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Universal Studios: Restaurant/Dining Options

Universal Studios Orlando

There are over 50 restaurants at the Universal Orlando Resort complex!  One of the newest is the rustic tavern, Three Broomsticks, the official restaurant of Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey (Hogsmeade at Islands of Adventure).  This is where you can dine on authentic British food and try the famous (non-alcoholic) Butterbeer.  Also served here are fish and chips, shepherd’s pie, turkey legs, fresh veggies, and more.  At the back of the Three Broomsticks tavern, is where you’ll find the Hog’s Head Pub, where adults can sample a great selection of beers, as well as wine, spirits, and mixed drinks. If you are on the Diagon Alley side (Universal Studios), you’ll want to dine at the Leaky Cauldron for the same type of dining experience.

Also located in Islands of Adventure are Café 4, Circus McGurkus Café Stoo-pendous, and Mythos Restaurant. Mythos Restaurant was named the world’s best theme park restaurant for six years running.  The unique exterior of towering rock formations with carved ancient figures, and cascading waterfalls set the mood for this dining experience.  Inside, you’ll enjoy the cavernous interior and an outdoor seating area with a spectacular view of the park’s sea and islands.  The gourmet cuisine includes blueberry and pistachio crusted grilled pork, cedar planked Bay of Fundy salmon, gourmet hamburgers and imported pasta. Mouth-watering desserts and a full wine list are also available, as well as a separate children’s menu.  A full-service lunch is served daily.
Price Range: From $10 to $18
Reservations accepted: Call Universal’s Islands of Adventure Reservations at 407-224-4012.

Universal Studios has many in-park restaurants as well, including Lombard’s Seafood Grille, Finnegan’s Bar and Grill, Mel’s Drive-in, Vivo Italian Kitchen and more.  Lombard’s Seafood Grill is a casually elegant full-service restaurant serving fresh seafood, pasta, and more.  The décor includes a huge saltwater aquarium in the center of the dining room.  Along with the specialty items like New England Clam Chowder, Bay Shrimp Cobb Salad, Seafood Marinara, you’ll also find appetizers, sandwiches, pasta, and scrumptious desserts.  There is a children’s menu available, as well as wine and cocktails.  Full service lunch and dinner are served daily.  Reservations accepted: Call Universal Studios Reservations at (407) 224-3613.

Universal CityWalk boasts more great restaurants.  Here, you’ll find the Bubba Gump Shrimp Co., NASCAR Sports Grille, Hard Rock Café, Jimmy Buffet’s Margaritaville, Emeril’s Restaurant Orlando, and more!  The popular Emeril’s features Creole-based gourmet creations including Roasted Texas Redfish with Homemade Andouille Crust, Fingerling Potato-Cremini Mushroom Hash, Creole Meunière Sauce and Candied Pecan Relish and  Grilled Angus Filet Mignon Au Poivre – Garlic Creamed Yukon Gold Potatoes, Roasted Cremini Mushrooms and a Burgundy-Herb Reduction.  (A second Emeril’s Universal Orlando location, Emeril’s Tchoup Chop, is located in the Royal Pacific Resort)
Hours: Lunch 11:30am-3pm daily, Dinner Sun-Thurs. 5:00pm – 10:00pm, Dinner Fri & Sat. 5:00pm – 10:30pm
Price Range: entrees from $21 to $42
Reservations are suggested: Call (407) 224-2424

Jimmy Buffet’s Margaritaville provides a laid-back atmosphere with indoor or outdoor seating, live music nightly, and a “Parakeet Beach” area for the little ones to enjoy.  The décor was inspired by Buffet’s favorite waterfront concerts, and its 3 bars were themed to Buffet fans.  The Volcano Bar is a fan favorite, complete with a giant exploding volcano that erupts periodically. Guess what is erupts with?  Margaritas, of course! Along with the many varieties of margaritas and frozen concoctions, the menu features a combination of Caribbean and Key West cuisine.  Offerings include Conch Fritters, Jamaica Mistaica Wings, Corn and Crab Chowder, Bayou Shrimp Pasta, Jimmy’s Jammin’ Jambalaya, Calypso Mahi Mahi, Key Lime Pie, and the ever popular Cheeseburger in Paradise®.
Click here for menu.
Hours: 11:30am – 2:00am
Service Type: Full Service
Price Range: entrees from $10 to $25
Participating Movie and Meal Deal Location: Yes

Did you dine while visiting Universal Studios? We’d like to hear about your experience – please write a comment by clicking “Comments” at the top of this post!

Planet Hollywood, Hard Rock and Rain Forest Café, To Do or Not To Do?

First off I must say if you do not like loud restaurants then you probably will not enjoy any of these themed restaurants. If noisy restaurants do not bother you then there’s a good chance you will enjoy the experience because all three have themes with broad based appeal.

Hard Rock Café is the forerunner of themed restaurants and in my opinion it is the best of the breed. Featuring classic rock music and memorabilia these huge restaurants are really an entertainment option. I have found the food to be hit or miss at the Hard Rock Café’s that I have visited in Orlando and other tourist destinations. Quite honestly the food is average and priced well above average but everyone should go at least once.

Planet Hollywood has star appeal because that’s what the concept is all about. The music is very loud at Planet Hollywood I think noise is an element in most themed restaurants. The memorabilia is the star attraction of Planet Hollywood and Orlando has one of the best collections in the chain. The entertainment aspect is reflected in the prices at Planet Hollywood. Unfortunately the food is not the star attraction but their food is as good as any of the themed restaurants.

My least favorite of the bunch is Rain Forest Café’ for many reasons beginning with the quality and prices. If you are expecting anything other than a silk forest I hate to break it to you but there’s not a live plant in the place. There is a lot of activity going on and is quite stimulating for young children so prepare yourself for it if you have children or not. I have been twice and both times I left disappointed. My most recent visit with my family I had my three year old nephew and my infant great nephew. Their reactions were very different my three year old nephew had a fun time (although the mechanical gator did scare him) while my great nephew was not a happy camper. We all took turns either chasing my nephew or comforting my great nephew. They are VERY busy so many people don’t agree with my opinion. Honestly I would not have picked this restaurant but we went for the kids. One more thing the service has been horrible on both my visits.