Home » The 5 Best Meals Money Can Buy at Universal Studios Florida: Counter Service

    The 5 Best Meals Money Can Buy at Universal Studios Florida: Counter Service

    Image (c) Universal

    Universal Orlando has some wonderful table-service dining establishments. But if you are anything like me, you don’t always want the full fine dining experience in the middle of a theme park day. Sometimes you would rather just walk up to a counter and get some food—yet you don’t want to be relegated to eating hot dogs and turkey legs all day. Thankfully, Universal is filled with creative, well-themed counter-service dining options. Inside the Studios park, here are 5 of my favorites.

    1. Spaghetti and Meatballs, Louie’s Italian Restaurant

    Image (c) Universal

    Modeled after the restaurant in The Godfather, Louie’s Italian Restaurant is also a great place to see how moviemaking is done. Part of the restaurant is fully finished with beautiful high-end details. Yet that area gives way to unfinished wild walls, high industrial ceilings with stage lights, and other tidbits that make it look like a Hollywood set. There is plenty of seating both inside and out, even on crowded days.

    The authentic Italian food is superb, and I have never had a bad meal. But my absolute favorite is the spaghetti and meatball dinner. Easily good enough to be served in a more expensive table-service restaurant, yet surprisingly inexpensive, the spaghetti and meatballs are hearty enough for those with moderate appetites to share. Add on a small Caesar salad for a complete, and excellent, meal.

    2. Bacon Double Cheeseburger, Mel’s Drive-In

    Image (c) Universal Orlando

    Want to head back to the malt shops of the 1950s? Mel’s Drive-In is modeled after the restaurant in American Graffiti, and the “parking lot” outside is filled with vintage cars just waiting for a photo op. During Halloween Horror Nights, “burned out” letters in the sign disappear to transform the place into Mel’s Die-In.

    The menu is packed with traditional malt shop favorites. I prefer the enormous bacon double cheeseburger, which is easily enough for lighter eaters to split. Substitute huge old-fashioned onion rings for the fries, and add a root beer float or one of the restaurant’s signature milkshakes for a true throwback experience.

    3. Half Rotisserie Chicken Platter, Monsters Café

    Image (c) Universal Orlando

    Monsters Café is a must-see for fans of the classic monster movies. From Frankenstein to the Creature From the Black Lagoon, each room is filled with props and décor sure to make the represented monster feel at home. An “electric chair” sits out front, and the overall feel is a mad scientist’s lair.

    If you’re in the mood for comfort food, it would be tough to beat the half rotisserie chicken platter. Served with mashed potatoes and broccoli, this huge plate of food is sure to fortify even the biggest eaters.

    4. Roast Beef Sandwich Combo, Beverly Hills Boulangerie

    Image (c) Universal

    Located just inside the park gates, the Beverly Hills Boulangerie is just the sort of eatery where you could imagine health-conscious celebrities stopping for a quick bite. With a surprisingly extensive menu of gourmet sandwiches, muffins, and pastries, the Boulangerie is also one of the few counter-service spots to offer hearty breakfast options. During Halloween Horror Nights, the outdoor tables are my favorite place to watch the scare actors interacting with the crowd.

    Although everything on the menu is good, the roast beef sandwich combo is a particularly nice option. Served on your choice of a baguette or a croissant, accompanied by fresh fruit and potato salad, with any of a long list of fresh muffins for dessert, this is the go-to choice for a light yet complete meal.

    5. Banana Split, Schwab’s Pharmacy


    It’s not exactly the healthiest choice, but the large banana split at Schwab’s Pharmacy could double as a meal replacement. The small shop is modeled after the Hollywood drugstore counter where Lana Turner was allegedly discovered in 1937. The menu features Ben & Jerry’s ice cream, and the small counter is a perfect place to beat the heat and escape the crowds for a little while.

    In general, it is tough to find a bad meal at Universal Orlando. The restaurants are inventively themed, the menus creative, and the food high quality. Yet in this author’s opinion, these tasty treats edge out the competition inside the Studios park by the smallest margin. What about you? Do you have a favorite counter-service meal at Universal Studios Florida? Share your thoughts with us in the comments!