The food at Universal Studios Florida are many and varied. It makes sense, given it's actually three distinct parks in one: Islands of Adventure, Universal Studios Florida, and Volcano Bay. (A fourth park, the largest of all, Epic Universe, is scheduled to open in 2025!)

There's literally food to suit every palate. Whether you're vegan, vegetarian, gluten-free, or just straight-up picky, Universal Studios' culinary masterminds have you covered. But how does one narrow down the options? Scheduling a trip to this wonderland can be stressful and expensive, so we've put together a list of top items totally worth splurging on.

But first, some brass tacks: Park tickets start at $109 for adults. Dining isn't included, so each food item is an additional expense to your day. Without alcohol, we recommend bringing an additional $50 per person, which should cover both lunch and dinner. If you're looking to grab a few cocktails, expect to spend closer to $100 total per head. You can pay for food and drink with your credit card, Apple Pay, or the Universal Play app, which gives you a Q.R. code to scan for payments.

On a budget? You can bring your own water, snacks, and food required for special dietary needs to offset meal prices. (Sorry, no alcohol or hard coolers allowed!)

Best Cocktail: Ocean Attack, $11.99

Chelsea Lupkin

This TikTok-famous cocktail from Chez Alcatraz comes with a show when the bartender makes your drink, a potent blend of coconut rum, blue Curaçao, pineapple juice, and Sprite. The bartender takes a shark puppet, sings a unique shark-themed song for you, then spills in the grenadine to mimic blood like the movie Jaws. This is a sugar bomb that is best shared.

Best Appetizer: Tuna Poké, $14

tuna poke
Chelsea Lupkin

Theme parks have a reputation for disproportionately serving brown fried food, but Universal proves that to be false with this flavor-packed tuna poké at Lombard's Seafood Grille in the park's San Francisco backlot. Packed with fresh tuna, tomatoes, scallions, avocado, red onion, spicy wasabi cream, and a complex soy garlic sauce, it's exactly the refreshing app you'll crave on a (most likely) hot day.

Best Meal: The Carnegie Platter, $13.99

carnegie platter
Chelsea Lupkin

When visit the park's New York backlot, go for the Carnegie Platter. It's massive, of course, because naturally America's most populous city would inspire a gigantic hot pastrami sandwich. The Today Cafe doesn't skimp on the meat one bit, nor the pungent deli mustard or thinly-sliced Swiss cheese. Our two cents? This is the best bang-for-your-buck meal around.

Best Dessert: The Big Pink, $7.99

the big pink
Chelsea Lupkin

If we didn't mention Lard Lad Donuts in this story, we would be doing everyone a disservice. When you're in Springfield USA—aka the Simpsons-themed portion of Universal Studios—go straight for the iconic eight-inch-wide Big Pink donut. Decked out in rainbow sprinkles and vanilla-flavored pink icing, this treat is worth a photoshoot. The donut itself is soft and springy and can feed four people. (Seriously!) If you're not into sharing, you can buy the smaller version at $2.29.

Best Budget Item: Pumpkin Juice, $4.99

pumpkin juice
Chelsea Lupkin

If you have to get one thing at The Wizarding World of Harry Potter (not including Butterbeer, of course) make it the pumpkin juice. This sweet stuff is actually made with pumpkin, but we think it tastes like a mixture of peach and pear juices with a hit of cinnamon. They're fall flavors, to be sure, but we could sip on this stuff all year round.

Best for Sharing: Fisherman’s Basket, $24

fisherman's platter
Chelsea Lupkin

Also at Lombard's Seafood Grille in the San Francisco backlot, this piping hot basket filled to the brim with beer-battered shrimp, cod, and calamari is a can't-miss treat for big groups and big appetites. The breading on the shrimp and cod is soft and pillowy, while the calamari is light and crispy. Meanwhile, the house-made tartar sauce packs a vinegary hit that cuts through the dish's grease. If you're more adventurous, try the totally edible fried shrimp tail. It's so deep-fried, it crunches just like a potato chip.

Watch season three of Iconic Eats on YouTube now.

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