Today’s Thursday three has been written a bit on a whim as Carl was supposed to be carrying on with his best rides series, but got caught up with his actual job and ran out of time. Since I spend about 45 mins in a coffee shop every Thursday morning, I’m taking the reins again today with my pick of three restaurants you need to try at City Walk.
Spoiler: despite the picture above, Hard Rock Cafe isn’t one of them. It was just the only picture of City Walk I could find at short notice.
I’ve mentioned before that the in-park food at Universal leaves little to be desired, so if you’re looking for proper slap-up grub, you need to head to City Walk – Universal’s entertainment, dining and shopping district located between the two theme parks.
Although there is plenty to love here, including the shops and bars, I’m focusing solely on the food today. Universal dining is often overlooked but City Walk has some fantastic places that are well worth visiting if you’re staying in the area. If you’ve read the food part of my trip report, this might be a little repetitive for you and the pictures are bloody awful, sorry, I’ll try and take better ones next time!
1. Red Oven Pizza Bakery
By far the best meal in City Walk in my opinion. We loved it so much we ate here twice. The pizza is just how we both like it, thin without being too healthy, crisp and covered in plenty of cheese. We both kept it pretty simple with our order going for a Margherita and a big eye pepperoni.
The ingredients used were fresh, it was served quickly and the entire meal cost less than $30. We don’t really have pizza places like this where we’re from in Leeds and we loved that it was all very quick and simple to order. Good quality food without any of the fuss. We enjoyed it so much that we’re planning to eat here again on one of the two days we are visiting Universal Studios this year.
2. VIVO Italian Kitchen
Although Disney dining had its hits and misses, we had mostly been impressed by the quality of food there and were a little worried that Universal wouldn’t be able to compete. Our fears were very quickly squashed during our first night when we visited VIVO Italian Kitchen.
Sure, the decor was a little bit too modern for my tastes and it isn’t exactly what you’d call themed dining (Antojitos is better for this, but the food there leaves a bit to be desired) but the service and food was delicious. Looking back, our server was probably one of the best we had during our entire week at Universal – so friendly, helpful and more than earned his tip.
We both had meatballs here – I think we were craving some home comforts – and although they were massive, they were delicious. Again, the ingredients were really fresh and you could tell they had been made in the kitchen, rather than heated up in a microwave. Great bread before the meal too. It’s easy to overlook this place because it isn’t as ‘fun’ as some of the other themed experiences at Universal but don’t, as it’s 100% one of the restaurants you need to try at City Walk.
In all honesty we chose this place based on the fact it had a coconut shrimp dish for me and a good selection of burgers for Carl. I expected it to be standard chain restaurant food as the Jimmy Buffet’s Margaritaville brand is pretty big in the states. Basically, I was expecting TGI Friday’s and was so pleasantly surprised that Margaritaville was way, way more than that.
Live entertainment, lots of seating, gorgeous cocktails and a varied menu, this place has something for everyone. We aren’t too keen loud music while we’re eating but it wasn’t a problem and we were seated far enough away that it didn’t impact our meal.
Out of the many, many burgers he’s eaten throughout his life (and the nine he had just during the two weeks we spent in Orlando) Carl say’s this one ranks at number three which is really quite impressive! If you discount this place as bland chain food, think again – it’s well worth a visit!
So that’s it, the three restaurants you need to try at City Walk Orlando. Have you ever eaten at any of these? Which are your favourite?