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Friday, February 16, 2007

Eating at Tortilla Jo’s in Downtown Disney

Among your choices to eat when visiting the Disneyland Theme parks includes Tortilla Jo’s (Joe’s) in the Downtown Disney area. On our most recent trip to Disneyland we ate there for the first time. The honest reason for trying out Tortilla Jo’s was that everywhere else was too busy, which is usually not a good sign.

However, on this particular day our choices including waiting 45 minutes to eat at the highly overrated and almost always a disappointing Rainforest Café. Or waiting 60 minutes at the ESPN Zone to sit down and enjoy a meal there. So, electing to avoid the long waits – we headed down the Downtown Disney strip and saw Tortilla Joe’s without a wait. We decided to give it a try.

The environment inside Tortilla Jo’s was pretty warm and inviting. Being a Mexican food restaurant, its décor is consistent with that theme. There are three areas to Tortilla Jo’s including the ‘Cantina’ or bar, sit-down Restaurant, and the ‘Taqueria’ or walk-up service.

Quickly upon being seated, chips and salsa, and glasses of water were brought to our table. The chips themselves were not the best, tasting like packaged rather than freshly made that you find at many Southern California Mexican restaurants. The salsa however was tasty. Our server also visited us quickly to take our drink orders.

The menu is pretty broad in terms of options. Rather than just having your standard tacos and burritos, there is a good selection of meat, vegetarian, and seafood dishes. That means, that regardless off your party size you can find something that everyone may enjoy. There was a wide variety of selections from those at our table, from Carnitas Tacos, Chicken Torta Sandwich, to Quesadillas. These dishes range from a very moderate $9-10, to a higher end of $16-20. Being that this was for lunch, our party chose a lot of the moderate dishes.

Between or order and the arrival of the food is where Tortilla Jo’s really fell down. There were several employees walking around or hanging out by the servers station – however, as we ran out of chips and drinks – no one returned to refill either and we sat without a visit from our server for about 20 minutes.

The one saving grace was they had a guy from Balloon Tactics in the restaurant and he visited our table. He was polite, friendly and the kids loved him. He took up a good potion of the wait and the kids were happy with their ‘Bear on a flower’ and ‘Light Saber’.

The food arrived, which presented a good opportunity for us to request a refill on drinks and chips – which were promptly provided by our waiter. The food itself was good, although nothing special to write home about. On par with a general Mexican restaurant, but nothing that will ‘WOW’ you.

The general summary of the restaurant is average food and mediocre service. The food is better than what you might find in the Disneyland Park, but not California Adventure. Plus, if there is little to no wait – then it makes it more appealing against the other choices you might have. The service is better than the ‘House of Blues’, but if there is a wait – you may prefer the ESPN Zone or Rainforest Café.