Food Tour and Review of Universal Studios

Hanna Masri, Lifestyle Editor

You can’t talk about theme parks without talking about the food. Whether it’s the Mickey-shaped pretzels at Disneyland or the butterbeer at Universal Studios, the food at these parks is almost as pivotal and discussed as the rides. A friend and I took a recent trip down to Universal Studios Hollywood and I’m here to give you an honest breakdown of the dos and don’ts of their food scene. 

DO: Frozen and regular butterbeer, sticky toffee pudding, The Leaky Cauldron: The first stop of the day, we had our mid-morning snack in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. The options in the Leaky Cauldron were limited, especially if you’re vegetarian or vegan, but we wanted a spot to sit, relax, and sip our butterbeer. The Leaky Cauldron gave us just that! The ambiance and design of the restaurant really made us feel like we were in an English pub. The actual food was not as great. The butterbeer was alright but was incredibly sweet (after a few sips we felt sick and only drank the foam on the top). The frozen butterbeer was much better than the regular carbonated version because it tasted like a sweet slushie rather than a sickly-sweet soda. The sticky toffee pudding tasted great, it was a bread-like cake with a caramel-butterscotch swirl, dotted with butterscotch chips and caramel pieces, and covered in a caramel sauce. It tasted amazing but it was not sticky toffee pudding  — it had no trace of dates, was completely the wrong texture and flavor. With that being said, the experience was truly unmatched. If you go to Universal you have to make your way to the Wizarding world, and if you make your way to the Wizarding world, you have to try butterbeer (and the sticky toffee pudding if you’re looking for a sweet treat)! 

DO: Frozen lemonade and soft pretzel, food carts around the park: The carts that are around the park serve a very particular purpose. They serve as a place to get a quick bite or a refreshing drink between rides and attractions. For us, they served this purpose perfectly. We had been craving a soft pretzel for the first half of the day and by lunchtime when we passed a cart selling them, we had to get some. The hot, salty treat hit just the spot. It was everything a soft pretzel should be: slathered with butter, sprinkled with salt, warm, and bready. The lemonade fulfilled a craving too. We got it closer to the end of the day and it was a great refreshing drink. It tasted like Minute Maid lemonade frozen like a slushie. I would strongly recommend both of these, especially the lemonade on a hot day. 

DO/DON’T: Simpson’s pink donut, banana sundae, and pizza, Simpson’s World: Simpson’s world was filled with triumphs and disappointments. This was where we stopped for lunch. We got a slice of vegetable and a slice of cheese pizza. They tasted fine (if anything too thick of a crust and not cooked enough) but they were extremely overpriced clocking in at $10 a slice.  High prices are expected at amusement parks but an average, regular-sized slice of pizza costing $10 is outrageous. After lunch, we went and got a classic Simpson’s pink-frosted donut and a banana sundae. The donut was massive (bigger than my head) but it was also awful. We literally only ate a bite before we tossed it. It’s got a great value (only $8 for the whole thing!) but tastes so fried and dense that it’s hard to eat. The sundae on the other hand was delicious. It was a vanilla soft serve with caramelized bananas, a cinnamon-caramel sauce, with whipped cream and banana slices on top. It was the perfect balance of sweet, fruity, and spice! The main takeaways here are that the pizza and donut weren’t worth it and to get the ice cream sundae because you won’t be disappointed. 

DON’T: Bertie’s Botts Every flavor Beans and Caramel Cobwebs, Honeydukes: When I experienced the Wizarding World for the first time, I was enchanted by Honeydukes. The bright decor and replicas of the candy from the books were captivating. Going back now, the charm of the shop is still there but my desire for their candy is not. This may be a hot take but the candy at Honeydukes is overpriced and not that good. I bought the Bertie’s Botts Every flavor Beans and Caramel Cobwebs for my little sister and no one in my family was impressed. They all, including my 10-year-old sister, said that they were too sweet. I can see the fun in the jelly beans but at the end of the day, before you buy, ask yourself when and where you will actually eat the expensive candy that you’re purchasing.