Best Burgers at Universal Orlando Resort: A Ranking of My Favorites
While traveling, I am always on the lookout for good burgers. I've had delicious burgers from the Las Vegas Strip to the smallest bars in Northern Michigan to theme parks in Orlando and many places in between. If my wife would let me, I would live on burgers.
Since theme park visitors are always looking for dining recommendations, I decided to compile a list of the best burgers at Universal Studios Florida and CityWalk Orlando. This ranking includes just my favorite burgers, not appetizers, sides, drinks, and service. It should also be noted that this list does not include any burgers from Islands of Adventure or Universal's on-site hotels - I'm still working on that.
#1 Cheeseburger in Paradise - Jimmy Buffett's Margaritaville
I am not a fan of Jimmy's music (sorry, not my thing), but I am a fan of this restaurant and most definitely this burger. In fact, I would place it in on the list of my five all-time-favorite burgers anywhere. The Cheeseburger in Paradise is topped with American cheese, pickles, a tomato slice, lettuce, and paradise island sauce. It is relatively basic, but nearly perfection to me and a must-have at least once per trip.
#2 Original Legendary Burger - Hard Rock Café
When I walk into the Hard Rock Café, I am always delighted because I know that some of my favorite burgers are within striking distance. The Original Legendary Burger is billed as "the burger that started it all", and I can see why. This juicy, tasty burger has the standard lettuce and tomato, but it is also topped with smoked bacon, cheddar cheese, and a golden onion ring.
#3 Jalapeno Popper Show-Stopper - The Cowfish
I am a fan of jalapenos, so it is impossible not to put the Jalapeno Popper Show-Stopper high up on my list of the best burgers at Universal Orlando Resort. There are so many variations of jalapenos assembled on this burger, beginning with jalapeno-infused cream cheese, jalapeno bacon, fried jalapenos, and jalapeno citrus aioli and ending with fresh sliced jalapenos. Add in lettuce and tomato on a brioche bun, and you have a unique taste explosion. The Jalapeno Popper Show-Stopper will leave a lot of people reaching for the closest drink to cool off.
#4 The Big Cheeseburger - Hard Rock Café
The amount of cheese that is piled onto The Big Cheeseburger from Hard Rock Café is almost uncalled for, but that's what makes it so good. You can choose from three slices of American, Swiss, cheddar, or Monterey Jack cheese. While I always have cheddar cheese on mine, I am sure the other cheeses are tasty as well. The other toppings on this burger are wonderfully basic - lettuce, tomato, and red onions - and help to round out the classic flavor. But it’s the cheese that makes The Big Cheeseburger stand out from other basic cheeseburgers.
#5 Wisconsin - NBC Sports Grill and Brew
When I dine at NBC Sports Grill and Brew, the only thing I have to think about is what appetizer I want to try, because I will always get the Wisconsin burger. Like the other burgers at NBC Sports Grill and Brew, the Wisconsin burger starts with a half-pound of premium Angus beef from Creekstone Farms. It also comes with Wisconsin cheddar cheese, thick cut bacon, oven roasted tomato, and lettuce on a toasted brioche bun. This burger has been on my must-have once-per-visit list since my first bite, and I don't see that changing.
#6 All-American Burger - Bubba Gump Shrimp Co.
When I got the All-American Burger from Bubba Gump Shrimp Co., I went all out and got the BBQ sauce, frizzled onions, and cheese for an extra fee, along with lettuce and tomato that come standard on it. The crunch of the onions and the taste of the BBQ sauce combined wonderfully and made this a tasty burger. I can't wait to go back to Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. to try this same burger in its basic form without all the extras.
#7 Cheddar Bacon Burger - Toothsome Chocolate Emporium and Savory Feast Kitchen
The Cheddar Bacon Burger at Toothsome Chocolate Emporium and Savory Feast Kitchen consists of cheddar cheese, bacon, lettuce, roasted tomato, and a signature sauce on a toasted brioche bun. As far as burgers go, this one was a good choice for me. It was tasty and juicy. The bacon might have been better if cooked a little longer, but by no means did it take away from the burger itself. Meeting Professor Doctor Penelope Tibeaux-Tinker Toothsome and her side-kick robot, Jacques, while I munched on my burger definitely added to the dining experience and made it more fun.
#8 Krusty Burger - Krusty Burger, Fast Food Boulevard
As a Simpsons fan, walking into a physical Krusty Burger restaurant and ordering an actual Krusty Burger is an awesome and memorable experience. Compared to other theme park burgers, the Krusty Burger is average, but the experience of "being there" makes this restaurant worth a visit every time. The burger is topped with lettuce, tomato, cheddar cheese, sauce and secret sauce, all of which make it a messy delight to eat.
#9 Clogger Burger- Krusty Burger, Fast Food Boulevard
Slightly different than the Krusty Burger, the Clogger Burger contains two patties of beef (twice the meat of the Krusty Burger) and Applewood smoked bacon as well as the same toppings as the Krusty Burger. These toppings make the Clogger Burger the ultimate in messy burgers.
#10 Cheeseburger - Mel's Drive-In
My wife and I ate at Mel's Drive-In on our first trip to Universal Orlando - actually it was the very first place we ate on our very first trip. While planning that trip, we looked at a few pics of the restaurant and decided it was a must-do. The cheeseburger I had was good overall, but there was certainly room for improvement. The nostalgic memory of my first trip is really what landed this cheeseburger on my list of favorites; I definitely don’t consider it (or even Mel's Drive-In) a staple for every trip.