We have covered some of the Royal Pacific Resort (RPR) dining options previously with Jake’s American Bar (along with Jake’s character breakfast) and the absolute must-do, Emeril’s Tchoup Chop (be sure to order Tchoup Chop’s signature Mai Tai). Today we are going to look at the main dining area of the resort – or at least its largest – Islands Dining Room. While Islands has the best breakfast buffet on Universal property, we ventured into the restaurant for dinner, and not just any dinner: The Wok Experience. We have heard countless rave reviews of this dinner and decided to see if it lived up to the hype…
The seating area for Islands is quite large and continues through with the exotic theme of the resort.
There is also a special kids dining room in Islands with tables and chairs scaled down to their size along with a TV (playing cartoons) and toys. If you are keeping score on reasons “kids today have it too easy,” add this one to that list.
Islands Dining Room is open 7 days a week for dinner (6-10PM) and you can always order a la carte off the standard menu. On select nights they also offer The Wok Experience; generally every Friday and Saturday night, but during busier times it can be daily. If you have people in your party who have no interest in creating their own Wok dishes, they can always get standard dishes off the menu. If you have that picky eater in your group who does not want anything on the Asian-inspired Islands menu, several times we have seen a server bring over a menu from Jake’s American Bar that offers more traditional food such as burgers and pizza.
Along with the Wok Experince (which is a set price of $24 per person and is all you care to eat), we did order a couple appetizers including the Chili Wok Rib ($10). These are bbq ribs made with a spicy chili sauce and they are fantastic, as good as the wonderful ribs served over at Tchoup Chop.
Next were the Vegetable Spring Rolls ($8). If you like spring rolls, you’re going to enjoy these. The crispy wonton shell is filled with cabbage, carrots, and noodles. Served with a thai chili sauce.
Islands has an extensive wine list, along with specialty cocktails, draft and bottled beer. One of our beer selections was Cigar City’s Jai Alai. Cigar City Brewing is based out of Tampa, Florida and seem to make many appearances at the Jake’s American Bar Beer Festivals.
Alright, on to The Wok Experience! First up is the soup and salad bar, which is loaded with a ton of unique options. This is included with your Wok Experience meal.
Soups included Vietnamese Pho and Egg Drop Soup.
For our dinner Myke was working the wok stations and did a masterful job.
The first step in the process is grabbing a selection of vegetables you would like mixed into your wok meal.
These are then handed over to the wok chef, and he starts making your bowl. First the vegetables you selected are dumped into the hot wok.
Then you choose which protein you would like to be added in. You can choose from chicken, shrimp, beef, or tofu.
The next additions to the wok are rice, lo-mein, or noodles, along with a choice of sauce.
I personally loved the Thai Peanut sauce so much that I kept going back to it, but all the choices were great (especially Teriyaki and Coconut Curry).
Last option for the bowl is some toppers such as salt or garlic.
The food in the wok is then poured into a bowl. Time to eat!
Despite going back up for several bowls and being pretty much stuffed, something caught our eye on the dessert menu. I generally say “no thanks” to desserts, but when you see Jumbo Pineapple Doughnut, you’re not not going to get it, right? Billed as a “Homemade donut filled with pineapple cream, served with coconut ice cream,” this treat more than delivered and the pictures do not do its size justice. It truly is “jumbo” and I say that as someone who is considered an expert in the field of giant donuts. ($12)
OVERALL THOUGHTS: I put off eating at Islands for a long time because I wouldn’t consider myself a huge fan of Asian food. I finally decided to try the Wok Experience after hearing so many glowing reviews and I am here to report: they are all 100% right. The Wok Experience is now hands down my favorite meal at the Universal Orlando Resort. The service throughout the night was excellent with a special hat tip to our main server Mustapha. The food was just exceptional. I can not recommend it highly enough.
You can make reservations for Islands Dining Room through Open Table, or by calling 407-503-3463 (DINE). Annual pass discounts are accepted.
Other Universal Dining Articles:
Emeril’s Tchoup Chop at the Royal Pacific Resort
Jake’s American Bar at the Royal Pacific Resort
Backwater Bar at Islands of Adventure
Antojitos Authentic Mexican Food at CityWalk
Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville at CityWalk
The Cowfish at CityWalk
Emeril’s at CityWalk
Special thanks to Brandon Glover and Megan Stump for their invaluable assistance with this article. See you soon for our next Universal Dining experience, which hopefully will be the new NBC Grill in CityWalk. If you enjoyed yourself, be sure to check out The Magic, The Memories, and Merch! articles, or, for your listening pleasure, check out the Pardon the Pixie Dust podcast. You can also follow Your Humble Author on Twitter (@derekburgan)