on Mario Kart: Bowser's Challenge, I treated my Gold Cup-winning self to lunch at the Toadstool Cafe next door in Universal Studios Hollywood's Super Nintendo World.Fresh off my leaderboard-crashing (but mostly just crashing) performance
The host at the counter will ask for your drink order first, since other team members will prepare that will you are completing and paying for your order. Once you have paid, you will be given your drinks and silverware (real metal utensils! Let's see how long that lasts... sigh) on a tray to take to the host stand. There, another team member will take your tray and lead you to your table, where you will await the delivery of your food.
It's an immense dining area, but I appreciate the strict crowd control here that will prevent anyone from getting a seat until they have ordered. While you wait (it won't be long), notice the animations in the windows all around the dining room, including a look into the Toadstool Cafe "kitchen" in the back, where Chef Toad and crew are preparing your meal.
Once delivered, dig in!
I loved the Piranha Plant Caprese Salad [$13.99]. Okay, January is hardly peak season for flavorful tomatoes, but the pesto and basil leaf added welcomed zing to the mozzarella and good-for-January tomatoes. A side of greens with shaved radishes, sautéed mushrooms and an apple vinaigrette added to the flavor on the plate, while the asparagus and extra tomato provided a whimsical visual touch to create the Piranha Plant. If Universal can keep the quality up on this one, this salad ranks among the best themed-food items I've had, for overall taste and visual appeal.
The cafe was not offering the Chef Toad Short Rib Special that Universal had promoted to some local media this week, so I settled for the Mario Burger [$16.99], with bacon, mushrooms, and American cheese, served with truffle-seasoned French fries. It's a cute presentation, with a plastic mini Mario hat and a mustache brand in the top brioche bun.
It's all a mouthful, and nothing especially different from other burgers at new restaurants at Universal. The "new restaurant" part is key, though, because I've found over the years that whatever is the newest restaurant in the park is the one that serves the best-quality burgers. Toadstood Cafe continues that streak. So long as Universal keeps on the execution and presentation here, the Mario Burger provides a tasty and satisfying meal. Toadstood Cafe also offers a Luigi Burger [also $16.99] with grilled chicken, pesto, and Swiss.
The Question Block Tiramisu [$9.99] provides a nice bite at the end of the meal. The sharp coffee flavor and richness of the cream balance the sweetness, making tiramisu a long-time popular dessert choice. But while the Question Block cookies make this worthy of fans' social media feeds, they do nothing for the flavor of the dish and just get in the way of eating it.
I liked the tartness of lemon in the Super Star Lemon Squash [$8], but the mango stars and boba-like jellies just pushed this into the "too sweet" category that keeps me just ordering water as my drink when I am not taste-testing meals in theme parks.
You can watch me eat all this here:
Other menu items include Toadstool Cheesy Garlic Knots [$5.99], Yoshi's Favorite Fruit and Veggie Salad [$13.99], Super Star Chicken Salad [$14.99], and Fire Flower Spaghetti & Meatballs [$16.99]. A Mount Beanpole cake, with layered Italian cookies and matcha mousse was $8.99 while the Princess Peach cupcake - which is Funfetti-flavored and not peach, because that would be weird if you think about it too much - is $8.99.
For more coverage of my visit today, including my review of Mario Kart: Bowser's Challenge, see Super Nintendo World Soft Opens in Hollywood.
And here is my review of the interactive gameplay within Super Nintendo World, including the Boss Battle with Bowser Jr. show: Having Fun With Real-Life Gameplay in Super Nintendo World
Super Nintendo World opens officially at Universal Studios Hollywood on February 17.
For discounted tickets to the park, please see our travel partner's Universal Studios Hollywood tickets page.
And for more theme park news, please sign up for Theme Park Insider's weekly newsletter.
This article has been archived and is no longer accepting comments.