Dining, Guides and Tips

Guide to Nachos (and Dips!) at Universal Orlando Resort

March 14, 2024
Shredded chicken nachos from Antojitos

When I was growing up, if you had asked me to try nachos, I would have wrinkled my nose and said a (somewhat) polite, “No, thank you, I don’t like cheese.” 

So, it may come as a shock when I tell you now how much I LOVE nachos, specifically the nachos around Universal Orlando Resort. Please come along with me as I adventure to find the perfect nacho option across the theme parks. I even included a few chip-and-dip options, mostly because I just had to start with my favorite queso dip…

ANTOJITOS AUTHENTIC MEXICAN FOOD

Chicken nachos, salsa and a side of queso

Queso Dip

Honestly the greatest and you cannot change my mind about this. I’m here for the liquid-white-gold of Antojitos Authentic Mexican Food’s queso dip, with its perfectly blended cheesy, spicy goodness. I could genuinely have this with — or for — every meal.

BONUS: This is served with some soft tortillas, which are meant to be dipped directly into the queso. However, I recommend saving them for the nacho fixings and making a taco.

DOUBLE BONUS: Add some broken chips for an extra crunch to your soft taco.

Nachos

These are perfect for all nacho lovers and have everything you need for a perfect pre-meal bite. Or, you can make it your main, like I did, and be satisfyingly full before strolling around the Universal CityWalk Promenade. Between the beef or chicken, I went with the shredded chicken and it was tender, juicy, and nicely seasoned. I took things a step further by adding on my favorite queso dip — it comes with some already on top, but there’s just never enough of it for me!

PAIR WITH: Blood Orange Margarita | A trip to Antojitos Authentic Mexican Food isn’t complete without a stop at its bar! My go-to drink here is the Blood Orange Margarita with a tajin rim. It’s delightfully balanced between sweet and bitter, with a little extra kick from the tajin.

GREEN EGGS AND HAM CAFE

Carnitas tots

Carnitas Tots

These might be my favorite nachos across the theme parks, and they don’t even have tortillas! These chunky-yet-fluffy tots bring a fun, crispy element to nachos that cannot be overlooked. Plus, they’re drizzled in a white cheese sauce, so it immediately had my heart (and my stomach). This dish can be shared between two, or you can conquer it on your own.

Honestly everything on the Green Eggs and Ham Cafe menu is fab (I’m looking at you, Buffalo Chicken Tots), but these really are a fun change from your typical nacho dish. If you see that the line is short, get in! You won’t regret it.

PAT O’BRIEN’S

A loaded plate of nachos

Blackened Chicken Nachos

My roommate and I endeavored on this nacho journey across Universal together, and in her words, “I’ll eat anything blackened.” So, we of course had to stop in at our favorite dueling piano bar, Pat O’Brien’s, to try the NOLA version of nachos. They. Did. Not. Disappoint. They were a delicious nacho option, with juicy chicken, delightful red beans, and fresh jalapeños; however, I will forever recommend asking for extra cheese – no, I don’t have a problem, thank you.

BONUS: We had some left-over Cajun spices from the fries and I ended up sprinkling it over the nachos for a bit more of a kick. These nachos were originally on the milder side, so I appreciated this extra complexity.

Cajun Crawfish Dip

Now this is a dip for fish lovers. It’s thick and creamy, with perfect morsels of crawfish throughout, and a light, crispy crust. Paired with their house-made tortillas — I swear they’re scientifically designed just for this dip — this savory snack just feels at home in this cozy pub.

PAIR WITH: Category 5 Margarita | While there are a few versions of the Hurricane across Universal Orlando, there has only ever been one that I count on when I’m here, and that’s at Pat O’Brien’s. However, wanting to mix things up a bit, I ordered the Category 5 Margarita… because tequila and I are a lot like queso and I: together whenever possible. If you’re looking for a different twist on this classic cocktail, I cannot recommend it enough!

THE COWFISH SUSHI BURGER BAR

Crab rangoon dip and chips

Crab Rangoon Dip

While not nachos, they are an absolute MUST when exploring the dips around the Universe. This unique treat from The Cowfish Sushi Burger Bar is everything I love from Chinese takeout in the form of a dip! With rich, cream cheesy goodness on crisp wonton chips, add a drizzle of sweet chili sauce, it’s easy to fall head over stomach for this dish.

BONUS: Ask for extra sweet chili sauce… you will thank me! Whether you order sushi, burgers, or a bento box, you will want to dip everything in it. That is, whatever is left over from your wantons.

Blackened Tuna Nachos

Blackened tuna nachos

I don’t always go for raw sushi, so these nachos were a true surprise and delight! The dish consists of those same crispy wonton chips (this time extra-large) and that same creamy, sweet-and-savory cheese that I fell in love with from the Crab Rangoon Dip, but with enhancements of Cowfish’s tuna and avocado salsa. This is a fun start to your sushi and burger adventure — and looking over this menu, it’s gonna be a good time!

PAIR WITH: Pearls Of Wisdom | This drink is so cute! I honestly couldn’t decide between the delicious drink options and asked my server to recommend something sweet. It sounded sensational on the menu, but I wasn’t prepared for the fish-themed glass it would be served in. While sweet, it wasn’t overly so, and the dragon fruit boba was a fun addition. This was a true highlight during my meal!

THE TOOTHSOME CHOCOLATE EMPORIUM & SAVORY FEAST KITCHEN

Nachos and Totchos

Totchos 

I knew a tour of nachos wouldn’t be complete without Totchos, and I must say these tots are everything! They are perfectly crispy and potato-y tender, with a very satisfying crunch. And they’re covered in cheese, which I’m pretty sure I’ve established is all I really need to elevate a dish. Add on the crispy pork belly, and I swear I’m in potato-nacho (Totcho) heaven.

Kettle Chip Nachos 

To see how good those Totchos really were, I put them head-to-head with the Kettle Chip Nachos to see which would come out victorious. Plot Twist: it was me! These delicious chips have the same savory andouille queso that I loved from the Totchos, but with some key differences — beyond the kettle chips. The sweet peppers topping this nacho bowl add another level of deliciousness to this amazing feast.

BONUS: If you end up ordering both Totchos and Nachos — and really you should because they’re both phenom! — commandeer some of the peppers for the Totchos to carry that sweet lightness across both dishes.

PAIR WITH: Chocolate Coffee Banana | It may seem obvious, but in The Toothsome Chocolate Emporium and Savory Feast Kitchen, order the chocolate! And this delightful cocktail was everything I wanted for my chocolate craving. Served in a bespoke martini glass with a sliced banana centered in this crafted libation, it was delectably light with forwards of chocolate and coffee, and then a hint of banana on the end. 10 out of 10, will order again!

LOEWS SAPPHIRE FALLS RESORT

Tampico Nachos

Tampico Nachos

While all the pool bars serve their own version of nachos (my idea of the perfect poolside snack), I had to follow my heart and stop in at my favorite Universal Hotel, Loews Sapphire Falls Resort, to sample Drhum Klub Kantine’s take on this dish. What I wasn’t prepared for was the ginormous bowl of goodness brought to my lounge seat! These nachos are fully covered in cheese — be still my heart — with phenomenally good guacamole, too. Honestly, I have no idea what they did to elevate this fresh dip, but it worked. I went for the fire roasted chicken, which came pulled and gooey in a savory sauce that blended well with the cheese and black beans.

JIMMY BUFFETT’S MARGARITAVILLE

Volcano Nachos

Volcano Nachos

I blame this dish for my interest in the nacho game. This was always my mom’s go-to meal in CityWalk growing up (so maybe she’s the woman to blame?). Once I finally admitted that I maybe, sort of, sometimes liked cheese, I was all-in on trying this mountain of crispy, cheesy, pico de gallo-y goodness. And the rest, well, it’s in this article!

Tequila Spiked Shrimp Ceviche 

Ceviche was a new one for me, but I felt I had to include it in this adventure once I saw it on the Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville menu and thought, “This looks nacho-like.” I’m truly glad I tried it! While deficient in cheese — I know, I’m shocked it made it onto the list, too — it was beyond what I was expecting. A light, refreshing salsa-esque dip, with chilled shrimp and chunks of avocado, this was a fantastic stop along my journey and was a perfect counter to the heavier flavors of the Volcano Nachos.

BONUS: Use whatever chips you don’t dip into this salsa for the cheesy, chili-soaked chips at the bottom of the Volcano Nachos to reinvigorate the crunch in your bite!

Nacho Burger

Volcano Burger with a side of fries

I’d be remiss if I didn’t try this behemoth of a burger. With Monterey Jack Cheese stuffed inside the beef patty and topped with lettuce, guacamole, blue corn tortilla chips, chipotle aioli, poblano salsa, and pickled jalapeño, this dish was equally as yummy as it was messy (i.e., ask for extra napkins). The burger had a lovely heat from the chipotle aioli and the pickled jalapeño, and a fun crunch with the blue corn tortilla chips.

BONUS: While you can get this with your choice of fries or a salad, I actually recommend asking to sub it out for the coleslaw. After all the cheese and chips I’d had at this point, the coleslaw brought a light and refreshing touch to this filling dish and balanced out the spicy flavors of the burger.

PAIR WITH: Off To The Virgin Islands | This non-alcoholic daiquiri was the perfect counter to the hot, Florida-summer day, and very refreshing. With my choice of flavors, I asked to mix the strawberry and mango for a sweet addition to my savory meal, and the end of my culinary adventure. If you’re looking for something a bit boozier, make sure to check out the Boat Drinks (Rocks and Frozen) or try out the Margarita Flight. My eye is on the Don’t Stop The Carnival!

OK, those were my top nacho options at Universal, but what are yours? Let me know in the comments below!

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10 Comments

  • Reply Lynn Roehrich March 15, 2024 at 11:21 am

    This blog is outstanding! The descriptions are delicious and made my mouth water. I will definitely be trying the nachos when i go to the park.

  • Reply Era March 16, 2024 at 2:17 am

    Never actually had nachos at Universal but this will totally help me out next time I go I’ll especially try out the Tampico Nachos since I really like trying out guacamoles and I’ll try out that Nacho burger!! This is a really helpful guide for nachos and appreciate food guides for Universal (they lowkey sometimes have overpriced bad food).

    • Reply Digital Guest Communications March 16, 2024 at 9:41 am

      We can’t wait to hear what you think of the Tampico Nachos! Be sure to give the Carnitas Tots at the Green Eggs and Ham Cafe in Universal Islands of Adventure a try too! 🙂

  • Reply Layla March 16, 2024 at 1:20 pm

    I love this! I’m excited to try some of these, I never realized universal had so many nacho options, each one is so different and interesting-I really want to try the blackened tuna nachos, they look so good. I also appreciate the bonus tips so we can get the full experience!!

    • Reply Digital Guest Communications March 16, 2024 at 8:22 pm

      We don’t mean to be cheesy, but these are nacho average nachos! We hope you have a chance to try some of these delicious options soon!

  • Reply Alex March 17, 2024 at 2:35 pm

    Reading this made me want nachos so bad. I didn’t know there were so many kinds. The next time I go to Universal I am totally trying some of these.

    • Reply Digital Guest Communications March 17, 2024 at 2:40 pm

      Hi Alex, you definitely have to try the Volcano Nachos from Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville! They are so good!

  • Reply Olivia March 17, 2024 at 8:25 pm

    This is so awesome and in depth! I will definitely have to use this next time I’m there :)! I never even knew they had a nacho burger!

  • Reply Melissa Forsee March 18, 2024 at 11:11 pm

    Love this article great job Chrisy!!!
    I will need a personal tour guide for nacho options as I freaking love nachos 😍

    • Reply Digital Guest Communications March 18, 2024 at 11:28 pm

      Sign us up for the tour!

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