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Think it will be difficult to find vegan food at Universal Orlando? Think again!
It’s hard to tell sometimes just how vegan-friendly a place in the world will be. I remember growing up as a vegetarian. In the early 90s, we’d take road trips from the Toronto area right down to Orlando, sometimes driving nearly 24 hours straight. Along the way, we’d sometimes have to get by eating grilled cheese sandwiches, French fries, and pasta with tomato sauce was a treat. Finding vegetarian options was a challenge, let alone if we had tried to find vegan food.
Thankfully, those days are long in the past. Vegan food is becoming more and more plentiful worldwide, including some choices at resorts and amusement parks. Not only did we manage to survive at Universal Orlando, but we were spoiled for choices. From the Universal CityWalk to restaurants within Universal Studios Florida and Universal’s Islands of Adventure, we tried to eat as much as we could over our five days on the property. If you’re thinking about dining as a vegan at Universal Orlando, be prepared to dazzle your taste buds. I’ll show you everything that we ate while we were there, as well as a few more suggestions that we’ll be using for our next visit. Here’s the ultimate Universal Studios vegan guide if you should find yourself wandering the theme parks of Orlando, Florida.
Vegan Universal Studios Florida
While we were at Universal Orlando, we always happened to be in the Universal Studios section when it was time to eat (as opposed to Islands of Adventure). This wasn’t done on purpose, but happened on both days we were there. However, if you’re only visiting Islands of Adventure, you’ll find some similar vegan meals over at that theme park. I’ll make note of these below. Here’s how we dined vegan at Universal Studios Florida.
Richter’s Burger Co
You’ll find Richter’s Burger Co in the San Francisco area of Universal Studios Florida. It’s a fast food joint with one vegan option. We ordered the Impossible Burger combo: the Impossible plant-based burger topped with Follow Your Heart cheese and Vegenaise with a side of fries. The burgers were perfectly grilled and tasted so flavorful with the cheese and mayo on top. You can add other toppings from the toppings bar, like lettuce, tomato, pickles, onion, and other condiments. It’s nice to have access to the toppings to add as much or as little as you’d like.
Lombard’s Seafood Grille
It’s not often you’ll find me at a seafood restaurant (read: never), but Lombard’s Seafood Grille (also in the San Francisco area of Universal Studios) was a fantastic exception. While most of the menu is seafood focused, there’s one vegan meal and several that you can veganize. The Plant-Based Penne Genovese combines Beyond Sausage, roasted broccoli, cherry tomatoes, basil oil, and of course, penne pasta. It’s topped with vegan Parmesan shreds. This meal was probably my favorite of the entire trip. The Beyond Meat sausage and vegan cheese took a regular pasta dish to new heights.
Springfield: Home of the Simpsons
We didn’t dine in Springfield, but I did order a “Flaming Moe” at Moe’s Tavern! It’s essentially a fizzy orange drink that comes in a themed plastic cup. If you do want to order food in Springfield, head over to Krusty Burger where you can get “Kurly Fries”. The black bean burger contains egg, making it friendly to vegetarians, but not vegans.
There are so many ways to dine vegan at Universal Orlando that we didn’t have time to try them all! I wish I had more room in my stomach. In New York, there’s Louie’s Italian Restaurant, which has a vegan Spaghetti Bolognese (made with Gardein Italian sausage crumbles), a side salad, spaghetti with marinara sauce (remove the meatballs), and minestrone soup. Over at Hollywood, Mel’s Drive-In has a Chick’n and Avocado Sandwich (using Gardein chick’n with Follow Your Heart cheese and smashed avocado).
For snacks, you can get Auntie Anne’s pretzels made vegan in four flavors, as long as you hold the butter: original, almond, jalapeno, and cinnamon sugar. Ben and Jerry’s has a couple of their almond milk ice creams available in a cup, a sugar cone, or a vegan banana split. At the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, there isn’t any vegan butterbeer, sadly. But, you can sample some other Harry Potter themed drinks, beer, or candy.
Universal’s Islands of Adventure
Like I mentioned above, we didn’t dine at Universal’s Islands of Adventure, and it was completely unintentional. There are lots of ways to eat vegan at Universal Orlando, and Islands of Adventure has quite a few selections at many restaurants. Here’s a short list of the vegan options at Islands of Adventure.
The Confisco Grill has hummus, a portobello veggie wrap, a vegan orzo dish (using Gardein Italian sausage crumbles), and a Pad Thai that you can request to be made with a vegan sauce.
The Captain America Diner has the same burger option as Richter’s Burger Co (see above), but they also have another vegan burger made with brown rice and mushrooms. Also in the Marvel Super Hero area, you can go to Cafe 4 for a Spaghetti Bolognese (similar to Louie’s Italian Restaurant at Universal Studios).
At The Burger Digs (in Jurassic Park), you can find the same Chick’n and Avocado sandwich like at Mel’s Drive-In.
Lastly, there’s Mythos Restaurant (in The Lost Continent) where you can order a Plant-Based Tomato Presto Cresto de Gallo (Gardein Chick’n, sundried tomatoes, mushrooms, olives, and fresh basil). You can also request the following items to be prepared vegan: Mezze platter, Pad Thai and the risotto.
CityWalk Restaurants Vegan Guide
Justin and I ate most of our meals at Universal CityWalk, a long stretch of restaurants and souvenir shops that connects both theme parks. There are so many CityWalk restaurants for every taste, like Mexican food, sushi, Italian, American, and Jamaican. It’s easy to dine vegan at Universal Orlando, especially at CityWalk. We also found that the prices were a little bit cheaper than right in the parks. Feel free to even leave the parks during the day, dine at CityWalk, and venture back inside for more rides and adventures. Here are all of the CityWalk restaurants we personally tried, as well as our honorable mentions.
VIVO Italian Kitchen
Dining Italian as a vegan is generally pretty easy, and VIVO Italian Kitchen was no exception. You’ll just have to make sure that the pasta is egg-free and doesn’t include cheese on top. You can also order a Margherita pizza (without cheese), the minestrone soup, and a roasted beet salad (without cheese). We ordered the spicy Arrabiata pasta. Warning: it’s very spicy, but tasty!
Toothsome Chocolate Emporium
Toothsome Chocolate Emporium has some great vegan choices, including a vegan milkshake! First, we ordered the truffle fries (herbs, white truffle oil, ask to remove the cheese) and pistachio hummus to start. The portion of hummus is massive. When I only ate about half of it, but ate all of the crackers, our server provided extra crackers with my takeaway container of hummus.
Then, we ordered the Vegetable Garganelli Pasta, but you must substitute a vegan fettuccine pasta. It comes with seasonal vegetables in a white wine and garlic sauce. If you’re in doubt, ask your server for help. Ours was very helpful and double checked everything with the chef.
And finally, for dessert, you can order a vegan milkshake made with soy milk and vegan chocolate ice cream. It’s not listed on the menu, but it’s very easy to request. It was so refreshing and delectable.
Hard Rock Cafe
At the Hard Rock Cafe, you have a few vegan options. We ordered the Impossible Burger with fries. You can also have their fajitas made vegan (no meat, cheese, or sour cream), the nachos without cheese or sour cream, or a Cobb salad made vegan. Unfortunately, their cauliflower wings contain egg.
Antijitos Mexican Food
Of all the CityWalk restaurants, Antijitos was a total treat. The food was really yummy and there was live music while we ate. We couldn’t resist ordering the guacamole appetizer because the guac is prepared table side. You can have certain ingredients added or omitted, and we both agreed that it was some of the best guacamole we’d ever tried!
If you order the vegetarian enchiladas like we did, make sure you remove the cheese and sour cream. Ask that they use corn tortillas, too. The refried beans are not vegan, but the black beans are vegan, so request the black beans. Also, I checked with the chef, and I can confirm that the rice is vegan. You can make quite a few menu selections vegetarian or vegan, so you’ll have quite a few choices here.
Moe’s Southwest Grill
For something a little faster, head over to Moe’s Southwest Grill for a massive burrito bowl. You can have it topped with tons of vegetables, tofu, guacamole, and salsa. Moe’s is always so delicious, and I only wish we had them up in Canada so I could dine there more often. Moe’s Southwest Grill is a fabulous and easy way to dine vegan at Universal Orlando because you know that there’s always lots of fresh veggies, tofu, beans, rice, and more!
Saving the best for last (I should know, we went here three times!)… Voodoo Doughnuts! They have a huge selection of vegan donuts, and they’re all clearly listed on the menu board. When you enter the shop (there might be a line-up outside the store first!), you’ll see a spinning conveyor of donuts all on display. Furthermore, this store is bright and wacky, with all kinds of decorations hanging from every spare section of wall. It’s like the shop is on a sugar high!
Donuts do tend to sell out through the day, so don’t wait until the last minute to go there. I found that the vegan ones sold out more quickly than the non-vegan ones! We loved these donuts so much that we brought home a box to share with our friends.
There were even more CityWalk restaurants that we didn’t get the chance to try, but we’ll save them for next time. Maybe next time I can make a vegan Orlando guide? I’d love to sample even more vegan food in Orlando.
Bob Marley has lots of vegan and vegetarian choices, including the Trench Town Rock Pepper Pot Soup, Jamaican Side Salad, Ital Eats Stuffed Peppers, as well as sides of plantains, rice and peas, and yucca fries.
The Fusion Bistro Sushi and Sake Bar has lots of vegan sushi rolls, edamame, and seaweed salad. Similarly, the Cowfish Sushi Burger Bar has vegan menu options, like the Tree Hugger Roll, the Heavenly Veggie Burger, and the Cowfish Bento Box that comes with veggie rolls, a mini burger (ask for a mini vegan burger instead), edamame, and sweet potato fries.
Universal’s Cabana Bay Beach Resort
We spent five nights at Universal’s Cabana Bay Beach Resort. It was easy to walk from Cabana Bay to the Universal CityWalk and theme parks. There’s a path that takes about 15-20 minutes. You can also take a complimentary shuttle if you’d rather not walk.
Also, when you’re seeking food that’s vegan at Universal Orlando, feel free to order as much as you’d like. Each room has a mini fridge to store your leftovers. Also, vegan donuts don’t need to be refrigerated, so you don’t need to worry about fridge space when it comes to dessert. Just sayin’. Book your stay at Universal’s Cabana Bay Beach Resort: we absolutely loved it! Check out even more reviews by clicking here.
I must admit that I thought the Bayliner Diner would have more vegan options than it did. However, we were able to special order a vegetable stir fry over rice without any issues. It just took a little longer to prepare than usual. The staff was amazing and took great care to ensure that our meals had no animal products. At Bayliner Diner, it was probably the most difficult time we had eating vegan at Universal Orlando. However, we just had to ask a few questions and we had no issues at all. The stir fry was incredibly delicious, by the way.
Starbucks has lots of plant-based milks for beverages, as well as a few snacks. It was super convenient having the Starbucks right in our hotel! Order all of the almond lattes to your heart’s content.
As you can see, you’ll have absolutely no issues eating vegan at Universal Orlando. Even if you thought you’d find one or two things and eat them daily, think again! We didn’t have enough time to sample all of the vegan restaurants at Universal. Next time, we’d like to venture out to try even more vegan restaurants in Orlando, as well as hit up the spots we missed here.
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