Location: Critter Country / Disneyland
Type: Counter service
Cost: Good value for the price (around $10 a meal)
Craig’s Favorite: Bumblebee cupcake!
Are you hungry as a bear? Then this is the right place for you! Located just past the entrance to Critter Country is this rustic open-air restaurant set in the woods of Disneyland. Offering tasty, delicious munchies for all ages, it is a place worth visiting when you’re at Disneyland. Paying homage to what used to be Bear Country, the Hungry Bear Restaurant is reminiscent of the old Country Bear Jamboree which was housed just down the street in what today is the Many Adventures of Winnie-the-Pooh. But if you think they are still serving the same old food they did back then, it certainly is worth your while to come and pay a visit. You’ll be pleasantly surprised.
Today the Hungry Bear Restaurant (HBR) has undergone a food upgrade as has many of its contemporaries around the park. And like those restaurants, it pulls from a specific cuisine to make it’s mark on the Disney culinary landscape. For HBR, it draws on some traditional southern cooking. While the French Market in New Orleans Square is technically “southern” cooking as well, you’ll find that the South has many wonderful regional flavors that are as distinctive as any other. So even though French Market is “southern” it draws more upon the regional cuisine of Louisiana while the food at HBR is more akin to something you might find in Georgia, Alabama, or Tennessee. The Fried Green Tomato Sandwich is a featured item here at the restaurant and something worth getting. Covered in cornmeal batter and a spicy (but not too spicy) remoulade, these tomatoes will dance on your taste buds. Surrounded by a jicama slaw and heirloom tomatoes which give it a cool and crisp texture, the sandwich is rich in flavor. And every sandwich comes with your choice of fries (served In-N-Out style with some of the skin attached) or cole slaw. You can also get sweet potato fries for just an additional 50 cents. Also coming from the southern family is the Crispy Chicken Sandwich which comes served on a bun with lettuce, tomatoes, and a honey-mustard sauce. While tasty, if you had to pick one, go for the Fried Green Tomato Sandwich. You’ll walk away a happy person.
The menu isn’t limited to just those two items, though. For the health conscious, they have a Turkey and Provolone Sandwich as well as Big Al’s Chicken Salad which sounds delicious served with candied pecans, pickled red onions, dried cherries and a honey-lime vinaigrette. For those who need some protein, you can get the Pioneer Chili Cheeseburger or the Classic Cheeseburger. And for the kids, they have nuggets, burgers, and mac & cheese. But at the end of the meal, feel free to splurge a bit on either the Lemon “Bumblebee” Cupcake or the newly offered House-made Funnel Cake. The Bumblebee Cupcake was a seriously delectable treat. With a filling reminiscent of a lemon pie, surrounded by light but moist vanilla cake and then topped by a white chilled frosting (and a yummy chocolate bumblebee), it is sweet with contrasting textures that make it even more delicious!
Whether you are sitting on the top deck or the bottom, you’ll have a great view of the Rivers of America with the Mark Twain or the Columbia sailing by at regular intervals. The top deck seems to be more peaceful and tranquil even though it is situated right next to the food. That’s because the only restrooms in the area are located on the bottom deck of the restaurant which means far more foot traffic back and forth. But no matter where you sit, you’ll enjoy great food at a great value. Come and enjoy the Hungry Bear Restaurant!