Where to Eat at CityWalk in Universal Orlando
Universal Orlando is FULL of action-packed attractions starring comic book heroes and powerful wizards. It’s also bursting with good food. We’re not talking typical theme park fares like corn dogs and popcorn. (Although, they have those things too!) We’re talking fire-grilled steaks, gourmet mac and cheese, and over-the-top milkshakes containing entire cupcakes!
You’ll find many great places to eat inside Universal Orlando. Located outside the theme parks is CityWalk. This is a wonderland full of dining experiences, dance clubs, and live music.
The best part? You don’t need to pay admission to visit this bustling world of food and entertainment. Parking is free after 6:00 PM which means you can stop into CityWalk for a lively dinner. You’ll get the exciting theme park atmosphere without adding an additional cost. Let’s take a look at the BEST restaurants to try at CityWalk in Universal Orlando!
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Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville
The atmosphere at Margaritaville is a little corny and caters to Jimmy Buffett fans. It makes you feel like you’re on a stranded island where Buffett plays on repeat and you’re provided with an unlimited amount of (salted) margaritas. Still, non-Buffett fans will get a kick out of the life-size plane that sits in the center of the restaurant.
The environment is kitschy but the food is surprisingly tasty. They serve some AMAZING coconut shrimp. Believe me, I’ve eaten A LOT of coconut shrimp and Margaritaville’s version is good. The prawns are a hefty size and they don’t skimp on the crispy breading. The dish comes with a horseradish-orange marmalade sauce that compliments the shrimp so well.
You’ll also hear a lot of talk about the Volcano Nachos. The HUGE portion of nachos is covered in chili, cheese, pico de gallo, guacamole, sour cream, and jalapeños. It’s easily shareable for about four people and you’ll be thoroughly satisfied with cheesy goodness.
Bigfire American Fare
Maybe you’re looking for something a little less “Jimmy Buffett” and a little more “date night.” Bigfire is the new kid on the block and it’s great for guests looking for standard American fare. The atmosphere is a lot cozier and a little more upscale than other restaurants in CityWalk. It feels like a modern American restaurant with an open kitchen and fancy outdoor fire pits.
Everything is cooked on a wood grill here. You’ll find grilled steaks, salmon, veggies, and juicy burgers. You can even order Tableside S’mores where you cook your marshmallows over a small, portable fire. Bigfire is a great choice for those of you looking for a more “adult” night-out with sophisticated food and atmosphere. (It’s a little pricier than the others so be aware of that!)
It’s time to get the party started! You might need a strong drink and some salsa to kick off your CityWalk night-out. This is when Antojitos arrives to save the day! The food is standard Mexican-inspired dishes with fabulous tableside guac or pork belly and tamale fritters. You really want to come here for the drinks though!
Choose one of the specialty margaritas like the Pineapple Fire and Ice. This baby is made with Dulce Vida pineapple jalapeno tequila, agave, lime, and a pineapple ice pop. You can also pick up a drink to-go at the adorable Volkswagen Bus sitting outside!
The atmosphere is pretty cool with Mexican art on every corner. In terms of “fanciness,” it’s a step above Margaritaville. This is where you go for a fun dinner date before you hit the dance floor at the Red Coconut Club. There’s even a stage for live music!
Hard Rock Cafe
Universal’s Hard Rock Cafe is the largest Hard Rock location in the world. This restaurant hosts an enormous gallery of instruments, clothing, and memorabilia from famous musicians. There’s even a room dedicated entirely to Elvis Presley. It’s worth a visit even if you just want to check out the collection!
The food, however, is a little unexciting. The best thing on the menu is the Twisted Mac, Chicken, and Cheese. It’s made with four kinds of cheese with thick cavatappi pasta. The cheese sauce is thick and gooey like a home-cooked meal. Consider having a drink at the bar if you don’t want to eat a full meal here!
The Cowfish Sushi Burger Bar
I feel like everyone is super skeptical of Cowfish before they try it. That’s totally understandable since the concept seems very strange. How can a restaurant specialize in sushi AND burgers?? Well, Cowfish does it and they do it well. Many Universal guests have fallen in love with this place because they do both sushi and burgers right.
The menu is enormous with a variety of food that satisfies pretty much everyone. Craving a Tuna Roll? You got it! How about a fancy burger made with brie cheese and thyme-infused honey? Sounds good!
The surprisingly successful Cowfish restaurant is a great choice for most people. This is due to the diverse entrees but also because it has a fun atmosphere. You can feast on a Bento Box and people-watch from the top floor. Plus, they have a creative menu that lives up to the hype!
Toothsome Chocolate Emporium & Savory Feast Kitchen
Do you like chocolate? I mean, is that even a real question?? Of course, you do! You can satisfy your chocolate cravings at Toothsome. This place is arguably the most popular restaurant at Universal Orlando. (That includes inside and outside the theme parks!) And, even if you don’t like chocolate, there are plenty of other options for you!
The restaurant is very much inspired by Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Only, it has a steampunk flair that makes it seem much cooler and futuristic. It’s themed dining at its finest with robot dogs and wandering characters wearing aviator goggles.
It would be pretty disappointing if the food didn’t match the cool theming. Well, good news because the menu is full of goodies. On my last visit, I tried the French Toast Patty Melt. This mountain of awesome came with French Toast sandwiching a burger then topped with eggs and bacon. It kinda felt like I could have gone into cardiac arrest after eating all the calories. It was totally worth it but I suggest sharing this one!
The desserts are even more impressive. This is where Toothsome gets to show off. The milkshakes come topped with treats like whole cookies, cake slices, or cupcakes. They are a sight to behold! You can also get any of the desserts to go if you don’t want to sit down and eat real food.
Ok, it’s not a restaurant but it’s absolutely a must-do for most people. Voodoo makes doughnuts with wacky ingredients. They’re known for packing a pastry full of pumpkin icing or topping a Maple Bar with bacon. The treats are made FRESH and they are incredibly doughy. These are some of the best doughnuts I’ve had and they always do a great job making something unique.
It’s my duty to brag about Voodoo because I come from Portland where the doughnut shop originated. Even so, I visit the location at CityWalk fairly often. I never get tired of the Triple Chocolate made with Cocoa Pebbles! You should pick up a couple even if you get dessert from Toothsome. The doughnuts will be a lovely treat in the morning!
Is that enough food options for ya?? Your group will most likely be satisfied if you choose either Cowfish or Toothsome. They offer the most innovative menus with an exciting atmosphere. You can always stop at the bars located in the other restaurants if you want to experience more!
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Did I miss your favorite restaurant? Drop a comment below if you agree or disagree with my list!