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7 Must-try Universal CityWalk Restaurants | Best Restaurants at CityWalk Orlando, FL

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Considering the vast number of options available, are you curious about Citywalk’s finest restaurants?

One of the things you must pay close attention to when visiting Universal Orlando is where you choose to eat. Citywalk eateries at Universal Orlando are a total dream, and there are plenty of incredible places to dine.

While each business has its own distinct personality, from gourmet dining to all-you-can-eat buffets, there are several tried and true favorites you should consider on your next trip to Orlando.

Here is a list of all the top restaurants in Citywalk, along with recommendations on what to get from their most well-liked menu items and desserts!

Visiting other destinations in Florida? Check out our other guides:

7 Must-try Universal CityWalk Restaurants

Red Oven Pizza Bakery

6000 Universal Blvd // +14072243663

When you’re ready for a great pizza pie, made fresh to order, baked hot and fast at 900F, salads (Arugula, caprese or classic Caesar), soft drinks (Coke products), beer, wine, or iced tea, this is one of the best Universal Citywalk restaurants for that.

For fans of white pizza, their choices include prosciutto and arugula, a Bianca, a pesto, fennel sausage, rapini, roasted chicken, and Margherita.

Their red pizzas include cheese, bigeye pepperoni, alla benno, mushroom, and Italian meat.

For me, the perfect meal in the middle of the day protected from the hot sun is the Margherita on a gluten-free crust when available, with my version of a half and half iced tea, half sweet and half unsweet. 

Margherita

I’ve learned that the best waitresses pour them in together from two separate pitchers, rather than putting half on the bottom and half on the top which never mixes quite as well. They have it down to a science.

The Cowfish Sushi—Burger Bar

6000 Universal Blvd // +14072243663

When you’re ready for a longer break, fusion specialty rolls or Bento boxes, the Cowfish has a menu wide enough to cover something for everyone.

For appetizers, start with a crab Rangoon dip, tuna and avocado-tini, edamame (always my favorite), blackened tuna nachos, crispy calamari TNT (meaning their tubes and tentacles), crispy Brussels sprouts, spicy togarashi shrimp, Big AL’S yellowtail, parmesan bacon truffle fries, crinkle cut fried pickles, spicy poke dip, or sesame chicken bites. 

The sesame chicken bites are panko-crusted, toasted in a sweet and sour glaze, and served over a bed of pickled kale slaw, dusted with sesame seeds. Delicious and maybe the sole reason why this is one of the best Universal Citywalk restaurants.

Salads include Chinese chicken salad, seared sesame tuna salad or a Goat In The Garden. My second go-to meal here is the Chinese chicken salad, because it has grilled all-natural chicken, mixed greens, just the right amount of cilantro, green onion, peanuts, red bell pepper, Mandarin oranges, snow peas, crispy wonton strips, and a peanut ranch vinaigrette.

If you have a taste for something heartier, choose a burger. All are made with a half-pound of Creekstone Farm black Angus beef and seasoned fries, or you can substitute it— for a slight charge— with seaweed salad, sweet and spicy Thai cucumbers, edamame, sweet potato fries, bacon coleslaw, or grilled vegetables. It’s the burgers that helped this place made the list of the best Universal Citywalk restaurants.

Burger

They offered 17 burgers or sandwiches when I visited last. Depending on your appetite, you may want to choose the “Cowfish has officially left the building.” It’s a full-pound beef burger, with creamy peanut butter, fried bananas, and applewood bacon on a brioche bun. 

In true Elvis fashion, if you’re not quite that hungry, they recommend you go for a single “hunka love,“ with only a half-pound of beef in the burger. 

They have eight types of classic makimono, from a California roll to a spicy crunchy roll or rainbow roll. Check out eleven fusion specialty rolls, such as a golden dragon roll, coconut shrimp, sushi Mayo, and scallions wrapped in sushi rice in a soy paper wrap. 

Rainbow Roll

Topped with eel, avocado, Sriracha, yuzu citrus tobiko, sesame seeds, and eel sauce, I think they’ve made sure that they have adequate sriracha supplies, despite the national shortage.

Offering three sushi combos—if you’re interested in California rolls, sashimi, Nigiri, or spicy tuna rolls—you’re bound to be able to find the right combination for you.

I like their Bento boxes for adults, as the combo meal includes a burger and sushi, giving a tasty variety to families with that type of palate. Also, both come with my favorite edamame. If you’re feeling adventurous, try their burgushi—the Cowfish’s fusion of burgers and sushi. I’ll admit, I’m not that brave. Yet!

They have sushi bar selections for sashimi and nigiri, as well as rolls and pickups which include options of bison, black Angus beef, avocado cream cheese, lobster and cucumbers, seared rare black and yellowfin tuna, or pulled pork. My two favorite names on the menu may be the “High Class Hillbilly“ and the “What’s Shakin’ Tuna Bacon” sandwich.

For the little ones, choose one of the kid’s Bento boxes. Eat ‘em served with a choice of two sides of carrots, apples, oranges, edamame, or house season fries. The choices are truly kids’ favorites—including Dragon Bitez, In Harry Potter Fashion, Ninja Nuggets, Gorilla Cheez, PB&J sushi roll—which has no fish. 

It’s just peanut butter and jelly rolled inside white bread and cut into bite-sized pieces. Also, they have Mac and cheese, Cowfish mini burgers, a California roll, tempura shrimp roll, and vegetarian roll.

It’s fun being upstairs at this restaurant, looking across the water at the Islands of Adventure to our left, and Universal Studios to the right—and just watching the crowds go by.

Vivo Italian Kitchen

6000 Universal Blvd // +14072243663

The Vivo has an extensive menu and two levels of seating. It’s cool, both in temperature and vibe, and a popular hangout throughout the day and one of the best Universal Citywalk restaurants.

When you first step in the door, you can’t help but instantly crave pizza. They serve Quattro formaggio, Margherita, and Italian meat pizza, as well as others upon request.

Pasta choices include a truly delicious chicken Fettuccine Alfredo with peas, linguine and clams served in a white wine sauce, squid ink seafood, pasta Primavera, ravioli, a vegan sausage pasta, Eggplant Alla Norma that my mother would have loved, as well as a lobster ravioli with wild mushrooms in a Brandy saffron sauce.

As an appetizer or for a lighter meal on the run, you might consider a Panzanella salad with arugula and kale, tortellini in chicken broth, a classic caprese salad, a classic Caesar salad, minestrone soup, or a black truffle burrata. If you’re a fan of artichoke, I’d recommend the latter.

Panzanella Salad

My favorite meal here is the chicken fettuccine Alfredo. I always enjoy getting to know more about the servers. Most of the ones I’ve met have lived in this part of Orlando most of their lives.

If you head to the left, towards Islands of Adventure, you’ll pass Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville, which includes an old airplane that is now the Lone Palm Airport. Also, visit Big Fire, Fat Tuesday, Pat O’Brien’s, and Bob Marley’s establishments.

Antojitos Authentic Mexican Food

6000 Universal Blvd // +14072243663

You won’t want to miss this gem amongst the Universal Citywalk restaurants. Between the large arresting sign on the building, the cool VW van parked out front, and the restrooms to the left, it’s frequently a stopping point for families. 

When I finally stopped to visit, there was only room for me at the bar, but I didn’t mind.

Michael, my bartender, was very attentive and quickly took my order and made suggestions. I watched him and his colleagues keeping drinks flowing, taking orders and cleaning glasses, as the crowds flocked to this lively atmosphere restaurant.

Their aperitivos include a tableside guacamole, nachos, queso fundido, shrimp tostada, tamales, taquitos Jaliscos, esquites, and shrimp Fritos. This is where I found my taquitos, crispy corn tortillas with chicken tinga with a nice portion of four small rolls with salsa and lettuce, cheese, sour cream, and guacamole.

Taquitos

For their soups and salad, they have tortilla soup, Caesar salad and Taco salad. If you’d like to have a flaming meal, go for the chicken, beef, vegetable, or combo fajitas.

Similarly, you can get their street-style tacos served with cilantro rice and refried beans with protein of choice—chicken, grilled nopales, pork, carne asada, or braised beef.

Their enchilada choices are vegetarian, ranchers (pork) or mole.

For the traditional and adventurous, check out the specials of the house which include guisado, chilaquiles verdes, chimichanga, pescado a la Yucatan, mar y tierra, burrito, trio (which includes enchiladas verde, pork tamale, chili relleno, black beans, and cilantro rice), quesadillas, chili relleno, or a Cabo Taco. No wonder this place made the Universal Citywalk restaurants list.

Chilaquiles Verdes

Ask your server for the desserts of the day, and I hope you’re as lucky as I was. Michael told me about tres leches, seasonal flan, fruit pico de Gallo, fried ice cream, and Mexican chocolate mousse. It was a hard choice between the moose and the fried ice cream, but I went with my favorite, fried ice cream. 

They do theirs differently than I’ve had before, using almond granola-crusted vanilla ice cream instead of the typical corn flakes. They offer a melted chocolate and churro half stick on the side. It’s one of the tastier garnishes, for sure.

Pro Tip: Hot Dog Hall Of Fame

While we saw many people enjoying their hot dogs, and the map of the States (The United States of Hot Dog) is fun to explore whilst you’re in line. If you like vegan wieners, be sure to ask that it be cooked well done. Otherwise, it’s mushy and, from my vegan perspective—not edible.

Head back towards Universal Studios and you’ll cross a large selection of restaurants. One of the favorite photo opportunities is in front of the Voodoo Donuts pink sculpture. If you go up the steps to the right, you’ll find new and old favorites alike. Old favorites include Burger King and Panda Express. 

The Bread Box Handcrafted Sandwiches

6000 Universal Blvd // +14072243663

If you have a taste for a fresh deli melt, this is one of the best Universal Citywalk restaurants for you. Their restaurant is sleek, and their service streamlined. You can get in and out quickly or relax at the few tables inside, or sit on the steps if you don’t block traffic.

The selection includes a Patty Melt, hot vegan, grilled ham and cheese, barbecue brisket, New York-style pastrami, steak and cheese melt, or hot turkey.

New York-Style Pastrami

If you prefer a cold sandwich, you can get the deli fresh BLTA, (the A is avocado) tomato and mozzarella, Italian, chicken salad, turkey, tuna salad, or Buffalo chicken. I’ve had a taste for BLTs lately, and although I hold the avocado, the BLTA and chicken salad are my two favorites thus far.

NBC Sports Grill Brew

6000 Universal Blvd // +14072243663

If you want to be in a bar with excellent TV reception during the big game, this is one of the best Universal Citywalk restaurants to be in. In their starting lineup, they will keep you well-fed. 

They have crispy chicken sliders, loaded chili nachos, artichoke and spinach dip, chicken lettuce wraps with shiitake mushrooms, Wisconsin fried cheese bites, Cajun fried deviled eggs, Hawaiian barbecue brisket quesadilla, Margherita flatbread, large warm soft pretzels, and crispy calamari. When we’re able to, we like to start with the crispy calamari and soft pretzel.

On the green, to continue the sports metaphor, their Caesar salad is tasty with either the grilled chicken or salmon, and their grilled steak wedge includes a four-ounce rib eye with a romaine wedge with blue cheese crumble. They have smoked chicken Cobb, grilled citrus chicken and chopped barbecue grilled chicken with smoked gouda added. Burgers are a must when doing any of the Universal Citywalk restaurants and NBC has the best ones.

For a calorie-busting stomach-filling option, go with the bases-loaded beef burgers. All beef burgers are made with a half-pound of Creekstone Farms premium black Angus beef and served with either French fries or tater tots. 

Black Angus Beef Burger

There are vegetarian options, but I think going with the NBC classic without the cheese. Tater tots are my favorite option. They also have a smokehouse stack that includes a beef burger, smoked brisket and smoked pork, Wagyu beef, Beyond burger with puffs smoked jackfruit—my daughter’s favorite—a sauteed shiitake mushroom burger, an 8-ounce lamb burger, charro or turkey burger.

If you have a taste for wings, they will tell you about their championship-winning wings. They do offer both bone-in and boneless versions, which I appreciate. They offer six flavor options: orange blossom sriracha, garlic parmesan, barbecue, Buffalo, Nashville Hot, and sweet and spicy bourbon. They offer them either traditionally fried or fire-grilled for the bone-in wings.

“Grip it” sandwiches are ready for your football game and include French fries or tater tots. My favorite is the French dip, but their smoked beef brisket is pretty good, too. I don’t usually get smoked gouda or horseradish, but it’s still really tasty. Their char-grilled chicken and smoked pork are very popular dishes, as well.

Smoked Beef Brisket

For game time, I like their fish tacos, grilled cod and flour tortillas with grilled pineapple salsa and mayonnaise. I don’t even mind the avocado, but I do ask them to hold the beans and rice (I hate wasting food, and you’re not going to find any homeless people to feed in this area with your takeaway box).  Service is definitely a big plus and why it made the list of the best Universal Citywalk restaurants.

They have ribs or a combination of ribs and biscuit, cedar plank North Atlantic salmon, which is also my favorite, 10-ounce New York strip, Bang Bang chicken—a Thai dish with flavors of Curry, peanut chili and coconut—a tomato goat cheese chicken option, grilled vegetable pasta, smoked half chicken or smoked pulled pork, or smokehouse Angus beef brisket. 

For some true home comfort, especially if your team is losing, order the chicken pot pie or the Buffalo baked Mac and cheese, and you’ll feel better.

They call their dessert section “Final play”, although I feel like it should be called “Overtime’,’ because I’m always overly stuffed, if it’s something I don’t start with. They offer strawberry cheesecake, hot fudge brownie sundae, and my favorite, apple crumble. Their menu is easy to navigate and clearly defines the vegan, vegetarian, and gluten-free options.

As you’d expect with the name of the establishment, the servers are typically young and athletic, and more than happy to chat sports with you.

Cross the lake and you’ll see Hard Rock Café (make reservations in advance and plan to spend an hour waiting for your food during dinner service) and one of the most popular places for dinner or dessert, the ever-popular chocolate factory…

The Toothsome Chocolate Emporium and Savory Feast Kitchen

6000 Universal Blvd // +14072243663

Most guests never make it past the front section where there are dessert treats to the left, and take-away baked goods (try the macarons!) to the right. Go straight through the center passage and find your way to more great food. 

Their appetizers include warm chocolate almond bread served with salted caramel butter, crab and artichoke dip, truffle fries, Philly cheese steak rolls, avocado bruschetta, pork belly sliders, baked Brie en croute, totchos—fried tater tots with spicy green chili—classic Mediterranean hummus, kettle chip nachos, roasted Brussels sprouts, fried zucchini, coffee and chocolate stout chicken wings, or potato croquette. 

I really like their potato croquette, although I’m not a huge fan of truffle oil. The vegetable succotash lightens the fried pork belly, as does the roasted garlic aioli.

Your choices of salads include Waldorf chicken salad, Sedona barbecue chicken, Caesar salad, or superfood salad. The two thumbs Nisswa is their version of the French classic with citrus-crusted tuna, fingerling potatoes, olives, eggs, asparagus, red onion, and tomatoes, all covered with a citrus vinaigrette. They typically serve French onion soup with gruyere cheese. It’s a rare gem amongst the Universal Citywalk restaurants.

When in the mood for flatbreads, you can typically find half a dozen choices here, from barbecue chicken, four cheese, or a classic Margherita, pepperoni, short rib, or even forest mushroom. As usual, they do a great job explaining which items are gluten-free, vegan, or vegetarian.

Feel like a sandwich? Try the Red Rubin, Croque Monsieur, southern fried chicken BLT—which is amazing even without the mustard aioli—the fork and knife grilled rib-eye steak sandwich, vegetable press, chicken Cordon Bleu, tuna melt Madame, served with or without a sunny side up egg, or a chicken Caprese sandwich. A plethora of options at one of the best Universal Citywalk restaurants.

Croque Monsieur

For hearty appetites, go with any of their six burgers made with 100% fresh Angus beef with current offerings including teriyaki, cheddar bacon, “Tour De France,” “Blue Plate,” “Pub It Up,” or “May Contain Bacon.”

Their pasta is very highly regarded for my favorite fettuccine Alfredo, but also gnocchi, shrimp macaroni and cheese, vegetable pasta, and  wild mushroom chicken risotto. It’s one of the rare Universal Citywalk restaurants which offers this level of cuisine.

Trying one of their entrees before a rollercoaster is probably not recommended, but if you’re leaving the parks, you may be able to eat the sizable portions presented with their chicken Bercy, grilled teriyaki salmon, braised short rib, brisket, and wild mushroom meatloaf, cocoa pork tenderloin, or chicken bourguignon. 

Braised Short Rib

Their steak options include toothsome signature beef filet mignon, 6-ounce filet from which I ask them to hold their sherry mushroom cream, but double down on the Yukon gold mashed potatoes, pearl onions, and grilled asparagus—which I ask that they dry-fry and then add the shallot jam. 

Their grilled 10-ounce New York strip steak includes Lyonnaise potatoes and grilled asparagus, as well as their classic flounder amandine, accompanied by French green beans with Lyonnaise potatoes.

This is one of the few Universal Citywalk restaurants that I found that offers a substantial brunch with various waffles, French toast, quiche, and crepes available.

Keep in mind if you purchase the VIP access tour for Universal, if it’s a semi-private tour, you’ll receive breakfast at the Cafe la Bamba in Universal Studios. If you purchase a private tour, you’ll receive breakfast and lunch at Cafe la Bamba, and your choice of Universal Citywalk restaurants for dinner.

Summary About the Best Universal Citywalk Restaurants

Whatever you decide to do, plan ahead of time and make reservations if possible. Because Universal’s CityWalk is constantly busy, it’s better to avoid making last-minute decisions.

Universal CityWalk is a great place to have some food. The walkable streets are teeming with dozens of options suitable for friends, dates, family, and others. So, whether you want fast food, fancy dining, or something in between, you’ll find it here.

Universal is said to be the only place where you can bring the entire family for an affordable vacation and have the whole family having fun, so definitely take some time to visit Universal CityWalk and try out each one of these restaurants while you’re there.

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