• Dining at Universal Studios

Dining at Universal Studios

Ben A.

Created: Oct 31, 2023

Last Updated: Apr 25, 2024

Dining at Universal Studios

Cheeseburgers. Good seafood. Irish pubs. Huge donuts. There’s a little bit of everything for you at Universal Studios, from restaurants that offer the traditional fast food to two fancy options that rank amongst the best in all Florida theme parks.

Do you want a delicious NY Strip Steak? Head to the Finnegan’s Bar & Grill, order a cold beer and relax. Want to feel like you are in San Francisco eating huge crab legs? Visit the Lombard’s Seafood Grille and enjoy the view. You can also order whatever Harry Potter had for lunch during the first movie at the Leaky Cauldron, and drink Homer Simpson’s favorite beer (and eat all the donuts you want) at the Moe’s Tavern inside Fast Food Boulevard.

There is also a Starbucks near the entrance for all us coffee lovers and a Häagen-Dazs if you want ice cream to cool off during a hot day. Just remember that you also have the option to head to Universal’s CityWalk once you leave the park, so you might even want to eat something quick while inside the park and save your stomach for Bubba Gump or Antojitos Authentic Mexican Food once you are done with Universal Studios.

There are two fancy options available in Universal Studios Florida that you might need to make a reservation depending on the time of year:

  • Finnegan’s Bar & Grill
  • Lombard’s Seafood Grille

And a bunch of quick service restaurants if you don’t want to spend much or are short on time. Here are some of them:

  • Louie’s Italian Restaurant
  • Richter’s Burger Co
  • Leaky Cauldron
  • Fast Food Boulevard
  • Mel’s Drive-In

Well, let’s check out what each restaurant has to offer!

Universal-Leaky-Cauldron-3.webp

Finnegan’s Bar & Grill ($)

Food Type

Irish dishes (Guinness beef stew, shepherd’s pie, steaks, etc)

A good place to drink, eat, drink and drink some more. Finnegan’s is all about creating an atmosphere that resembles a traditional Irish pub. This is probably THE restaurant at Universal Studios, with a friendly staff and delicious food that you should definitely not eat before riding a roller coaster. But, hey, that’s why our itinerary had The Bourne Stuntacular right after lunch, right? So get ready to check the menu and see if anything makes your mouth water. Finnegan’s even has live music at specific times of day, which is a nice touch to make it really feel like you’re inside a pub.

Finnegan’s offers a variety of choices, from a signature NY Steak to an Irish Chicken and a very good char-grilled salmon. There are also a huge selection of drinks, from tequilas to international beers and whiskeys. Speaking of that, you can head straight to the bar and sit down if you don’t want to have lunch. The staff is awesome and incredibly friendly, and they can serve drinks lightning fast… which can be good or bad, depending on your point of view. 

Lombard’s Seafood Grille ($)

Food Type

Seafood (shrimp, calamari, salmon, etc)

Another great option if you are not in a rush. Lombard’s Seafood Grille is inspired by the Fisherman’s Wharf in San Francisco, so expect a menu full of fresh fish, shrimps and even crabs. Lombard’s is more spacious than Finnegan’s and it doesn’t get as packed as the Leaky Cauldron. A very good combination for all of us that just want to sit down and enjoy our food. It also has a cozy atmosphere being one of the fancy dining options at Universal Studios. Make sure to check out the big saltwater aquarium in the middle of the hall, which your kids will surely love.

There are also two bars just outside Lombard’s that you might pay a visit. The first one is the San Francisco Pastry Company, a lovely place to grab a cup of coffee or eat dessert. I’ve stopped here several times in the past just to have an espresso or a hot chocolate after lunch and eat a cheesecake. Almost nobody comes here, so lines are usually very short. I definitely recommend it.

Another bar close by is the Chez Alcatraz, offering a selection of beers, tequilas and cocktails. A fun place with a good atmosphere, perfect to bring your date for a cold drink. Fun fact, there’s a good opportunity for a picture nearby, since it’s here that you can find a great white shark hanging upside down. This prop is what’s left of the now defunct Jaws ride, a classic photo spot with guests shoving their heads inside the shark’s mouth over and over again.

Louie’s Italian Restaurant ($)

Food Type

Italian (pizzas, meatballs, spaghetti, etc)

A good, cheap and fast option for the fans of pasta. This is a quick-service restaurant where you order your food and pick up from the counter. Pizza, spaghetti, fettuccine, meatballs, basically everything for the lovers of Italian food. Mamma mia! It’s definitely a good choice if you don’t want to spend ages in line. Grab a big slice of pepperoni pizza, a beverage, spend less than thirty minutes eating and you are good to go! A lot of families bring their kids here, since everyone loves pizza, right?

Richter’s Burger Co ($)

Food Type

Burgers & sandwiches (bacon cheeseburgers, grilled chicken sandwich, fries, etc)

This is a traditional spot for burgers, fries and shakes. The restaurant is themed after the (rest in peace) Disaster ride, showing “structural damage” on the walls and a few objects upside down. The menu is all about bacon cheeseburgers, chicken sandwiches, french fries and milkshakes.

Honestly, I think there are better options to eat at Universal Studios. Don’t get me wrong, I do love a bacon cheeseburger, but the two times I’ve been here the bun was a little dry, and the same could be said about the fries. Still, maybe it was just bad luck. Online reviews for Richter’s Burger Co are mixed, so only come here if you really, really want a cheeseburger. You can also eat your burgers at the Fast Food Boulevard and at Mel’s Drive-In, which might be better options.

Leaky Cauldron ($)

Food Type

English pub (cottage pie, fish & chips, scotch eggs, etc)

Universal-Leaky-Cauldron-2.webp

Of course that there is a restaurant in the Harry Potter area. Of course that it is usually packed with guests and people wearing their Gryffindor t-shirts. Just remember that the line will be very long from 11am all the way to 2pm, so you might come back here around 3pm to have lunch or dessert only. Before you ask, no, there are no reservations available for the Leaky Cauldron. It’s first come, first serve.

The Leaky cauldron is dressed in a medieval style, with an interior that looks a lot like the one found in the first Harry Potter movie. Most guests prefer this restaurant over the Three Broomsticks at Islands of Adventure, saying the food is better and you can’t beat the atmosphere with all the candles, huge tables and incredible decor.

The menu has a lot of options for sandwiches, pies and other dishes that you might find in a traditional English pub. The fish & chips is certainly a favorite amongst guests, with a lot of people online saying good things about it. 

Fast Food Boulevard ($)

Food Type

Variety (burgers, seafood, pizza, etc)

The Fast Food Boulevard is a little bit different from the rest of the names on this guide. This is basically a huge indoor area with a bunch of kiosks serving food, similar to what you would find inside a shopping mall. The restaurants include The Frying Dutchman, Lisa’s Teahouse of Horror, Krusty Burger and Luigi’s Pizza.

You know what is cool? The menus include options for (crazy) dishes that you won’t find anywhere else at Universal, like a chicken waffle sandwich and curly fries. You know what else is cool? Every kiosk offers something different, so expect to find burgers, pizzas, seafood, sandwiches and even veggie burgers at Lisa’s. The decoration is also pretty spot on, with scattered tvs showing clips from classic Simpsons episodes. I’d definitely choose to come here over, say, Richter’s Burger Co.

If that’s not enough, Moe’s Tavern is just a few steps away, and it’s an excellent spot to drink beer and enjoy the amazing atmosphere, which includes a real life size Barney Gumble. 

Mel’s Drive-In ($)

Food Type

Burgers (bacon cheeseburgers, onion rings, grilled chicken sandwich, etc)

Universal-Mels-Drive-In.webp
Universal©

Did you know that, before the massive success of Star Wars, George Lucas directed a movie called American Graffiti in what many call Harrison Ford's breakout role? Mel’s Drive-In is a quick-service burger joint pulled directly from the movie, featuring a 60s aesthetic with jukeboxes, colorful tables and vintage cars parked in front of the entrance.

Not much to say about the burgers. I’ve been here two times, and think the bacon cheeseburgers are plain better than what’s offered at Richter’s Burger Co. The atmosphere is also very cozy and tables are large enough for a full family. There’s also an option for vegan burgers and the chicken fingers are always a good choice for the kids.

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