Dining That's Universal. Diverse Options Abound at CityWalk, the Parks & Beyond

So, where to dine when you're at Universal? First let's get specific. For this 10Best list's purposes, Universal is defined as the entire 840-acre Universal Orlando Resort: its multiple theme parks, its on-site hotel properties and its Universal CityWalk entertainment complex. As you can imagine, choosing a dining venue in a place this vast can be daunting. Lucky for us, we live here. And we know eating at the parks isn't one-size-fits all. Some people want fine dining and others kid-friendly. And pretty much everyone likes to keep at least one eye on the budget. For enthusiasts who want to do as much as possible, sit-down meals are less of a concern than the best venues to get in, get out and get back on the roller coasters. Whether your tastes run more toward chic enclaves like Emeril's Tchoup Chop or the Orchid Court Lounge & Sushi Bar at the Loews Royal Pacific Resort, family-friendly, pub-like surrounds like those at Finnegan’s Bar & Grill, painstakingly themed wonderlands like Three Broomsticks at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter - Hogsmeade or the phenomenal and expansive Springfield area of Universal Studios Florida, where you can scarf a Krusty Burger and a Lard Lad Donut and then wash it down with a Duff at the open-air Duff Brewery, Universal’s got ‘em. And just about everything else. Read on for some stellar choices.

Mama Della's Ristorante

This casual eatery at the Loews Portofino Bay Hotel is quaint and a bit evocative of Nonna's house, and that's the idea. Salty-wonderful antipasto, creamy Alfredo, brisket-piled spaghetti and ricotta infused gnocchi beckon (dieters might want to...  Read More

With views of the Loews Royal Pacific pool (not too shabby) and the sensual and lovely orchid court for which it is named, the Orchid Court Lounge & Sushi Bar does double-duty as a relaxing lobby bar and surprisingly good dining venue....  Read More

Open daily for breakfast, lunch and dinner, The Kitchen is evocative – as are many things at the Hard Rock Hotel at Universal Orlando – of what us regular folks imagine we'd find in a rock star's decadent manse. Here the property's signature...  Read More

Much like its grandfather, New York's famed restaurant of the same name, The Palm's walls showcase the same caricatures and cartoons made famous by its earliest regulars. Unlike its predecessor, however, this venture's location inside the Hard...  Read More

It is said that J.K. Rowling herself (not to mention the Harry Potter films' art director and production designer) had a hand in every facet of the recreation of her young wizard's world here at Universal Orlando, and so it's no surprise that a...  Read More

You're not going to lose any weight at this lauded Springfield Avenue come-to-life (fear not, there are a few lighter options amid the fry-fest) but Simpson fans will have an absolute blast navigating a food court fraught with familiar names and...  Read More

Alluring decor, from water features and outdoor spaces to breathtaking mosaics, adorn this South Seas-themed eatery created by celebrity chef and restaurateur Emeril Lagasse and named in part for New Orleans' famed Tchoupitoulas Street. Located...  Read More

Sleek and contemporary on the outside, the menu at Vivo Italian Kitchen belies its traditional soul. Serving up Italian classics, this Universal CityWalk original-concept dining venue opened with fanfare in 2014, offering visitors a taste of...  Read More

Sit-down, full-service dining within a theme park is semi-rare. The sort you'd go out of your way to recommend, rarer still. Finnegan's is just such a place, serving up simple Irish-American fare (be sure to sample the soda bread and apple...  Read More

Who's up for "burgushi?" Confused? The Cowfish is a burger and sushi joint – a fun and funky one – located amid the hustle and bustle of Universal Orlando and an ideal place to grab a bite before a night out hitting the various hotspots...  Read More


Meet A.D. Thompson

A.D. Thompson has spent more than 20 years as a professional writer and roughly 15 as a Floridian. The words, she has found, come easier with bare feet and rum.

A roller coaster enthusiast,...  More About A.D.