I’m back for the latest post in our Orlando 2017 Trip Report. Last week I talked all about the Disney eats we enjoyed during our first week. Today, I’m venturing over to the other side of International Drive to the food at Universal Orlando.
Just like last week, I’ll name the place, give a brief overview, share both our dishes and give it a rating out of five. Everything was purchased out of pocket but I’m afraid I didn’t save the receipt so don’t have the exact costs.
We did notice that our meals were reasonably priced. The food at Universal Orlando, including a dish each and a drink, was around $45 on average. At Disney, we were looking more around $65. Not a problem if you’re on the dining plan like we were, but something to consider if you’re paying out of pocket.
In general, the selection was fantastic, some great sit down places in City Walk and a good enough variety, even if you’re staying onsite for a week. Here’s what we ate…
Week 2 – Food at Universal Orlando
Vivo Italian Kitchen – City Walk
Vivo Italian was our first taste of Universal dining, and what a way to start! We were seated straight away with no reservation (which was a bit of a relief after a week of being super planned at Disney) and served by a lovely fella who was really knowledgeable about the menu. The meal came with a bread basket free of charge – which was delicious – and everything was cooked to perfection. Beware of the portion sizes here though, they were massive! All in all, a fantastic first meal at City Walk and somewhere we’d both highly recommend.
We both ate… Bucatini with meatballs – three house-made meatballs, marinara and mozzarella.
Comic Strip Cafe – Islands of Adventure
On our first full day at Universal Studios Orlando, we found ourselves in Islands of Adventure. We had no restaurants (apart from maybe The Three Broomsticks) on our ‘to eat’ list here and made our lunch decision on a whim. It turned out to be a pretty bad one. The food at Comic Strip Cafe was average at best and the service was even worse. The place was dead, but it still took about fifteen minutes for us to order our food. The meal was bang average too and put us off eating in the parks.
We both ate… Chicken finger combo meal.
Bula Bar – Loews Royal Pacific Hotel
We decided to eat at the Royal Pacific pool bar this evening before heading out to Universal Studios for Halloween Horror Nights. We’re both complete scaredy cats and felt we needed a good feed and a few drinks for dutch courage before we made our way to the event. We’d been told by the Bula Bar waitress that the nachos were amazing, so we decided this was the perfect time to give them a go. My god, they were big! More than enough to share although we pretty much managed to finish them off. My only gripe? The lack of proper cheese. What is it with nachos in Orlando being covered in squirty plastic cheese? Otherwise, it was all bloody delicious and the cocktails are gorgeous as well. For $15 for two people, it was also one of the cheapest meals we ate all week.
McDonald’s – International Drive
Ah, Maccy D’s. We both have a bit of a love affair with this place so when we made a hungover decision to visit the Orlando Eye, we couldn’t leave without paying a visit to the world’s largest entertainment McDonald’s. There isn’t much to say here except they serve pizza (?!), beer and at the time we were amazed that you could add bacon to any burger. It turns out, you can now do that in the UK too but we weren’t aware you could at the time.
Charl ate… bacon double cheeseburger meal (large, obvs).
Carl ate… double quarter pounder with cheese and bacon, also large.
Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ (what can I say, we love a Maccy D’s)
Red Oven Pizza Bakery – City Walk
This was one of the stand out places of the trip for both of us. We’ve never been to a pizza place like this – where you go and order it and they make it in front of you – and we loved it so much we went more than once. It was so so tasty. Just the best pizza we’ve ever eaten and a nice relaxed environment. Make sure you visit Red Oven Pizza Bakery if you’re looking for great food at Universal Orlando. Really reasonably priced too.
Charl ate… margherita – fresh buffalo mozzarella, basil, San Marzano tomatoes, organic extra virgin olive oil.
Carl ate… Big eye pepperoni – San Marzano tomatoes, mozzarella, large pepperoni.
Captain Pete’s Island Hot Dog – Seaworld
We went here looking for something small to fill a hole and as they did loaded fries, we thought it’d fit the bill. They were awful. Like really, really awful. Don’t order them or eat them. They made us both feel sick for a few hours after. Just terrible and I’m sure there are much better dining options in Seaworld.
We both ate… chilli loaded fries, complete with boatloads of cheap tasting squeezy cheese.
Casey’s Corner – Magic Kingdom
We were back in Magic Kingdom this evening to watch Happily Ever After. I can only assume we had some snacks throughout the day to keep us going as we hadn’t eaten much lunch and we didn’t scoff much here either. Casey’s was on Carl’s to-do list so this seemed like as good a time as any to try it. I don’t like hot dogs so can’t really comment but Carl wasn’t bowled over, in fact, it was one of our Disney dining misses – not big fans.
Charl ate… a basket of fries.
Carl ate… All beef foot-long hot dog with fries.
We ate nachos at Bula Bar for lunch again and pizza at Red Oven Pizza Bakery, so I won’t go into details again on these.
We also grabbed a milkshake each from The Toothsome Chocolate Emporium in City Walk. These were ok but probably not as good as they looked. They were so sickly and neither of us finished them – we wouldn’t rush back. I had the red velvet one and to be honest it was mostly cake, which isn’t a very pleasant texture to suck through a straw.
Zagora Cafe – Busch Gardens
Another completely bog standard meal here. It filled a hole, but I wouldn’t rush back. Like with Seaworld, there are probably some much better options to be had in Busch Gardens, we just didn’t find them.
We both ate… Chicken strips and fries.
Margaritaville – City Walk
This is another fantastic restaurant in City Walk. We chose it simply based on the fact I could get some coconut shrimp – since I’d enjoyed so much at TheBOATHOUSE in Disney Springs – and it turned out to be one of the best meals of the trip. Luckily we were on the veranda looking out over to City Walk, as the main room had a band on and did seem a bit noisy. We both loved it here and would absolutely head back if we had the chance, we had some cheese curds to start which I remember being mouthwateringly good.
Charl ate… Crispy coconut shrimp – jumbo shrimp crusted with coconut and fried, served with horseradish-orange marmalade dipping sauce, French fries, and cilantro lime coleslaw. The dipping sauce was gorgeous.
Carl ate… Cheddar BBQ burger – cheddar cheese, applewood-smoked bacon, fried onions, lettuce, BBQ aioli.
Krusty Burger & Cleatus’ Chicken Shack – Universal Orlando
If there was one thing on our absolute ‘must-do’ list of food at Universal Orlando, the Simpsons area was probably it – Carl was adamant he was going to have a Krusty Burger. We both really enjoyed our food here, my chicken and waffles were particularly good, and found it quick to get served and easy to find a seat in Moe’s. This is what great theming is all about and I could see the wonder and happiness in Carl’s eyes. If you’re a big Simpsons fan, you have to eat here!
Charl ate… Chicken & waffle sandwich – double battered, extra crispy fried chicken breast between two waffles with maple syrup mayo & tater tots.
Carl ate… Krusty burger combo – burger with secret sauce, cheddar cheese sauce, a giant tomato slice, iceberg lettuce, served on a speciality bun.
Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️ 1/2
Antojitos Authentic Mexican Food – City Walk
I saved the restaurant I’d been most excited for until the very end of our trip. Mexican is arguably my favourite food and I wanted to eat at a place that was authentic and delicious. I’d heard fairly good things about Antojitos so was really excited to give it a go. In the end, it was a little disappointing. The restaurant was nice inside, but they had a mariachi band on that were unbelievably loud so we struggled to hear each other over the noise. Not a great way to spend your last night when you want to be reminiscing about how much fun you’ve had. The salsa I remember being delicious but everything else was forgettable. Carl would probably even go as far as to say he didn’t enjoy it at all. A disappointing end.
Charl ate… Enchiladas verdes – chicken tinga, queso fresco, salsa verde.
So that’s it… all the food we ate at Universal Orlando. Overall we had some great meals here, but I do wish we’d explored a few more of the in-park options. I was also keen to eat at Bubba Shrimp, but it wasn’t really up Carl’s street… maybe next time!
What is your favourite food at Universal Orlando? Let me know in the comments!