Travel Tips Universal Orlando

7 Best Restaurants in Citywalk Orlando (And What to Order!)

By
on
June 14, 2021

With literally so many options to choose from, perhaps you’re wondering the best restaurants in Citywalk?

There is no shortage of amazing restaurants in Universal Orlando’s Citywalk and your final selection may come down to the availability of a table and whether or not you have a reservation, or your individual cravings on the day of your visit.

Either way, here is a complete breakdown of the best restaurants in Citywalk, as well as suggestions for ordering their most popular dishes and desserts!

This post may contain affiliate links, which means that we may receive a small commission, at no cost to you, if you make a purchase through a link. For more info, see disclosure.

The 7 best restaurants in Citywalk ranked by top U.S. family travel blog, Travel With A Plan!

Best Restaurants in Citywalk

Universal Orlando’s Citywalk is a gigantic hub of restaurants (both sit down and quick-service), nightclubs, and shops.

As a visitor to both Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure, you must first walk through Universal’s Citywalk in order to get to the entrance of either theme park.

This was very strategic of Universal in that the plethora of brightly colored restaurants, lit-up signs, and bustling atmosphere here will definitely pique your interest and curiosity – as well as tantalize your taste-buds!

You will most definitely find yourself wondering which of the many restaurants here is the best, as well as how you can incorporate dining at as many of them as possible into your Universal Studios or Islands of Adventure touring plan.

Pro Tip: You can visit Universal Orlando’s Citywalk and the following restaurants without having a park ticket to the Universal theme parks. Simply park in the Universal parking ramp if you’re visiting or staying off-site (parking is free after 6 PM), go through the security checkpoint, and make your way to CityWalk. Ticketed entry is only necessary when looking to enter the actual theme parks.

The 7 best restaurants in Citywalk ranked by top U.S. family travel blog, Travel With A Plan!  (Toothsome Chocolate Emporium)
The Toothsome Chocolate Emporium

1. Toothsome Chocolate Emporium and Savory Feast Kitchen

Our top pick for the best restaurant in Citywalk is the Toothsome Chocolate Emporium and Savory Feast Kitchen.

First off, what a name!

When I first saw the name of this restaurant I wondered what in the world they served there, and if everything was made of chocolate?

Come to find out, Toothsome serves classic American dishes like steak and seafood, as well as more casual fare such as sandwiches, flatbreads, and hamburgers.

The twist, however, is the unique flair to each of their dishes, their famous artisanal milkshakes, and gourmet desserts and chocolates, as well as its funky decor of gizmos, gears, and gadgets.

This is THE place place to eat at Universal’s Citywalk with a pretty cool gift shop and candy shop too!

Gourmet milkshakes!
Toothsome’s specialty milkshakes!

Notes about Toothsome Chocolate Factory:

  • This is the most popular restaurant in Universal Orlando Citywalk and wait times can get long. Reservations are strongly recommended.
  • There is a walk-up window if you’re just looking to order one of their Instagram-worthy milkshakes.
  • The milkshakes come in a plastic souvenir mug for you to keep!
  • Toothsome is located directly next to the entrance to Islands of Adventure, adjacent to Hard Rock Cafe (look for the giant smoke-stacks!)
  • Our favorites: Warm Chocolate Almond Bread appetizer with caramel butter, The Red Reuben and Croque Monsieur sandwich, and a That’s “Mint” specialty milkshake.
The 7 best restaurants in Citywalk ranked by top U.S. family travel blog, Travel With A Plan! (Cowfish)
The Cowfish

2. The Cowfish Sushi Burger Bar

Next on our list of the best restaurants in Citywalk is The Cowfish Sushi Burger Bar.

The thing that we love about this place is the sheer genius of combining two niche menu items – burgers and sushi – into a one-of-a-kind dining experience.

Cowfish’s fresh (never frozen!) burgers and innovative sushi platters are complimented perfectly by their spiked, hand-spun milkshakes and amazing kids’ menu.

There is truly something for everyone to enjoy when dining at Cowfish.

Our kids still talk about the kids’ menu Bento Boxes that allowed them to sample both Cowfish mini burgers and their very first sushi roll!

Kids Bento Box!
Kids menu Bento Box

Notes about The Cowfish Sushi Burger Bar:

  • The Cowfish has a fun and quirky atmosphere and features colorful décor that mixes things like chandeliers and virtual aquariums.
  • There is a large, elevated, open-air patio at Cowfish with great views over the rest of Citywalk.
  • Located on the main walkway in front of Citywalk – you can’t miss it!
  • Our favorites: Bento Boxes (both kids and adult versions), The Jalapeno Popper Show-Stopper burger, and their signature fishbowl specialty cocktail.
The 7 best restaurants in Citywalk ranked by top U.S. family travel blog, Travel With A Plan!  (Hard Rock Cafe)
Hard Rock Cafe Orlando

3. Hard Rock Cafe

Don’t miss the chance to dine at Hard Rock Cafe during your Orlando family vacation!

The Hard Rock Cafe (HRC) located in Universal’s Citywalk is the largest HRC in the world, which is why we rank it as one of the best restaurants in Citywalk to visit during your stay.

What looks like a Roman coliseum from the outside, Citywalk’s Hard Rock Cafe contains more pieces of music memorabilia than any other HRC.

We loved getting to see the original guitars of music’s biggest idols, the gigantic full-size pink Cadillac over the main bar on the lower level, as well as watching music videos while we ate.

It has a pretty amazing menu too!

Notes about Hard Rock Cafe:

  • Be sure to check out the Hard Rock Cafe gift shop for exclusive Hard Rock gifts and apparel.
  • Huge portions, impressive wait staff, and an awesome ambiance.
  • Located next to the entrance to Universal Studios, adjacent to Toothsome Chocolate Emporium.
  • Our favorites: The Original Legendary Burger and Steak Salad along with a Rockin’ Fresh Rita.
The 7 best restaurants in Citywalk ranked by top U.S. family travel blog, Travel With A Plan! (Antojito's Authentic Mexican Food)
Antojito’s

4. Antojito’s Authentic Mexican Food

When someone told me that Antojito’s features freshly-made tableside guacamole, I knew we needed to try this place!

Needless to say, the fresh guac did not disappoint!

We rank Antojito’s as one of the best restaurants in Citywalk for its tasty, classic Mexican dishes, their gigantic dining area, and the excitement of a live mariachi band serenading you throughout dinner.

Live mariachi band!
A live band on select nights!

Notes about Antojito’s Authentic Mexican Food:

  • The mariachi band only plays on select nights.
  • Classic made-from-scratch Mexican street fare.
  • Huge dining area that is very spread out and has a lively cantina-like atmosphere.
  • Our favorites: Tableside Guacamole appetizer, Guisado, and sizzling Combo Fajitas

5. Bigfire

Though we did not personally have the chance to dine at Bigfire, it is frequently mentioned as being one of the best restaurants in Universal’s Citywalk.

Bigfire offers more of an upscale ambiance and experience, as well as features open-fire cooking.

This is THE place to go for steak and seafood in Citywalk (with $$$ prices to match) and is perfect for families looking for classic American fare in a more refined environment than other restaurants found here.

Bigfire is also known for its Tableside Smores that includes marshmallows, graham crackers, chocolate, and peanut butter cups that can be roasted right at your table.

The 7 best restaurants in Citywalk ranked by top U.S. family travel blog, Travel With A Plan! (Margaritaville)

6. Jimmy Buffet’s Margaritaville

If you haven’t been to a Jimmy Buffet’s Margaritaville Restaurant, here’s your chance!

Citywalk’s Margaritaville is a welcoming spot for relaxation while touring the busy Universal theme parks.

The tropical, laid-back atmosphere, live Jimmy Buffet music, indoor palm trees, and anticipated eruption of the margarita-filled volcano at The Volcano Bar make this by far, one of the best restaurants in Citywalk!

We are huge fans of Margaritaville as it is very family-friendly, yet in a Caribbean tiki bar-like atmosphere that we as adults love too!

If you’re looking for an exciting, yet relaxing place to dine in Citywalk, Margaritaville will not disappoint!

Notes about Jimmy Buffet’s Margaritaville:

  • Located right next to Antojito’s as well as the walkway to Loew’s Royal Pacific, our favorite Universal Resort.
  • There is often a live outdoor guitarist on the Porch of Indecision (the nickname for Margaritaville’s patio).
  • There are 10 different types of margaritas here. Another reason you’ll leave feeling ‘happy’!
  • Our favorites: Volcano Nachos, Fish Tacos, and Coconut Shrimp.
The 7 best restaurants in Citywalk ranked by top U.S. family travel blog, Travel With A Plan! (Hot Dog Hall of Fame)

7. Hot Dog Hall of Fame

Unlike the other restaurants listed in our “Best of Citywalk” list that offer indoor dining and reservations, the Hot Dog Hall of Fame is our favorite quick-service restaurant found here!

Ever since our family vacation to Chicago and experiencing a Chicago hot dog, we are obsessed with trying out other iconic city hot dog styles.

Citywalk’s Hot Dog Hall of Fame rounds up the country’s most iconic franks all in one location!

The Hot Dog Hall of Fame has a walk-up counter that offers 15 different styles of gourmet hot dogs ($8.99/ea.), featuring favorites from cities such as Boston, Detroit, Milwaukee, and Kansas City.

They also offer regular, gluten-free, vegan, and classic foot-long hotdogs for those wanting to stick to the basics.

Our favorite: The Chicago Hot Dog.

This all-beef dog on a poppy-seed bun, topped with yellow mustard, neon relish, sport peppers, diced onions, a pickle spear, tomatoes, and a dash of celery salt, is just as good as the ones we ate on an actual Chicago Food Tour!

Best Restaurants in Citywalk: Honorable Mention

  • Bob Marley – A Tribute to Freedom (Jamaican food)
  • Pat O-Briens (New Orleans style-food)
  • NBS Sports Grill & Brew (Classic bar/grill)
  • Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. (Southern favorites)
  • VIVO Italian Kitchen (Italian expo kitchen)
  • VooDoo Donuts (quick service, amazing donuts!)

Have you visited any of the places that made our list of the best restaurants in Citywalk? If so, which was your favorite, and why would you recommend it to others? Happy travels ya’ll!

Jen

If you liked reading about the best restaurants in Citywalk, continue planning your Universal Orlando vacation here:

Universal Orlando Touring Plans:

Universal Orlando Tips:

Universal Orlando Rides:

*Before leaving, be sure to check our Travel Resources Page to find exclusive travel discounts and to book hotels, rental cars, and guided tours.*

"If you like it, Pin it!" quote
The 7 best restaurants in Citywalk ranked by top U.S. family travel blog, Travel With A Plan!
TAGS
RELATED POSTS
4 Comments
  1. Reply

    Mason

    June 26, 2021

    I too loved the Toothsome Chocolate Emporium. Such great food!

    • Reply

      Jen

      June 26, 2021

      Yes!!! I consider it a Universal ‘must’!!!

  2. Reply

    Colleen Lanin

    June 14, 2021

    That Chocolate Emporium sounds amaaaazing!

    • Reply

      Jen

      June 14, 2021

      I dream about going back there someday and trying other treats and menu items!!

LEAVE A COMMENT

Welcome Friends!

We are the Brommer family from Minnesota, and I'm Jen - the travel planner for our family of 5! We are passionate about traveling together for it's what keeps us happy and healthy at home. The free family vacation itineraries and tips you'll find here are crafted with love to be shared with you. We hope our experiences inspire you to start planning your next family adventure!

Looking For Something?
Travel With A Plan packing checklist

Get Your Free Family Vacation Packing Lists Here!

TMOM Travel Writer