Each week, we create a “Top Three Things” article suggesting dining choices at Universal Orlando that you will enjoy. This article revolves around Mardi Gras food options you should run away from. Though Universal Orlando often inaccurately receives criticism for their food quality, these Mardi Gras food options taste below average and cost too much. That version of double trouble earned their place on this list.
Before putting these Mardi Gras food items in the negative spotlight, we have one disclaimer. The quality of festival-style food changes during the event. These items may improve. However, the three selected earned their spots since there is little Universal Orlando chefs can do to fix these items now. Also, we understand that other food items may have a bad day during your visit to Mardi Gras. We selected the “Top Three Things” after trying almost every Mardi Gras item.
In fact, we tried every Mardi Gras food item inside Universal Studios Florida and Islands of Adventure. We tried five of the six Mardi Gras items offered at the CityWalk food and beverage tents. We also ate many of the table service Mardi Gras options in CityWalk.
For the record, for two reasons, we did not try the “Grilled Octopus” at the Taste of the Mediterranean in CityWalk. One, octopus at a food festival, really? Two, this booth opened daily later than the other CityWalk food and beverage locations. We tried three times with no success for this booth being open around our whirlwind food testing schedule.
However, our first suggestion to avoid comes from that same location. We were not brave enough to try both at same time. One evening, we found this food and beverage tent open. We bought the Crepe Suzette from there. They cost $6.99. the menu description reads, “topped with a Grand Marnier orange sauce.”
In simple terms, these tasted awful when we tried them. The portion size is small. The crepes need more flavor. The orange sauce lacked flavor and only made crepes soggy. For a theme park resort that offers incredible crepes at Central Park Crepes, these fail to be worth your time. One could argue that the Crepe Suzette offering qualifies as an authentic crepe compared to Central Park Crepes’ version. Yet, an authentic crepe can be made to taste far better than this one.
Before mentioning the other “Top Three Things” to avoid, we have an honorable mention. The “Indonesian Style Chili Crab with Fried Mantou” has a poor value. This $18.99 festival food item comes with fried soft-shell crab tossed in a sweet & spicy crab stew. Some fried sweet buns accompany this. This item brings way over the average level of theme park spice. However, it lacks actual flavor. For almost $20, guests will be highly disappointed by this option.
The final two suggestions of “Top Three Things” to avoid earned their place on this list. Both options come from the Columbia booth hidden away near Animal Actors Stage. Also, both items cost $8.49, which is too high for the portion size and quality. If you choose, Columbia Empanadas and Arepas de Queso can be bought at this location.
Columbia Empanadas and Arepas de Queso both sound good, Based on history, Universal Orlando does a fine job with these types of items. However, this year, the portion size, preparation method, and readjustment of the product destroyed any genuine worth to guests.
For example, guests receive two small empanadas barely filled after they sit in a warmer. The aji picante sauce container accompanying these corn mesa beef and chicken empanadas is larger than the empanadas. In addition to disappointing portion sizes, the empanadas need more flavor. If you want an empanada, visit Natural Selections in Islands of Adventure.
Possibly even more disappointing, guests can purchase Arepas de Queso. For their money, guests receive a white corn masa cake with queso blanco. Simply put, a below-average masa cake sits in a warmer after being covered with average-quality cheese. Since we know Universal Orlando can create arepas worthy of being on a good “Top Three Things” list, these. Also, do not take a national from South America here. You will regret it!
As prominent advocates of Universal Orlando cuisine, not counting their quick-service burgers and pizza, this list hurts us a bit. However, in some cases, we may have been too nice. In this case, we try the food, so you do not have to. As always, eat like you mean it!
Pirates & Princesses (PNP) is an independent, opinionated fan-powered news blog that covers Disney and Universal Theme Parks, Themed Entertainment and related Pop Culture from a consumer's point of view. Opinions expressed by our contributors do not necessarily reflect the views of PNP, its editors, affiliates, sponsors or advertisers. PNP is an unofficial news source and has no connection to The Walt Disney Company, NBCUniversal or any other company that we may cover.