A FOODIE'S Guide to eating and drinking Universal?

happybear025

Earning My Ears
Joined
Nov 27, 2013
Hi all! Could anyone help me with some advice or a direction to start searching?

I have scoured the internet for the low down on eating and drinking Harry Potter and City Walk and all I can come up with is the same silly lists over and over "you've GOT to try butterbeer! English Breakfast at the Leaky Cauldron"

Does anyone have a resource of a true foodie blogger or author who turns a discerning eye to the food and bev? Really would love some detailed tips like whether the Fish and Chips are worth it or if all the specality drinks are just sugar water.

Thanks for any advice and input :D :D
 

NicoleLarson

DIS Veteran
Joined
Aug 21, 2010
Well he's not a food blogger but The potter collector has done some pretty comprehensive food reviews and I generally agree with his reviews. IMO, I do not think the fish and chips are anything to write home about. Are they decent park food?...sure, are they the best ever? absolutely not. The Leek Pasty at breakfast is a MUCH better and more interesting option than the English Breakfast which is just a basic counter service breakfast with baked beans and blood sausage. I'm 99% sure you can get a side of the blood sausage if you are just dying to try it. The speciality drinks are sweet but not crazy sweet and are all VERY unique. Most are a one and done for us but they're an interesting experience. Gilly water is just bottled water, FYI. Personally, I'm a frozen butterbeer person or if it's really cold the hot butterbeer is good but share it, I don't see how one person could possibly drink it (very sweet). I once heard it described as drinking a cupcake and I would agree with that. My least favorite butterbeer is the regular...by far. My #2 number pick is the butterbeer soft serve from Florians. Generally the food at HP is the best counter service food in universal but that really isn't saying much at all. Make sure to make a reservation at Mythos, they have some great and interesting dishes there.
 

schumigirl

It's a bit of a roodie doodie word for lady parts
Joined
May 15, 2007
Please don’t eat the so called English breakfast and think it’s authentic.

I‘d completely disagree with pp the the Potter restaurants are the best counter service in Universal……as a Brit, I think it’s among the worst food they serve……that is not representative of good British food, far from it.

The fish and chips in the Potter restaurants are not like they should be. It was wedges, not chips and fish while ok, it wasn‘t great.

Yes, speciality drinks aren’t overly good. We aren’t fans of any of the butterbeers, but do enjoy the Pumpkin Fizz.

There are some lovely counter service places in UOR.

Thunder Falls is one of the best in IOA, Bread Box in Citywalk is decent.

Don’t discount table service. Confisco Grill in IOA is excellent, but often gets overlooked in favour of Mythos despite it being better in many ways.

Can‘t offer any blogger advice as I never read any of them nor watch vloggers, but you’ll get varied responses on here too.
 

ItsOnlyMoney

Mouseketeer
Joined
Jul 2, 2014
Well he's not a food blogger but The potter collector has done some pretty comprehensive food reviews and I generally agree with his reviews. IMO, I do not think the fish and chips are anything to write home about. Are they decent park food?...sure, are they the best ever? absolutely not. The Leek Pasty at breakfast is a MUCH better and more interesting option than the English Breakfast which is just a basic counter service breakfast with baked beans and blood sausage. I'm 99% sure you can get a side of the blood sausage if you are just dying to try it. The speciality drinks are sweet but not crazy sweet and are all VERY unique. Most are a one and done for us but they're an interesting experience. Gilly water is just bottled water, FYI. Personally, I'm a frozen butterbeer person or if it's really cold the hot butterbeer is good but share it, I don't see how one person could possibly drink it (very sweet). I once heard it described as drinking a cupcake and I would agree with that. My least favorite butterbeer is the regular...by far. My #2 number pick is the butterbeer soft serve from Florians. Generally the food at HP is the best counter service food in universal but that really isn't saying much at all. Make sure to make a reservation at Mythos, they have some great and interesting dishes there.
So -- how far out do you need to make a res at Mythos in Jan - Feb. We'll be there on a Fri and Sat.
 

DuskKodesh

Marvel Hero in Training
Joined
Aug 11, 2019
Ahhh, I know just what you mean. When I started planning my trip I was looking for the same type of things. The best I could find were food reviewers on Youtube, there's a lot to choose from and they have varied tastes but it helps to really get a feel for things in the area.

So -- how far out do you need to make a res at Mythos in Jan - Feb. We'll be there on a Fri and Sat.
You have tons of time. I'm there November and just moved around my times a bit. There were still tons of times available. Peak times will go a bit far out but it's not like Disney level at all. if you want a peak time check a few to a couple of weeks out. A month out is prolly extra extra cautious.
 

NicoleLarson

DIS Veteran
Joined
Aug 21, 2010
So -- how far out do you need to make a res at Mythos in Jan - Feb. We'll be there on a Fri and Sat.
Depends on how many people you have. If you have a large group (6+), call the restaurant and make a reservation as soon as you have firm plans, for a table of 2-4 a week maybe 2 out.

Please don’t eat the so called English breakfast and think it’s authentic.

I‘d completely disagree with pp the the Potter restaurants are the best counter service in Universal……as a Brit, I think it’s among the worst food they serve……that is not representative of good British food, far from it.

The fish and chips in the Potter restaurants are not like they should be. It was wedges, not chips and fish while ok, it wasn‘t great.

Yes, speciality drinks aren’t overly good. We aren’t fans of any of the butterbeers, but do enjoy the Pumpkin Fizz.

There are some lovely counter service places in UOR.

Thunder Falls is one of the best in IOA, Bread Box in Citywalk is decent.

Don’t discount table service. Confisco Grill in IOA is excellent, but often gets overlooked in favour of Mythos despite it being better in many ways.

Can‘t offer any blogger advice as I never read any of them nor watch vloggers, but you’ll get varied responses on here too.
Thank you for your honest Brit review! Having never been to the UK, I have absolutely zero to base anything off of but I wouldn't guess the HP is very authentic. I 1000% agree to stick to table service vs counter. We have really enjoyed all of our table service meals and think they have been heads and shoulders above the counter service places and yet they aren't that much more. I think the last time I looked the fish and chips in Finnegan's was less than HP restaurants or close to it. How do you feel Finnegan's stacks up?
 

ItsOnlyMoney

Mouseketeer
Joined
Jul 2, 2014
Ahhh, I know just what you mean. When I started planning my trip I was looking for the same type of things. The best I could find were food reviewers on Youtube, there's a lot to choose from and they have varied tastes but it helps to really get a feel for things in the area.



You have tons of time. I'm there November and just moved around my times a bit. There were still tons of times available. Peak times will go a bit far out but it's not like Disney level at all. if you want a peak time check a few to a couple of weeks out. A month out is prolly extra extra cautious.
thanks. Glad to know I've got time.
 
  • kbelle8995

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    May 28, 2009
    Leaky Cauldron is good. I prefer the scotch eggs to the english breakfast. I also love the Banger sandwich. No I'm just your carbon cut american. I think that anytime you do regional food, the guests from there are going to have issues. Italian, New Orleans or British it's not going to be as good as what you get at home. Try fried chicken or BBQ with me and I will tell you if you didn't do it correct. Plus nothing beats my mother's tomatoes and okra.

    Better fish and chips at Jake's. Also dying to try Gordon Ramsey's new fish and chip place which is at the area with Madam tussauds and the aquarium. It looks good.. NBC sports bar, bread box are both good places to go at Universal.
     

    Lilias

    Ope
    Joined
    Oct 1, 2019
    Most of the foodie experience will be in City Walk or the resorts, unfortunately. Universal is still very much Theme Park Food, and I'd agree with everyone else here that the Potter stuff is the best you'll find in the park. I haven't eaten at any of the Potter restaurants in a while because the last few times we went to Universal was during Orlando Informer Meetups, and the lines for the Potter restaurants are always way too long during those :( I like Otter's Fizzy Orange Juice better than Butterbeer, sssh :P

    I think Molly from AllEars has done a lot of Citywalk reviews on Youtube :) I remember seeing Cowfish and Toothsome reviews within the last year. I think BigFire, too. Taylor Strickland (he runs the Orlando Informer) has some videos reviewing all the drinks and some other stuff, too. But overall the foodie experience is lacking at Universal, so there's less out there :(
     

    cschaaf

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Oct 19, 2013
    I agree with PP and don't think you'll find many 'foodie' reviews of the in-park food outside of theme park bloggers and message board posters.

    I also agree that any regional food served outside of its usual region will be more harshly judged by those from that region - which makes total sense.

    (Side story, I have a coworker that I travelled with for business a few times. He's from Philly and everywhere we went, if they had a Philly Cheesesteak on the menu, he'd order it. And he'd complain about EVERY ONE of them. I couldn't understand why he did that to himself over and over... and really, neither could he. He could never give me a good, or any really, answer. It was like he had no choice in the matter, if it was on the menu, that's what he had to get then felt like he was responsible for 'defending the honor' of a true Philly Cheesesteak ;).)

    Overall, it's theme park food. Most of it is good, some is better than standard theme park food. I don't recall having anything bad at Universal.

    I'm not a big sweets fan and butterbeer is way too sweet for me. I couldn't make it through half of one. My wife, who likes sweets, stopped getting butterbeer after her second or third (on separate trips). She also thinks it's way too sweet. She likes the Pumpkin Juice.

    I do like the Fizzy Orange and Lemon Squash drinks. We usually only get one of those specialty drinks once per trip max.
     

    tony67

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    May 22, 2003
    Please don’t eat the so called English breakfast and think it’s authentic.

    I‘d completely disagree with pp the the Potter restaurants are the best counter service in Universal……as a Brit, I think it’s among the worst food they serve……that is not representative of good British food, far from it.

    The fish and chips in the Potter restaurants are not like they should be. It was wedges, not chips and fish while ok, it wasn‘t great.

    Yes, speciality drinks aren’t overly good. We aren’t fans of any of the butterbeers, but do enjoy the Pumpkin Fizz.

    There are some lovely counter service places in UOR.

    Thunder Falls is one of the best in IOA, Bread Box in Citywalk is decent.

    Don’t discount table service. Confisco Grill in IOA is excellent, but often gets overlooked in favour of Mythos despite it being better in many ways.

    Can‘t offer any blogger advice as I never read any of them nor watch vloggers, but you’ll get varied responses on here too.
    Yeah it is pretty pathetic but most people wont know any better and its a theme park

    I did enjoy watching ViewFromTheCheapSeats talk about the breakfast - $18 for this as he looked at it disappointingly - then he commented - times 4 people - it looked really bad to say the least - I guess that is why he does not get invited to the media events for the most part

    The only time I've eaten in these places is when I had the dinning cards they used to sell - it worked out - but no way Id pay $18 out of pocket for this - I really wish they did an Irish Breakfast at Finnigan's
     
  • Metro West

    On the west side of Orlando
    Joined
    Apr 12, 2005
    I normally don't eat heavy meals during the day...I would be asleep in no time. :rolleyes1

    My favorite places for counter service are Thunder Falls Terrace at IOA and Louie's at the Studios.
     

    schumigirl

    It's a bit of a roodie doodie word for lady parts
    Joined
    May 15, 2007
    Depends on how many people you have. If you have a large group (6+), call the restaurant and make a reservation as soon as you have firm plans, for a table of 2-4 a week maybe 2 out.



    Thank you for your honest Brit review! Having never been to the UK, I have absolutely zero to base anything off of but I wouldn't guess the HP is very authentic. I 1000% agree to stick to table service vs counter. We have really enjoyed all of our table service meals and think they have been heads and shoulders above the counter service places and yet they aren't that much more. I think the last time I looked the fish and chips in Finnegan's was less than HP restaurants or close to it. How do you feel Finnegan's stacks up?
    I`m the wrong person to ask, I`m not a fan of Finnegans....every time we`ve tried it for food it hasn`t been good. The fish and chips were very greasy when we had that dish.

    Cocktails however we do enjoy from there now and again.

    I felt quite cheated when you order fish and chips but are served wedges....and the fish is in small pieces, almost goujon style, different for sure.


    Leaky Cauldron is good. I prefer the scotch eggs to the english breakfast. I also love the Banger sandwich. No I'm just your carbon cut american. I think that anytime you do regional food, the guests from there are going to have issues. Italian, New Orleans or British it's not going to be as good as what you get at home. Try fried chicken or BBQ with me and I will tell you if you didn't do it correct. Plus nothing beats my mother's tomatoes and okra.

    Better fish and chips at Jake's. Also dying to try Gordon Ramsey's new fish and chip place which is at the area with Madam tussauds and the aquarium. It looks good.. NBC sports bar, bread box are both good places to go at Universal.
    I haven`t read any good reports about Ramsey`s place. Well folks whose opinion I trust don`t rate it at all.

    Again, different, as the chips are fries and not British chips, fish is again, smaller pieces....fish and chips in the UK is usually a very large whale like cod or haddock and real chips.



    Yeah it is pretty pathetic but most people wont know any better and its a theme park

    I did enjoy watching ViewFromTheCheapSeats talk about the breakfast - $18 for this as he looked at it disappointingly - then he commented - times 4 people - it looked really bad to say the least - I guess that is why he does not get invited to the media events for the most part

    The only time I've eaten in these places is when I had the dinning cards they used to sell - it worked out - but no way Id pay $18 out of pocket for this - I really wish they did an Irish Breakfast at Finnigan's
    UK/US products are very different at times too. Our good quality butchers sausages bear no resemblence to American link sausages, and I do love them, but I wish they wouldn`t try to reproduce something they can`t really. The black pudding was a disgusting pile of slime. I`m not the biggest black pudding fan, can take a little, but that was dreadful.

    Very few Brits eat potatoes for breakfast, we don`t eat salad with cornish pasties and cottage pie......and beef and lamb don`t go in pies together lol.....so, no I`m not a fan of the food in either place.

    I wish I liked Finnegans, I really do, but not fond of the theme generally.

    I have no idea who viewfromthecheapseats is....I never watch or read bloggers. But now I`m craving those little American link sausages...... ::yes::
     

    Captain Morgan Sparrow

    Earning My Ears
    Joined
    Jan 2, 2020
    We have a trip in 9 weeks, 1 day.

    1. Are the quick service place lines still insane? If so, is there any kind of mobile ordering system to ease that some?
    2. Any word on character dining? Specifically, will Breakfast with the Grinch be back this year? What about the Despicable Me or Marvel meals?
    3. How good is the "Deluxe Resort Reserved"? Should I go ahead and make dining reservations? We'll be there from the Wednesday before Thanksgiving through the Tuesday before Thanksgiving, with a flex day for either Sea World's Christmas or else a trip over to the Magic Kingdom (leaning heavily Sea World)

    Thanks in advance, people!
     

    kbelle8995

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    May 28, 2009
    We have a trip in 9 weeks, 1 day.

    1. Are the quick service place lines still insane? If so, is there any kind of mobile ordering system to ease that some?
    2. Any word on character dining? Specifically, will Breakfast with the Grinch be back this year? What about the Despicable Me or Marvel meals?
    3. How good is the "Deluxe Resort Reserved"? Should I go ahead and make dining reservations? We'll be there from the Wednesday before Thanksgiving through the Tuesday before Thanksgiving, with a flex day for either Sea World's Christmas or else a trip over to the Magic Kingdom (leaning heavily Sea World)

    Thanks in advance, people!
    I don't know about the character meals. There is a mobile ordering system and it works really well. Last time I went some quick service were only mobile order. Also I would go ahead and make reservations to be on the safe side. I went Memorial weekend and it unbelievable crowded and no restaurants were taking walkups just reservations only

    As for the fish and chips, I am a simple Floridian. When I go to seafood restaurants, I tend to order anthing but the fish. Scallops, shrimp, Crab sure but fish not so much. Catfish yes. To be honest it never dawned on me to pick what kind of fish to have with that dish until I saw Giles Coren and Sue Perkins go to a place and order two different types On youtube. And the first time I had what was defined as fish and chips was at disney, so take mine with a grain of salt.
     
    Last edited:

    TwoMisfits

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Feb 21, 2002
    Hi all! Could anyone help me with some advice or a direction to start searching?

    I have scoured the internet for the low down on eating and drinking Harry Potter and City Walk and all I can come up with is the same silly lists over and over "you've GOT to try butterbeer! English Breakfast at the Leaky Cauldron"

    Does anyone have a resource of a true foodie blogger or author who turns a discerning eye to the food and bev? Really would love some detailed tips like whether the Fish and Chips are worth it or if all the specality drinks are just sugar water.

    Thanks for any advice and input :D :D
    My foodie info is more allergy focused, but my thoughts...

    San Francisco Pastry company has an amazing vegan elderberry croissant at a reasonable price. Can sometimes take forever to get, b/c the line moves so slowly.

    Skip the Lard Lad donut and go to Voodoo Doughnuts on City Walk - if you're vegan, have allergies, or just love apple fritters, get their vegan one. The donuts are really great (per my kids), but that apple fritter was the bomb!

    Butterbeer is best hot or iced (when I could have it, and my kids who just had it say that's still the case). That is the must get in HP land. But if you can't have it, or hate sweet stuff, the Lemon Squash is TART and refreshing (it was a surprise for me:))...PS - don't drink both at once - bad combo per my kids...

    Not seeing any love for it, but our best counter service in the two parks on our last trip was The Burger Dig. My spouse and I split an amazingly original burger (made allergy free for me), the Casado Burger platter (plantains, avocado, and pork belly are 3 instant wins for me), and the Spring Salad (which was SO fresh tasting)...perfect combo and perfect amount. Just enough fatty goodness and fresh light goodness on a hot day. Get there early b/c they also sometimes take forever to move the line.

    Don't bother with Seuss Land desserts - nothing stands out. They are big, but "normal"...and a mess (my kids ate these, and I wish I had gotten them Dole Whip again in Marvel Land - yes, Uni sells Dole Whip in both parks for $1 less than Disney)...

    If you go to Cowfish on City Walk, believe them when they say something is a specialty. Their specialties are special - some of their other food is not.
     

    nouvellefleur

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Mar 28, 2017
    Hi all! Could anyone help me with some advice or a direction to start searching?

    I have scoured the internet for the low down on eating and drinking Harry Potter and City Walk and all I can come up with is the same silly lists over and over "you've GOT to try butterbeer! English Breakfast at the Leaky Cauldron"

    Does anyone have a resource of a true foodie blogger or author who turns a discerning eye to the food and bev? Really would love some detailed tips like whether the Fish and Chips are worth it or if all the specality drinks are just sugar water.

    Thanks for any advice and input :D :D
    If I lived in Florida, I would totally start a Universal food blog/vlog. There's just not a lot of info for Universal Orlando out there - you have to scour for individual vlogs/blog/yelp reviews. And I love talking about food. Sigh.

    Molly from AllEars and the UOFan guys do some Universal food and drink reviews, sometimes. Tim Tracker kinda talks about food but I think he seems a little picky in what he likes/doesn't and I get bored with his format for videos so I don't check in with him very often.

    All of my info is out of date but for what it's worth -

    Leaky Cauldron & Three Broomsticks are pretty good theme park British food, but they're not authentic (not British, but I did live in both London and in Edinburgh for a while).
    Mythos was really good and a little elevated from the other park options.
    Cowfish was fantastic, imo.

    You'll probably get the best foodie insights from trip reports on this board though. Start with TR by Schumigirl and Raeven!
     

    soniam

    Wooden leg named Smith...
    Joined
    Jun 22, 2012
    Every Brit I know detests the food in the Wizarding World. However, many enjoy some of the drinks, cocktails, and beers. I have been to England once, and I am no expert on British food. I like some of the Wizarding World food. I find the fish & chips in the parks to be way too greasy. I do love the ploughman's lunch at Leaky Cauldron though. The Scotch eggs are not authentic but pretty tasty. The Cornish pasties at Three Broomsticks are OK but not very filled or authentic. I like all of the beverages, except beer (doesn't often sit well with me) and I haven't tried the Fishy Green Ale. For table service, Big Fire is the best that I have had at UO. The food and drinks are excellent. I have not been to Confisco's yet, but I have found all of the table service in the parks to be pretty good, not amazing. Today Cafe is my favorite QS and is really excellent for what it is, a bakery with salads and sandwiches. I keep wanting to try the jacket potatoes, especially the one with beans, but I never get the chance or feel like eating something so hot and heavy. The crepes in Studios are good but very big. Bumblebee Man Taco truck has good, simple tacos.
     

    Gentry2004

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    May 23, 2017
    The Three Broomsticks dinner menu doesn’t seem that British to me (or even trying to be.) Isn’t it rotisserie chicken and ribs? We never made it inside either place last April because the outdoor lines were too intimidating. Hoping to go on our return trip.
     

    soniam

    Wooden leg named Smith...
    Joined
    Jun 22, 2012
    The Three Broomsticks dinner menu doesn’t seem that British to me (or even trying to be.) Isn’t it rotisserie chicken and ribs? We never made it inside either place last April because the outdoor lines were too intimidating. Hoping to go on our return trip.
    They have a few items that are supposedly "British". The Cornish pasties comes to mind. They are not authentic though.
     


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