Out and About: Trying the New Menu at Margaritaville Orlando

Margaritaville Orlando

Last fall, Margaritaville Orlando revamped its menu adding in a lot of new items. We decided to try out the new menu and headed out on a Friday night to Universal Orlando.

We arrived a little before our reservation time, but were seated immediately on the main floor, near the stage. Margaritaville has nightly musical entertainment on the stage, but we were dining too early for that.

Margaritaville Orlando
Drunken Shrimp Skillet with Blueberry Pomegranate Margarita

We each ordered a margarita, and started our meal with a trio of appetizers. The “Drunken” Shrimp Skillet ($13.99), recommended by our server Linda, was a big hit with my dining companion, Joan. She said the shrimp were so well done they just popped in her mouth, and the combination of the tequila lime butter and the trinity of garlic, onions, and peppers made for a wonderful flavor with the shrimp. She also tried the Asiago Crab Dip ($13.29), which she said was good, but not as good as the shrimp skillet.

Margaritaville Orlando
White Cheddar Cheese Curds and Carne Asada Steak Beach Taco

As someone born and raised in Wisconsin, I would’ve been remiss if I didn’t try the White Cheddar Cheese Curds ($10.99), which are popular in the state. Turns out their curds actually come from Wisconsin. They were breaded and deep fried, and tasted heavenly. They do come served with LandShark Lager BBQ and marinara sauces for dipping, but I found they didn’t really need them (though the BBQ sauce was good).

While waiting for our entrees, we each tried one of their new Beach Tacos (2 for $9.99), opting for the Carne Asada Steak (braised pork and chicken tinga are the other options). They were covered in pico de gallo, cheese and cilantro, and the steak had a nice flavor to it. They were good, but I’m not sure I’d order them again.

Margaritaville Orlando
LandShark Lager Fish & Chips

For her entree, Joan ordered the LandShark Lager Fish & Chips ($15.99), which she loved. Huge pieces of fish were hand dipped in a batter made with LandShark Lager, then fried and served with jalapeno tartar sauce, fries, and a cilantro lime coleslaw. She didn’t really care for the coleslaw, but she said adding the jalapeno to the tartar sauce gave it a nice kick that went well with the fish, which reminded her of traditional English fish and chips.

Margaritaville Orlando
Volcano Burger

The Cheeseburger in Paradise may be the signature burger of Margaritaville, but I opted to try the new Volcano Burger ($14.29). It was originally part of their annual burger month, but proved so popular, it was added to the new revamped menu. The burger is topped with volcano chili (which wasn’t as spicy as the name implied), lava cheese sauce (which tasted good with the cheese curds, too), pickled jalapenos, guacamole (I requested it without since I’m allergic), and Fritos corn chips. I actually ended up taking the Fritos off because they were so salty, but the rest of the toppings were great and gave the burger a nice heat bite.

Margaritaville Orlando
Chocolate Hurricane

For dessert, we went with the recommended Chocolate Hurricane ($16.50), which contains a pint of vanilla bean ice cream, served with huge brownie chunks, Kit Kat and Heath candy bars, pirouette and mini shortbread cookies, sliced banana, chopped macadamia nuts, and two huge mounds of whippped cream. As if that isn’t enough, it arrives at the table on a lazy susan and is spun as chocolate and caramel sauces are drizzeled on top. This dessert is made for sharing but the two of us were no match for it. I would say this could easily satisfy 4-6 people.

We also tried one of their new mini-desserts, the carrot cake, which was actually big enough for two to share (or one with a big sweet tooth).

Margaritaville Orlando
Mini Dessert Tray

Overall, I’d have to give a big thumbs up to the new menu. It’d been four years since I’d last eaten at Margaritaville but I’ll definitely be going back to check out some of the other new items. Most of the food we tried tonight had a lot of flavor and the quality was there, as well. Chatting with the chef, Daryl Monroe, it was obvious the kitchen staff cared a great deal about the food they were serving.

I should mention during our meal, there were stilt walkers roaming the restaurant making fun balloon hats, and joining in the singing of the restaurant’s national anthem “Margaritaville,” every 30 minutes or so. I was especially impressed with Cyndi, who somehow managed to sit on her haunches while on her stilts.

Margaritaville Orlando
Stilt Walker Cyndi, a balloon mask, Chef Daryl Monroe

On our way out, we took a tour of the newly renovated Porch of Indecision, which has been expanded to hold seating for an additional 64 guests. The Porch has its own musical entertainment, and is now partially enclosed.

Margaritaville Orlando is located at Universal Orlando CityWalk, towards Islands of Adventure. It opens at 11am daily, closing at 10pm Sunday-Thursday and midnight Friday-Saturday. Times may be adjusted for peak seasons or special park events. Parking at Universal is $15 prior to 6pm, but $5 after 6pm (free if you have a valid Florida ID).

For more information, including full menus and entertainment calendar visit MargaritavilleOrlando.com.

We thank Margaritaville Orlando for inviting us to try their new menu. All opinions expressed here are my own.

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