20 Best Restaurants At Universal Studios Hollywood, Ranked

Of all the exciting landmarks and attractions in Southern California, Universal Studios is drawing some of the biggest crowds. Universal has made significant investments in blockbuster movie franchises like Harry Potter and Jurassic Park, which each have corresponding areas or rides at the park. A fun day at the park is sure to work up an appetite, but where to go?

At a theme park like Universal, the restaurants can be as much a part of the experience as the rides — if you choose the right one. Making the right decision about where to spend your pennies, and getting a bite to eat can make all the difference in what kind of a day you have. We've combed through all the restaurants both inside the park and on the Universal CityWalk and determined which ones stand out and which are hard passes. Here are the best (and worst) restaurants at Universal Studios Hollywood so you can make the right choice next time you go.

20. Dongpo Kitchen

In a sea of burger joints and kiosks selling sugary treats with no sustenance, it can be appealing to consider trying a nice sit-down spot with a taste of Sichuan flavor. Dongpo Kitchen at the Universal CityWalk is a casual restaurant concept and spinoff of Meizhou Dongpo, an upscale Chinese food establishment known for its roast duck. At the location at Universal, the menu is full of Chinese favorites like potstickers and dumplings, noodle dishes, and wok-fired entrées.

Sadly, the overwhelming amount of unfavorable reviews that comment on everything from the prices to the quality of the food sent this restaurant to the bottom of our list. Even though Sichuan cuisine is often quite spicy, many of the dishes at Dongpo come out unbearably and inedibly spicy.

19. Mummy Eats

Down on Universal's lower lot, there aren't a ton of food options. This area is dominated by the thrilling Jurassic Park experience, but just across from it is the Revenge of the Mummy ride. Once you've taken a spin on the thrilling roller coaster, you'll pass by Mummy Eats on your way out. The menu is focused on hand-dipped corn dogs, with a few twists. Of course, there's the classic corn dog we all know and love, which is a hot dog on a stick dipped in a corn-based batter, as well as a spicy corn dog and a vegetarian version.

In addition to these core items is the Korean corn dog, made with a combination of hot dog and mozzarella cheese dipped in a Korean corn dog batter and then panko bread crumbs before being fried. This item is maybe worth getting, but the lack of other options is kind of a bummer and you might want to opt for somewhere with more choices.

18. Pink's Famous Hot Dogs

Pink's Hot Dogs has been a Hollywood icon and tourist destination since Paul Pink opened the stand back in 1939. This hot dog spot now has 13 locations across Southern California, with one at the Universal CityWalk. Often, restaurants at a theme park are good enough, considering the location. Pink's, however, is one of the more popular restaurants in all of LA, as evidenced by its continued success after decades in business and its long list of celebrity patrons.

While there are tastier options with more choices, Pink's undoubtedly sells the best hot dogs at Universal. If you have a craving for a snappy dog, grab one of the famed combinations, like the "Emeril" dog, with onion, jalapeño, mustard, bacon, American cheese, and coleslaw.

17. Mel's Diner

Mel's Diner is a classic American diner full of nostalgia and flair. The location inside Universal Studios Hollywood has a '50s era decor and ambiance, with a themed menu to match. Inspired by the 1973 film "American Graffiti," Mel's Diner is located in the center of the upper lot, right in the middle of all the many attractions. The food leaves a lot to be desired, however, and the place has a dismal yet pretty telling 2-star rating on Yelp.

The wait can be long and the ordering system confusing, and that's all before you even take a bite. If you want a burger, you'd be better off hitting one of the other places inside the park that definitely serve similar fare.

16. Cletus' Chicken Shack

Like the character in "The Simpsons" by which this restaurant gets its name, Cletus' Chicken Shack is full of country charm and dishes out Southern-style fried chicken. The menu has a fried chicken platter, served with all the good sides: corn on the cob, mashed potatoes and gravy, and a biscuit. Other items include a chicken tender plate, a chicken and waffle sandwich, a grilled chicken sandwich, and a grilled chicken Caesar.

It's a fairly good place to eat, especially if you have a craving for chicken. Definitely expect exorbitantly high prices for what you get because of its location inside the park and don't expect the kind of quality you might find in the rest of Los Angeles. The chicken tenders are the best bet here, which are crispy and tasty.

15. Krusty Burger

We'll call this one a tie with Cletus' Chicken Shack, as it is essentially the same exact concept but themed with Krusty from "The Simpsons" instead of Cletus, and burgers instead of chicken. The "Krusty Burger" comes with a ⅓ pound beef patty topped with a "secret sauce," American cheese, lettuce, tomato, and pickles. Also on the menu is the "Clogger Burger," a double-patty sandwich that comes with slices of crispy bacon, a veggie burger, and the "Ribwich," a boneless BBQ rib sandwich not unlike the seasonal special at McDonald's.

The food is nothing to write home about but will fill you enough to get through an afternoon of rides and souvenir buying. Stop by Moe's to get a cold beer to wash it down.

14. Bubba Gump Shrimp Co.

You might expect a restaurant based on a movie to have an outpost at Universal Studios, and that's exactly why it's no surprise to see a location of Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. right here at the Universal CityWalk. Based on the hit movie, "Forrest Gump," Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. is a seafood restaurant that has nods to the film everywhere you look. Despite the recent decline of some chain restaurants, Bubba Gump's endures for the good enough food and a playful ambiance.

Don't expect insanely fresh seafood, but any of the fried items (like calamari or coconut shrimp) are going to be crispy and tender. This place can get really busy at night so plan for a hefty wait time to get seated if you come at peak hours.

13. Toadstool Cafe

Universal Hollywood's newest attraction is Super Mario World, and it is complete with a fast-casual Italian restaurant called Toadstool Cafe. This creative spot was created by Chef Toad (who else?) and has a bit of whimsy and fun entwined in every dish. Every aspect of the cafe is like a scene from the classic video game, from the walls to the tables and chairs to the little pieces of plastic ephemera that adorn each plate.

Once you get past the overwhelming amount of Super Mario theming, the food is decent if not quite revolutionary. There are burgers, kinds of pasta, and even some salads for healthy eaters. Only time will tell if this place can deliver on quality as well as the premise.

12. Mini Monster

Southern California loves its boba teas (as do we), and Los Angeles has some of the best boba tea shops around. Thankfully, there is a boba shop called Mini Monster at the Universal CityWalk to quench your thirst on a hot day. In our opinion, boba falls somewhere between snack and drink, and that is especially true at Mini Monster, where some menu options come topped with Fruity Pebbles and cotton candy.

This spot is low on the list simply for the lack of options, which probably will not fill you up if you're starving after a day full of rides and adventuring through the park. That being said, what they do have is always good and pleasantly sweet without veering on cloying.

11. Vivo Italian Kitchen

As we move up the list we get more into bona fide restaurant territory. Vivo Italian Kitchen falls into this category, which serves salads, pizzas, pasta, and more. This restaurant has a full bar with drinks served in actual glassware, somewhat of a rarity for a theme park. It's outside of the park on the Universal CityWalk, close to the park entrance. After a full day walking around, take a load off on the patio and feel the calm night air as you sip a nice glass of white wine.

The food here is solid and everything tastes fresh. Reviews from other diners are overwhelmingly positive, aside from some complaints about the price, which is to be expected at a restaurant in a tourist zone. Don't skip the crescenza bread appetizer, a house specialty.

10. Hollywood and Dine

Named for the famed Los Angeles intersection, Hollywood and Dine is a cafeteria-style restaurant in the maid area of the park. There are certainly better options at Universal, but Hollywood and Dine has some solid options and the menu changes seasonally. As of spring 2023, this spot is serving an Asian-inspired menu for Chinese New Year, and the menu is full of choices like pork ramen and spicy tuna poke. The flavor and general quality could be considered "good enough," especially if you don't have the energy or time to leave the park for something on the Citywalk.

If you love a crispy funnel cake topped with powdered sugar and strawberries, this is the only place in the park that sells it so add one to your order for dessert.

9. Luigi's Pizza

Like some other restaurants on this list, Luigi's Pizza gets higher marks just for the fact of it is inside the park and available for a quick bite. This simple truth can make us overlook some of the low points, like the price ($10 for a slice) or the general lack of ambiance. If you can get past these, the flavor of the pizza isn't half bad, and since it is already cooked, the line moves super fast. It is kind of reminiscent of Costco pizza, in the best way.

Luigi's is located inside the area themed on "The Simpsons," which means you can watch episodes on a shady patio after grabbing a beer at Moe's to pair with your delicious pizza.

8. Minion Cafe

Bottom line, if you are looking for something to eat inside the park that's good for kids, has flavor, and at least some hint of freshness, Minion Cafe is the place to hit. The grilled cheese (which comes with a side of herbed tomato soup for dipping) is the crowd favorite, as is the loaded nachos that come topped with shredded rotisserie chicken, fresh salsa, and guacamole. For dessert, go for the Nutella banana pudding that's topped with a cute edible Minion face.

The restaurant has cafeteria-style service which makes the line go quite quickly, unlike many other places in the park. Outside seating is easily the best choice here, which has a view of the water features of Super Silly Fun Land.

7. Toothsome Chocolate Emporium and Savory Feast Kitchen

Toothsome Chocolate Emporium and Savory Feast Kitchen is an immersive dining experience intended to draw crowds who are looking for more than just a plate of food they could get anywhere in the city. The theme here is sort of Willy Wonka meets steampunk factory, and all the servers are dressed up to match. Like many of the better restaurants on the Universal Citywalk, there's a full bar that serves everything from espresso martinis to a sugar cookie soda spiked with rum.

Many of the savory items have nods to the sweet shop theme, like the coffee and chocolate stout chicken wings. Of course, dessert is a huge draw here and there's a sundae bar where you can have an employee whip you up the confection of your dreams.

6. French Street Bistro

French Street Bistro is kind of a sleeper hit inside the park, and probably your best bet if the wait time at the Three Broomsticks is unbearably long and you don't want to leave the park to hit the Citywalk. The sandwiches are a nice choice when greasy fried and griddled food just does not seem appealing. Some sandwiches come in baguettes, some are in croissants, and all are filled with fresh ingredients like crisp sprouts and sliced French ham.

In a theme park, you expect the prices to be sky-high, which makes it a welcome and refreshing change to see the prices at French Street Bistro. A crisp and sweet macaron is just $0.99 and a cup of clam chowder is a steal at $2.99.

5. Cocina Mexicana

Another restaurant inside Universal Studios that actually has a hint of freshness and decently good food (for a theme park restaurant) is Cocina Mexicana. This spot beat out French Street Bistro by a hair, mostly because there are many more options for vegetarian and vegan diners at this joint. The location itself is dressed up like a Mexican hacienda and is located right outside the entrance to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter.

One of the better items is the taco salad, which has nice crisp lettuce and fresh pico de gallo salsa. You can choose from various meat fillings, or you can make the taco salad vegetarian. Oh, and they also serve tasty frozen margaritas in three flavors: mango, strawberry, and classic lime.

4. NBC Sports Grill + Brew

Can a restaurant have a theme based on a television network? NBC Sports Grill + Brew says yes. This restaurant is kind of like Yardhouse meets Cheesecake Factory, but the food is surprisingly solid and the added bonus of a full bar put this pick near the top of our list. The portions here are large and the mixed drinks are strong and tasty. You can't really go wrong with a good burger, but the Nashville hot chopped chicken salad is a dish that always hits right.

NBC Sports Grill + Brew has something for everyone, meaning parents can grab a drink and watch some games while the kids can play with the foosball table after inhaling some chicken nuggets. Ordering the gigantic pretzel is practically required, so make sure to get one.

3. Antojitos

Even though "antojitos" are Mexican snacks, Antojitos at the Universal Citywalk is a full-service Mexican restaurant with a playful atmosphere and an extensive yet fun bar menu. Days walking around a theme park can get long, but Antojitos is a great place to catch a break and unwind with a frosty margarita. The vibe is fun and casual enough to bring the kids, but not so much so that adults couldn't have a date night here.

The tequila and margarita list is hefty so if you are in the mood for it, start with one of those. You can pair it with the taco plate that comes with a side of rice and beans or the tender braised carnitas which comes crisped on the plancha.

2. Jurassic Cafe and Isla Nu-bar

Just outside the Jurassic Park ride at Universal Hollywood are the Jurassic Cafe and Isla Nu-bar. This cafe serves Costa Rican food, which means you can expect menu items like slow-roasted mojo pork with rice and beans or the citrus-glazed chicken with cranberry chimichurri and papaya slaw. These dishes are a welcome change from the standard theme park fare in the rest of Universal, as the flavors are punchy without being over the top.

If you start your day at the park early, this is the place to go for breakfast, which is served until 11 a.m. The sausage breakfast burrito with fried potatoes and cheesy scrambled eggs is the perfect thing to fuel you up for a big day.

1. Three Broomsticks and Hog's Head

When Universal was coming up with the idea for the Harry Potter section of the park, they must have been scheming to up the ante in terms of restaurant quality. The Three Broomsticks is hands down the best restaurant at Universal. The menu is based on classic English favorites, like shepherd's pie or bangers and mash. The food is filling, tasty, and reasonably priced at about $15 bucks a plate. Our favorite order is the fish and chips plate which comes out crispy and salted to perfection.

Butterbeer is pretty much a required order so don't skip it (it comes served either hot or cold). The only downside? Wait times can be super long and food does sell out, so go on the early side if you want the full selection.