodge-style bar called Hearthstone Lounge where guests can enjoy appetizers and drinks. Not a lot of people know about this eating location and it has some of the best appetizers! After the recent refurbishment of the hotel, appetizers and drinks can be ordered in the lobby now too.
The service is incredible and they always greet you with a smile. It really makes you feel at home when you come here. Our server was quick about getting to our table to introduce himself and get our drink order. When we let him know I had a gluten allergy he was kind enough to go through the menu and advise on what I could have and what modifications were needed.
Decor and Atmosphere
This lodge-style lounge has high ceilings with rustic light fixtures that add the Disney flair. The windows are massive, and each one has a great view of the surrounding hotel. The rich luminous outdoor lighting adds so much life into this place. You wouldn’t even know you were right next to a theme park. There are a mix of different kinds of seating available from booths, wooden chairs, couches, to rocking chairs — take your pick!
All items on the menu are shareable and the prices are on the higher end. The artisanal pizzas were created by Executive Chef Andrew Sutton and range from $23-$25. The pizzas, along with all other items on the menu, can easily serve two guests. Tyler and I decided to try three menu items and share them all. The caveat was that we had to order everything gluten-free so we would be able to share and enjoy the food.
First up, Chicken Quesadilla marinated in Achiote with Jack Cheese, with Guacamole and Chipotle Salsa served on the side. The only modification was that the flour tortilla was substituted for corn tortillas. The tortilla was crunchy and filled with a healthy amount of deliciously seasoned chicken! Tyler enjoyed the quesadilla, but I was hoping for strings of cheese after I bit into it. The guacamole and chipotle salsa were a perfect pair. The salsa had a hint of spice, but not overwhelming for someone with a sensitive palate to spicy food.
Next up, we tried the Seasonal Fish Tacos with Cabbage Slaw, Pico De Gallo, and Crema Fresca. The seasonal fish was cod. I was really looking forward to these, but they missed the mark. It was flavorless. Each taco had a healthy portion of the well-cooked, delicate, flaky fish, but it was not seasoned. It was in desperate need of salt, which we didn’t have on the table. We used the limes that came on the side and added a little guacamole and chipotle salsa from the quesadilla to liven up the tacos.
Lastly, we ordered the American Wagyu Burger with Charred Onions, Tomato, Arugula, Pesto, and Burrata Cheese. The bun was the only item modified for the gluten allergy; everything else stayed the same. The kitchen cooked the crinkle-cut fries in a separate fryer so there would not be any cross contamination. This burger was fantastic! The pesto and burrata cheese made this burger a standout dish. The luxurious creamy cheese just oozes over the burger so every bite is pure heaven. The acidity from the roasted tomato and the freshness from the pesto heightened the flavor of the juicy wagyu beef, leaving you wanting to eat more! For $20, this was the winning dish for the both of us.
This gem is a great place to escape to if you want to take a breather from Disney California Adventure. There is an entrance for the hotel to and from the park near Grizzly River Run in Grizzly Peak. We really adore Hearthstone Lounge and love coming here to grab a snack or just a drink. There is always ample amount of seating available, so don’t worry, there will always be room for you to try this place out!