For this Fav Five: a feast. My favorite places to enjoy a meal at Universal Orlando Resort. I’m thrilled to have enjoyed eating at these establishments and excited to share them with you, dear ITM readers, as these are more than just a meal, but rather a relaxing and enjoyable epicurean experience. Bon Appetit!
Universal Classic Monsters Café – the top of my list begins with something I wish there was a lot more of at Universal – Classic Monsters! The theming in this Universal Studios Orlando restaurant is epic. All of the classic monsters AND “the Munsters” are represented incredibly well. Props, posters, and even full sized monsters make enjoying a roasted chicken or pepperoni pizza a deliciously dark delight!
Vivo Italian Kitchen – one of the newer additions to the evolving epicurean adventures at Universal Orland Citywalk, this modern Italian kitchen smells like “home” (I come from a rather large Sicilian family) the minute I walk in the door. Mouth-watering meals are prepared in an open kitchen where guests can see the action. From handmade mozzarella cheese to fresh pasta, this is, in my honest opinion, the best place to dine in City Walk! My personal favorite: the Gnocchi Pasta (pasta shells with pistachio pesto, buffalo mozzarella and roasted tomato) which well worth the modest $16 for the entre. Reservations are strongly suggested.
Leaky Cauldron – located just inside the magical “Diagon Alley” area of Universal Studios Orlando, the Leaky Cauldron is an amazing recreation of the ‘oldest pub in London’ and gateway to the Wizarding world as seen in the Harry Potter films. Featuring British cuisine like bangers and mash, cottage pie and fish & chips, Leaky Cauldron is the perfect meal break while exploring the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. It is here that I discovered my addiction to the Fishy Green Ale and affinity for toad in a hole. Also worth mentioning: The Ploughman’s Platter is an excellent snack style meal for two. For those wizards adventuring early, the Leaky Cauldron also serves traditional British breakfast fare.
Toothsome Chocolate Emporium and Savory Feast Kitchen – Decadent chocolate, loaded milkshakes and a magnificent menu make up this Steampunk inspired restaurant next door to Islands of Adventure in City Walk. Created by Professor Doctor Penelope Tibeaux-Tinker Toothsome as a showplace for her discoveries and love of chocolate, her establishment features three main areas – the main dining room(s), the gift shop (with a well cultivated collection of chocolate treasures and steampunk themed trinkets) and the Dessert Foundry which features signature sundae style milkshakes like the bacon brittle, s’mores and red velvet confections. The food is equally as sumptuous; I personally enjoyed the “Fork and Knife Grilled Rib Eye Sandwich.” The bacon brittle topping the maple bacon ice cream shake is to die for (but leave room for the equally exquisite chocolate covered bacon).
Three Broomsticks – I’ve enjoyed this Islands of Adventure restaurant when it was Enchanted Oak (as part of the Lost Continent). I was thrilled to learn, that as part of Hogsmeade Village, the menu retained the savory roast chicken entre (which includes roasted corn and potatoes – a filling meal for $9.99). Other offerings include Cornish Pasties with salad and a Chargrilled Rib Platter. As part of the first foray into the world of Harry Potter for Universal, the theming is spot on as is the rest of the Wizarding world. The Hogs Head Pub opens into the Three Broomsticks and offers an exclusive brew for adult wizards as well as butter beer and pumpkin juice.
Universal Resort Orlando has changed considerably since its opening in 1991 and the dining selections benefited from that journey. What once passed for okay food fare twenty-six years ago has become must savor flavors for 2017. You’ve read the places my palate prefers, what are some of your favorite dining destinations at Universal Orlando Resort? Please share your culinary comments below.