Universal CityWalk Restaurants and Dining
While CityWalk is known for it's clubs and party atmosphere, the dining opportunities here should not be overlooked. Whether it's a fresh, fast and reasonably priced meal at Pasta More, a Cheeseburger in Paradise at Jimmy Buffet's Margaritaville, or culinary tour de force at Emeril's, there's something here for every palate and budget.
For our money, the three restaurants mentioned above really stand out. PastaMoré (pronounced 'more-ay') is by far the best on a budget. The food is well prepared, very fresh, with excellent service and very reasonable prices by any standard. Jimmy Buffet's Margaritaville could have ended up being another Hard Rock Cafe (which trades on it's name in lieu of a decent meal). Instead, it offers a diverse and flavorful menu in a fun, musical (if not loud) environment. The star of the show at CityWalk is most certainly Emeril's. No detail is overlooked, from the table settings, to the service, to the quality of the food. This is one of those dining experiences you'll always remember - just be prepared, it's an expensive night out, but worth every penny.
Fusion Bistro Sushi & Sake Bar
Fusion Bistro Sushi & Sake Bar is more than just fresh, delicious sushi in a trendy, fun setting – it is the future of sushi. With brand-new wireless technology, “sushi cameras” and a robotic sushi-roll making machine, this walk-up bistro is like nothing you’ve ever seen before. Fusion Bistro blends the finest ingredients and best sushi combinations with a rock’n’roll Asian-fanfare attitude. Located above the Cineplex.
This is the restaurant to choose for that special night out. While children are certainly welcome here, it's really a better choice for couples looking for a romantic dinner. The menu is pure Emeril, and his flare for unique flavors, quality ingredients and first rate professional service are evident at every turn. There are no bad meals on the menu.
For dessert, we suggest you put aside any remaining fantasies of a diet and try the molten chocolate lava cake with peanut butter gelato.
Extensive (and expensive) wine menu offers ideal pairings for the creative menu items.If you've overlooked making reservations (which are suggested), consider taking a seat at the bar for your meal. The service is every bit as good, and quite frankly, the bar staff makes great conversation.
Jimmy Buffet's Margaritaville
Given Jimmy Buffet's popularity, and the fact that restaurants like this usually end up having a better name then food, we found Margaritaville to be a pleasant surprise. The food here is better than good, in some cases bordering on excellent.
The atmosphere is fun, the menu is diverse, but never strays too far from it's Caribbean/Key West theme. Prices are a bit on the high side, but you'll walk away feeling like you got your money's worth. We recommend the Cheeseburger in Paradise, the Teriyaki Steak and the Volcano Nachos among others. Entree's run between $15 and $20 per.
While the menu here is not eclectic by any standard, what PastaMore does serve, it serves well. Expect traditional Italian-American inspired meals, friendly service, and very reasonable prices. Even dishes as seemingly mundane as roasted chicken are done with a flavorful touch, and are prepared with great care. The wood-fired pizza is a house specialty, and VERY good. This is a great choice for families looking for a comfortable, reasonably priced sit down meal together after a day in the parks.
An authentic, latin vibe done with style and better than expected food. The menu is inspired by dishes from more than 20 latin countries. Of particular merit is the Churrasco (better known as skirt steak), which is a house specialty, and the Coconut Crusted Snapper (the portions on this dish are massive). Another house specialty is the popular Mojito cocktail.
We've heard complaints that the music inside can be loud, and that the restaurant tends to be poorly lit. It looks as though these issues have been corrected, as we found the music to be perfectly balanced with the atmosphere, and the table lighting to be more than adequate.Expect a longer wait if you want a table outside (live music is played outside each night).
Hard Rock Cafe
One of the most frequent comments you'll hear about this restaurant is "if you've been to one, you've been to them all". We found the food here to be sub-par, and over priced. Clearly, this restaurant is resting on it's name and kitschy memorabilia to attract business, but much like the dreadful Planet Hollywood at Downtown Disney, the food is hit or miss at best. We suggest you make this a stop of last resort.
The famous New Orleans staple will celebrate Mardi Gras every night in Orlando. Features dueling pianos, and the flaming fountainpiano. If you're seated in the piano area, be warned, the music is very loud. The better choice is the center courtyard. (Since this area is outdoors, the weather can be a factor in its availability.)
Just look for the giant glowing Hurricane, and be sure to stop and get one!
Bob Marley - A Tribute to Freedom
While not at the top of our list, this restaurant offers decent food at decent prices. The restaurant is a faithful recreation of Bob Marley's Jamaica home, and has various artifacts throughout celebrating his life, music and career.
The menu here offers a variety of Jamaican food - some familiar, like Reggae (a jerk marinated chicken), some a bit unique like Oxtail (the tail of an ox is considered a delicacy). Prices are very reasonable, with the average dinner entree between $10 and $15. Appetizers are similarly priced at between $6 and $12.If you're dining late (after 8pm), you'll find a live band performing each night. The restaurant is small, and most of the tables border the stage (there is a second floor seating area for busier nights).
NBA City Restaurant
Another 'traditional' offering (like Hard Rock Cafe and NASCAR), the NBA City offers standard fare (ribs, chicken, burgers) in a basketball themed environment
- NBA City Restaurant Review (April 2007)
NASCAR Sports Grille
Recently renovated, the NASCAR Sports Grille features a traditional menu of Ribs, pasta, chicken, burgers and sandwiches among others. However, it also suffers from what we call 'PHS' (Planet Hollywood Syndrome). Too much attention to theme, too little attention to food. The food here is mediocre at best, and is overpriced for what you get. This is the restaurant you go to if you have a member of your party that you're too embarrassed to take someplace nice. If you want an overpriced sports bar with sub standard food, this is a good spot. If you're looking for a good meal at a good price, walk a little further and eat at PastaMoré.
Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. Restaurant & Market
Straight from the movie. You remember this famous franchise started my Mr. Forest Gump himself. This is a family restaurant that specializes in, yes you guessed it shrimp, shrimp, and yes more shrimp. Don't worry it has all the other stuff to from steaks, sandwiches, seafood, appetizers, and deserts. Themed from the movie it has all kinds of memorable from the film for a cool atmosphere. Open from 11:00am - 12:00am
You'll find this right before the main entrance into CityWalk on your left.
BK Whopper Bar
Located above the movie theater is the world's first Whopper Bar. It's a great place to grab a quick meal. They do serve breakfast.
Moe's Southwest Grill
Located above the movie theater. Moe’s Southwest Grill is a fun and engaging fast-casual concept serving a wide variety of fresh, made-to-order southwest fare.
Located above the movie theater. Panda Express is a fast casual restaurant chain serving American Chinese cuisine.
Soft Serve Frozen Yogurt & Sorbet
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- Little River Band and Toad the Wet Sprocket will play Velvet Sessions this summer - The last Thursday of every month, this concert is held in the Hard Rock Hotel's lobby.
- Wantilan Luau to be held on Tuesdays and Saturdays for the summer - Beginning June 3, the Wantilan Luau at the Royal Pacific Resort will be held on both Tuesdays and Saturdays during the busy summer season.
- Mother's Day brunches planned at Universal Orlando resorts - The three on-site resorts at Universal Orlando are offering special Mother's Day brunches!
- Performers announced for Universal's Summer Concert Series - Beginning Saturday, June 1 and running Saturday nights through July 6, this concert series will give guests the chance to top off their day in the park with a nighttime mega-concert.
- Transformers to open June 20 at Universal Studios! - The highly anticipated Transformers attraction will open June 20 at Universal Studios!