The 13 Best Dishes At Disney California Adventure's 2023 Food & Wine Festival, Ranked

If you're a diehard Disney fan, you know that every month at the Disneyland California Resort brings something new and exciting. There's the Oogie Boogie Bash in October, the Festival of Holidays in December, and Disneyland's birthday in July. Each event brings special shows, treats, and plenty of fun. But if you're a Disney fan and a foodie, then the only months you care about are March and April, because that's when Disney California Adventure pulls out all the stops for the annual Food & Wine Festival.

This is when Disney food and drink aficionados create amazing dishes and drinks that are both stunning to behold and delectable to taste. Available throughout the Festival Marketplaces (and several restaurants in the park) you can have everything from flights of wine or beer to curated cocktails and mocktails. There are enough options to have an eight-course meal and, if you're still hungry, you can go back for more.

While you could go from kiosk to kiosk and pay for each dish or drink on its own, you get more bang for your buck when you purchase the Sip & Savor pass, which will get you any eight food or drink items (except alcohol) for $59 ($54 if you're a Magic Keyholder). We know you'll want to try everything the festival has to offer. But to save you time (and money), we tasted several of the dishes and drinks ourselves and put together a ranking of the best choices at this year's event.

13. Beef & Barley Poutine

When it comes to potatoes, nothing beats the tater tot. They're small cylinders of chopped potato that are seasoned and deep-fried to crispy perfection. They really are the best way to eat a potato ... unless you smother them in shredded beef and gravy. And that's exactly what they are like this year for the Food & Wine Festival. While we could've gobbled up this whole dish ourselves, there's more than enough to share with at least one other person.

Available at D.Lish, several tots are smothered with braised short ribs, gravy, cheese curds, and a lager micro sponge. The ribs are cooked low and slow so that the end result is a very tender piece of meat that melts in your mouth. While the curds and sponge aren't necessary, the thing that ties this whole bite together is the incredible stout gravy. Every year there's at least one sauce that Disney should bottle up and sell on its own. This year, we say it's this stout gravy. While its base is a stout beer, there's none of that heavy, bitter flavor that so often accompanies the dark brew. Instead, all you get is a thick, rich sauce that's so insanely good, we made sure a drop or two was on every single bite. Even though we would have enjoyed the meat, tots, and gravy on their own, put them all together, and you have a little dish of heaven.

12. Flowers & Bees

A pretty pink cocktail that's full of sweet, floral flavor, the Flowers & Bees is the perfect drink for a warm afternoon. Once the ice starts to melt, this cocktail is both bright and refreshing thanks to the lemon juice and simple syrups. The gin doesn't overpower the cocktail but instead adds another floral note to the three flower-based syrups and liqueurs that make it up. You might think three syrups would make this cocktail especially cloying, but the earthy lavender and tart hibiscus temper the sweetness and add a nice herbaceousness that melds perfectly with the juniper-forward gin. As a matter of fact, the only real sweetness comes from the honey syrup and elderflower liqueur.

Garnished with a cute little purple pansy, this cocktail is available at Nuts About Cheese. It's exactly what we want as we stroll through the park on a sunny spring day. Unlike some of the other cocktails at the festival, this tipple isn't too strong and is the perfect accompaniment to some of the sweeter desserts throughout the marketplace.

11. Smoked Honey-Habanero Chicken Wings

Chicken wings are the ultimate picnic or party food. They're small, easy to pick up, and usually a flavorful bite. While they could be on the messy side, we don't mind taking the extra time to lick our fingers and lips. As a matter of fact, we look forward to that extra lick, because it means we get one more chance to taste the rub or sauce the wing is bathed in. Happily, that's the case with these hot wings from Cluck-A-Doodle Moo.

Unlike a lot of chicken wings that drip with sauce, these wings are covered in a sweet and smoky dry rub of honey and habanero. The dry rub covers every inch of skin and even seeps into the meat.

A nice-sized portion of four wings, this dish gives new meaning to the term slow-burn. The tender meat starts off sweet and crispy thanks to the roasted honey rub, but that smoky heat from the habanero is waiting in the wings to hit you when you least expect it. After two wings we definitely needed some water to temper the heat, but couldn't stop licking our honey-habanero-covered fingers. That rub was so delicious, we didn't give one cluck about the spice. If you're a chicken wing fan, do not miss these.

10. Carbonara-Garlic Mac & Cheese

Mac and cheese is always part of any Disney festival because it's such a popular dish among kids and adults alike. This year's Food & Wine Fest is no different. This year, there are two to choose from and both made our list. They're completely different, but both are absolutely delicious.

The first is the Carbonara-Garlic Mac from Garlic Kissed. A white mac, this version is rich and creamy and full of that salty Parmesan cheese we love so much. The macaroni is perfectly cooked, giving us the nice, chewy texture you need for great mac and cheese. When combined with the thick, cheesy sauce you get a delectable mac that may be one of the most comforting dishes at the festival.

But what really made this mac stand out was the Parmesan-garlic panko topping and peppered bacon. Oftentimes when we hear peppered bacon, we worry that the delightful smoky bacon flavor will be drowned out by the insane amount of pepper covering the pork belly. Thankfully that wasn't the case here. Instead, the pepper added just the right amount of bite and a perfect spicy heat to the gooey, cheesy mac.

9. Artichoke Toast with Olive Tapenade

We love a good crostini: a nice piece of French bread that's toasted and then smothered with cheese, veggies, or fruit. It's the perfect way to get those juices flowing and ready for the main course. The Disney chefs are pros at making this great app, as the bread is always toasted perfectly and then covered with a wide range of toppings. This artichoke toast from I Heart Artichokes was part of last year's festival and it was such a big hit, it was brought back. We couldn't be happier. The minute we saw it listed in this year's Tasting Passport, we knew we had to get it.

If you love artichokes and olives, you'll love this crostini. The baguette has a nice char on it that gives it a delightful crunch. The toast is then coated with a cool, savory artichoke cream cheese. An olive and artichoke tapenade is piled on top of that and then the whole thing is drizzled with olive oil. The briny salinity of the black and green olives pairs perfectly with the subtle nutty flavors of the artichoke. Overall, it's a delicious three or four bites and a great way to start the festival.

8. Blackberry-Lavender Lemonade

If you find plain ordinary lemonade boring, the festival has a nice refreshing twist this year that we know you'll appreciate. Instead of the standard lemons, sugar, and water, the chefs added blackberry purée, blackberry, and lavender syrups, as well as a little pineapple juice for a sweet elixir that will easily carry you through the festival. If that sounds like a lot for a simple glass of lemonade, we thought so, too. But this beverage turned out to be a delightful non-alcoholic option on a hot day.

Beautiful to behold, this deep purple mocktail from Avocado Time had everything we wanted in a beverage. The blackberry purée and pineapple juice were pleasing fruity compliments to the tart lemonade without being overly sweet, and the lavender syrup added a subtle floral aspect that was delightfully unexpected. What could have been an over-the-top fruit punch turned out to be a winning twist on the classic drink of which we couldn't get enough.

7. Impossible Nacho Mac & Cheese

Nachos could very well be the perfect appetizer. The concept of corn chips piled high and covered with a thick, gooey cheese sauce makes it one of the best appetizers out there. Add some ground beef, beans, and tomatoes, and you've got yourself a full meal. Well, what if you replaced the chips with macaroni and added some guacamole? Sound like a strange combination? We thought so, too ... until we tasted it. Then, we couldn't stop eating it.

The al dente mac is a nice substitute for those crunchy chips and when smothered in a velvety cheddar cheese sauce, it's the perfect comfort food. But then the Disney chefs go above and beyond by piling Impossible ground beef, tomatoes, olives, guac, and jalapeños on top. It's like eating a taco mac and cheese. Not only were we surprised by the unique combination, but the Impossible ground beef tasted just like that savory taco meat mom used to make. Full of zesty chili spices, it melds perfectly with the gooey cheese sauce.

Since this dish comes from Avocado Time, there had to be some avocado in there. While the chefs could have taken the easy route and just tossed some chopped-up avocado on top, they took the extra time to make a nice, cool, creamy guac, instead. Filled with citrus and a little spice, it's a nice compliment that ties this whole yummy bite together.

6. Artichoke Pizzetta

We love a good pizza: thick dough smothered in gooey cheese, pepperoni, and sausage. It's the perfect way to end the week, especially when served with a cold beer. But every so often we like to experiment with our pizza. Maybe we'll add some pineapple or mushrooms, or even some meatballs or anchovies. We love to share, but it's even better when it's a single server that's just big enough for us to enjoy on our own. The folks at Disney are well aware of the public's pizza obsession, which is why they created this unique take on the classic pie.

Instead of tomato sauce, there's roasted garlic cream cheese. Instead of meat, you get micro greens, roasted artichokes, and pickled onions. Then, the whole thing is drizzled with the most luscious, earthly olive oil. And that's just the toppings. The crust has a crunchy toast on the outside while the inside is soft and inviting. We simply couldn't get enough. It's a good thing this pizzetta is only about 4 inches in diameter because, after our first bite, we absolutely didn't want to share. The garlic cream cheese had just the right amount of salt and bite thanks to the roasted garlic, while those bright pink pickled onions added an exhilarating tart pop that had our taste buds buzzing.

5. Kenny's Family Cheesecake

Cheesecake is one of our absolute favorite desserts. It's cool, rich, and oh, so creamy. While there are plenty of variations out there from chocolate to pumpkin, nothing beats the classic, especially when it's topped with a simple berry compote. We're big fans which is why we couldn't wait to try this sweet offering from Berry Patch. We knew the cheesecake was going to be a heavenly bite that would melt in our mouths. But we were nervous about the compote. Unfortunately, compotes tend to be overly sweet, gelatinous messes that ruin anything they're dolloped on. We were beyond thrilled to discover that absolutely was not the case here.

This berry compote was the perfect combination of sweet and sour thanks to the variety of berries used and just enough sugar to amp up the berries' natural sweetness. It actually reminded us more of a coulis than a compote. A berry purée that blankets the top of this small cheesecake cup, this fluid sauce found its way into every spoonful of our dessert. It was definitely one of the best cheesecakes we've ever had. And if we had to say anything bad about it, it's that there wasn't enough of it. We downed that cake cup and found ourselves craving more.

4. Apricot Tequila Colada

This year's festival isn't just about delicious food, beer, and wine. There are also several cocktails available, and this twist on the classic piña colada was far and away one of our favorites. We're used to coladas being soaked in rum, but as its name suggests, there isn't one drop of sugar cane liquor anywhere to be found in this tipple. Instead, the Disney mixologists chose to turn this drink on its head by using tequila, Aperol, and apricot purée.

While the apricot, coconut cream, orange, and lime juices give this drink a sweet, tropical feel, it's the tequila and Aperol that surprised us. See, tequila and Aperol can be harsh or bitter, but the brilliant minds behind this tipple went with a Reposado tequila instead of a Blanco. By choosing a tequila that's been aged at least a few months, the flavors from the agave have a chance to mellow and mature. So, when it's combined with the Aperol, that bitterness we're used to disappears leaving a light grassy flavor that pairs beautifully with the coconut cream and apricot. The end result is a stunning orange, sweet and creamy cocktail that we wouldn't mind sipping over and over again.

3. Mickey Mouse Shaped Macaron Made with Snickers

No festival would be complete without the inclusion of a Mickey Mouse-shaped macaron. This time around, we have a chocolate macaron that's filled with caramel and peanut ganache, as well as Snickers pieces. While this cookie, which you can find at Nuts About Cheese, is definitely big enough to share with one or more family members, you may not want to. The macaron is a crispy chocolate pillow that's soft and chewy on the inside, just like a good cookie should be. But it's the filling that has us licking our lips.

While most macarons have just one ganache inside, this one has two. On the bottom is a rich, nutty ganache that tastes like thick, sweet peanut butter while on top is a chocolate, caramel ganache that's dotted with Snickers pieces. Decadent, right? But there's more. In case the cookie and ganache aren't enough for you, the top macaron is covered with chocolate and peanuts. So, what you end up with is a rich peanut butter cup in macaron form, and we are here for it.

2. Blueberry Pancake Cold Brew

Just as popular as the macaron is the cold brew. We've had several of Disney's coffee drinks over the years, and they're always winners. This Blueberry Pancake Cold Brew from the Berry Patch is no different. Now, we won't lie. We were worried the blueberry sweet cream would be overly cloying. But to our joyous surprise, the subtle blueberry flavor enhances the dark coffee in ways we never would have considered. It's a delicate sweetness that adds just a hint of fruit to the drink.

The brown butter and oat milk give the cold brew a luscious creaminess that is both cool and refreshing without being too heavy. Topped with a crunchy cinnamon-flavored cereal crumble, this is the coffee drink we want to wake up with and imbibe again in the afternoon when we need a pick-me-up. It's a delightful homage to those fluffy pancakes we grew up with and pairs perfectly with any of the food options available throughout the festival. It's easily one of the best drink options available.

1. Elote Paleta

Have you ever had corn ice cream? We know it seems like an odd combination, but trust us when we tell you it's a tasty treat. Since corn tends to be a sweeter vegetable, it makes sense that it's been turned into a popular ice cream flavor. The Disney chefs recognized this new trend and decided to jump in with both feet by not just serving a simple scoop of corn ice cream, but creating an amazing popsicle out of it.

Elotes are those corn cobs that are sold by street vendors all over Mexico. They're usually covered in cojita cheese and Tajin. So, the Disney chefs made their own version. They started with the decadent corn paleta, and then took the treat to a whole other level by drizzling a Parmesan crema on top. But since that wasn't enough, they sprinkled a tangy chile-lime seasoning over it and finished it off with freeze-dried corn and fresh cilantro. On paper, the combination confused us, but once we tasted it, there was no denying that this paleta is far and away the best thing at the festival.

The sweet, creamy popsicle combined with the salty Parmesan cream and chile seasoning made for one seriously satisfying bite. It's the flavor bomb we never knew we needed. We couldn't stop eating the paleta and were so upset when it disappeared that we went back for seconds. Trust us when we tell you, this popsicle is absolutely the item you can't miss.