Created by music superstar Gloria Estefan and her producer husband Emilio, Bongos Cuban Cafe transports you to a Miami hotspot. This vibrant Orlando restaurant is a mosaic of colors and flavors set against infectious music. The internal architecture and mosaics were designed by the well known Luciano Franchi de Alfaro, and the outside was designed by Bernardo Fort Brescia. Both the interior and exterior are exquisitely themed. The ambiance is that of a lively 1950s Havana nightclub, and the bar is housed inside a 75-foot tall pineapple sculpture and features bongo drum bar stools. There’s lush greenery, a fantastic mosaic mural, and waterfall. There are two levels which offer indoor and outdoor seating. The pulsing, Latin rhythms add to the great ambiance, however, sometimes it’s so loud, it can be difficult to have a conversation. This tropical theme brings South Beach to Downtown Disney.
Each night, the official Desi Arnaz impersonator takes the stage and brings back old Havana. Along with state of the art sound systems, there is a fascinating light show every Friday & Saturday night. In addition to the two story Orlando restaurant, there are three bars featuring specialty drinks, including Mojitos, and an Express window. The Express window is open daily from 9:30am until midnight. There are live bands on Friday and Saturday nights from 9:00 to 2:00pm. There may be an entertainment venue scheduled which requires separate cover at the door or pre arrival ticket purchase.
The food consists of traditional Cuban cuisine like the delicious paella de mariscos (seafood paella) Cubano (Cuban sandwich), pan con lechon (pork sandwich), pollo asado (roast chicken), and flan de leche (traditional flan). Reservations are suggested, especially on the weekends. Although the atmosphere is lively, the food and service get mixed reviews.
$$, casual dress, Cuban cuisine, full bar, Reservations suggested, lunch and dinner
Location: Downtown Disney West Side, 1498 East Buena Vista Drive Lake Buena Vista, FL 32830-8422 – (407) 828-0999
Experience: Special & Unique Dining
Service: A la Carte
Price Level: $$ ($15 to $35.99)