Theme Park Insider

Let's try the holiday menu at Universal Hollywood's The Three Broomsticks

December 13, 2016, 4:55 PM · Universal Studios Hollywood is celebrating the holidays at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter in properly British fashion — with a holiday feast.

The holiday themed-meal joins several other seasonal items on the menu at the Theme Park Insider Award-winning The Three Broomsticks this month. Laurie and I started with Hot Butterbeers ($5.49 each), but caffeine aficionado Laurie decided hers would go better with a couple of shots of espresso, procured moments earlier from Universal's new Starbucks.

Making a hot Butterbeer Latte

Laurie proclaimed it an improvement over the uncaffeinated Hot Butterbeer, but I was perfectly happy with the "normal" version. Yet that was a mere opening act for the main attraction — the Holiday Feast ($64.99).

Like the regular Great Feast offered at The Three Broomsticks, Universal says this meal serves four, though I estimated it could feed anywhere from three hungry people to eight light eaters. The Holiday Feast starts with a tureen of Butternut Squash Soup, dressed with chives and a drizzle of sour cream.

Butternut Squash Soup

I was expecting to stop after an obligatory taste, in order to save room for the main courses ahead. But a moment later, my bowl was empty and I found myself ladling up seconds. Rich with the flavor of roasted squash, but with just enough contrast from the garnish to keep it from a being one-note experience, the soup could have satisfied me as a lunch on its own.

Minutes later, one of Universal's chefs approached our table with the rest of the feast.

Holiday Feast

Here's what you get:

Every single thing on that platter was the best thing I've ever eaten in a theme park counter service restaurant. I mean, Beef Wellington and roasted Brussels sprouts? C'mon. Universal could have laid up with turkey loaf, a dab of cranberry relish, and the same roasted potatoes it serves the rest of the year, and I — and probably every other Harry Potter fan in the LA area — would have been happy with the holiday alternative. But no. Universal's culinary team went for a ridiculous degree of difficulty here.

And they nailed it. Helping ourselves from the platter became a voyage of discovery: "Is that pate?" "Hey, there are roasted mushrooms under the spinach, too." "You have got to try the cherries." "I can't believe that a Brussels sprout can actually taste this good." For a theme park fan who dies a little inside every time a new restaurant limits itself to burgers and chicken strips, this really felt like opening a bounty of presents on Christmas morning.

Yeah, but the price, you say. Alright, let's do the math.

Split $64.99 four ways. That's $16.25 per person. For that, you get a thick slice of Beef Wellington and another slice of turkey breast, a bowl of Butternut Squash soup, and pretty much your fill of roasted winter vegetables, plus a tasty dollop of both cranberry sauce and a deceptively addictive tarragon aioli to dress it all. Given the morsels that sixteen bucks gets you at the Disney California Adventure Festival of the Holidays booths I tried last month, there's no question which holiday food destination I would recommend to theme park fans in Southern California.

If you insist that I nitpick, okay, the bread stuffing was under-seasoned and nothing special. And this meal deserved better than Universal's typical plastic cutlery. To its credit, the serrated knife got the job done here — not that cutting the tender filet and juicy turkey breast needed much effort. But the heft of real cutlery would have completed the sensation of dining on a holiday feast in Scottish pub, if we turn out backs to the door and ignore Southern California's balmy December weather.

We finished our meal with one more holiday menu speciality — Eton Mess ($4.39).

Eton Mess

A blend of whipped cream, meringue, and strawberries, this English dessert provide a nicely sweet note to finish the meal, though we all were pretty much stuffed and beyond appreciating any additional tastes at that point.

There's also a Specialty Chicken Sandwich ($12.99) on the menu this month — a grilled chicken breast with bacon, Cheddar, and roasted tomatoes, dressed with that tarragon aioli and served on a Brioche bun, with a choice of chips or a side salad. Alas, that will have to wait for another day, when I am alone and not tempted to order the whole Holiday Feast for myself.

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Replies (9)

December 13, 2016 at 11:42 PM · For $16 what do you get at Carthay Circle? An appetizer, and not a hefty one. What do you get at DCA's Festival of Holidays? Two sliders or similar. Beef wellington and turkey sounds much more appealing than pomegranate-lacquered angus beef for $45 at Carthay Circle.
December 14, 2016 at 1:53 AM · No (proper) sage & onion stuffing?
They need to send someone here to Britain to sample and get it right! :-)
Or I am always happy to head over as a consultant! Just say the word Uni - I got you.
December 14, 2016 at 2:21 AM · Kudos to Laurie - I can't believe adding a shot to Butterbeer isn't an option. That's on my list now.

The feast looks great. (Although Eton Mess is an odd choice - it's a specifically Summer season thing over here. Maybe this is a trial run for the regular menu?) Love the idea of serving-your-own from the tureen.

December 14, 2016 at 8:04 AM · That is not a bad price for being in a Theme Park...

Last May, while at Universal Orlando all of the damn better restaurants were closed due to a private event to for HP… Margaretville, NBC sports bar, Cowfish… So we had to eat at Mel’s diner, food was below average and cost me over $60.00 for 4 of us while non-enjoyable crappy burgers and fries…

December 14, 2016 at 10:09 AM · Great review. Yes, the food at the Three Broomsticks is always delicious, and thankfully not at all your typical amusement park fare. We were there this weekend on a cold and cloudy day, and sat by the fireplace. I got the shepherds pie, served with a large side salad of european greens, and Stilton cheese dressing. I ordered the potted cream for dessert - all of it was beyond delicious. And yes, not only does the food taste far superior to Disney - it is affordable. The Festival of Holidays is another elite pay to play event at Disney parks.
December 14, 2016 at 10:42 AM · That looks fantastic. I've always been a fan of the food and beverage options at Universal. The holiday feast proves parks can offer more than burgers, chicken strips and pizza and people will "eat it up".
December 15, 2016 at 5:27 AM · Good for USH, nicely done.
Hopefully this was pushed through by their new park President, Karen. It shines a light on how unmotivated the Orlando team is.
It's nice to see a team take F&B seriously in theme parks. Let them lead the charge.
We will see who emerges as leaders over the next few years.

December 15, 2016 at 1:25 PM · If that on Picture 2 from down is for 1 Person the Price is Ok for a Themepark with that Quality of Food - but I think it was all you get for FOUR..

Best Priced Food are still the Coocies at Knotts and the Bretzels at Hansapark...

December 16, 2016 at 3:46 AM · Great review. Looks like a winner and a pretty good price. I wonder how long it will last? I won't be able to go until a week after the New Year and I'm figuring it'll be gone by then.

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