A cowfish is a little marine boxfish that lives in the coral reefs across the Indian and Pacific Oceans. It has little horns on top of its small face that make it resemble a cow, but it has the body and tail of a fish.
This concept of two-creatures-in-one is how the Cowfish restaurant we dined at on our last visit to Universal’s City Walk Orlando was born. The owners took two favorite foods – Burgers and Sushi – and created a new type of combined fusion dish aptly nicknamed The Burgushi!
The Cowfish restaurant is located in Universal ‘s revamped City Walk Orlando Florida next to several other well-loved eateries like Vivo, Margaritaville, Emeril’s and the Hard Rock Cafe.
One can feel the fun vibe the restaurant projects right from the entrance -where a giant yellow cowfish welcomes kids ( and adults) providing the perfect opportunity for a pre-meal ‘selfie.’
Once inside, the colorful furniture and wall hangings set the mood preparing the patrons for a unique and fun experience. The restaurant is large with a layout that encompasses two levels with both indoor and outdoor seating.
The outdoor area is an excellent choice for visitors who wish to enjoy the theme park fireworks while eating dinner.
The venue features an open kitchen, which means that diners can watch the chef and kitchen staff preparing the dishes on the menu.
Don’t miss the chance to say hi to the restaurant’s cowfish mascot! The fish, peacefully swimming in a giant bowl next to the hostess desk, originally from Indonesia can grow up to eighteen inches long.
Turns out, the fish is highly sensitive to noise and can be quite toxic to even other cowfish, and so it lives a solitary life.
Since this was our first visit to the chain, we wanted to get a sampler of several foods and drinks to share and enjoy.
I ordered the ‘cowfish bento box’ that included a burger and sushi combo along with sweet potato fries (a restaurant staple), Thai cucumber salad, edamame and spicy tuna roll. My husband and son opted for the ‘ fusion specialty bento box’, which was similar to mine except their box came with four pieces of firecracker rolls ( quite spicy.) And of course, we had to try the famous burg-ushi.
We also wanted to try their trendy spiked shakes, so we ended up sharing two different ones. Our ‘ Chocolate To Dive For’ (Vanilla Ice Cream with Amaretto and Godiva liqueur) and ‘Orange Ya Glad I’m Back ‘ (Vanilla Ice Cream, Orange Sherbet, Vanilla Rum and Orange Vodka) were a hit!
Not just about the food; Cowfish is a great interactive experience for the whole family!
When guests arrive, they are assigned a tiny fish swimming at the bottom of the virtual aquarium. As time passes, and their table is close to becoming available, their designated fish gets bigger and starts swimming to the top of the aquarium.
‘Why didn’t anyone think of this earlier? ‘asked my son with autism who was mesmerized by the game and didn’t even notice he’d been waiting for a solid ten minutes outside.
In addition to the video game, the restaurant supplies several old-fashioned games like bean bag throw in patio waiting area, to entertain active kids while their parents can enjoy a relaxing drink from the bar.
Once inside, there are interactive touch-screen tablets at the tables that give diners access to the menus and video games. The “Build-your-own-Fish” game caught our attention as a fun way to create a customized fish before watching it join others in the massive virtual aquarium displayed on the giant screens,
The Cowfish chain, with other branches in North Carolina, has received good press and accolades nationwide. In the Relish magazine, it made the 10 Outrageously Good Burgers Across America list, and Rachael Ray in her “Everyday With Rachel Ray” publication mentioned it as a notable family-friendly restaurant.
Autism Dining Tips
If you are visiting Universal Orlando, Cowfish is a great family-oriented place to go to after a busy day at the park.
The helpful staff was ready to answer our son’s questions, and the orders came relatively fast even though the restaurant was busy.
The restaurant offers a kids menu with the usual grub. Our son ordered a bento box although the PB&J sushi roll looked seriously tempting.
The place is large with outdoor and indoor seating so temperature- sensitive travelers with autism can be well accommodated.
The restaurant caters to a variety of dietary needs so make sure that you communicate with the staff prior to ordering.
It has an open-plan design with high ceilings, which amplifies acoustics. If your child is sensitive to noise, bring headphones to reduce the sound.