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Your Top CS Choices at Universal

Weather_Lady

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
#1
We're heading down to Universal over February break. Our party of 5 will be DH, me, 12-year-old son, 10-year-old daughter, and my 73-year-old aunt. We're staying at RPR and will have 3.5 full days, with 4 counter service lunches/dinners planned. Nobody has any allergies or aversions, and we like just about everything (burgers, spicy, vegetarian, sushi, BBQ, international, fried stuff, you name it).

We've only been to Universal once before, and our CS meals were very limited (one lunch at the Leaky Cauldron, which we loved, and two at the pool bar at the Hard Rock where we stayed, also very good and the menu was varied enough that we could order completely different things each time). Can you tell me what your top CS dining choices are at Universal? It can be at USF, IOA, RPR or CityWalk: we'd just love to try some new places that have been "vetted" by prior guests for their quality and/or consistency. Or if you have somewhere that you've found consistently awful, that would be great to know, too.

Thanks in advance!
 
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Jon81uk

Well-Known Member
#3
Simpsons food court is fun and my chicken and waffle sandwich was pretty good.

I also enjoyed the bread bowl stew at the Leaky Cauldron.

We used to have the Chinese food at the Comic Strip Café at IoA, but its nothing special, just Panda Express style.
 

Rob562

Well-Known Member
#4
Three Broomsticks, Leaky Cauldron (avoid the pasties, though), Thunder Falls Terrace (similar menu to 3 Brooms).

The gyro in Lost Continent was a nice shared snack.

We really enjoyed our pizza from Red Oven in City Walk. I've heard good things about Bread Box, but no first hand experience.

Avoid Circus McGurkus in Seuss.

Also, most quick service locations in the parks have mobile ordering in the app. The Potter locations are not currently available through that, though.

-Rob
 

RustySpork

Oscar Mayer Memer
#5
If you're in the parks, you should consider table service. It's often nearly as fast as counter service and costs within a few percent of counter service. Specifically Finnegans, Confisco Grill, and Lombards. If you have some extra time Mythos although it's a bit more expensive.

If you want to stick to counter service, Three Broomsticks, Leaky Cauldron, Fire Eater's, Hot Dog Hall of Fame, Simpsons (it can get really busy), Red Oven.
 

figmentfan423

Well-Known Member
#6
Another vote for adding in some more TS. All 4 in the parks aren't much more if any than qs. Margaritaville is a good quick option for lunch or dinner that won't break the bank and kids like the burping volcano. Potter in both parks is a good option as long as there's no allergies to deal with, Thunderfalls Terrace is nice. Just STAY AWAY from qs burgers!
 

JillC LI

Well-Known Member
#8
We just ate at the Three Broomsticks 2 weeks ago and all loved it. We got the family meal for 4 (you can add more people for $15pp) and it was huge and delicious and cost effective - rotisserie chicken, bbq ribs, vegetables, corn on the cob, potatoes, and salad. We'd eat there regularly if there was one near our home! Plus you can get a frozen butterbeer if that's up your alley.
 

lebeau

Well-Known Member
#9
Limiting ourselves to counter-service, Fast Food Blvd (Simpsons) provides a wide range of choices and better than average quality. It's a complete madhouse at lunchtime, so be prepared for that if you go at noon. I have also heard good things about Thunder Falls Terrace in Islands of Adventure, but can't vouch for it personally. We have never eaten at the Classic Monsters Cafe because the reviews are pretty lousy, but the place is worth a look. It's like a monster museum. Mel's is okay if you want a 50's themed burger and fries. Those last two are mentioned more for atmosphere than food quality.

As others have pointed out, some of the table service options are about the same price as counter service. So if you have time for a more leisurely meal, try out some of RustySpork's recommendations.
 

RustySpork

Oscar Mayer Memer
#10
Limiting ourselves to counter-service, Fast Food Blvd (Simpsons) provides a wide range of choices and better than average quality. It's a complete madhouse at lunchtime, so be prepared for that if you go at noon. I have also heard good things about Thunder Falls Terrace in Islands of Adventure, but can't vouch for it personally. We have never eaten at the Classic Monsters Cafe because the reviews are pretty lousy, but the place is worth a look. It's like a monster museum. Mel's is okay if you want a 50's themed burger and fries. Those last two are mentioned more for atmosphere than food quality.

As others have pointed out, some of the table service options are about the same price as counter service. So if you have time for a more leisurely meal, try out some of RustySpork's recommendations.
I've tried Thunder Falls Terrace several times, and I've not had a good meal there unfortunately. Mels and Circus McGurcus Cafe Stoo-pendous are in my "meh" category, personally I'd go out of my way to avoid them. Classic Monster's Cafe is interesting for the museum factor, to your point. I've had an equal number of good and bad experiences there, so it's still on my "if you're hungry and it's right there" list. :joyfull:
 

lebeau

Well-Known Member
#11
I've tried Thunder Falls Terrace several times, and I've not had a good meal there unfortunately. Mels and Circus McGurcus Cafe Stoo-pendous are in my "meh" category, personally I'd go out of my way to avoid them. Classic Monster's Cafe is interesting for the museum factor, to your point. I've had an equal number of good and bad experiences there, so it's still on my "if you're hungry and it's right there" list. :joyfull:
The one time we ate at Mel's, my youngest had skipped breakfast but the rest of us ate. While we were walking past Mel's, she started overheating, so we went in to grab a drink. Then it hit her that she hadn't had anything to eat, so we ended up getting her a burger and fries. It was typical theme park food. Nothing special. But she was hungry and we were right there, so that's where we ended up. It wasn't a bad experience, but the food was "meh".
 

RustySpork

Oscar Mayer Memer
#12
The one time we ate at Mel's, my youngest had skipped breakfast but the rest of us ate. While we were walking past Mel's, she started overheating, so we went in to grab a drink. Then it hit her that she hadn't had anything to eat, so we ended up getting her a burger and fries. It was typical theme park food. Nothing special. But she was hungry and we were right there, so that's where we ended up. It wasn't a bad experience, but the food was "meh".
That's it exactly. It's typical theme park food..it's not bad, but it's also not great. That perfectly describes a "meh" rating. :joyfull:
 

DRD

Well-Known Member
#13
While the selection in the Simpsons Food Court is great, I echo what others have said and would absolutely avoid it at the lunch rush. If you can get there early or later, I think it'd be a much more enjoyable experience. We got there at noon (even though I knew better) and paid the price in stress and time. I also wasn't terribly impressed with the food but I think that was because I was in a rotten mood after navigating the crowd.

We had a good experience at Jake's American Bar at RPR. It's not terribly unique, but the food quality was very good (even for picky eater kids) and there's plenty of options for adult beverages. It seemed a little pricey for dinner (typical resort prices) so it might be a better option for lunch if you're back at the resort.
 

lebeau

Well-Known Member
#14
While the selection in the Simpsons Food Court is great, I echo what others have said and would absolutely avoid it at the lunch rush. If you can get there early or later, I think it'd be a much more enjoyable experience. We got there at noon (even though I knew better) and paid the price in stress and time. I also wasn't terribly impressed with the food but I think that was because I was in a rotten mood after navigating the crowd.

We had a good experience at Jake's American Bar at RPR. It's not terribly unique, but the food quality was very good (even for picky eater kids) and there's plenty of options for adult beverages. It seemed a little pricey for dinner (typical resort prices) so it might be a better option for lunch if you're back at the resort.
After about 2pm, Fast Food Blvd empties out. We ate there in the evening a couple times last year and even at typical dinner times, the place was deserted. Part of the problem is you have a bunch of different queues that offer different things. For example, my youngest wanted chicken wings and my oldest wanted french fries. We got in line at Cletus' Chicken Shack for the wings, but they only served tater tots. No fries. For fries, we would have had to get in a second line at Krusty Burger before checking out. During the lunch hour rush, we decided that wasn't worth the effort, but in the evening it was not an issue at all.

Another option, you can order in advance at several of the counter service locations including Fast Food Blvd. You use Universal's app to order your food and then let them know when you have arrived and they will start preparing it for you. If you do that, you can pick up all of your food at one window without waiting in multiple lines. The downside is that you can't use an AP discount on the app. But if I were going again at lunch, I would absolutely preorder.

The food at Fast Food Blvd won't knock your socks off. It's fast food. I did enjoy the buttermilk fried chicken and the chicken and waffle sandwich is pretty good too. The burgers are very standard theme park burgers with a little extra flourish. For instance the Clogger Burger is smothered in cheese sauce which makes it challenging to eat. They also have some healthier options like salads, etc.



I will second DRD's Jake recommendation. It's pricey. All the restaurants at RPR are a bit more expensive than I would like them to be. But adjusted for Orlando hotel prices, Jake's was less outrageous than a lot of other places and the food was tasty. If you go, get the homemade pretzel rods as an appetizer. So buttery!

 

Weather_Lady

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
#15
If you go, get the homemade pretzel rods as an appetizer. So buttery!

I've now typed out six different compliments on those long, glistening, salty pretzel rods, but had to delete every one of them because they sounded inappropriate... yikes, I did it again! There is no decent way to do this, is there?

Seriously though, those look good. I appreciate your advice and recommendations!
 
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#16
One thing I will tell you is to STAY AWAY from any of the places in the Marvel Superhero area. We did a quick stop at Captain America Diner back in November and it was the absolute worst lunch we ever had in Universal. For what we paid for burgers, salads, and chicken sandwiches for six people, we could have waited a bit later and ate at Cowfish or Bubba Gump on the way out of the parks. And the quality of everything was absolutely horrible. Bumble Bee Man food truck fish tacos in the Simpsons' area are pretty damn good.
 

JoeCamel

Well-Known Member
#17
After about 2pm, Fast Food Blvd empties out. We ate there in the evening a couple times last year and even at typical dinner times, the place was deserted. Part of the problem is you have a bunch of different queues that offer different things. For example, my youngest wanted chicken wings and my oldest wanted french fries. We got in line at Cletus' Chicken Shack for the wings, but they only served tater tots. No fries. For fries, we would have had to get in a second line at Krusty Burger before checking out. During the lunch hour rush, we decided that wasn't worth the effort, but in the evening it was not an issue at all.

Another option, you can order in advance at several of the counter service locations including Fast Food Blvd. You use Universal's app to order your food and then let them know when you have arrived and they will start preparing it for you. If you do that, you can pick up all of your food at one window without waiting in multiple lines. The downside is that you can't use an AP discount on the app. But if I were going again at lunch, I would absolutely preorder.

The food at Fast Food Blvd won't knock your socks off. It's fast food. I did enjoy the buttermilk fried chicken and the chicken and waffle sandwich is pretty good too. The burgers are very standard theme park burgers with a little extra flourish. For instance the Clogger Burger is smothered in cheese sauce which makes it challenging to eat. They also have some healthier options like salads, etc.



I will second DRD's Jake recommendation. It's pricey. All the restaurants at RPR are a bit more expensive than I would like them to be. But adjusted for Orlando hotel prices, Jake's was less outrageous than a lot of other places and the food was tasty. If you go, get the homemade pretzel rods as an appetizer. So buttery!

I've now typed out six different compliments on those long, glistening, salty pretzel rods, but had to delete every one of them because they sounded inappropriate... yikes, I did it again! There is no decent way to do this, is there?

Seriously though, those look good. I appreciate your advice and recommendations!
I think those are Auntie Ann's. Like eating warm butter.
 
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