Eat + Drink

Not Just Pretzels and Popcorn: Best Theme Park Food for Foodies

Namaste Cafe Food Truck’s Lamb Kefta at Animal Kingdom (Photo: Courtesy Disney)

Theme park food has come a long way (a VERY long way) from the days of funnel cake and turkey legs. In fact, some of the finest restaurants in Orlando are housed within the walls of Disney and Universal, forcing even food-conscious locals to visit these vast traps for Mousecatrons and Potterheads alike. Yes, this list could be comprised of restaurants in Epcot’s World Showcase alone, but for the sake of parity, here’s a more inclusive representation:

Prosciutto e Melone Pizza at Via Napoli, Epcot

The next best place outside of Naples to enjoy an authentic, thin-crust Neapolitan pizza of the perfectly blistered variety may be right here at Epcot. Water for the dough is sourced from a spring similar to Italy’s Campania region, while the dough itself is made from Caputo flour imported from Naples. Shovel it into a wood-burning oven and you’ve got the makings of pie-high perfection, like this sweet and meaty number. Fontina and mozzarella cheeses blended with prosciutto, arugula and cantaloupe in this white pizza (no sauce) are a superb combination.

Burgushi at Cowfish, Universal CityWalk

Fusing burgers and sushi may seem outlandish, but one bite will have you convinced that your town (Charlotte and Raleigh notwithstanding) needs a Cowfish. The Buffaloooo-shi roll with chipotle bison, fried green tomato, grilled onions and feta, all rolled in crispy tempura flakes, is fusion at its finest. Faddish? Of course! Trendy? No doubt, but you’re dining in a bloody theme park for heaven’s sake! Acceptance is key.

Soupe aux Truffles and Mille-Feuille at Monsieur Paul, Epcot

Honoring the legacy of Paul Bocuse, Monsieur Paul serves up the sort of nouvelle cuisine the legendary French chef is renowned for. Indeed, Bocuse’s son — Jerome — owns the company behind Monsieur Paul, so rest assured they take great pains in maintaining a high standard. You’ll swoon over this soup of beef broth, oxtail and black winter truffles crowned with puff pastry, then swoon again after a bite of the light, flaky dessert. The “Napoleon” of puff pastry, pastry cream, lemon cream and berries is fitting for an emperor.

Lamb Kefta at Namaste Cafe Food Truck, Animal Kingdom

If you see a wildly colorful food truck as you amble about this beastly wonderland, step toward the walk-up window of the Namaste Food Truck and order the Lamb Kefta. The naan sandwich, stuffed with corpulent meatballs fashioned from ground lamb and lathered in a cucumber raita, is approachably exotic and gratifying. As a “walking food,” it’s a worthy alternative to a hot dog or turkey leg.