Guest Author: Laura Dale
The rhythm is gonna get you… That is an understatement when it comes to Downtown Disney’s restaurant, Bongos Cuban Café. Bongos is my personal favorite restaurant not only on Disney property but of all-time! I first experienced a taste of Bongos in Miami while attending a Spinning/Cycling conference.
When I found out there was a Bongos Cuban Café in Downtown Disney, I booked my ADR faster than little Dash from The Incredibles. Bongos is owned by the famous Latin music icon Gloria Estefan. The tropical Old Havana architecture, décor and ambiance are stunning. Their signature architectural element you’ll notice is the pineapple fronds on top of the restaurant. You can hear the Latin rhythms from the live Cuban band pumping from inside the restaurant as you make your way down to West Side Downtown Disney. As you enter the restaurant you could swear you just stepped into an authentic Cuban restaurant in Havana. The scent of home-cooked Cuban food lures you in and hits you the moment you walk through the door.
There is not a bad seat in the house! There are so many great vantage points to enjoy your meal including dance floor seating to catch some pretty amazing salsa dancing later in the evening, the second floor outside balcony overlooking the Downtown Disney West Side, and for a more intimate setting you can sit inside the pineapple. When we go with family we like to sit on the second level and watch the people dancing and the band performing below. When it’s just my husband and I, we like to sit inside the pineapple where the ambiance is intimate and quieter. It certainly makes for a great date night out with a little dinner and salsa dancing!
The best part about dining at Bongos is of course the food!! Many people have a misconception that Cuban food is spicy, but it’s actually not. In a word, it’s flavorful! Mild spices are incorporated, coupled with fresh lime, garlic, and juices from tropical fruits to tease and entice the senses. A few of our favorites are the Plantain chips with Mojo, Stuffed Yuca Cups with shredded beef and Cuban Mojo Marinated Fried Pork Bites for the appetizers. For entrees, we love the Ropa Vieja, Shrimp Cuban Criolla and my favorite, Vaca Frita! There are several standard options like cheese pizza and burgers for kids who may not have developed a flair for Cuban food just yet. I hear their desserts are amazing but we never seem to have room for them at the end of our meal. Their cocktails are spectacular! I love the Babaloo which is Spiced Rum, Blue Curacao, Orange Liqueur & Cream Coconut. The staff is incredible at Bongos. Each time we have dinner there, their top priority is to ensure you and your family are experiencing ton notch service and having a great time. After a long day in the parks we headed over to Bongos. Our waitress saw my son was getting tired and a little cranky so she brought him his own tropical concoction of coconut, pineapple and guava juice in a light up cup! In my opinion, Friday or Saturday night is the best night to go. The place is really jumping with the Latin band playing and people dancing the night away and according to many of the Bongos regulars Gloria Estefan swings by every now and then. With the combination of ambiance, entertainment, spirits, and food I have to say this is one caliente restaurant on Disney property!
The Relocated Tourist is sponsored by “Magical Mouse Plans Travel“