Universal Orlando Resort is the ultimate in family fun…and food! We’re not just talking your standard theme park grub like hot dogs, burgers, and fries. Sure, you can find that fare but with over 50 dining locations from serene sit-down restaurants to quick grab and go snack carts Universal also offers up the some of the tastiest, most iconic and deliciously daring eats you’ll ever experience.
Don’t plan your next trip to Universal Orlando Resort without checking out this list of the best beverages, sweet treats, quick eats and full-service favorites.
These delectable dishes are scattered throughout Universal Orlando, Universal Islands of Adventure, the new water park, Volcano Bay and that sensational strip in between the parks known as CityWalk.
Just remember that calories don’t count on vacation!
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Butterbeer, Butterbeer and more Butterbeer! –Diagon Alley and Hogsmeade
We begin with Butterbeer because it is our absolute favorite flavor at Universal. Quite possibly anywhere! If you only allow yourself one indulgence you simply must savor some of this sweet, refreshing, frothy, golden-goodness that can only be found within the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. Thankfully there are several options for where to nab some. You’ll find the shortest lines for libations at The Fountain or Fair Fortune and the Hopping Pot in Diagon Alley and at The Hogs Head in Hogsmeade.
Butterbeer is offered in a cold variety which is a very tasty carbonated bit of yumminess as well as a frothy frozen version. A warm version of Butterbeer is also available seasonally. Frozen is our favorite but we recommend trying them all. Don’t let the “beer” aspect throw you. Just like “root beer” there isn’t anything alcoholic about it so its perfect for witches and wizards of any age. Indeed, no trip to the Universal parks is complete without at least one cup of this heavenly drink.
Pumpkin Juice –Hogsmeade and Diagon Alley
Butterbeer isn’t the only beverage beloved in the Wizarding World. Pumpkin Juice was a favorite of Hogwarts students and is now available for you to try too. A combination of pineapple and apple juices mixed with pumpkin spice flavoring, it tastes like fall in a bottle. You can find bottled pumpkin juice at several refreshment carts, in gift shops such as Honeydukes or on tap at the Leaky Cauldron.
There’s also a carbonated version called “Pumpkin Fizz” available at the Three Broomsticks. It is slightly less sweet but very refreshing.
Pick Your Potion — Eternelle’s Elixir of Refreshment
Stop by Eternelle’s Elixir of Refreshment stand and mix your very own potion using “Gilly Water” and the additive of your choice. Choose from Fire Protection Potion, Babbling Beverage, Elixir to Induce Euphoria, and Draught of Peace. While the potions don’t fizz or bubble as one might hope, they still offer a fun way to mix up a flavored beverage that tastes pretty similar to Powerade. The tiny potion bottles make great souvenirs.
Flaming Moe — Flaming Moe’s
One of the most unique beverages you can try at Universal Orlando is the Flaming Moe. This non-alcoholic mocktail was inspired by an episode from the long-running animated series, The Simpsons. It can be found in the Springfield Fast Food Boulevard section of the parks. The fruity orange soda type drink is tasty to be sure, but its real appeal is that it’s actually flaming…or to be more accurate “smoking”. Each drink comes with a bit of dry ice separated by a grate built into the souvenir cup allowing the beverage to bubble, fizz, and release puffs of smoke.
Fishy Green Ale — The Fountain of Fair Fortune
So now you’ve heard of Butterbeer and Pumpkin Juice but there is yet another beverage that can’t be missed in Diagon Alley. The Fishy Green Ale is a delightful mash-up of mint and cinnamon complete with blueberry-flavored boba “fish eggs” at the bottom. I realize that all sounds a bit odd but it’s actually quite amazing.
Moose Juice and Goose Juice — Seuss Landing
Inspired by Dr. Seuss’s Sleep Book, you can enjoy a refreshing slushy drink in several fun flavors at Moose Juice Goose Juice is Suess Landing. The green option tastes like tangy sour apple and the orange is unsurprisingly, orangey. The best part is that if you have the Universal refillable cup this treat is included as a beverage option.
Giant Pink Donut — Lard Lad Donuts
Every trip we make to Universal Orlando must include at least one giant pink-frosted Lard Lad donut. Located in the Simpsons-themed Springfield portion of the parks, this sweet treat is not only iconic it’s also quite yummy! Soft and fluffy with the perfect proportion of frosting and sprinkles it’s easy to see why this is Homer Simpsons favorite snack and why Universal sells upwards of 50 dozen of them per day. One donut is big enough to share among our family of five making it the best deal in the parks for a treat at around $6.
Brain Freezing D’oh-nut Sundae
If that wasn’t enough to satisfy your sweet tooth you can up the ante with a Brain Freezin’ D’oh-nut Sundae. A sprinkled, pink-frosted donut is sliced in half and filled with vanilla or chocolate ice cream and your choice of topping including caramel, hot fudge, rainbow sprinkles, chocolate sprinkles, peanuts, Reese’s Pieces, and Oreo cookie crumbles.
Chocolate Chili Ice Cream — Florean Fortescue’s Ice Cream Parlour
Fight off the Florida heat with a cool treat from Florean Fortescue’s Ice-Cream Parlour. Located in the heart of Diagon Alley, here you can try fun flavors like Earl Grey Tea, Lavender, Apple Crumble, Salted Caramel Blondie or even Butterbeer ice cream! Creamy soft-serve ice cream, plus ribbons of golden Butterbeer? Yes, please.
What really knocked our muggle socks off though was the Chocolate Chili ice cream. I say that as someone who doesn’t really like chocolate (I know, I know what’s wrong with me?) or particularly spicy food. Imagine our surprise then when we were all blown away by this flavor. It goes down smooth and creamy and then seconds later the magic happens as your mouth feels wonderfully warm from the heat of the “chili”. Just trust me and try it!
Tip: No samples are allowed at Florean Fortescue’s Ice-Cream Parlor so be ready with that in mind.
Massive Milkshakes — Toothsome Chocolate Emporium
Toothsome Chocolate Emporium and Savory Feast Kitchen is City Walk’s newest full-service restaurant. With an over-the-top 19th century steam-punk meets Willy Wonka theme this eatery offers everything from classic dishes like steak and burgers to unique brunch offerings which are served all day.
It’s the delectable desserts here are what really take the cake (see what I did there?). Especially the massive milkshakes which come topped with treats like full-size slices of cake, brownie, mounds of whip cream and sprinkles, strawberries or even a whole chocolate covered banana depending on which flavor you choose. The hardest part will be deciding what to get.
Tip: There is a separate dessert line on the left side of the building for those just wanting to satisfy their sweet tooth. Otherwise I’d highly recommend dining here at an “off” hour. We’ve always had good luck going around 4PM.
Maple Bacon Bar — Voodoo Doughnuts
Because a steam punk themed chocolate factory just wasn’t quirky enough CityWalk’s newest eatery to open is Voodoo doughnuts. The over-the-top doughnut shop is a fast-growing West Coast chain, making its very first appearance east of the Mississippi at CityWalk Orlando.
Nobody does eccentric doughnuts like Voodoo. Their selections come covered in Tang, frosted with grape dust, flavored with Butterfingers, or with various childhood favorite breakfast cereals. We enjoy get the Fryer Flight, so we can try a little bit of everything. My personal favorite flavor is their Maple Bacon Bar, but my kids are crazy for the Voodoo doll signature doughnut.
Minions Candy Apple — Studios Sweets
The confection counter at Studio Sweets is an array of tempting choices. I’m always drawn to the selection of Minions themed treats. Minions candy apples, Minions S’mores, Minions cupcakes…you can’t go wrong with any of them.
Pumpkin Pasty — Sugar Plums
Pumpkin pie is one of my all time favorite foods and not just at Thanksgiving. Imagine a hand held version of that pie with a flaky crust and perfect pumpkin filling. I’d say that’s magic indeed! I always grab at least one of these perfect pastries from Sugar Plums in Diagon Alley but they can also be found at Honeydukes in Hogsmeade.
Chocolate Frogs — Honeydukes
This colorful candy store inside Hogsmeade is the place to satisfy your sweet tooth. Its not just your typical candy store though. Here you can find all the candy featured in the Harry Potter books and then some. Our favorites include the chocolate frog –a solid hunk of milk chocolate in the form of a frog. It comes housed in a pretty pentagon-shaped box and includes a wizard collector’s card.
Bertie Bott’s Every Flavour Beans — Honeydukes
Bertie Bott’s Every Flavour Beans are another must try treat. Though some beans offer more of a trick than a treat. Billed as a “risk with every mouthful, “these beans can range in flavors from chocolate and peppermint to dirty socks and liver! It’s a remarkably fun experience to see which way it will go. And yes vomit-flavored beans really do taste like vomit. But your kids will love them. In fact, my kids love everything inside Honeydukes. Something about the intoxicating smells of chocolate and colorful candy enchants them into spending some of their souvenir money. And why not? It’s vacation!
Cotton Candy — Honk Honkers
Walking into Seuss Landing in Universal’s Islands of Adventure is like stepping into one of your favorite childhood storybooks. Throughout this section of the park you can find some wonderfully whimsical treats to eat. Our favorite is the cotton candy from Honk Honkers. Each treat here is made to order so be prepared to wait while your sugary goodness is spun into a candy cloud of massive proportion. You can even add toppings like sprinkles or attached it to a lolli-pop “unicorn” base.
Quick Service Eats
English Breakfast — The Leaky Cauldron
This traditional British pub located in Diagon Alley is the quintessential dining experience for any Harry Potter fan. On offer are cottage pie, fish and chips, bangers and mash, Scotch eggs, and a great children’s menu full of kid favorites like mac and cheese. The sticky toffee pudding is also a winner as it tastes almost like a cake version of Butterbeer.
What many don’t know is that the Leaky Cauldron is also a great place to grab breakfast. For a fully immersive experience we recommend getting the full English Breakfast. Having lived in the U.K. ourselves this gets high marks for authenticity and taste.
Chicken and Waffles — Cletus’ Chicken Shack
Fast Food Boulevard is also the home of several Simpsons themed quick service restaurants inspired by the eateries of Springfield. The cafeteria style food court includes Krusty Burger, The Frying Dutchman, Flaming Moe’s, Cletus’ Chicken Shack, Luigi’s Pizza, and Lisa’s Teahouse of Horror. We can’t resist the Chicken and Waffles from Cletus’. Double battered, extra crispy fried chicken breast between two golden waffles and drizzled with maple syrup mayo and a side of tater tots. Mmmm.
Mucho Macho Nachos — Bumblebee Man Taco Truck
¡Ay yi yi! Another surprising Simpson’s area favorite is the Bumblebee Man Taco truck. All three soft-shell taco choices are as delicious as they are different. The carne asada taco, made with grilled skirt steak with shredded lettuce, guacamole, and salsa is our top choice for a traditional taco but the Korean Beef Tacos topped with zesty cucumber radish slaw are also amazing! For a shareable snack for the family we love to dig into the mucho macho nachos.
Turkey Legs — Thunder Falls Terrace
What kid, or kid at heart, doesn’t want to walk around the Jurassic Park area posing with animatronic dinosaurs while eating a giant hunk of meat? It simply must be done! These ridiculously large portions of protein can be found at Thunder Falls Terrace.
With ample indoor seating this venue is a great place to take a break while watching the big splash down from the River Adventure ride from a safe and dry distance.
The Great Feast — Three Broomsticks
Looking to feed your crew a hearty meal in Hogsmeade? Step inside the rustic-looking Three Broomsticks Pub and order “The Great Feast”. Meant to feed your whole family, The Great Feast is actually a great value for the money. It includes a large salad as well as a platter of char-grilled ribs, smoked chicken, corn on the cob, roasted potatoes and vegetables. Wash it down with one of the beers brewed special for Universal Orlando that can be found in the adjacent “Hogs Head” bar section of the restaurant.
Jerk Shrimp Mac and Cheese — Whakawaiwai Eats
This savory and satisfying Jerk Shrimp Mac and Cheese has to be Volcano Bay’s finest culinary masterpiece. Seasoned with mouth-watering Jamaican jerk-spiced, pan-seared shrimp and tossed with pasta shells in a creamy, white cheddar cheese sauce. It’s so good, you might be tempted to just dive in and devour the whole thing yourself, but the huge portion is more than enough to share.
Personalized Pizza — Red Oven Pizza Bakery
Red Oven Pizza Bakery is nothing like what you would expect from theme park pizza. The Neapolitan-style, thin-crust pizzas feature top-notch ingredients, from the hand tossed dough made fresh in the open kitchen to a wide array of fresh toppings to choose from. Select classics such as Margherita and Bianca or personalize your pie and watch as its put together before your eyes. You can enjoy your meal on the go with a convenient take-out window, or sit down and relax in a covered, outdoor seating area.
Other Quick Eats with Atmosphere…
If you’re dining with a non-adventurous eater and looking for more traditional park cuisine like basic burgers and chicken nuggets we would recommend a venues that at least comes with a side of atmosphere. We enjoy Mel’s Drive-In with it’s 1960’s juke-box joint theme and Louie’s Italian restaurant based on the neighborhood restaurant in The Godfather. Another favorite is the Monster’s Café which features Universal’s classic monsters such as the Mummy and Frankenstein.
Full Service Dining
Bento Box Burgushi — Cow Fish
Cow Fish is one of our all-time favorite family restaurants. We happen to have one of the only other locations in our home town of Charlotte so we already have access to the awesomeness that is Burgushi and yet our kids request to eat here every time we are in Orlando. The appropriately named fusion restaurant brings together fresh sushi and inventive burgers for a menu that will knock your socks off. We love to grab at least one Bento Box for a little taste of everything. It includes a mini-burger along with your choice of sushi roll and three tasty side items! Even the kid’s meals come in these fun Bento boxes complete with the cutest rice krispy roll topped with Swedish Fish “sashimi” style.
Elotes — Antojitos Authentic Mexican Food
Antohitos is another one of our favorite City Walk restaurants. The classic menu is based on the cantinas and markets around Mexico City. Using the freshest ingredients and serving their foods marinated, roasted or grilled to perfection you really can’t go wrong with any of the menu items.
We love the steaming fresh fajitas and Mexican street corn called “Elotes”. Add in the entertainment from a live mariachi band serenading you through dinner and a fresh blood orange margarita and it doesn’t get any better!
Shrimp! — Bubba Gump Shrimp Co.
Another good option in CityWalk is Bubba Gump, especially if you are a fan of the 1994 movie Forrest Gump from which the restaurant gets its inspiration. Unsurprisingly you can enjoy shrimp served in just about every way possible as well as southern and Cajun-centric cuisine. We suggest Lt. Dan’s Drunken Shrimp. And be sure to brush up on your Forrest Gump trivia before you go!
Lobster Roll — Lombard’s Seafood Grille
For a fresh catch inside the parks head to Lombard’s Seafood Grille in the San Francisco section of Universal Studios. The park’s most upscale eatery serves a variety of fried seafood, salads, burgers, and an awesome lobster roll. Sometimes they even offer a prix fixe menu that includes a front row seat for the evening lagoon show.
Jumbo Combo — Hard Rock Café
The World’s largest Hard Rock café remains a solid choice for families looking for something to satisfy everyone. You’ll find salads, sandwiches, nachos, wings and ten different burgers to choose from. We like to split the the Jumbo Combo of all the best appetizers as we take in the huge collection of music memorabilia and rock out to classic tunes.
Fresh Made Pasta — Vivo Italian Kitchen
Vivo is an Italian restaurant with excellent service offering up a menu of authentic tried and true classics in a modern setting. Although its located in the heart of CityWalk Vivo definitely doesn’t have the feel of a theme park restaurant. Which can be a welcomed change of pace. Our favorite aspect is the open kitchen that allows guests to watch as chefs prepare fresh sauces, pizza and bread before your eyes as well fresh pasta by hand.
Whether it’s a sundae made from donuts, a perfect pumpkin pasty or bento box filled with inventive burgushi, there are endless opportunities to delight and surprise your taste buds on your next Universal Orlando vacation. Dig in and enjoy!
For more help with planning your Universal vacation be sure to check out all my best insider tips and tricks for Universal Orlando and my guide to 30 Things you won’t want to miss in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter full fun pictures and hidden gems.
And make sure to save on your Universal park tickets with this awesome deal from Best of Orlando! 5 Days for the Price of 3!
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