A Beloved Downtown Disney Restaurant Is Closing After 22 Years

For many Disney enthusiasts, a trip to the "happiest place on Earth," AKA Disneyland, is not complete without indulging in some of the delicacies in the park. A day at Disney presents park goers with an almost overwhelming number of dining options, from corn dogs to beignets to the iconic Disney Dole Whip. And whether you're exhausted from riding Splash Mountain or simply want to indulge in an adult beverage, Downtown Disney provides a quieter setting to relax away from the theme park madness.

Downtown Disney is a district filled with retail shops and restaurants ranging from fast casual to "four-star" elevated dining. Unlike Disneyland, which can cost an arm and a leg for admission, Downtown Disney requires no admission fee. Though Disney does offer some boozy treats, 21 and over guests can find a much wider range of alcoholic drinks in Downtown Disney. This district, like the rest of the Disney empire, is always changing, and now, one of its longest-running restaurants will have its last day of service on April 14 before closing to make way for a new concept. 

Catal Restaurant is a modern Mediterranean restaurant that opened in 2001 and served the community for over two decades. It was known for being one of the more upscale locales in the Downtown Disney district, thanks to its cuisine and terrace. Once Catal closes, a new upscale Mexican restaurant from Michelin Star chef Carlos Gaytán will be taking its place.

The end of an era

Though Catal is closing, it appears to be going out with a bang — continuing to "toast to the laughs, the memories, and the meals" until its last day of service, as it wrote on Instagram. Fans took to the comments to share their favorite memories at the restaurant and disappointment with its closure. They mourned everything from the loss of the eatery's ahi tostadas to their date-night go-to for a "romantic Disney restaurant." Another said, "Best food, drinks and service in DTD...sad I won't get to experience it again." 

Chef Gaytán's Paseo and Centrico restaurant will be taking over the space to serve elevated Mexican cuisine, inspired by the dishes Gaytán enjoyed while growing up in Mexico. This won't be the only newcomer on the block. California's famous Cuban bakery Porto's will be joining in place of La Brea Bakery, as will international dumpling chain Din Tai Fung, widely considered to be one of the best Chinese restaurants in the U.S.

There's no official opening date for Paseo and Centrico as of yet. Gaytán's now-closed Chicago restaurant Mexique earned one Michelin star, so future customers can expect a high level of cooking at his newest venture.