Universal CityWalk Restaurants Worth Trying in Orlando

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Foodie ranks the best 9 restaurants in CityWalk

When I’m on vacation, I want certain things out of my dining experience. I want something unique, entertaining and delicious. And that’s what I love about Universal’s CityWalk. There’s a fantastic variety of options, most of which are better than what you’d find in the park. So where are the best places? I’ll rank them for you.

Universal’s CityWalk is a great place for foodies with a variety of truly great restaurants. Cowfish Sushi Burger Bar is the best restaurant there, followed by the Mexican restaurant Antojito’s. Voodoo Doughnut is another must-try place for a fun and unique dessert.

Sushi at Cowfish Sushi Burger
The menu includes both sushi and burgers at Cowfish Sushi Burger Bar (photo by Morgan Overholt/HeyOrlando.com)

1. Cowfish Sushi Burger Bar

This is the best burger in CityWalk – a place where there is serious burger competition. The service? It wasn’t great, in my experience. But the food? Really, really good. I went with the Royale Burger – Wagyu beef burger, Italico cheese, pork belly, fried shiitake mushrooms, A1-aioli, arugula, tomato, Kaiser roll – and it was the best burger I’ve ever had in my life.

My wife Leslie nearly pulled the trigger on The Cowfish Has Officially Left The Building – a full-pound beef burger with creamy peanut butter, fried bananas, applewood smoked bacon and brioche bun – but chickened out. The sushi was excellent as well. I went with the classic rainbow roll. You can reserve a table online.

Universal's CityWalk Antojitos Authentic Mexican Food
Antojitos offers delicious Mexican food (photo by James Overholt/HeyOrlando.com)

2. Antojito’s

You can get Mexican food anywhere. But really good Mexican food? It’s around but harder to come by. Antojito’s has good Mexican food. They’ve got the safe stuff anyone would recognize from their hometown Mexican joint. But when they say authentic Mexican food, they mean it. If you don’t know the wonder of a good Al Pastor Taco, you’ve been missing out. But if you want to truly live, get the Campechano. Reserve a table here.

ODB Doughnut Voodoo Doughnut
The ODB Doughnut at Voodoo (photo by Morgan Overholt/HeyOrlando.com)

3. Voodoo Doughnut

We’re taking a break from the hardcore dining options of CityWalk to talk about what is most likely the most popular food establishment in the place. These doughnuts? So good you could go nuts. You’re welcome. Mobile ordering is available.

Universal's CityWalk's Hard Rock Cafe
Hard Rock Café is still a cool place to eat (photo by James Overholt/HeyOrlando.com)

4. Hard Rock Café

I am a child of the late 80s and early 90s when the Hard Rock Café was king. Can I swear to you that you’ll get a better meal at the Hard Rock than say – Bigfire or Bob Marley? Reader, I cannot. However, I will cling to the coolness of my youth until I can no longer Rock and Roll all night and party every day. Plus, they have stuff from the Beatles on the walls. Beat that, Jimmy Buffet! Reserve your table ahead of time online.

City Walk Universal's Bob Marley
Bob Marley: A Tribute to Freedom offers live music (photo by James Overholt/HeyOrlando.com)

5. Bob Marley: A Tribute to Freedom

Start with the Taste of Jamaica app and go from there. I love the opportunity when I’m on vacation to get things I can’t get at home. Nobody at home is serving Oxtail Stew or curried goat. And live reggae music also adds to the ambiance and makes for a memorable night out on the town. Reserve your table online.

Universal CityWalk's Bigfire Restaurant
The kids will enjoy making s’mores at the table at Bigfire (photo by James Overholt/HeyOrlando.com)

6. Bigfire

This is good dining but definitely best if you’re not planning on going back into the park. And honestly, I kinda wished it was closer to the busses because that’s a bit of a hike after a heavy meal. If I’m being honest, I wouldn’t consider Dutch Oven Beef Burgundy perfect fare for the summer Florida heat. But I’m willing to push boundaries when necessary. Oh, and the kids love finishing the night by making s’mores at the table. Reserve your table here.

City Walk's Toothsome Chocolate Emporium and Savory Feast
The Toothsome Chocolate Emporium sports a Willy Wonka vibe (photo by James Overholt/HeyOrlando.com)

7. Toothsome Chocolate Emporium and Savory Feast Kitchen

Other than possibly the Wizarding World of Harry Potter’s Three Broomsticks in Universal’s Islands of Adventure, this is the most fun-themed restaurant in the entire Universal resort complex. With a Steampunk Willy Wonka vibe, this factory-style eatery is visually arresting with a menu to match. Certainly, it’s a wonderful destination for a Sunday brunch. The place has the perfect balance of interesting options and classics. I love a good croquet monsieur with country ham, Gruyère cheese, French loaf toasted, topped with béchamel sauce, grated parmesan and fontina cheese mix – but it’s hard to pass up some of the more upscale options. Reserve your table online here.

Pat O'Briens CityWalk Hurricanes to Go Sign
Pat O’Brien is a little bit of New Orleans at CityWalk (photo by James Overholt/HeyOrlando.com)

8. Pat O’Brien

Here is a little bit of New Orleans at Universal CityWalk Orlando. You certainly can’t go wrong with Cajun-themed dishes and they get bonus points for serving crawfish. Add in the Nightly Piano Bar and this is one CityWalk Orlando restaurant that feels like an event night out with good food. Reserve your table here.

Vivo Italian Kitchen at CityWalk Universal
Vivo Italian Kitchen is a classic Italian dining establishment (photo by James Overholt/HeyOrlando.com)

9. Vivo Italian Kitchen

I have nothing but good things to say about this classic Italian dining establishment. If you come here, you’re getting a great meal. I just prefer Mama Della’s Ristorante just a short boat ride away from CityWalk at the Loew’s Portofino Resort. Reserve a table online.

Universal CityWalk's Red Oven Pizza Bakery
Red Oven Pizza Bakery offers good pizza (photo by James Overholt/HeyOrlando.com)

10. Red Oven Pizza Bakery

I’m never going to turn my nose up at good pizza. Good pizza is an art. And the Red Over Pizza Bakery delivers good pizza. It’s ranked here because if I’m dining in CityWalk, I want it to be something special. Something memorable. And as good as the Alla Benno is – with prosciutto, pineapple, jalapeños, San Marzano tomatoes and mozzarella – I’m looking for something more than pizza. Takeout is also available.

RELATED VIDEO: Restaurants in CityWalk Universal Orlando

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

John Gullion

John Gullion, Managing Editor at the Citizen Tribune, is a freelance contributor for TheSmokies.com LLC – the parent company of TheSmokies.com and HeyOrlando.com.

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