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Sweet Dining Dilemma

With so many new options, what’s a visitor to Universal CityWalk to do?

If you haven’t been to Universal CityWalk at Universal Orlando Resort recently, then you haven’t been to Universal CityWalk. Three of the newest restaurants are such heavily themed attractions that you’ll feel as if you haven’t left the theme parks.


In title: The Toothsome Chocolate Factory’s Steampunk vibe and decadent desserts is a big draw for CityWalk guests.

Above: A The Cowfish, the menu features an unusual combination of burgers and sushi. Universal Orlando Resort


The entertainment starts before you enter this eatery when you spot the bug-eyed cowfish wearing a riding saddle on its back just outside the front entrance. It makes for a perfect photo-op. When you go inside, you’re given a fish name and your fish will appear on a video screen. The bigger your fish gets, the less time before you’re seated. Children will love the design-your-own-fish option.

The signature creations on The Cowfish’s menu are called “Burgushi,” a cutting-edge fusion of burgers and sushi. Try The Cowfish’s homage to Elvis Presley, The Cowfish Has Officially Left the Building, which contains creamy peanut butter and fried bananas. Or order a bento box containing a combo meal featuring a burger and sushi. Surf and turf has never been so much fun.


You don’t have to be a sports fan to love the NBC Sports Grill & Brew, but it does add to the enjoyment. Nearly 100 high-definition screens play a constant stream of sports coverage. If you’re not content to just watch a game, you can get in on the action yourself by playing tabletop versions of foosball and shuffleboard right at your table.

An extensive menu offers a good variety of hearty appetizers and entrees, including burgers, steaks, chicken, salads, and seafood. Save some room for the Big Banana Cake, a seven-layer dessert containing divinely decadent ingredients and fresh whole bananas. Quaff one of the more than 100 beers (on draft and in bottles), and check out the indoor/outdoor beer garden.


Anyone with a sweet tooth can plainly see that I’ve saved the best for last. The Toothsome Chocolate Emporium & Savory Feast Kitchen is CityWalk’s newest dining venue, and perhaps the most heavily themed of all. This place is a hoot, from the steaming smokestacks atop the building to the steampunk fantasy decor inside. You might even meet proud Proprietor Penelope Toothsome and her trusty robot companion, Jacques, as they make their way from table to table regaling guests with fanciful tales of their travels.

Aside from the totally immersive experience (featuring jaw-dropping mechanical gadgetry), the menu is so extensive (74 items) that it takes two hands to hold it. It’s heavy enough, in fact, to seem like a chocolate lover’s bible, and you’ll think you’ve died and gone to heaven when you taste some of the delicious chocolate-themed appetizers, such as Warm Chocolate Almond Bread with Salted Caramel Butter. Entrees include the flavorful Chicken Bercy, served with asparagus and Yukon Gold mashed potatoes. There are signature chocolate-themed cocktails and 13 different mouthwatering milkshakes, including one of Penelope’s picks, the Chocolate x5, which features an explosion of chocolate ice cream, chocolate chunks, chocolate sauce, and chocolate spirals. Even for such a chic chocolate place, this concoction is off the charts.


The newest (and fifth) addition to Universal Orlando Resort’s on-site hotels is Loews Sapphire Falls Resort, a Caribbean-themed property where blue waterfalls cascade across lush grounds, and guests can relax in a 16,000-square-foot pool area with a water slide, interactive children’s play area, hot tub, and fire pit.

Water taxis whisk guests away to the Universal Orlando theme parks across the lagoon for complimentary early park admission.

Caribbean-inspired dining is available at the Amatista Cookhouse, the Drhum Club Kantine, and the New Dutch Trading Co. At the Strong Water Tavern, you can taste some of the 60 styles of rum with the guidance of a friendly rum captain.

The choices at Universal CityWalk can seem almost overwhelming, but a Loews Sapphire Falls Resort guest can look forward to easing into island time. Rest well, because there’s more to explore the next day.

Nancy Pistorius is a new contributor from Lawrence, Kan.

January/February 2017 Issue


To visit Orlando, first stop by your nearest AAA service office e for maps, reservations, TripTik® Travel Planners and TourBook® guides.

AAA Travel also offers discounted tickets to Universal in Orlando or ask your AAA Travel agent to put together a complete package for your Orlando trip.



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