Over the course of my two recent visits to Universal Orlando, I had the opportunity to dine quite a few times in CityWalk. This dining, shopping and entertainment area lies directly between Islands of Adventure and Universal Orlando theme parks. There is no separate security and it is easy to pop out of the park for a meal. CityWalk is walking distance from Portofino Bay Resort and Hard Rock Hotel, and there is also a complimentary water taxi. The area is fun and accessible and a great option for dining on a Universal trip!
Blue Man Group
The Glass Slipper gals and myself were treated to an evening at Blue Man Group. I had never seen the show and didn’t know much more than the fact that they guys were painted blue. It was honestly the strangest, most bizarrely entertaining show I’ve ever experienced. I kept thinking “is this for real” pretty much throughout the duration of the show. That being said, I think that my kids and Honey would find it to be the most hysterical thing they have ever seen. There is a lot of food mess, paint flying, butt jokes and fun music. I didn’t want to see it twice in one month but I will definitely take my family on a future trip. I book these tickets on behalf of my clients too. :-)
Blue Man Group is comedy, theater, rock concert and dance party all rolled into one. This wildly popular phenomenon delivers an unforgettable multi-sensory experience. It’s an outrageous evening of entertainment you’ll never forget. Don’t miss the show that has captivated 35 million people worldwide. Blue Man Group: enemy of monotony, remedy for boredom, promoter of overjoy and elation.
The boys were beside themselves from the moment they saw Voodoo Doughnuts. We waited in the line one evening to pick up a box of doughnuts for breakfast the next morning. The line is long and seemed long throughout the day and night. I’d say we waited about 20 minutes. The doughnuts were good (and y’all know I’m a donut conniseur, lol) but not the best I’d ever had in the whole wide world. I’m afraid the issue was that we got them late in the day (so maybe not super fresh) and then didn’t eat them until the next morning. I don’t even like a day old Krispy Kreme so these didn’t stand a chance with me. Would I go back? Of course! I’d just eat them all up right away. :-)
The phenomenon known as Voodoo Doughnut is now serving more than 50 types of doughnuts daily at Universal Orlando. The doughnut shop with a cult following features signature originals and one-of-a-kind delectables like the Dirt Doughnut, the Memphis Mafia and the Bacon Maple Bar®.
Toothsome Chocolate Emporium
Moving on to the dining reviews, I’m going to go in order of most favorite to least favorite. Let’s start with Toothsome Chocolate Emporium!!! This was such a fantastic night and fun experience. Everything we ate and drank had some sort of chocolate ingredient.
Toothsome does not take advance dining reservations and it is recommended that you eat at an off time. We went right around 6:30 PM (you know, sometimes you just have to eat at THE dinner time) and there was an hour wait. They do take priority seating for guests staying on-site (have your room key) and it cut our wait to just under 30 minutes, which was great!
Extraordinary foodstuffs abound at this new full-service restaurant, bar and confectionary. Indulge in classic dishes like steak and seafood, as well as an all-day brunch menu featuring crepes and quiches, each with their own novel twist. But save room for the grand finale: Our chefs create culinary alchemy with gourmet chocolates and one-of-a-kind desserts, ranging from artisanal milkshakes to sumptuous sundaes. Flavors like Chocolate Brownie Bark, Bacon Brittle and Salted Caramel Flan might make it impossible to choose just one. This Steampunk dream is an enchanting eatery topped with towering smokestacks and adorned with intriguing gizmos. It’s a fantastic feast for the eyes and the stomach.
When we were waiting for our table, I saw the bartender making this drink. I asked what it was and ordered my own immediately after sitting down. It is a chocolate cherry mule and was divine. I’m still thinking about it!
Our meal was excellent – we started with the chocolate almond bread and then I can’t even remember what our main courses were but we all enjoyed them. The star of the show, however, are the milkshakes!!
If you don’t have time for a full meal, there is a queue inside for just desserts and shakes. They are definitely shareable. We did two for the four of us. And you get to keep the cup. :-)
Antojitos Authentic Mexican
Antojitos Authentic Mexican also ranked high on our list. We loved the chips, cheese dip, guacamole and salsa, which is pretty much how we judge a Mexican restaurant. :-) As an added bonus, they make their own tortillas. The place had a fun atmosphere, good food and great service. We would definitely go back!
Much like Toothsome, we used our priority seating and only waited about 10 minutes here.
You’ll think you’ve stepped south of the border when you discover the lively fiesta inside Antojitos Authentic Mexican Food. Only the finest ingredients are used to create the made-from-scratch Mexican street fare that has garnered attention from around the globe. The menu mixes flavorful favorites like tacos, empanadas, and fajitas with traditional creations like hearty Mar y Tierra Stew and bright Mahi Veracruzana. Tableside guacamole is as fresh as it gets, a delicious complement to warm chips and a cold cerveza. With live Mariachi music setting the tone on select nights, this is a festive dining experience every day of the week.
Cowfish Sushi Burger Bar
We popped in Cowfish Sushi Burger Bar just for a plate of sushi one afternoon. We admittedly didn’t have the full experience. The sushi was good, not amazing. I’d try it again for a full meal and probably go for the bento box. We sat at the bar and found a spot right away so I can’t speak to the wait time here.
Dive into a custom-designed burger or saddle up to some sushi. Whether you keep them separate or embrace the spirit of Burgushi®, a cutting-edge fusion of sandwiches made with sushi stuff, and sushi built with burger stuff, this unique eatery offers the best of both worlds. You can also opt for a bento box to sample a little of everything. The innovation isn’t limited to the entrees, though. Sip on spiked milkshakes, premium sakes, beers, and exotic martinis. There are also non-alcoholic specialties for the whole family.
Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville
The big whop whomp of everything we ate over the course of two trips and crossing the entire property was Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville. The place was not clean – sticky floors, sticky tables. The service was awful. And, the food was meh. Even the margarita was not great, which is really sad! The live music was probably good but we were seated so far from it on the deck that we couldn’t hear it. There was a lady on stilts awkwardly making conversation with guests as she created balloon animals. I think it could be a nice addition, but …. Whit asked for a dog when she asked what he wanted. You can see what he got?? LOL. The whole place was just a miss.
Whether you arrive by land, air, or sea, you’re always welcome at this ultra-relaxed ode to island life. Unwind to the tune of live musicians playing Jimmy Buffett covers, tropical sounds, and rock hits, all while awaiting the eruption of the margarita-filled volcano at The Volcano Bar. Inside you’ll find your only worry in the world is deciding what to eat. Choose from items like Grilled Fish Tacos, a Cheeseburger in Paradise, the “Drunken” Shrimp Skillet, key lime pie and the landmark Chocolate Hurricane dessert. And don’t forget the main event; there are 10 variations of margaritas and a host of frozen concoctions on deck.
One final thought on dining – I love that you don’t have to plan out where you want to eat and when 6 months in advance. I also loved the priority seating perk so we weren’t waiting an hour every night for dinner. Some of the restaurants do take reservations on Open Table and you can also call in to make them. However, we liked the flexibility in our schedule and just showing up where we wanted to eat when we wanted to eat.
As a Gold Key Adviser with Glass Slipper Concierge, I offer concierge travel planning for family vacations. I specialize in selling Walt Disney World, Disney Cruise Line, Disneyland, Adventures by Disney, Aulani, Universal Orlando, SeaWorld and many other delightful destinations.
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