Toadstool Cafe is the counter-service restaurant inside of Universal Studios Hollywood. Located in Super Nintendo World, the restaurant is run by everyone’s favorite chef, Toad. Guests dine inside of Toad’s House while enjoying food that invokes different Mario characters, including the main man himself! In this post, we’ll review the restaurant’s atmosphere, food and value.
Universal Studios Hollywood has improved over the last few years, adding quality lands and attractions. One area that’s still lacking at the theme park is the food department. There isn’t much in the way of quality, although the Wizarding World and some of the Simpsons restaurants do offer some well crafted atmospheres. Simply the lack of signature meals, or even snacks, is one of the park’s biggest faults.
And that’s not to say all of the restaurants in Universal Studios Hollywood do have a good atmosphere. There’s a non-disguised Panda Express and Mel’s Diner mixed in among Minion Cafe and Three Broomsticks. In short, the dining scene in the park doesn’t make a lot of sense so adding any restaurant, especially one in a hyper-themed land, is a chance for improvement.
Toadstool Cafe is certainly an improvement and is a natural fit inside of Super Nintendo World. With so many different facades and characters represented throughout the land, having a restaurant inside of Toad’s House run by Chef Toad himself is fun integration. But is Chef Toad a mushroom? And if Toad is a member of the fungi family then is it problematic that there are so many mushroom items on the menu? We ask the important questions here.
Before getting into the experience, some housekeeping for those that do want to enjoy a meal at Toadstool Cafe. Super Nintendo World is a small land and will fill up in a hurry, getting into the land will likely require entering the virtual queue via the Universal app. Once you do enter the land go straight to Toadstool Cafe, check in at the front and then you’ll receive a return time or will get a text back when it’s your turn to dine. Guests can explore the land in between putting their name and getting called, just make sure you don’t get stuck in a line and can’t make it when the time is called. I don’t know how long this reservation system will be in place, likely for as long as the land stays extremely busy.
When the dining time does come around, there will be a slight wait inside of the restaurant. Toadstool Cafe utilizes a number of screens doubling as windows throughout the restaurant. This particular window in the waiting room offers a peek inside of the kitchen as Chef Toad is preparing food and talking to guests.
Following that, guests place their order at a counter before heading into the dining room which amounts to one giant dining hall. Having said that, it is separated nicely and doesn’t feel overly crowded. Some of that was due to having an employee seat you and bring out the food to your table. Credit goes to the design of the room too, as many of the booths are tucked away and feel more secluded than you would expect.
Those lucky enough to be seated in a booth or along the wall are in for a treat, as there are more windows (screens) that showcase different Toads outside or in the kitchen. Different events will happen throughout your dining experience to liven things up. I won’t spoil anything here, but these windows add some great story and entertainment to Toadstool Cafe.
Even without the windows, the atmosphere is solid. There are delicious Mario details throughout including mushroom tops on all of the chairs and warp pipes coming out of the ceiling. Wood tones in the restaurant make it feel cozy, while the details add all of the character. They have really nailed the atmosphere here, as it’s not overly intrusive but there’s plenty of charm.
As for the food, here’s a look at the menu. In general, everything is a bit overpriced. The desserts are especially so, while the entrees and starters are pretty well in line with the rest of Universal Studios Hollywood and other theme parks. I’ve seen plenty of reviews of the restaurant, and they seem fairly mixed. I’ll get it out of the way that we were very impressed with the food but Toadstool Cafe might be suffering from some inconsistencies at first? I’m eager to go back and see if the restaurant lives up to our initial impression.
Oh, by the way, everything is very cute. Let’s carry on.
We ordered Toadstool Cafe’s specialty drink called the Super Star Lemon Squash. While $8 is too much for this, it was quite refreshing! Consisting of honey lemon soda with mango stars and assorted tropical bobas, the lemon was the primary flavor. There were hints of honey and the tropical boba added more citrussy sweetness. It’d be a wonderful drink for a hot day.
These are the Toadstool Cheesy Garlic Knots consisting of mini mushroom shaped knots brushed with garlic butter, parmesan cheese, parsley and a side of marinara sauce. I enjoyed these warm and buttery knots, as the bread was nice and soft and the cheese plus marinara made for a good appetizer. The dish isn’t anything out of this world, but who doesn’t love some buttery bread with cheese on it? At $5.99, the value here wasn’t bad.
We’ve also tried the Super Mushroom Soup, which is served in the souvenir bowl above.
Unfortunately, there’s no option to get the soup without the souvenir so you’re stuck paying $20 for a small portion whether you want the bowl or not. Don’t get it unless you want the bowl. The Mushroom Soup is good enough, very similar taste to Miso Soup. If you’re wanting this dish as a souvenir, more power to you! It’s cute and fun. Otherwise, I wouldn’t get this.
As for the entrees, we tried the two burgers on the menu. Above is the Mario Burger consisting of an all beef patty, bacon, mushrooms, lettuce, tomato, and American cheese served on a brioche bun with a side of truffle French fries. Theme park burgers are almost universally (no pun intended) bad but this one was delicious and juicy. Between the mushrooms, sauce and well made patty, this is one of the first times I want to go back for a burger at a theme park. I could say the same exact thing about the fries! At $16.99, the price for both the Mario and Luigi Burgers is more or less in line with most fare.
Speaking of, here’s the Luigi Burger. This sandwich is made up of grilled chicken, basil pesto, Swiss cheese, green pepper and spinach served on a brioche bun with a side of truffle French fries. I loved this burger, as well. The pesto was the winner here as it was a nice sauce for the sandwich and good for dipping fries in. I liked the green pepper on the Luigi Burger, adding a fresh veggie to the otherwise heavy menu. While the Mario Burger was juicier, this grilled chicken was no slouch. My personal preference between the two would probably depend on the day and if I wanted something heavier (Mario) or lighter.
On a subsequent trip, I ordered the Fire Flower Spaghetti & Meatballs which consists of spaghetti with mushroom marinara sauce, meatballs, Fire Flower parmesan crisp, shaved parmesan, and chopped parsley. This had more spice to it than I thought it would while also having more flavor than I expected. Overall, I thought this was pretty good but I do prefer the sandwiches which are at the same price. If you’re a spaghetti fanatic (great band name!) then you might prefer this!
Overall, we came away very impressed with Toadstool Cafe. The atmosphere continues the quality theme that the new land has and the food was surprisingly tasty. While there’s not much in the way of value, this has immediately become my favorite spot to dine in Universal Studios Hollywood.
What do you think of Toadstool Cafe? 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