With so much to see and do in Universal Studios Hollywood, The Chances are you are going to be in the Park for a long time probably a full day at least. So with this in mind, you are likely to get hungry probably several times. The problem with ThemeParks is you are a little bit Trapped and at mercy to their Quality and Prices, which can be notoriously shaky.
So to ensure you don’t get ripped off and can find all the best restaurants in the park we have put together our What to eat at Universal Studios Hollywood guide showing you all the great and not so great places to get some food.
What is the Food Like?
Overall the food in the park is passable. It’s not great and is never going to win awards, and anyone who would call themselves a foodie may find it unbearable. It is mainly cheap fast food items, fried or grilled, and not of the highest quality. Fortunately, it’s not horrendously overpriced.
Meals are in the $11-15 range which while quite pricey for what you get but it’s not the sort of money to break the bank. There are few exceptions to the fried fast food formula where you can grab something a bit fresher and healthier. But overall most restaurants differentiate more by theming than menu differences.
It really isn’t bad food it’s just not great. It’s there to fill a hole and get you into the next ride queue. And there
Can I take my own?
Absolutely. There is no overall restriction on bringing food into the park. There are a few restrictions on certain things such as Glass containers, Alcohol, and the size of coolers etc… There will also be no facilities to heat food or anything like that. But if you want to bring your own food and snack it is absolutely no problem.
Check here for a full up-to-date list. And remember you will have your bags checked so any glass bottles or alcohol could be taken off you or denied access!
Where can you get food?
There are two main options here, Either in Park or in the City Walk before you enter the park. While you can leave the park to head to city walk, it’s a bit of a walk to add to a day of walking so we tend to limit trips here to arriving and leaving. City Walk is mainly Chain Restaurants so we will not take an in-depth look, whereas the Park Retraunts are more unique and can only be found inside the park. and these will be the focus of this article. We will briefly address the City Walk restaurants below as well.
Of course, you can visit City Walk and its restaurants without visiting the Park Itself.
Dining In the Park
There are essentially three types of dining options inside the Park. Most are heavily themed and as such really good fun. There are Restaurants and Cafes for Meals. Several Bars serve alcohol and Snacks and then there are the quick and simple snack stands that just serve snacks and treats along with drinks.
There are also a handful of chain outlets in the park that we briefly mention below.
Restaurants / Cafes
These locations are where you can get a full meal. Some are Sit Down locations others are Food Court Style outlets where you can grab your meal and then sit down in more communal seating. Other are simple Grab and Go Coffee shops with no provided seating, perfect to eat in a queue or at a show.
Some are very unique and varied, others
Three Broomstick – Wizarding World of Harry Potter
The Famous Hogsmede Pub is featured in several Harry Potter films and is the source of the near-mythical Butter Beer. Serving “English” classic meals such as Cottage Pie, Fish and Chips, and
The food here is not great. It certainly isn’t English (We should know, hailing from England). It is a refreshing change from most of the park’s food though. For most A
Except it isn’t. We were so excited to finally get some Butter-Beer for the first time but unfortunately, we found it quite revolting. It is impossibly sweet with very little other flavor and almost syrupy in texture.
Despite being a bit negative about the Three Broomsticks we actually prefer it to most other locations. You can sit down out of the sun and enjoy something that you really can’t get anywhere else. And while the Butter Beer is Awful, We try it again every time we go and it sells by the bucket load.
Springfield Dining –
Springfield is a
Cletus Chicken Shack – Springfield
A pretty average Counter Service Fried Chicken shop with a bit of Simpsons-theming. Unless you REALLY want fried Chicken we would avoid it. After all, it’s pretty pricey for a bit of fried chicken. The Chicken and Waffle Sandwich is pretty decent and unique, however.
Krusty Burger – Springfield
This is a tough one. We love Burgers, obviously, and we relish the chance to finally get to eat in Krusty Burger. However, this isn’t what you expect from the real Krusty Burger. For one, they are pretty good burgers, we expected several levels below Mcdonald’s in terms of quality. It may seem odd to rip a place for them being too high quality but we really wanted them to be dirtier.
Instead, you get decent burgers with some pretty hilarious theming going on. This is no bad thing, but really, the food is lacking the imagination of the theming.
Luigi’s Pizza – Springfield
Obviously, as this is run by Mob Boss Fat Tony we have nothing but praise for this Fine Italian Pizza restaurant. It absolutely serves the BEST Pizza in all of Springfield. So if TakeAway Pizza is your desire, You will not do any better anywhere in Springfield.
Now please don’t break our legs.
Gru’s Lab Cafe – Super Silly Fun Land
We really like Gru’s Lab Cafe. The food is not incredible but a lot of imagination has gone into making it all a bit mad professor. The Main Meals are tasty and well made, with dishes such as Victor’s Grilled Cheese with Pulled Pork, El Macho’s Nachos, and Minion Meatball Sandwich.
The Deserts, such as minion cupcakes and Banana Brownies are awesome and the New Popcorn Topped Freeze Ray Smoothie is a must-try.
Hollywood & Dine – Main Street
Typical Theme-park Fair served here such as Burgers, Grilled Chicken Sandwiches, and Asian Stir-fry bowls, and Pizza. The best thing going here is the Freshly made Funnel Cakes with Strawberries and cream!
Jurassic Cafe – Lower Lot
With Dining Options down on the Lower Lot pretty limited. It’s the Jurrasic Cafe or Panda Express! Fortunately, the Jurassic Grill is a decent option and could save you from having to head up to the upper lot if you need a quick bite.
The Menu is Fairly limited but they have big Dino-Sized Burgers, Gourmet Pizza, and Chicken or Turkey leg Diners. All good portions and features indoor seating. Great if it’s getting hot outside.
French Street Bistro – Universal Plaza
Not a Bistro at all but a quick Grab and Go Coffee (Starbucks) Shop. It may seem a bit uninspiring but we actually find it quite refreshing from the deep-fried stodge on offer elsewhere. Expect freshly made Sandwiches such as Black Forest ham and Swiss croissants, Tuna and Egg Sub, or Gourmet Italian Sub. Being Grab and Go means you can eat while in the Queue for the next ride.
Mel’s Diner – Universal Plaza
A 50’s inspired Diner featuring everything you would expect, vinyl booths, Jukebox, and Neon Lights. The food is ok but if you really want an authentic Diner Experience you can do a lot better outside the park.
Plaza Grill – Universal Plaza
This is another standard fare type place with Burgers, Hot dogs, and Pulled Pork or Turkey Sandwiches. As you can see menus are all a bit repetitive. And most of the outlets are a bit nondescript.
The Standout item here is the Giant Turkey legs available.
Studio Cafe – Lower Lot
Another Quick Grab and Go Cafe where you can pick up a quick sandwich and a coffee. Like the French Street Bistro, this can make a refreshing change.
Palace Theatre Cafe – Universal Plaza
A third and Final Grab and Go Cafe, very much like the Studio Cafe, and the French Street Bistro.
Best Restaurant in Universal Studios?
Well, it’s none of the above and it’s not available to regular guests! This is a VIP-only restaurant that tears strips off the rest of the dining options:
Before we get too into it the good news is, when we say VIP, we don’t mean Kim Kardashian, Oprah, or some Hollywood A-lister…or even a Z-lister, we mean people on the VIP Tours. These are attainable for most people and are actually our favorite way to visit the park.
These incredible VIP tours also get your lunch at the Moulin Rouge. Which is far better than any other restaurant in the park. Not only is it incredibly civilized, with a stunning terrace overlooking the San Fernando Valley, but the food is also just incredible!
It’s Buffet Style and offers some incredible choices.
Roast Chicken, Roasted Salmon, Pizza, Amazing Salads, Chicken Tenders, Various Vegetables, Chicken Tikka Massala, Roasted Pork Loin, and Mac and Cheese. There was also Fresh Scampi and the most wonderful Lobster Rissoto and fresh roasted Beef Tri-Tip!
For dessert, there were a host of mini-desserts, muffins, and Creme Brulees along with warm chocolate chip cookies and Nutella Crepes! And if that is not enough there was some amazing Gelato too! There was also a chilled drinks cabinet where you can help yourself and some large fountains with chilled pink lemonade and fruit water!
It is hands down the best food you will get in the park and almost worth ding the VIP tour just for that!
Universal Studio’s Bars
Where to Get a Drink at Universal Studios Hollywood
At Universal’s Bars, you can take some time out to kick back and relax. They all serve a selection of unique, and craft beers and snacks and are genuinely fun.
Hogshead – Wizarding World of Harry Potter
If you don’t want a full sit-down meal but still want the excitement of trying out a Hogsmeade Pub the Hogshead is for you. You can get butterbeer here or pumpkin juice but the specialty is the Hogs Head Brew or Dragon Scale beer.
They also offer some traditional English Beer Cocktails, but in reality, these are just beer mixes such as Snake Bite (Beer and Cider), Black and Tan (Guinness and Beer), and Black Velvet (Guinness and Fizz), and if you charged these prices for a Snake Bite in a real English pub there would be a riot!
Moe’s Tavern – Springfield
We Love the Detail Universal went to with Moe’s Tavern, and that we mean the Detail in the BEER. It would have been so easy to Re-Brand Budweiser and call it Duff, but instead, they went to a small brewer and created their own range. That’s right the only place you can get Duff beer is in Moe’s (or the Duff Brewery and Beer Garden).
To be honest, the Bar is a bit too bright and cartoony for us, but I suppose if it had been the manky s%*thole it would have been seen as unsavory and not for kids… But we demand Accuracy from our Cartoons!
Duff Brewery and Beer Garden – Springfield
Moe’s is great but we much prefer the Duff Brewery and Beer Garden. It’s pretty much the same just you can sit outside and really relax as you numb the mind with the real king of beers…Duff
Mulligan’s Irish Pub
Mulligan’s is a “real” pub serving a load of cocktails and some good craft beers. We are not sure we want to come to Universal to cram into a pub to get wasted, we can (and do) do that at home. But if the thrills and excitement of the park really drive you to it you can blow off steam here with a good old pint of snakebite!
The Snack Stands are all basic and simple food trucks. If all you need is a quick snack or a drink you might find these are all you need. They are all pretty much self-explanatory from their names.
- Bumblebee Mans Taco Truck – Springfield
- Lard Lads Donuts – Springfield
- Suds McDuff’s Hotdogs – Springfield
- Phineas Q. Butterfat’s Ice Cream – Springfield
- Despicable Delights – Super Silly Fun Land
- Magic Neep Cart – Wizarding World of Harry Potter
- Universal Tower Snack Bar – Universal Plaza
These are the few Chain Restaurants dotted about. There are not many inside the Park and we all know what to expect from these.
Starbucks – Upper and Lower Lot
If you cannot do without your Starbucks Hit for the Day Fear not as there are two outlets in the park. One in both the Upper and Lower Lot. We only tend to head here on Hot days for a Frappe or just a LARGE cup of free ice water
You can Also grab Starbucks at the French Street Bistro.
Cinnabon – Universal Plaza
While we all love Cinnabon, it’s just too messy and sickly for us when in the park. But it’s there if you really want it.
Panda Express – Lower Lot
We are afraid we can see little point in their being a Panda Express in the park. But there is. Why you would come to a park like this and eat something that is on a million locations nationwide is a bit beyond us…but hell if you just NEED that Orange Chicken hit, knock yourselves out.
The Saving grace may be the limited food choices down in the lower lot. But the upper lot is just an escalator ride away…
City Walk is Filled with Dining options, and it’s a great place to grab something to eat. However, we are going to refrain from recommending anywhere particular.
We have not actually tried many of the CityWalk restaurants, Mainly as they are all big name, well-known Chain restaurants. Sure we have eaten at nearly all the Brands, just not at these particular outlets.
Really you don’t need us to tell you if you like Taco Bell, Hard Rock Cafe, Margaritaville, or Bubba Gump. We are not trying to be preachy or say you shouldn’t dine here. It’s convenient cheap and you know exactly what you are getting. That’s why we don’t need to turn over every establishment and rate and review it would be pointless. These Chains maintain the same or similar levels of service and quality across all their joints so you know what to expect.
If Nothing in the Park has tickled your fancy and you just want a familiar bite to eat in a well-known US restraint Chain the Head for City Walk, Sometimes this is just what the doctor ordered.
Have Your Say
We would love to hear from you about your Dining experiences in the Park? Everyone has a unique take on what makes good or awful food and we always like hearing the different sides. So let us know your thoughts below.
Also if you have any questions on the dining option in Universal Studios Hollywood fire away in the comments section below.