A sacrifice, we know.
There are nowhere near any bad selections among the eight main courses offered at the restaurant in Universal's Wizarding World of Harry Potter, which is now open for "technical rehearsals" in advance of the land's April 7 official opening. But we will help you choose what to order on your first go around this enticing menu with our photos and notes below.
Keep in mind: These are not publicity photos — they are our original photographs of the food, as served at the restaurant. And we paid for it all — no special media invitation or accommodations for this one.
If you have visited either of the Wizarding World land in Orlando, we would recommend ordering the one dish that is unique to the Wizarding World Hollywood: The Sunday Roast ($21.99).
The roast beef is served to order and comes with vegetables, sliced roasted potatoes, a Yorkshire pudding, and au jus. It's just a stunning meal for a theme park counter-service restaurant and well worth ordering any day of the week.
The Three Broomsticks is supposed to be a Scottish pub, so you might wish to opt for the meals traditionally found on pub menus. My favorite among those is the Bangers & Mash ($12.99).
The highlight of this dish is the deeply-flavored onion gravy that distinguishes a great bangers & mash beyond a simple plate of sausages and potatoes. This selection comes with minty English peas and a roasted tomato — two more delightfully British accents to the meal.
My love for the Bangers & Mash is not to take away from the equally tasty Beef, Lamb & Guinness Stew ($13.99), though.
Rich with chunks of beef, lamb, and root vegetables in a Guinness-infused sauce, this stew just demolishes any other bread bowl meal we've had before in a theme park. It's enough to make you wish for colder weather in LA, to more properly enjoy the warmth of this dish.
You can't go wrong with The Three Broomsticks' Fish & Chips ($14.99), either.
With an airy, crispy batter providing a nice contrast with the rich, flaky fish, this meal also includes wedge-cut fries. The tartar sauce is a touch on the sweet side, but there's so much flavor in the fish that we usually just skip it in favor of a squeeze of the provided lemon, anyway.
The Shepherd's Pie ($12.99) is pure comfort food. (And yes, as it includes ground beef, it properly should be called a cottage pie instead of a shepherd's pie, which includes ground lamb. But we're not Gordon Ramsay, so screw it. For what it's worth, Universal does call this dish a Cottage Pie at the Leaky Cauldron in Orlando.)
Of the traditional pub meals on the Three Broomsticks' menu, this dish ranks below the meals above for me... mostly because as an American living in Los Angeles — where it's perpetually 70 degrees and sunny — Shepherd's Pie just doesn't push the emotional buttons that it would for someone who grew up enjoying this simple casserole of ground beef, vegetables, and mashed potatoes on cold, overcast days. But the accompanying mixed greens salad is amazing for a theme park side dish — we recommend highly the Stilton blue cheese dressing.
Now we get to three dishes that might not be authentic, but certainly hold their own on this menu.
The Spare Ribs ($16.99) might be among the best we've ever had — meaty without fat or gristle and with a tangy sauce that doesn't overwhelm the rich pork flavor of the ribs.
The half dozen ribs are served with corn on the cob and roasted sliced potatoes, as are the chicken and turkey leg entrees. That Lemon Herb Roasted Chicken ($13.99) is just as good as the ribs, with an accompanying garlic herb sauce for the half chicken that would drive Count Dracula out of his home studio, if he were ever allowed to get near it.
If you are interested, and visiting with family or friends, you can order the ribs and chicken together, along with a family-sized salad, in The Three Brooksticks' The Great Feast ($54.99), which serves four.
Back to the individual main courses, that leave us with the Turkey Leg ($13.99).
That the rest of the dishes at The Three Broomsticks can make a smoked turkey leg seem "meh" in comparison probably ought to tell you all you need to know about the quality and variety of this restaurant.
While we were eating all these main courses, of course we had to order all the desserts, as well. Here are Cold Butterbeer ($4.99), Butterbeer Potted Cream ($5.29), and a Sticky Toffee Pudding ($6.99).
Pro tip: Wait a minute or two after you get your Butterbeer for the butterscotch foam to bubble up to peak volume before drinking it, to get the full experience of its flavor. The toffee pudding was my favorite of The Three Broomsticks' desserts, with its chocolate surprise lurking within.
The Apple Pie ($3.89) was a close second for me, with abundant juicy apple slices within a warm cinnamon-laden crust. It pairs wonderfully with the Pumpkin Juice ($4.39), which tastes like you are drinking a pumpkin pie.
That Butterbeer Potted Cream tastes just like the liquid Butterbeer, too, making it a bit redundant if you're drinking one with your meal. But if you opt for the Pumpkin Juice, or one of The Three Broomsticks' adult beverages (draught beers are $10.99), wrapping up with a Butterbeer Potted Cream is a perfect way to get a taste of that flavor in your meal, instead.
Finally, we have the Chocolate Trifle ($4.39).
If you believe, as my daughter says, that "it's not really dessert if it doesn't have chocolate," this is the selection for you. Topped with shaved chocolate and a cocoa ladyfinger above a layer of raspberry sauce and a base of chocolate mousse, this trifle should satisfy any chocolate lover.
In addition these main courses and desserts, The Three Broomsticks serves a Roast Chicken salad ($9.89) and a Soup & Salad Combo ($9.49, with a choice of Corn, English Ale & Cheddar, or Leek & Potato soups). Children's meals are $7.29 each and the options are Fish & Chips, a Chicken Quarter, Chicken Tenders, and Macaroni Cheese. Ice cream is available for $4.99 and comes in vanilla, chocolate, and strawberry and peanut butter flavors. As of now, there's no Butterbeer ice cream (or hot Butterbeer) available at the Wizarding World in Hollywood.
But what here is more than enough to move Universal Studios Hollywood's The Three Broomsticks into strong contention among the world's best theme park counter service restaurants. And along with last year's addition of the restaurants in the adjacent Springfield USA, Universal Studios Hollywood is now the place to eat for hungry theme park fans in Southern California.
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