The Universal Orlando Resort is home to two amazing theme parks, a world renowned water theme park, eight on-site hotels and a massive dining and entertainment venue in CityWalk. After a day of fun at Universal Studios Florida, Universal’s Islands of Adventure or Volcano Bay, guests will no doubt work up an appetite. And with visitors coming from all across the world, you know that there will be great places to eat at Universal.
While most lists of the “Best Restaurants at Universal” include just the eateries at the theme parks and in CityWalk, we felt compelled to make a more comprehensive list of the top places do dine throughout the entire resort including (and especially) the on-site hotels.
While everyone as different tastes, especially when it comes to food, your list may vary but we built our list based on those on-site restaurants that serve high quality food in a unique and creative setting. While several of the Endless Summer favorites did not make the cut (Hard Rock Cafe’ and Margaritaville), we believe that those on our list stand above the many dining options at Universal.
To make reservations at any of the restaurants at the Universal Orlando Resort, call 407.224.3663 or visit UniversalOrlando.com.
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The 12 Best Restaurants at Universal Orlando
- Palm Restaurant (Hard Rock Hotel)
- Bice Ristorante (Loews Portofino Bay Resort)
- Vivo Italian Kitchen (CityWalk)
- Toothsome Chocolate Emporium (CityWalk)
- Big Fire Grill (CityWalk)
- Cowfish Sushi Burger Bar (CityWalk)
- Mythos (Islands of Adventure)
- Lombard’s Seafood Grille (Universal Studios Florida)
- Three Broomsticks and Leaky Cauldron (Universal Studios Florida & Islands of Adventure
- Mama Della’s Ristorante (Loews Portofino Bay Resort)
- Islands Dining Room (Loews Royal Pacific Resort)
- Amatista Cookhouse (Loews Sapphire Falls Resort)
The Palm Restaurant is located in the Hard Rock Hotel at The Universal Orlando Resort. We consider the Palm to be one of the finest restaurants not only at Universal, but also in the greater Orlando area. This fine dining establishment is part of the other “Palm” restaurants in New York City which are famous for price steaks and huge Nova Scotia lobsters. Guests will enjoy seeing the celebrity caricatures throughout the restaurant.
The Palm is open for dinner nightly starting at 5:00 PM and has a dress code of resort or business casual. There are also private dining rooms available for 10 to 55 guests.
Located in the Italian themed Loews Portofino Bay hotel, Bice Ristorante is another of our favorite fine dining establishments at the Universal Orlando Resort. In keeping with the theme of the Portofino Bay hotel, Bice serves northern Italian cuisine including fresh pastas, seafood fettuccini and veal scaloppini.
Bice is open for dinner nightly starting around 5:00 PM and has a dress code of resort or business casual.
Vivo Italian Kitchen
Another top Italian restaurant at Universal Orlando is the Vivo Italian Kitchen. Vivo is located at Universal’s CityWalk and serves authentic Italian cuisine including fresh pastas, wood oven pizzas, eggplant parmigiana, lobster ravioli and veal marsala. Vivo also features a menu just for kids.
This full service restaurant is perfect for a casual meal and is open daily for dinner service from 5:00 PM. The Universal Dining Plan is also accepted.
Toothsome Chocolate Emporium & Savory Feast Kitchen
Guests just can’t miss the Toothsome Chocolate Emporium at Universal’s CityWalk. When first walking up to this amazingly themed restaurant, you know that you will be in for something special. Guests will enjoy dining on sliders, flatbreads, sandwiches and entrees but the best part is the dessert. From milkshakes to sundaes and cakes to moose, there is not a better place to satisfy your sweet tooth than the Toothsome Chocolate Emporium. And while you are there, don’t forget to say hello to Professor Doctor Penelope Tibeaux-Tinker Toothsome as well as her robot Jacques as they will be mingling with the guests.
This casual dining experience opens daily for lunch at 11:AM and the Universal Dining Plan is accepted. There is a walk up counter to purchase desserts and other sweet treats.
Big Fire Grill
The Big Fire Grill is one of the newer restaurants at Universal’s CityWalk, replacing Emeril’s Restaurant in 2019. True to it’s name, the chef’s Big Fire cook over and open flame with entrees including cowboy ribeye steaks, grilled pork tenderloin, Colorado lamb shank, wild salmon, short rib pasta and of course traditional burgers.
Guests will enjoy the giant wood-fire grill within the restaurant itself, which provides for nice ambiance and a warm atmosphere. Big Fire is a full service casual dining restaurant that opens daily for dinner service at 4:00 PM. Universal Dining Plans are accepted and a kids menu is offered.
Cowfish Sushi Burger Bar
With it’s bright orange facade, one of the most visible restaurants at Universal’s CityWalk is The Cowfish Sushi Burger Bar. Cowfish is a very unique concept that is located above Vivo Italian Kitchen on the second floor of CityWalk. As it’s name says, Cowfish is known for sushi and burgers (try “The Prime Time” Filet & Lobster Roll).
This full service casual dining experience opens daily at 11:00 AM for both lunch & dinner service and the Universal Dining Plan is accepted. In addition, a kids menu is offered and features Cowfish inspired as well as traditional eats. Try to get a table outside overlooking the crowds at CityWalk – those are some of the best seats at Universal.
Located within the Lost Continent section of Universal’s Islands of Adventure, the award winning Mythos Restaurant is a full service dining experience in a casual, but highly themed, atmosphere. Inspired by Greco-Roman mythology, the restaurant gives the impression that guests are dining with the an ancient grotto alongside “distant ocean”.
Mythos is a full service, casual dining experience that opens daily at 11:00 AM. Both lunch and dinner is served and the Universal Dining Plan is accepted. Specialty entrees at Mythos include brick oven roasted chicken, beef loin medallions, port chops, wild salmon, pad Thai and gnocchi bolognese along with an array of burgers, sandwiches and salad. A kids menu is also offered and features pizza, chicken fingers and grilled cheese.
Lombard’s Seafood Grille
Another great place to eat inside the theme parks is Lombard’s Seafood Grille. Located in the San Francisco area of Universal Studios Florida, Lombard’s is a full service, casual dining restaurant that is one of the perfect spots to take a break from the theme park crowds. Their every day menu includes the Fisherman’s Basket, Baja Mahi Tacos, Lombard’s Lobster Roll (our personal favorite) and a Black Angus beef tenderloin.
This full service casual restaurant opens daily at 11:00 AM for both lunch & dinner service and the Universal Dining Plan is accepted. In addition, a kids menu is offered and features traditional kid-friendly foods.
Dining in the Wizarding World – Three Broomsticks & the Leaky Cauldron
When vacationers come to the Universal Orlando, the first thing they typically want to see is the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. There is a Wizarding World in both Universal Studios Florida (Diagon Alley) and Universal’s Islands of Adventure (Hogsmeade Village). Although each Potter “land” is located in a different park, they are connected by the Hogwarts Express train; guests with a two-park pass can travel back and forth between theme parks as often as they like.
As with most things in the two Harry Potter lands, dining in the Wizarding World is quite the experience. The main eateries at the Wizarding World are Three Broomsticks in Hogsmeade Village and the Leaky Cauldron in Diagon Alley. Both of these restaurants are part of the Universal Dining Plan.
Three Broomsticks is located in Hogsmeade Village at Universal’s Islands of Adventure, the first of the two Harry Potter lands. Guests will have their fill of traditional British cuisine including Fish & Chips, Shepherd’s Pie and “The Great Feast”. The Great Feast costs $69.99 and is a platter for four-people which includes rotisserie chicken, spare ribs, corn on the cob, roasted potatoes and a tossed salad. Breakfast, lunch and dinner is served daily in a highly themed environment just like you saw in the movies.
The Leaky Cauldron
Traditional British food is also served at The Leaky Cauldron which is located in Diagon Alley within Universal Studios Florida. Entrees include Cottage Pie, Beef Lamb & Guinness Stew, Bangers & Mash and the Ploughman’s. The $21.99 Ploughman’s platter serves two and includes English cheese, crusty bread, apple beet & green salad, roasted tomatoes, branston & cornichon pickles and scotch eggs. Breakfast, lunch and dinner is served daily in an environment designed to replicate the feel of The Leaky Cauldron from the movies.
Mama Della’s Ristorante
Located in the Loews Portofino Bay Hotel, Mama Della’s Ristorante serves authentic Italian dishes from Tuscany, Naples and Piemonte. The festive setting at this fine dining restaurant include live entertainment performed by strolling musicians. Entrees at Mama Della’s include Italian pasta, eggplant parmesan, bistecca, veal piccata, gnocchi and luop de mer. There is also a fairly extensive list of red and white wines as well as children’s menu with traditional kid friendly items.
The restaurant is open daily for dinner from 5:30 PM to 10:00 PM (times will vary) and the Universal Dining Plans are not accepted.
Islands Dining Room
Islands Dining Room is a full service, resort casual restaurant located at the Loews Royal Pacific Resort. This amazing eatery has a Pan-American theme for the Pacific Islands and offers traditional cuisine as well as South Seas specialties. Dinner entrees include the Korean bulgoi ribeye, General Tso’s chicken, Shrimp Pad Thai and and all-you-can-eat Pan-Asian stir-fry boul called “The Wok Experience”. The Wok Experience is only offered on Friday and Saturday evenings and costs $26.99 per adult.
A traditional American style breakfast along with a breakfast buffet is served from 7:00 AM to 11:00 AM daily. The buffet is the only selection available from 11:00 AM until noon on Saturday and Sunday. Dinner service beings a 6:00 PM daily.
Located on the ground floor of the Loews Sapphire Falls Resort, the Amatista Cookhouse features Caribbean inspired cuisine in a resort casual, but elegant, restaurant setting. Amatista has a main dining room, outdoor patio overlooking the Sapphire Falls lagoon and a small full liquor bar. Entrees include a char-grilled ribeye, sixty south salmon, seafood paella and a vegetable curry. There are also a variety of of burgers, sandwiches, salads and flatbreads.
This full service casual restaurant opens daily breakfast, lunch & dinner service. Breakfast is served daily starting at 7:00 AM and a kids menu is offered throughout the day.
Narrowing the list to 12 restaurants was difficult and it was touch-and-go with a number of great eateries. Following are three restaurants that just missed our top 12 and deserve an honorable mention.
- The Kitchen: Located on the ground floor of the Hard Rock Hotel just outside the pool, The Kitchen is probably our favorite place for breakfast in all of the Universal Orlando Resort. For $26 per adult, The Kitchen features an American style breakfast buffet with an omelet station and griddle station for fresh waffles & French toast as well as all the other traditional breakfast delicacies. The Kitchen is also open for lunch and dinner.
- Confisco Grille: Confisco Grille is located in Universal’s Islands of Adventure and features a wide variety of entrees include herb roasted chicken, pad Thai, penne a la vodka, sandwiches and salads. Confisco is a great spoke to take a break from the theme park crowds with a cocktail and appetizer.
- Antojitos Authentic Mexican Food: This authentic Mexican restaurant is hard to miss when walking along the second level of Universal’s CityWalk with it’s colorful facade. Antojitos features fajitas, tacos and empanadas and has a live Mariachi band on select nights.