I thought it would be fun to talk about food at Universal because there is so much food talk at the Disney board, and this one seems empty, lol. A little about myself. So, my family and I have visited UOR a few times in the last few years. We’ve eaten burgers at Jurassic Park restaurants, chicken sandwiches at Captain America Diner, Margaritaville, Bubba Gump, a shake at Toothsome’s Chocolate Emporium, eaten at CBBR once or twice at the Bayliner, and we had tacos at Simpsons Land. We tried a lot of different snacks while there, too like the pink donut, butterbeer in all varieties, ice cream different times in HP, we even tried these double decker cookies in Seussland. I’m curious to see what others have eaten when going to Universal or Island of Adventure, so if we decide to go again, we can know what we should or shouldn’t try. The only dietary issue we need to worry about is a pork allergy for members of our family, so we avoid getting it, or things with marshmallows.
During my visit last year I ate at the Leaky Cauldron twice and Three Broomsticks once. I thought both were pretty poor. But theming and convenience won the day.
On my upcoming trip I’d like to explore other options. Toothsome? Mythos? Simpsons Fast Food Boulevard?
I’m open to suggestions!
Here is where my family (all adults) ate during our June 2017 trip to Universal. We have 3 omnivores and 2 vegetarians in our group. Food is an important part of our theme park vacations and we usually do 1 TS meal per day.
Islands Dining Room - TS family restaurant at Royal Pacific Resort. We had dinner here. Very good food and a lovely break from the crowds, the Wok Experience (all-you can-eat, build your own stir fry) is delicious and has very good value.
Mama Della’s at Portofino Bay Hotel - We had late dinner here. Italian family restaurant in a setting that looks like an Italian grandmother’s house. I can’t imagine the food being any better. Service was also great. This is a high-end place in a comfortable atmosphere. Price is not horrible either for a theme park resort.
Doc’s Kebab House - QS, lunch. Serves kebabs. I like the food, but the ordering process was very inefficient. If this place was at the MK, definitely be going back because the food was good, but Uni has enough good counter options close by that I’d only go back if in the area was no line.
VIVO Italian Kitchen - Italian TS place in CityWalk. Dinner. A lot like Mama Della’s in terms of food quality and service (very good), but totally different in terms of atmosphere. VIVO has modern decor and an almost hip vibe. It is totally suitable for families. There was a big family group with young kids at the table next to us. We ate here around 5:30 pm. Also, the prices were very reasonable (definitely cheaper than Mamma Della’s). I’d definitely go back.
Toothsome Chocolate Emporium - We ate here for early lunch on a weekday as the ydon’t take reservations and I have heard they are very popular and often get backed up at peak times. Delicious, my salad here was the best I had all trip. The milkshakes are the most unique part of the experience and many of the food items are not particularly unique, but they were high quality. The menu is expansive. Some of the items include chocolate of some sort keeping with the restaurant’s theme. Service was excellent; however, we were the only ones in our section. We picked a table outside on the patio in the sun as we were very wet from riding Islands of Adventure water rides. I’d go here at none peaks times as I can see how they’d be overwhelmed by crowds.
Leaky Cauldron - We ate dinner here (2x) and breakfast. Most of us need a decent breakfast to function and we are big HP fans so we did the breakfast here despite it being a bad price performer. We shared 3 adult breakfast platters between 4 people. The expensive breakfast (around $15) includes a beverage and you can have butterbeer and the other HP specialty drinks as the beverage. Dinner was excellent. Avoid peak times (after 7 pm was fine for dinner). Delicious, unique drinks and well-organized. they have all the Diagon Alley drinks here like the Tongue Tying Lemon Squash and Otter’s Fizzy Orange Juice.
3 Broomsticks - We did breakfast here as well. We did not have lunch or dinner here as there were no vegetarian options. However, I would like to dine here for lunch/dinner in the future. The Wizard’s Feast was $10 per person and includes barbecue chicken and ribs, salad, corn on the cob. I loved eating outside here, but make sure you look around the inside. It is really impressive. We ate outside overlooking the water whic hwas quiet and peaceful. A hawk showed up and sat on the roof. It was watching the water for fish and caught one for its breakfast. We did stop in for frozen butterbeer in the afternoon one day at the adjacent Hog’s Head pub. There was no line around 4 pm (while the outside cart lines were multiple people deep and in the sun).
Mythos - TS lunch at IOA. I would eat here again. The service was good, the food was good. Just compared to all the other places, it seems average (because the other places were so good). I was coming down with the cold at this point so I’m sure that colors my experience. The grotto setting is cool. The vegetarian selection, I think, was above average so that is defiantly a reason to go back for our group. Though, I think, Confisco’s Grille in IOA over at Port of Entry, has a similar selection (at slightly cheaper prices).
Trattoria del Porto - family buffet type restaurant at Portofino Bay Hotel. My dad and sister had dinner here one night. I had the breakfast buffet on our checkout day. Breakfast was good and there was a large variety of options. Nothing to go out of the way for, but a decent option if you want a hearty breakfast. We wanted to have a solid breakfast because we were heading to WDW and AK that day for a busy day.
I agree, the theming was spot on at Three Broomsticks when I went to it when Hogsmeade opened up, but I wasn’t a fan of the food. I didn’t go into The Leaky Cauldron, just peeked in.
I’ve heard so much about Mythos, and I’m curious to see what others got when they went there.
Your food list is amazing! I want to try a couple of the places you mentioned! Did you need a reservation for any of the resort restaurants?
I don’t think reservations are a must at any of the resort dining options (at least the ones we dined at), but they are good to have especially if you want to eat on a specific day and/or time. None of the dining reservations required credit card to reserve or had any penalty for cancelling or not showing up.
I don’t think reservations would be necessary at Trattoria del Porto. My dad and sister just showed up for dinner on a Tuesday evening and ate there without any issues. We had made the breakfast reservation in advance, but we could have been seated without it.
Mama Della’s was a day-of reservation. I would recommend a reservation here. It was pretty full when we visited. We ate here on a Monday evening. We had not made any reservations that day as we were spending the day at Volcano Bay and didn’t know when we would be done. We tried to make a reservation online in the evening, but the website wasn’t cooperating. Ended up calling the hotel concierge. There was limited availability at this point (it was after 7 pm), but they had an 8:30 pm at Mamma Della’s which we took.
We had made reservations in advance for Islands Dining Room, but it was definitely not needed for the night we were there. The dining room was mostly empty. I have no idea if this is typical. This was around 6:30 pm on a Sunday evening in mid-June. My family had eaten there on a previous Universal trip that I did not go on. They stayed at Royal Pacific and eaten at the Islands dining room for the Wok Experience 2x. They walked up to the restaurant both times. It was one of their must-do dining experiences. The website says “select nights” for Wok Experiences and I was told on the phone it was Friday and Saturday only, but it was definitely available for us on Sunday evening.
My dad and my grandmother visited Universal MLK weekend this past January. 2 more restaurant additions from their trip plus another visit to Mythos.
Mythos - TS, lunch. This was deemed " very good, excellent service and they were very flexible on reservations changes. " The waiter was very good, attentive with being intrusive.
They shared an appetizer
Spanakopita Dip - $7.99 A creamed spinach appetizer with pita bread to dip.
Grandma had Pad Thai - $16.99
Rice noodles, mixed vegetables, chicken and shrimp tossed in a sweet and sour peanut sauce
My dad had the Beef Medallions - $21.99
Herb roasted fingerling potatoes, summer cannellini and corn succotash, fresh watercress and “chimichurri”
Classic Monsters Cafe - QC lunch/dinner, USF. They had lunch here. It was the only place without a line at lunch time. Food is okay. There is rotisserie chicken in addition to standard theme park fare (pizza, burgers, hot dogs. The inside is filled with props from monster movies and is relatively dark. Monsters was good fun if you like old school classic horror. It would be a good place for a lunch break on a hot day.
Croissant Moon Bakery - QC, breakfast/lunch, IOA. This is a bakery in Port of Entry near the front of IOA. They had breakfast here. The bakery was good price performer at under 15 for two sandwiches with coffee cantaloupe and strawberry. It was around 12 after AP discount.
Preferred and Premier APs get 10% discount at all the them park restaurants, CityWalk and resorts.
Seasonal and Power APs get 10% discount at Islands Dining room (Royal Pacific), the Kitchen (Hard Rock) and the Cabana Bay food places, but not at the theme park restaurants or most of the CW places. They do get 10% discount at Emeril’s Orlando at CityWalk.
We ate at Captain America’s diner merely because it was cheap. The burgers there taste a lot like the frozen burger patties you can buy in the grocery store, though. They provide sustenance, but not much in the way of flavor.
But we did enjoy the pizza from Luigi’s. Kind of quick service, but it was decent.
The Three Broomsticks was okay. The Turkey leg my son and daughter got were good, but my pasties were quite bland and boring.
3 Broomsticks on Christmas morning with a reservation was average at best. 1 Platters and 2 kids pancakes and one fruie and crossaint, the eggs were cold and rubbery, the crossaint was great and the kids loved the pancakes.
Comic strip cafe was better than expected. The chicken fingers and burgers were better than average and the food was warm and fresh.
Finally the pizza at Portofino’s Sal Market Deli was not good at all. We arrived 10 minutes before it was “ready” but was cold and not really done when we walked it back to the room.
We did concierge level for “free” breakfast, lunch snacks, dinner, and dessert so ate less at other facilities than if we hadn’t but were glad we did. This food was fresh and excellent so we really didn’t want to eat anywhere else!.
@Pigsispigs - this is awesome -thank you so much for your detailed list. We are planning our first trip to Universal and just started looking into food ideas for our family of 4. This helps tremendously!
Breakfast at the Leaky Cauldron, Captain America’s, Fantastic 4 cafe (we didn’t like it), Thunder Falls Terrace, sundaes somewhere in Seuss Landing, CowFish, Hard Rock Cafe, ice creams from Florian Fortescues, lots and lots of butterbeer. I know there must be other places but I can’t think.
I want to do Margaritaville and Toothsome next time, Voodoo Doughnuts for a snack, Simpson’s food court, and the buffet breakfast at HRH.
My kids want to try Circus McGurkus for lunch (sp?). Any one with experience with that one?
Their other choices are Leaky Cauldron for breakfast and Three Broomsticks for dinner.
We did Circus McGurkus for lunch a few years ago. Pretty standard food court stuff, pizza, burgers, etc. Not bad, but not very memorable. It is kind of cool to see the ride going around the ceiling.
Ok - thanks. Its for my youngest. She isn’t much into Harry Potter like my older two, so this was mostly her choice (age 8).
I was just there, and I was not overall thrilled with any of the food or restaurants at universal. I’m from NYC where we have access to everything you can imagine to eat. I can say that universal can do deserts well, but the overall food experience at universal was mediocre to us… We ate meals at the 3Broomsticks, Vivo, and Toothsome. Various snacks from carts and stands in the park. I hate to say that the food at “Disney Springs” is much, much better. We ate at Art Smiths home coming place, Mirimoto’s Asia, and Maira&Enzos and all three places had better food than at universal…
Personally, I like Circus McGurkus. The food is okay, and the atmosphere is very fun. If you go into it expecting theme park food, I don’t think you will be disappointed. I am constantly amazed at people who expect super high-quality food from counter-service restaurants in a theme park.
I’m planning on booking Mythos — anyone have any experience of this restaurant?
And then I’m going to try Toothsome for an early lunch on my other UOR day. They don’t take reservations.
And I’m a sucker for hype, so I’ll be trying Voodoo Doughnuts, too.
I thought Three Broomsticks and the Leaky Cauldron were not good — well, in terms of food.
I have ate at Mythos and I enjoyed it. The fried calamari may be the best I ever had- mainly because it has the most amazing sauce . I think I had the best entree- the seasonal risotto.
Actually Disneyland has very high quality QS food, which they have to in order to compete with all the offsite places within walking distance. We are a 2 TS meal a day family in WDW as the TS meals are so much better quality, but in DL…mostly QS. So it isn’t completely unheard of to go to a theme park with good food. Also we thought Volcano Bay had great options, best QS in a theme park in Orlando for sure.
We ate at Mythos in April, it was good but I think I was prepared for great based on the sign outside about Best Theme Park food. It was a nice air conditioned break from the park, but not sure we would return as we prefer a few other table service restaurants instead.