We went to Universal Studios Orlando and ate as many vegan options as we possibly could at Universal, Islands of Adventure, and CityWalk.
While most people know that there are tons of vegan options at Disney World, a lot of folks have asked me if Universal Studios has vegan options.
They sure do, and we ate a ton of them. We will cover the vegan options we tried at Universal Studios, Islands of Adventure, CityWalk, and Portofino Bay resort on site.
If you're looking for a delicious vegan option outside of the parks, check out our review of Winter Park Biscuit Company!
Frequently asked questions
There is now a vegan butterbeer option! Just be sure to order it without the foam.
Yes! The popcorn buckets are vegan.
Auntie Annie's pretzels and pretzel bites in the parks and at CityWalk are vegan, if you can get them to make you ones without butter. They won't always be able to do that.
The Bavarian pretzels at stands throughout the parks are not vegan, but the regular pretzels are, as long as you skip the cheese sauce.
No. The popping pearls contain gelatin.
Vegan Universal Studios options
One of our first stops in the parks was the Today Cafe for breakfast on the first morning. The Park Ave Toast there is vegan if you substitute in the cranberry bread.
Honestly, this is just a lovely start to the day! The cranberry bread is hearty with a hint of sweet, and this avocado toast is fully loaded. The creamy avocado is topped with crunchy cashews and salad greens topped with a nice vinaigrette.
Today Cafe also has a vegan lunch option which I've tried on previous trips. It's the I Heart Vegan, and it's a veggie panini with vegan cheese. A solid lunch choice, for sure!
Our next Universal dining experience was on day two at the Leaky Cauldron in Diagon Alley, where we tried both of their vegan options: the Irish stew and the shepherds pie pumpkin pasty.
The Irish stew came with a slice of soda bread and a side salad. The serving of stew felt a bit stingy, but what was there was tasty. It was hearty with potatoes, onions, and Gardein beefless tips. The salad and dressing that came with the stew were nothing special, but it was nice to get some fresh veggies in, regardless.
If you're going to eat at the Leaky Cauldron, the shepherds pie pasty is the move. It's filling and hearty, stuffed with peas and vegan ground beef. And it comes with a side of crispy potatoes and a beet cucumber salad that's really refreshing.
You can also pick up the shepherds pie pasty a la carte at the food cart outside of the Leaky Cauldron.
There are several vegan drink options available at The Leaky Cauldron and at The Hopping Pot, which is on the other side of Diagon Alley:
- butter beer - a fizzy drink that tastes like cream soda. Leave off the foam to make this vegan
- pumpkin juice - my favorite! It's a sweet drink flavored with cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg. It's served over ice and so refreshing!
- tongue tying lemon squash - a nice, tart lemonade with hints of vanilla.
- pear cider - non-alcoholic sparkling pear soda
- apple cider - non-alcoholic sparkling apple soda
For lunch on my last day, we grabbed the vegan Cheeseburger Platter at Wimpy's. This was a bean burger in a bun with lettuce, tomato, onion, vegan cheese, and vegan mayo. It came with a side of curly fries.
Honestly, this was a total miss for me. The fries weren't crispy, and the bean burger was undercooked and mushy. If you want a burger at Islands of Adventure. Captain America's Diner is the move.
Over at Islands of Adventure, Richter's Burger and Mel's Drive-In at Universal both have the Beyond Burger, if you're looking for a burger fix. Mel's also has a vegan chicken sandwich that we've gotten on a previous trip, and it's great!
Vegan Islands of Adventure options
A lot of the restaurants at Islands of Adventure that offer vegan options seem to close early, so keep that in mind if you're planning to have dinner here. The pickings can be slim at dinnertime!
I've noted the spots that close early.
We only had one meal on this trip at Islands of Adventure: the Mushroom Pie Platter at Three Broomsticks.
It's a mushroom and jackfruit stew topped with a piece of pasty dough, sort of like a pot pie. It comes with a side salad.
This was a divisive dish!
I really enjoyed the stew and thought they did a great job cooking the jackfruit properly. It had a bit of a tangy flavor that I enjoyed but Dave hated.
And while I loved the pasty dough on top, Dave thought it was too hard to break into pieces to eat.
We both agreed that the side salad was sad. They called it a tomato and cucumber salad, but that's not what it was. It was lettuce with a few pieces of tomato and cucumber on it. The dressing was bland.
If you're looking for Harry Potter-themed vegan food, you're much better off heading to The Leaky Cauldron at Universal Studios.
You can get the same, vegan Harry Potter-themed drinks at Islands of Adventure: pumpkin juice, lemon squash, pear cider, apple cider. The ciders are non-alcoholic. They're available at The Three Broomsticks.
Doc Sugrue's Desert Kebab House
Unfortunately, Doc Segrue's was closed when we tried to get kebabs, but they offer a vegan meatball kebab that sounds incredible! Let me know if you try it. It's on my list for the next visit.
If you want to try these kebabs, make sure to go for lunch, as they seem to close early. The Universal app doesn't list hours for this food stand.
Over in the Marvel area, there are two great vegan options! The first is the Eggplant Parmesan at Cafe 4. You can get it on its own or as a combo, which comes with spaghetti, a salad, and a breadstick.
The eggplant parm was great! Crispy and flavorful with mushroom, bell pepper, and vegan cheese on top.
The combo was definitely enough to share. I couldn't finish it! Next time, I'll get the combo and give the spaghetti and bread to my kid for his lunch.
Captain America Diner
While I had my eggplant parm, the boys headed over to Captain America Diner in the same part of the park for they vegan burger. It's a Beyond Burger on a vegan bun with lettuce, tomato, onion, and garlic aioli.
Both Dave and the kid enjoyed this! It's a good, solid option.
Make sure that you visit Captain American Diner early in the day, because it closes at 6 or 7pm, depending on the day.
Comic Strip Cafe
The tofu ramen at Comic Strip Cafe is vegan, though the combo is not, as the egg roll contains egg. The ramen was great!
The noodles come in a flavorful broth with a dumpling, edamame, and two pieces of marinated tofu. It's a nice light lunch! I was worried that soup on an 88° F day would be too hot, but they don't overheat it.
The yucca fries here are also vegan. The ketchup-mayo dipping sauce that they come with is made with Vegenaise! That said, I wasn't wild about these. They just felt overly fried to me. I prefer a lighter crust on fried food.
This spot closes at 5 or 6pm, depending on the day, so plan to have lunch or a very early dinner here.
Mythos is a Mediterranean fusion spot that offers lots of great vegan options! This is a fine dining restaurant, so make sure you get a reservation, if you want to eat here.
We started with the mezze platter, which is vegan if you get extra hummus instead of baba ganoush. It came with hummus, marinated fennel, kalamata olives, and charred pita.
Our server immediately knew what to do when we said we were vegan and helped us out with all of our questions.
The hummus at Mythos is definitely homemade. It's not super lemony but has a great texture and the pita was lovely! It was a nice contrast with some crunchy fennel or an olive added.
We got the pad Thai and couscous entrees, both of which came with tofu.
The pad Thai was noodles and veggies in a zesty sauce topped with bean sprouts and crushed peanuts. It was honestly just okay and didn't really taste like pad Thai to me. The sauce was VERY sweet and vinegary.
The tofu on it, though, was very good: pillowy inside and crispy outside with slightly charred edges. Really nice texture!
The couscous they serve is actually Israeli couscous! I love Israeli couscous, which is actually tiny little balls of pasta. The menu describes this dish as including za’atar couscous, marinated artichoke, cucumber, kalamata olives, spiced chickpeas, tahini, and tofu.
You do need to ask for this to be made vegan, because otherwise it comes with tzatziki sauce, which contains dairy.
Our couscous came out with no chickpeas or tahini. It was very flavorful but more curry flavor than za’star to me. I douldn’t detect that citrusy flavor at all. I think maybe the menu description is out of date.
Overall, this was a nice dinner that felt more veggie forward and healthy!
And I wanted to give a huge shoutout to Viktor, our server, who was absolutely incredible: knowledgeable, funny, and fast. Just 10/10, Viktor.
Vegan Snacks at Islands of Adventure
For snacking at Islands of Adventure, you can get fruit cups at stands throughout the park. Very refreshing on a hot day! At some of the stands, the cups come with a packet of Tajin, which I was very excited about. Sadly, the packet doesn't contain much, and you can't get extras -- they're packaged together.
You can also grab a pretzel at Auntie Annie's, just be sure to ask for no butter. The non-Bavarian pretzels at both Universal and Islands of Adventure are also vegan.
Vegan CityWalk options
If you're planning to eat at a sit-down restaurant at CityWalk, especially for dinner, I recommend making a reservation first thing in the morning. Those tables fill up fast!
We waited until after lunch to make our dinner reservation at Cowfish and the first available was at 10:15 PM! We didn't end up getting seated until 11, because they were so busy.
You can place to go orders, but expect to wait a long time. There also aren't a ton of spots to sit and eat your to go food. The one time we did that on a previous trip, we ended up sitting on a wall behind a restaurant. Not ideal.
On our first night, we got reservations for dinner at Cowfish at CityWalk. This was a place that we tried to eat last time but couldn't get a table.
The main vegan option at Cowfish is the Treehugger sushi roll, which features shiitake mushrooms, fried portobello, red pepper, cucumber, red onion, and basil. It comes with wasabi yuzu dipping sauce.
I thought this roll was just OK. The mushroom flavor and texture weren't as present as I was hoping, but I did enjoy the basil and the refreshing veggie crunch. The dipping sauce, though, was great!
The edamame at Cowfish is also vegan, if you want an appetizer.
Cowfish has also added a second vegan roll: The Beetbox, and it's great! The roll is stuffed with veggies and topped with braised beets and a dollop of spicy chili aioli. The beets and aioli really give the feeling of a roll topped with fish, but without harming any animals!
One our most recent visit to CityWalk, Panda Express was still carrying the Beyond Orange Chicken. This dish is vegan as-is. We got it with white rice and the Supergreens, which his a mix of steamed broccoli, kale, and cabbage.
The orange chicken was exactly what I thought it would be. It was more breaded than I'd like, but probably exactly as breaded as most people want. The sauce was sticky-sweet-mildly spicy, and the texture of the chicken itself was lovely.
I loved this dish, but I have a soft spot in my heart for Americanized Chinese food. Dave strongly disliked this. I suspect that if Panda Express-type food was your jam before going vegan, you'll like it.
The veggie spring rolls at Panda Express are also vegan, as of this writing. The spring roll was fine, though I'd probably skip it next time. There was plenty of food without it.
Hot Dog Hall of Fame
The kid had dinner one of the nights at Hot Dog Hall of Fame which offers a vegan Field Roast hot dog in a vegan bun. He loved it, especially because he got to choose his toppings!
He couldn't wait to list out the toppings that he had to choose from, so here they are:
- jalapeño Vegenaise
- vegan cheese
- jalapeño slices
- roasted corn
Antojitos Authentic Mexican Food
Antojitos Authentic Mexican Food offers Enchiladas Vegetarianas, which comes with roasted sweet potatoes, chayote, carrots, golden beets, roasted corn, jalapeño, onions, mushrooms, bell peppers, vegan cheese, and ranchera sauce. This is a solid vegan option!
They also offer veggie fajitas which I haven't tried but have similar ingredients to the enchilada.
Chicago-based Voodoo Doughnuts has a location inside of CityWalk and offers a variety of vegan doughnuts each day.
I recommend ordering at the counter, since their online menu doesn't seem to update with what is in and out of stock.
Toothsome Chocolate Emporium
The next afternoon, we stopped at Toothsome Chocolate Emporium to try one of their vegan milkshakes. We opted for the Pineapple Right Side Up shake, which is vegan as-is.
It's a pineapple milkshake topped with whipped cream, a pineapple wedge, and a whole slice of pineapple cake.
This shake is definitely for sharing -- it's huge! And don't expect to order it and take a walk while you eat it. It's way too messy for that.
I thought the shake part was fine, though a bit overly sweet, and the whipped topping had a graininess to it that I found really unpleasant.
Dave really liked the pineapple cake slice, but I thought it was way too dense and dry.
This shake was another miss. I think partly because it looks so epic that you really get your hopes up about it! But we ended up tossing it after only drinking about a third of it.
For a sweet treat, you're better off getting a box of Voodoo Doughnuts. They offer a ton of vegan options, all delicious! Pro tip: instead of waiting in line, use the app to place a pickup order.
Portofino Bay vegan options
On this trip, we stayed at Portofino Bay resort, which is on site and a short walk or boat ride to CityWalk and the parks.
Splendido Bar & Grill
We at lunch on our first day at Splendido Bar & Grill, which is the pool bar. They offer a Beyond Burger with vegan cheese that comes with a fries or with a balsamic side salad. This felt like perfect pool bare fare, and it definitely hit the spot.
Trattoria del Porto
The other restaurant that we visited at Portofino Bay was Trattoria del Porto, which is right by the area where you catch the boat to the resorts. We had such varied experiences here!
On our second morning, we had their tofu scramble before hitting the parks. This was honestly the most disappointing breakfast I've had in a long time. It wasn't seasoned at all. Just so bland!
That evening, we went back to Trattoria to have their Pasta Vesuvio for dinner. What a contrast to the breakfast!
This dish was penne packed with vegan sausage crumbles, roasted peppers, crushed tomatoes, and broccolini. They topped it with herbed breadcrumbs. It was full of texture and flavor! Definitely try this, if you're staying near Portofino Bay.
On our next visit to the parks, we went back to Trattoria, where I learned that the Rigatoni Caponata is vegan if you omit the ricotta cream.
You can also veganize their Beyond Burger by asking for a kaiser roll instead of a brioche bun.
The bread basket at Trattoria was all vegan when we visited, except for the brown bread, which contains honey.
Vegan Universal podcast episodes
Heck yeah, they do! We broke our discussion of vegan food at Universal into two parts: The Wizarding World (in both parks) and the rest of the options that we tried.
Listen to our 2022 episodes right here:
Listen to our 2021 episodes right here:
Where to listen
Thank you so much for listening (or reading!). We record these episodes for you, and we'd love to hear from you.
Got a favorite vegan treat that you think we should cover on the podcast? Send your suggestions to [email protected]!
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