Dining

Deep Dive into Lombard’s Seafood Grille at Universal Studios Florida

July 18, 2023
A wide view of Lombard's Seafood Grille at Universal Studios Florida. In front of the white building with turquoise and red awnings over the many windows, red lining, and a fish-shaped yellow sign with blue-ish-green text reading "Lombard's" on one of the roofs, is a body of water with a blue-and-white boat inside. Various wooden docs with wooden poles surround the water, and parts of boats floating on the water can be seen. The sky behind the building is blue, with a few white clouds.

A beacon of consistency in the ever-evolving Universal Studios Florida, Lombard’s Seafood Grille sits in the San Francisco area of the theme park and offers a fine-dining-esque reprieve from the hustle and bustle of a day in the theme parks.

A sit-down restaurant just a touch on the fancier side, Lombard’s offers food you would not necessarily expect to find at a theme park — say, shrimp cocktail, clam chowder, and Black Angus beef tenderloins! Not only that, it is extremely well-themed, following a backstory unknown to some of the most avid theme park fans (myself included).

So, let’s take a deep dive — because fish —  into this Universal Studios classic, with some fun and meaningful stories from Lombard’s Executive Chef, Ron Cope, and Restaurant Chef, Robert Walter.

About Lombard’s

A view from above of a tiled, zig-zag staircase in Lombard's Seafood Grille. The green-and-gold railings have an ornate, metal design, with a green-and-gold pendant near the center of each four-sided section. Green dots scatter the steps, along with a tiled pattern. The battern continues on the ground floor after the staircase ends, and a red circular couch sits at the center of that floor. On one corner of the staircase is a multi-lighted lamp. Under the staircase is a fountain, with water flowing from a fish, appearing to be made of metal or stone. The walls are seemingly made of red bricks.

Lombard’s Seafood Grille has been serving lunch and dinner to guests for over three decades, since the opening of Universal Studios Florida.

Located by the lagoon on the San Francisco pier, the restaurant’s nautical theme has a deep backstory inspiring it. According to Chef Robert, legend has it that back in the 1880s, Luis Lombard ran an underwater laboratory that used to be at the site of what is now the restaurant. The lab apparently surfaced years later, and is now the restaurant we know and love. Once you learn about the backstory (IE, you, reading this article right now), you won’t be able to un-see its influence in everything around the building!

The restaurant is decorated with a undersea elegance, though holding onto those scientific pieces from Luis Lombard’s laboratory, such as the large fish tank in the center of a lavish dining room with ornate decor. 

A woman (on the left) and a man (on the right) sitting across from one another in front of a fish tank at Lombard's. The woman, who has short blond hair, is wearing a pale, yellow shirt with seemingly beaded flowers, and brown pants. The man, who has a light gray mustache and beard, is wearing a coral polo shirt, with khakis, and sits in what appears to be a wheelchair. The pair clinks their glasses together across the brown table, the woman's cocktail glass having a green liquid, and the man's glass having a red-ish-purple one. On the table are two plates of food, napkins, silverware, and a candle. Other diners can be seen behind the man, though mostly cut off and out of frame.

Further, the structure itself leans into the 1880s San Francisco vibe, according to Chef Robert: “You see stress in the brick, like there have been earthquakes … and it really has that San Francisco feel.”

The amount of detail put into the restaurant is worth mentioning, from the design on the walls to the woodworking on furniture and columns. Little stone fish line the building, and paintings and maps adorn the walls. Pay close attention to the detail in the lobby’s main table; the woodworking is so intricate that it’s easy to miss at first glance.

A view of the lobby at Lombard's. The walls are seeming brown-ish-red brick. Hanging from the pastel-blue, pastel-pink, light brown, and white patterned ceilings is an ornate, gold chandelier. Below it is a bouquet of flowers, sitting on top of a red, circular couch. The floor is tiled and patterned, and on a glass tile square in the center sits an ornately carved, wooden counter, with a brown podium next to it and a stand on top. Behind the counter is a green-and-gold staircase, and the top of a fish-shaped water dispenser in a fountain is slightly visible. Near the back wall are three green-and-gold chairs, sitting below a painting of a ship on the ocean hanging from the wall.

Additionally, what’s really neat about Lombard’s location is that you can see almost the entirety of Universal Studios Florida through the restaurant’s glass windows. You could be enjoying your meal in the center dining room, and start pointing out and dreaming up all of the places you want to go next.

The Menu

A close-up shot of a white dish holding a piece of seasoned fish. Green onions sit on top of the fish, which itself sits on top of brown-and-black rice, within an orange sauce. The background is blurred.

The menu at Lombard’s Seafood Grille, as the name suggests, primarily features seafood. From fish to crab to everything in between, the menu offers a wide array of seafood that can transport you right into the San Francisco mealtime vibe of the restaurant.

My number one recommendation is the San Pablo Spinach & Artichoke Dip as an appetizer. The first crunch of the chip into the tasty, cheesy dip was so incredible on my recent visit, that I ended up ordering more chips before I even finished the first ones!

A view of four white dishes of food on a table. In the front and center is a bowl of primarily a red sauce, filled with various pieces of seafood. A piece of seasoned bread sits on top of the dish. on the left is a mix of various cut veggies, a fried crab, and a small side salad. In the back and center is a pile of greens, a piece of seafood that is tricky to decipher, and a handful of wonton chips. On the right is a piece of seasoned fish. Green onions sit on top of the fish, which itself sits on top of brown-and-black rice, within an orange sauce. Behind the table is a wooden deck railing. The rest of the background is blurred.

The Catch of the Day and Fish and Chips are both reliable choices that are wonderfully delicious, and the Presidio District Soft-Shell Crab and Cioppino Ocean Bowl also come highly recommended by the chefs. The Catch of the Day may seem simple at first glance on a menu, but the dish is full of vibrant flavor, pulled together with the rice and garnishes it comes with.

Each dish comes equipped with a story, be it why it’s included on this menu in particular, or why it’s called what it is. Take the Cioppino, a fish stew, served with a rosemary breadstick at Lombard’s, for instance.

“It’s a genuine San Francisco dish,” Chef Robert says. “You know, when you’re fishing, some days you have a boat full of fish and some days you have nothing. So if you came back to the dock and you had nothing, [the other Fishermen] would ‘cioppino’ into your bucket.” The dish’s name sounds like the noise of the food dropping into the bucket, as the other fishermen “chipped in.”

A collage of two photos, one upper and one lower. The upper photo features a smiling man in a chef's hat and coat, holding his out-of-frame hands together in front of him. He stands to the left of Lombard's, a white building with red linings, and blue and red awnings over windows and doors. A sign above the door in the front, bottom and center of the building reads, "Lombard's Landing,"  in yellow against a blue background with light patterns and a brown border. Various plants and flower pots line the awnings and doorways. In front of the building is a wooden deck with ramps and railings. The sky is blue, with a few clouds. The lower image features a smiling man with sunglasses wearing a white chef's hat and chef's apron, which has a nametag on it, standing next to a green statue of a fisherman steering a spoked wheel. In the background is a seemingly metal deck railing with seemingly wooden borders, and behind it is a white building with curvy, neon text that is hard to decipher. Red awnings cover dark red doors on the building. In front of the building are wooden benches, lighter wooden tables, and green umbrellas with light text "Lombard's Seafood Grille" on the rims. The floor is wooden, and the sky is blue, with a couple visible white clouds.

But, seafood is not exclusively what is served at Lombard’s. The Caesar Salad is another highly recommended dish with a loyal fan base, praised for its fresh and crispy romaine, wonderful seasoning, and rich dressing. Additionally, one of Chef Robert’s favorites is The Wharf Burger, which says a lot given his years spent living, cooking, and surely eating, in various countries around the world, such as Japan, Guam and Korea. 

“One reason The Wharf Burger is so great is that we grind fresh beef in the production kitchen right here on property,” Chef Ron says, explaining Chef Robert’s favorite dish. “So, every day they grind fresh meat. They patty it for us, and it’s a never-frozen burger. So it’s a real high-quality of beef.”

And, of course, there is a vast dessert menu with offerings like a Caramel Cheesecake or Mocha Pyramid.

It doesn’t matter if you want to take advantage of the classic seafood, the high-quality burgers, or desserts: the beauty of Lombard’s, as Chef Robert puts it, is that “you set your own pace.” This can apply to the food, and to how you experience the restaurant itself.

“Let’s face it, people want to go to the next attraction,” Chef Robert says. “They don’t want to spend all day in a restaurant. However, if you want to take your time and enjoy yourself, we have multiple courses, we have a full bar. You don’t have to go anywhere.”

The Feel of Lombard’s

A smiling man in a chef's hat and coat, with his hands on his hips. He stands to the left of a smiling man with sunglasses wearing a white chef's hat and chef's apron, which has a nametag on it. Behind them is Lombard's, a white building with red linings, and blue and red awnings over windows and doors. A sign above the door in the front, bottom and center of the building reads, "Lombard's" and the letter "L," with the rest of the word cut off, only parts of the letter "A" visible,  in yellow against a blue background with light patterns and a brown border. Various plants and flower pots line the awnings and doorways. In front of the building is a wooden deck with ramps and railings. The sky is blue, with a few clouds.

Lombard’s is a place for a reprieve that doesn’t lose the immense theming, immersion, and welcoming atmosphere you expect to find at Universal. The team members and chefs are not only accommodating, but get joy out of taking care of their guests.

“I love doing it because people are generally very happy,” says Chef Ron, who’s been managing Lombard’s for over four years, having returned to Universal Studios Florida after opening Islands of Adventure back in the day. For him, Lombard’s is “a comfort” for guests. “I would say, you know, we really provide an overall experience —  with our service and our food and the theming —  that people walk away with a happy experience.”

Chef Robert agrees, appreciating most the moments when he can connect with kids while they enjoy their meals. “What I really love is going to the table with the kids, and them looking up at me,” says Chef Robert, who’s fairly tall. “The mouths open,  literally. The white coat speaks for itself, the white hat. It makes an impression. And the looks on their faces are just priceless.”

Have you eaten at Lombard’s Seafood Grille before? What was your favorite dish? If not, what would you like to order on your first visit? Let us know on social media, or in the comments below!

Epic in your Inbox

Never miss a thrill. Subscribe now to get email updates from Universal Parks & Resorts.

Share
Facebook Share on Facebook X Share on X / Twitter Pinterest Share on Pinterest

You Might Also Like


7 Comments

  • Reply Andrew Boehme July 18, 2023 at 12:10 pm

    I’ve eaten there many times and have enjoyed it. If it’s not sweltering outside, I usually like to sit out there on the waterfront. It is good and nicely priced. I am an annual passholder.

    • Reply Digital Guest Communications July 19, 2023 at 8:17 am

      Hi Andrew! We’re thrilled to hear you have enjoyed your dining experiences at our restaurant. We hope to welcome you back again soon!

  • Reply Amelia August 1, 2023 at 1:56 pm

    Last time I went back in 2018, the food was mediocre and service lousy, however ever other time before that it was great, and I always loved the lobster roll, as well as the artichoke dip!

    • Reply Digital Guest Communications August 1, 2023 at 1:58 pm

      We’re happy you enjoyed your most recent visit, Amelia! Please visit us again soon!

  • Reply Jason August 10, 2023 at 12:06 am

    I went to this restaurant with my family as a kid 15 yrs ago. I was visiting my little sister(who now lives and works in Orlando) a year ago and we happened upon this restaurant again while in the park. Food was great both times, and it left enough of an impression on me as a 10 yr old that I fondly remembered being there with my grandma(who has since passed) 15 yrs later.

    • Reply Digital Guest Communications August 10, 2023 at 7:45 am

      Hi Jason, we’re so happy to hear our restaurant has created such special memories for you and your family! We hope we get to welcome you back again soon!

  • Reply Cliff Motko October 25, 2023 at 7:36 am

    We eat here every visit and love it. It’s been a few years now, but coming in November. Looking at the menu through the Universal app, I did not see my favorite dish listed, the adult macaroni and cheese. Has this been discontinued? Such a shame if it is gone.

  • Leave a Reply