Review: Alfresco Tasting Terrace

Alfresco Tasting Terrace is a wine bar/lounge located above the Wine Country Trattoria restaurant along Paradise Pier at Disney California Adventure park. Reservations are not accepted. They are open from 2:00 – 9:00 pm everyday and serve upscale bar food with both alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages.

Alfresco Tasting Terrace Stairway

Enter Alfresco Tasting Terrace at the top of the stairway

Ambiance

I’ve been to Disney California Adventure countless times over the past few years. For some reason, the Alfresco Tasting Terrace did not register on my foodie radar. However, earlier this summer, I stumbled upon it with my wife and family friend.  All I could do was ask myself, “how did I not see this before?!?!?”

Alfresco Tasting Terrace Sign

Go right for the Alfresco Tasting Terrace and left to get to the Wine Country Trattoria 2nd floor dining area.

It’s located above the Wine Country Trattoria restaurant. In fact, if you go upstairs, to the left is the restaurant seating area and to the right is the lounge. Everything is set outdoors, but ample shade is provided by way of a large pergola and leafy vines.

A large pergola and leafy vines provide ample shade

A large pergola and leafy vines provide ample shade

Although the Italian style motif is done up the exact same as Wine Country Trattoria, it reminded me of old Spanish style. As a native of Santa Barbara, CA, I kind of felt like it was home. In any case, the views offered by this location are magnificent. It overlooks Carthay Circle Restaurant, part of Pacific Wharf, and the entrance of Cars Land.

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Furthermore, due to its distance from the walkway, it’s nice and quiet. This is the perfect place if you need a respite from the crowds. I totally felt relaxed in this environment.

Menu

The primary focus of Alfresco Tasting Terrace is wine. As such, all the dishes are geared towards pairing it with a glass of select wines. It does change from time to time (likely seasonal), but some of the mainstays are the Charcuterie and Cheese Board, Beef Tenderloin Sliders, as well as the Fritto Misto.

Alfresco Tasting Terrace Food Menu

Alfresco Tasting Terrace Food Menu

If vino is your thing, then you must at least check out the extensive wine list. It’s basically a miniature book of varietals from around the world with an emphasis on California. They focus a lot of attention on wineries that have a Disney connection. From John Lasseter to Fess Parker, the list of Disney luminaries is fun to note.

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Food and Drinks

I must admit that I’m not much of a wine drinker. As such, I was pleased that they had a small selection of craft beers. So, my party and I ordered a few cold ones along with a pair of dishes. We considered getting the Frito Misto that my wife and I absolutely loved from Wine Country Trattoria, but decided otherwise so we could sample the other unique offerings.

Frito Misto from Wine Country Trattoria - Delicious!

Frito Misto from Wine Country Trattoria – Delicious!

First on our list was the Grilled Shrimp and Spanish Chorizo with caramelized onions and crostini. Why they served Spanish Chorizo at an Italian-themed lounge is beyond me, but that’s neither here nor there. The combination of using shrimp with spicy chorizo sausage was interesting. The shrimp was cooked nicely, and held up surprisingly well against the spice of the chorizo.

Grilled Shrimp and Spanish Chorizo

Grilled Shrimp and Spanish Chorizo

You could tell that they “caramelized” the onions using the oil from the sausage. I’m using quotes to denote the fact that these onions were NOT caramelized at all. Yes, they were cooked, but only lightly sautéed. As for the crostini on the side, it really didn’t add anything to the dish. You would figure it was there as a vehicle for the other ingredients. However, when combined, the crostini was almost disruptive to the other flavors due to it’s dryness. All in all, this dish was okay and had a decent price point ($9.99) but I would unlikely order it again.

Aged Cheddar Risotto Bites

Aged Cheddar Risotto Bites

The other item we ordered was the Aged Cheddar Risotto Bites. These were fantastic and a pretty good value at $7.49. Risotto is one of those ingredients that’s easy to mess up, so it was great to see they cooked this batch perfectly. The exterior was crisp, while the inside had a soft, cheesy texture. Earthy notes of aged cheddar were pronounced in each bite.

Aged Cheddar Risotto Bites close up view - note the soft, cheesy texture on the inside and crispy exterior

Aged Cheddar Risotto Bites close up view – note the soft, cheesy texture on the inside and crispy exterior

Two sauces were included with the Risotto Bites – Roasted Garlic Herb Aioli and Marinara. The marinara was pretty standard, nothing overly exciting to note. However, the Roasted Garlic Herb Aioli was stellar. It was creamy and had the right balance of garlic flavor.

Marinara and Roasted Garlic Herb Aioli

Marinara and Roasted Garlic Herb Aioli

Service

The one area where Alfresco Tasting Terrace falls short is the service. When trying to find a seat, it seemed as if we were barely acknowledged. Once seated, the cast member was amiable and fairly attentive. Nevertheless, you could tell she was slightly distracted. Other cast members working this lounge seemed more interested in each other’s gossip than attending to guests. The service was also slow, but since the atmosphere was so relaxing, we didn’t mind that as much. My hope is that a manager will address the lack of customer service soon.

Alfresco Tasting Terrace Bar

Alfresco Tasting Terrace Bar

Overall

I consider the Alfresco Tasting Terrace a hidden gem. Although there was issues with the service, the food was mostly good and the ambiance is absolutely fantastic. Next time I visit, my hope is to go during dusk so I can enjoy some beautiful California autumn weather. I can’t think of a better place to partake of some libations and eat high quality lounge food.

Have you been to the Alfresco Tasting Terrace? If so, we’d love to know your favorite dish!

One Thought on “Review: Alfresco Tasting Terrace

  1. Pingback: Dining at Disney EP15: Dining Vegan‏We Be Geeks

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