Restaurants for Newbies

Staying at Sapphire Falls. Teen/Tween only interested in HP. What are the best places to eat (no kid meals, they eat well and love trying new things)? We typically avoid hokey places (Margaritaville?) but love WDW themes and TS dinner/QS lunch (although not required). I’m having a difficult time finding anywhere exciting in the park (yes both QS places in HP but for lunch or dinner?) and was hoping perhaps something would lure us out of just the HP area. Do you need tickets for the restaurants in the Universal CityWalk? We have park to park 3 day and would like to stay within the Universal “Bubble” for food just to fully experience it and check it off :wink:

In the parks Mythos or Finnegan’s can be good choices. You walk through CityWalk to get to the front gates of Universal Studios and IoA. You go through security but do not need a ticket (think of a big outdoor mall).

Cowfish, Big Fire, Toothsome’s (more for the theme at times) are good choices.

I actually enjoy Margaritaville. The music can be loud but I have only ate in the bar area (or sat at the airplane bar across from it).


My experience at Mythos was good food, but it took a long time to get our food (which felt like a waste of park time).

Cowfish at Citiwalk is one of my favorites.


I have been to Mythos a few times. In September the service was good, but some of the food was not as amazing as in the past (good not great).

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I mostly agree with @PrincipleTinker. In the park Mythos in IOA (which is very close to Hogsmeade for a quick pop out). In Citywalk for some fun teen friendly theming Toothsome Chocolate Emporium. The best food I’ve had and the one place we repeatedly eat at and is always good is Cowfish. BigFire was good but for the prices we had better food of this grilled steak type in Disney. Toothsome is akin to Cheesecake Factory so if you like Cheesecake Factory you’ll like Toothsome. I prefer Leaky Cauldron to Three Broomsticks if you’re doing just one. I am not a fan of Universal quick service like at all, even Three Broomsticks but I do like Leaky Cauldron (Ploughman’s platter for the win or the Toad in the Hole). At three broomsticks keep it simple and just do a chicken or ribs and you’ll be alright. I don’t like very many places fish n chips because I’ve had the real thing where you can choose your fish and your batter type in England and NZ so I don’t really like the Fisn n Chips at Three Broomsticks (or at Rose & Crown in Epcot) but if you like R&C you’ll like it at Three Broomsticks.

*You do not need a theme park ticket to eat in Citywalk

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It’s up to you whether you want to do Leaky Cauldron and Three Broomsticks for lunch or dinner. Whatever works with your schedule.

Since we’re on Quick Service places, there are so many that aren’t that good. So I will list a couple of the better ones. I suggest to look over the menus to see what interests you.

Bumblebee Man Taco Truck
Central Park Crepes, this could be a light lunch or snack
Classic Monsters Cafe is an above average restaurant with great theming
TODAY Cafe has good quality sandwiches

Croissant Moon Bakery also has good sandwiches
Thunder Falls Terrace restaurant has a great view of JP River Boat Ride
Wimpy’s has the best QS burger in the parks

Hot Dog Hall of Fame and Red Oven Pizza are great QS choices in CityWalk.

For Table Service Toothsome is my favorite. I’ve had great food and service there and you got the cool steampunk theme. While it’s technically in CityWalk, it is on the parks side of the river and pretty handy when switching parks from the main entrances. Many other good TS in CW as mentioned.

I’ve also heard great reviews of Finnegan’s TS Restaurant in USF but have not tried yet.

We really liked the food at Margaritaville! Hard Rock is also good. If you like pizza, we enjoyed Red Oven Pizza in City Walk as well! Just FYI, we ate at Fast Food Boulevard in the Simpsons area and it was BAD.

I got a moldy cucumber on my salad here in Oct…I won’t go back to this one. LOL

:astonished: maybe that was from LWTL :joy:

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CityWalk is effectively their version of Disney Springs, you don’t need a ticket.

In Park I recommend Mythos. The rest (Finns, Lombards, Confisco) are good but not great.

In CityWalk if you want the best check out BigFire and Vivo, two of my favorite restaurants on property. Antojitos and Cowfish are also very good.

At Sapphire I hear good things about Amitista but haven’t eaten there. I love Strong Water too but that’s drinks first, food second (food is VERY good though).

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At Sapphire Falls you are also a very short walk from both Royal Pacific and Aventura. The rooftop bar on Aventura is good. I thought the main dining room that serves pan Asian food and the name I cannot remember at Royal Pacific* was decent. I’ve eaten at Jakes too which is fine for a burger. They used to have an Emerils which was the better one at the resort but it’s gone now and I dont think they replaced it.

*just remembered. islands dining room.

I’ll add another vote for Mythos. We actually ate lunch there twice on our last trip. We also ate at Finnegans which we enjoyed, but Mythos was our favorite in park.

And another add on for Toothsome. DS13 insists on it each trip now - he even ventured out of his comfort zone and loved the short rib flatbread (I was shocked when he passed on his go to burger). Vivo was also a good one for us.

We enjoy the Kitchen at Hard Rock hotel too.