Waterway Grill

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Waterway Grill

Counter Service (quick service)
Latin American
$5-14 per entree**
Grilled Churrasco Steak with Black Beans
It's been about a year and a half since our last visit to SeaWorld's Waterway Grill. Not much has changed with the seating area or food ordering process… so if you'd like to read more about those, here's a link to that review. The prices — have gone up a little bit. Most SeaWorld counter service locations are really close to (or over) a $20 per entree price point, add in a drink and a side or dessert item, and you'll be in $35 territory.

I will say though, the annual passholder lounge is also in Waterway Grill — so for passholders, there is that little free soda machine in the back, and we've seen many, many passholders bring food into the lounge to take advantage of the free soda samples. On the particular day that I'm writing this review for — SeaWorld was running a "free beer sample" promotion on the Waterway Grill Patio ... which in all honestly, is probably the only reason I went back to the Waterway Grill.

Since we were back here anyway, I decided to try the Grilled Churrasco Steak entree. I had been here a few weeks earlier (for more free beer) and the steak entree actually looked pretty great. It was being served on a plate and seemed to have some fries with it — kind of a Steak Frites — I thought. There was also a "Chicken Tenders with Cheese Stack" entreé on the menu board that looked pretty great too.

All of this must have been my imagination though — because the only entreés that were available on my most recent visit — look pretty much like the same food and menu that was available a year and a half ago... and the "Chicken Tenders with Cheese Stack" item... had been removed completely.

So either I'm imaging things, or SeaWorld had been testing a slightly different menu... for a certain time period — but then went back to the original menu — or possibly they're offering slightly different menus and food on different days depending on how many people are in the park.

I only write that last one because we've seen entire restaurants and major rides and attractions that are only open on days where there's high(er) attendance. Maybe they're doing that same cost-cutting trick with food too? Hard to say for sure.

No matter, I can only write about the item I ordered on the day I went. The Grilled Churrasco Steak seemed to be a slight step above the pork bowl entree we had a year and a half ago — but only slightly.

Grilled Churrasco Steak with Black Beans and Rice.
Grilled Churrasco Steak with Black Beans and Rice.

The rice this time, wasn't dry — it was fluffy and moist, all without sticking together too much… but that's pretty much where any improvement ends. The steak itself was just "okay". Naturally, it didn't have any "steak" flavor at all — it did have the meaty texture of a typical skirt steak but the flavors were mostly coming from (what seems to have been) olive oil (or some other cooking oil) and the Chimichurri sauce that was placed on top.

The Grilled Churrasco Steak entree from SeaWorld's Waterway Grill is $22 (price as posted early summer 2024).
The Grilled Churrasco Steak entree from SeaWorld's Waterway Grill is $22 (price as posted early summer 2024).

While Chimichurri isn't technically part of a Churrasco Steak — it's almost always paired with the entree. This particular Chimichurri was garlic and oil forward but didn't really have any herbal qualities running though it.

The black beans — I don't know, they tasted good at the time, but I think I'm getting too old to properly digest this meal. There's complex stuff in black beans that can make them both good and bad for you. I'd much rather see a Black Bean Salad here — maybe some corn and tomatoes and peppers mixed in — it could be a cold salad, next to the warm steak. (I like trying to provide solutions and not just complain about stuff.)

Truth be told, I've never felt "great" after eating at Waterway Grill. There's nothing I can really point to as being the culprit, per say — I just don't like the food that much, and it's really complex to digest… especially on a warm to hot summer day. I've tried… I really want to give them a chance… but I don't think I'll be back to try the Sofrito Chicken (the last of the unique entrees at Waterway), anytime soon. I'd like to think I have a "three strikes before you're out" policy, but I'm not sure my stomach can handle any more of Waterway Grill.

What would I do with the place? I've been contemplating the value of having a relaxing, slower attraction in a theme park. Since the Waterway Grill is near Infinity Falls, which kind of has a "rainforest conserve water" vibe anyway — I'd rip out all the Waterway Grill restaurant stuff and just turn the entire building into a slow, indoor boat ride through various rain forest environments. The ride could egress into a room that features some snakes, spiders and crocs are on display, more conservation verbiage, etc. A great  place for learning about conservation and a nice slow ride for families to zone out for a couple of minutes. Maybe plop in a smoothie bar or something if you have to sell a beverage and some snacks.

SeaWorld has a number of good restaurants around… recently, I'd place Dockside Pizza, Seafire Grill and Voyager's Smokehouse higher on the list than Waterway Grill. If there's a festival going on though — I would 100% grab something at a couple of the food booths, rather than eat anything here at Waterway Grill again. Sadly, it's the only place they distribute the free beer — so I'll be back… just not to eat anything.

Have you ever visited any of these dining locations in our SeaWorld Orlando directory?