A Mediterranean Counter Service Restaurant at SeaWorldI finally got to visit the Lakeside Grill restaurant at SeaWorld the other day. Back when I first ate lunch at this location (around 2016) it had been called the Spice Mill Restaurant.
It was an okay place to eat back then. The concept of the "spice mill" wasn't very apparent in the food, but the items that they had been serving, were quite good. Many of the food selections (while not being "spicy") were items that you could not find at other SeaWorld restaurants… like "Chili in a Bread Bowl" and a "Pulled Pork Sandwich".
Now that the location is called the Lakeside Grill — the concept seems to be a little more generic, but also more accurate. They have a grill in the kitchen… the location is next to a lake…. "Lakeside Grill" seems like it could be accurate no matter what kind of cuisine they serve.
There's a 600 gallon fish tank in the wall as you enter the Lakeside Grill... and I have to say... it's pretty cool!
It's worth mentioning, I've found this location to be closed a couple of times that I was out at SeaWorld. Mostly on a weekday, or a particularly low attendance day... it didn't seem to be open. As far as I can remember, it's definitely been open on Saturdays and Sundays though.
There is a really nice outdoor seating area on the lake patio. It's long and spacious, there are ceiling fans and even netting, so that seagulls and other birds are swooping in to steal your food. The look and arrangement in this area hasn't changed much over the years… the main color on the building wall is a little different (it's more blue now) … all in all – it's a great seating area, if you're okay with sitting outdoors.
The interior layout hasn't changed much either. The walls have some new paint colors and there's a couple new drop-in ceiling elements, which are a really nice touch. I think whomever did the redesign — did a great job of maximizing, what must have been a small budget. The interior really looks nice and different from what was there before.
There are a couple more booth style seating options along side the wall that divides the southern and northern dining rooms. They are cool... but don't forget there's a little step to get in them... and a little step down when you get out of them.
The FoodWell… like many theme park restaurants, the concept seemed to start out strong, but then gets watered down a little as time goes on. I remember looking at the menu when the Lakeside Grill first opened after the redesign, and the menu looked great (for foodies anyway). Very Greek and very different than what you would find anywhere else at SeaWorld.
Since then, it seems like only the most popular Mediterranean items have survived and they've fallen back into the trap of offering up a cheeseburger, hot dog, or a crispy fish sandwich with fries. Which is fine… it's probably what most people order. Greek isn't exactly the most popular cuisine here in the US. I guess my point is — they should just call the place "SeaBurger" then, and not attempt Mediterranean food at all.
I picked up this "Greek Salad Kabob" which is said to feature tomatoes, cucumbers, feta cheese, olives and grilled chicken kabobs. The one I was given — was missing cucumbers — with no explanation as to why.
This is the Greek Salad Kabob. It's said to feature tomatoes, cucumbers, feta cheese, olive oil, and topped with your choice of grilled chicken or steak kabob. (Photo taken 2022.)
There's zero dressing on the salad and there's no dressing available either. The experience of eating this one – is kind of like foraging through your home garden, pulling off a dry lettuce leaf and eating it, or pulling a tomato off a vine and eating it — except these veggies have been pre-cut and sitting out for hours.
The chicken itself was just okay. It did have spices on it… but nothing that I could specifically identify. It's not what I would call "Mediterranean" chicken — and the meat grade itself was — again… just "okay". It could have been worse. It should has been a whole lot better.
This is the Greek Salad Kabob with Grilled Chicken from the Lakeside Grill at SeaWorld. (Photo taken 2022.)
The product that SeaWorld is using for their breaded chicken items (sandwiches, wings, etc.) has actually been really great… to the point where I'd actually recommend getting "breaded chicken anything" while at SeaWorld… and staying away from most everything else.
I kind of wish these kabobs had been "breaded chicken fingers" rather than "grilled chicken parts". I had high hopes for these chicken kabobs, because they actually look pretty good — but they were very dry, almost to the point of being inedible.
It was really great seeing a couple of gray olives (they weren't black olives) and feta cheese in the salad — those two items were about the only things that added any real flavor to the salad. There was only about a teaspoon of feta dust and a teaspoon of olives though. This (once again) turned into one of those items where you try out a big bite at first because you're really excited about what the dish could be — and then spend the rest of the time just picking out little crumbles of feta or olives from the dish — and throwing away everything else.
I also tried the "Lakeside Mediterranean Nachos" which are said to feature pita chips with hummus, feta cheese, tomatoes and olives.
These are the Lakeside Mediterranean Nachos. They're said to feature pita chips with hummus, feta cheese, tomatoes, and olives. (Photo taken 2022.)
It wasn't plated anything like they showed on the menu board — and is only about 1/3 or even 1/4 the size — compared to the one that's pictured on the menu board.
Writing the same thing over and over for these SeaWorld counter service locations really does make me sad — because I know how great it could be, how great it used to be.
If you're going to show a photo on the menu board — with a detailed ingredient description and a price — you can't show a fancy looking stock photo. You need to show the exact item you're offering for that price.
There's 9 cherry tomatoes and 18 olives on the menu board photo. There's a little cup of hummus pictured with olive oil drizzled over the top of it. There was only 2 tomatoes in the item I was given, 3 olives, and no olive oil drizzle. Here's a close up of the menu board item and then what I actually got.
Here's a comparison photo of the Lakeside Mediterranean Nachos that are on the menu board (left), and then the dish you actually get (on the right). Counting the tomatoes and olives, it's about 1/3rd the size of what's pictured. (Photo taken 2022.)
The hummus was actually pretty good. The olives and tomatoes were not the best, but I guess not the worst either. They were the same as what was in the salad. They had the texture, appearance and mouth feel of items that had been sitting in a room temperature prep-bin and scooped together when someone ordered one.
I guess I'm not sure what a pita chip is supposed to be like. These were like room temperature compressed bread. I assumed that the word "chip" indicated that it would be crispy somehow. These were not.
Looking at the Lakeside Grill menu now, I'm not really sure what I would order, if I were to go back. They do have a warm kabob plate with "herb rice and roasted vegetables". Looking at it as a wide-eyed optimist — that might be good. But if the rice from Expedition Café (another SeaWorld restaurant) is any indication of rice in general at SeaWorld — together with knowing that the photos on the menu board aren't accurate — gosh, I don't know. Maybe I'd just get a beer… they do have Yuengling.