Toothsome Chocolate Emporium is a table-service restaurant at Universal Studios Hollywood. Located in CityWalk, outside of the park, the restaurant also includes a soda fountain and candy shop that guests don’t have to wait for. Toothsome does offer dining reservations, which you may need depending on the time, as well as a discount for Universal annual passholders. In this post, we’ll review Toothsome’s food, atmosphere and value.
Toothsome Chocolate Emporium & Savory Feast Kitchen (what a mouthful!) opened in LA earlier in 2023 but has other locations at Universal Resorts in Orlando and Beijing. This version looks very similar to those! Universal has pieced together a backstory for these restaurants featuring two original characters. Via the Universal blog:
“The story starts with Professor Doctor Penelope Tibeaux-Tinker Toothsome and her sidekick Jacques (who seems to be a robot) exploring the world in their dirigible (think balloon airship). When they returned home to her parents’ cottage in London to share their experience and experiments with her family, they found the home empty with a note from her parents on the kitchen floor stating that they would “look for her wherever chocolate can be found.” With this knowledge, Penelope developed an industrialized chocolate emporium to share her love and knowledge of chocolate with the world, in hopes of being reunited with her family along the way.”
In true Wandering in Disney fashion, I have some questions. Why did Penelope’s parents just up and leave when she was off exploring the world with Jacques? Was this a running away from home situation so then the parents wanted to go look for her? Are we sure the parents haven’t been abducted? I take it little Penelope liked chocolate? If not, that would be a strange thing to leave on a note. This appears to be in the 19th century. Is Toothsome still in the 19th century? If so, how did I travel back in time to eat there?
Jokes and unimportant questions aside, it is nice to see an original theme park story being told. Universal especially revolves around the franchises they own and there aren’t many chances to tell unique stories. I’m happy that they do here, even if it does lead to some confusion.
At the Orlando version of the restaurant, I’ve seen Professor Penelope and Jacques meeting guests. We’ve yet to see that in three different trips to the LA version of the restaurant. I haven’t been there at peak times so maybe I’ve just missed them, as they are pictured on the restaurant’s website, but I don’t know how often or if the characters are ever out. If they are, it’s a nice atmospheric touch.
Following that backstory, Toothsome certainly has a facade that stands out. Part steampunk, part whimsy, the outside of the building has some nice brickwork to go along with a domed roof and ornate gold touches around. It’s near the end of CityWalk, opposite of the theme park but it’s only a 10 minute walk. There isn’t as much space to work with at Universal Studios Hollywood so everything is a bit condensed. That makes Toothsome not stand out as much among the skyline, like it does in Orlando. Still, the building has a catchy design.
Once inside, there’s a sleek design with more steampunk touches. Black and gold is always a nice combination and it works well here. There are some props, specifically toward the back of the bottom level. Maps and cool lighting are a hallmark, along with the gold hand rail up the stairs and around the second floor.
I like the atmosphere at Toothsome, even if it doesn’t quite reach the whimsy of the outside. I’d like a few more quirks to really add in some Willy Wonka vibes but it’s a strong theme park restaurant design with story and flare. It’s just missing Augustus Gloop stuck in a tube.
Moving on to the food, the menu is largely American with touches of French cuisine. Brunch is served all day to go along with some sandwiches, salads and other entrees. There might be a little too much going on in the menu. There are certainly more options at the Cheesecake Factory, but this is a thick one to get through! Most dishes range from $15-$25 with a few outliers. Milkshakes and cocktails are elaborate and are generally around $15.
The best thing we’ve tried at Toothsome is the Chocolate Almond Bread, served with a salted caramel butter. The bread is sweet but not overly so and is served warm. It was baked perfectly, the salt in the butter added a nice contrast to the sweetness. At $5.95, this is worth getting. Honestly, when we return we might just get a few orders of this and drinks!
Here’s the Brisket and Wild Mushroom Meatloaf which is served with roasted corn, crispy fried onions, Yukon Gold mashed potatoes and bordelaise sauce. I enjoyed this dish, as well. The meatloaf was the rightful star of the dish, tender and with good flavor. I got more of the brisket taste while eating it but the mushrooms were still noticeable. This dish is $21.95 which seems fair for what it is. I wouldn’t call it amazing but I did enjoy it.
Admittedly, the safe bet when going to Toothsome is one of the sweet brunch options. Above is the Bananas Foster Waffle consisting of caramelized bananas, brown sugar, walnuts, rum, butter, whipped topping and powdered sugar on top of a waffle. This tastes very good but is also overly sweet. Melissa and I split this and the meatloaf on one trip (weird combo, I know) and we had a hard time getting through the waffle together because of how rich it is. I do think both of us get ‘sweeted out’ sooner than others though so if you like really sweet breakfast food then you will like this. At $18.95, this is on the pricier side.
Finally, here’s the Teriyaki Burger. This consists of a half pound house made patty, teriyaki glaze, grilled pineapple chutney, shiitake mushrooms, Asian slaw on a toasted sesame seed bun. There’s some good ideas here, notably the mushroom and chutney. But as a whole, I didn’t think this was very good. At $17.95, I wouldn’t get this again. The fries were good though!
I think the food at Toothsome is hit and miss. Some dishes have been strong but there’s nothing that wowed us. Coming for appetizers and desserts (apps and zerts, if you’re Tom Haverford) makes as much sense to me as having a big meal here.
Ultimately, I do think the experience at Toothsome is worth checking out. Part of that is because Universal Studios Hollywood has a dearth of dining options. I’d put Toothsome in the top 3 places to grab a bite along with in park options, Toadstool Cafe and Three Broomsticks. Don’t confuse that for a ringing endorsement, mainly I think the atmosphere is strong and there are some menu items and/or drinks to try. Hopefully, Penelope’s parents are able to track her down and then we can all have some chocolate together.
Overall Rating – 7.5/10
What do you think of Toothsome Chocolate Emporium? If you have any thoughts or questions, please leave a comment down below. Planning a trip to Universal Studios Hollywood? Check out our guide here! If you enjoy what you are reading here on Wandering in Disney please share this post with your friends, as well as like our social media pages. You can also subscribe to the blog via WordPress or email. All of those links are on the right side of this page. Thank you for reading, we really appreciate it!
Categories: Restaurant Reviews
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