Home » 6 Universal Orlando Resort Restaurants That Even Disney Fans Will Love

    6 Universal Orlando Resort Restaurants That Even Disney Fans Will Love

    The numbers are in, and The Universal Orlando Resort is expanding in popularity at a faster rate than any other theme park in the world. Despite its current trajectory, the folks running the park could do a better job with regards to marketing. Their constant competitor, The Walt Disney Company, receives a tremendous amount of media coverage for their world-class cuisine. Meanwhile, Universal is always facing criticisms about the quality of its food.

    Yes, Universal deserves much more credit for their restaurants. They’ve improved dramatically during the 21st century and now offer several of the finest theme park dining options in Florida. Ignore the haters! They’re trying to trick you into missing out on some of the tastiest bites in Orlando. Here are six of the best restaurants at Universal Orlando.

    (As always, these opinions are my own, and I ask not that you agree with them, only that you try each place at least once during your travels to Harry Potterville.)

    6. Margaritaville Orlando 

    Yes, I’m starting with a controversial selection, so please let me express my biases upfront. I’m a Parrothead aka a Jimmy Buffett fan. I also married a Parrothead. We listen to Jimmy Buffett music a lot, and one of our favorite resources is Margaritaville Radio, Sirius XM Radio channel 24 on your dial. On a seemingly unrelated note, live broadcasts of this channel stem from Margaritaville Orlando.

    Margaritaville is, like several of the CityWalk options, a chain restaurant. Out of them, it’s the one with the most delicious combination of tasty burgers and potent potables. No self-respecting Parrothead would frequent an establishment that lacked adult beverages worthy of the Jimmy Buffett industry, the one that’s earned him half a billion dollars and counting. Branding matters to Buffett’s business team. You can pull off a musical triple play here by ordering the paradisiacal cheeseburger, drinking a margarita and watching the restaurant’s volcano erupt. The last thing will remind Disney fans of T-Rex and Rainforest Café at Disney Springs.

    Pro tip: order the volcano nachos. The last time we did this, our party of five barely got halfway through the bowl.

    5. Three Broomsticks Restaurant   

    Image: mazola_jr, Flickr (license)

    Finally, you can eat like a wizard at Hogsmeade. The first Harry Potter restaurant at Universal Orlando has since been outdone. It’s still wonderful, though. Authentic touches abound throughout the high-capacity facility. It even features an artificial second floor to foster the illusion that other wizards are sleeping comfortably in other parts of the Hogsmeade Inn.

    The pride of Three Broomsticks is the Great Feast Platter, designed to serve four hungry muggles at once. At just under $50, it’s actually a surprisingly economical option for lovers of rustic, outdoorsy food such as rotisserie chicken and spareribs. If you’d rather eat a classic English staple, try the shepherd pie instead. Of course, I recommend an entirely different option here. The Three Broomsticks Restaurant is a wonderful place to eat breakfast. You can load up on carbs before a hectic morning fighting the overflow crowds at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter.

    4. Vivo Italian Kitchen

    Image: Universal

    Are you a pizza lover? Have you ever engaged in an internet discussion on which city and/or country has the best style of pizza? If you’re nodding your head right now, this restaurant is like the mother ship calling you home.

    The architectural design and décor of Vivo Italian Kitchen emphasizes its nature. This restaurant is for pasta lovers. Here, you can watch chefs prepare entrees from scratch, using fresh ingredients to craft gorgeous pizzas. The open kitchen is visible from the moment you enter the dining area. The chefs perform their jobs in plain sight, and the ceiling above them features a mirror. You can watch your dinner prepared from virtually any angle, and if you’re anything like me, nothing will make you hungrier than watching a chef work. Vivo Italian Kitchen delivers the best dining experience at Universal CityWalk.

    3. Krusty Burger

    Image: jared422_80, Flickr (license)

    Consider this entry as eight selections at once. Picking among the various Springfield meal options is entirely dependent on your taste buds. Whatever you choose, however, you’ll all enjoy the same thing. You’ll be eating in a real-life cartoon, a human reenactment of the daily struggles of The Simpsons and their extended family.

    Sure, the selections are inconsistent as all fast food. In fact, the last time I ate at Krusty Burger, I didn’t get cheese inasmuch as some sort of cheese-based foam that failed to congeal. I take the bad with the good here, and the good is that a Flaming Moe is shockingly tasty. Plus, the one thing that a Springfield restaurant has to get right is the donut. The ones at Lard Lad are so delicious that several months later, I’m still fantasizing about the flavor. It’s the best donut I’ve ever had in my life.

    Universal chefs took the time to think about which items from The Simpsons were most important, and all of those recipes are fantastic. To wit, I think it’s extremely thematic that my last Krusty Burger was terrible. In the fictional Springfield, he personally spits in every 50th one, you know.

    2. Mythos

    Image: Universal

    Mythos, a gorgeous restaurant hidden in plain sight at Islands of Adventure presents itself as a cavernous dining establishment. Rock formations are everywhere and appear load-bearing, even when they’re not. The building’s exterior causes onlookers to perceive Mythos as standing high on a mountain crag even though it’s a literal walk-up dining experience. And should a guest prefer to eat outside, they’ll enjoy a panoramic view of the park’s waters and islands.

    While the view is great at Mythos, the food is what differentiates it. This restaurant offers the finest dining options at Islands of Adventure. It’s high-brow cuisine that’s a foodie’s dream. Greek foods are the preferred option, a nod to the name of the establishment. If you’re a fan of Pad Thai, you’ll discover no finer version in the greater Orlando area. Our cohorts at Theme Park Insider named Mythos the best theme park restaurant in the world every year from 2003 to 2009. While its glory has faded a bit in the ongoing Florida theme park restaurant arms race, it’s still one of the best places to eat at any American theme park.

    1. The Leaky Cauldron

    Image: Universal

    The Leaky Cauldron is one of the most crowded restaurants I’ve ever visited. The line to order food is chaos incarnate. Harry Potter diehards want their Butterbeer, and they’ll elbow their way to the front of a haphazard line to get it. The good news is that once you finally order, the process is fairly smooth. You receive a candlestick that identifies your place in line. You also get your drink first, and it’s this sip of Butterbeer that seems to calm the nerves while warming the dispositions of other guests. I find the whole thing appropriate since you’re only steps away from the darker parts of Diagon Alley. Some of the other wizards eating there are likely #TeamSlytherin, possibly even #TeamDeathEater. Do you think somebody with a violent snake tattoo is going to wait aimlessly in line for Butterbeer?

    As far as the food goes, The Leaky Cauldron is easily the best amusement park restaurant in the world. The restaurant serves delicious British fare such as Fish and chips, Toad in the Hole, and Bangers and Mash. You can eat just like someone spending the day shopping at Diagon Alley, and if the mood strikes you, a glass of Fire Whiskey can carry you through the rest of the afternoon at the latest Wizarding World expansion. It’s the best combination of themed restaurant and tasty delicacies you’ll find near any amusement park in the world.

    While Universal Orlando has many wonderful restaurants onsite, these six are the best of them, and The Leaky Cauldron lords above them all, just like He Who Shall Not Be Named.