Bongos Cuban Café is a table service restaurant located in Downtown Disney’s West Side open daily for lunch and dinner.
Bongos is exactly as you would image a Cuban Café with its open, airy “old Havana” style décor. With its high ceilings and bright colors, you easily feel like you are in a real Cuban Café. The restaurant is much larger than I imagined it would be. There are two floors with seating both indoors and outdoors. If you are able to sit outdoors, you will have an amazing view of the Characters in Flight balloon departing and returning. On select evenings (usually Fridays and Saturdays) a live band performs and the dance floor is opened. The only downside to the openness of the restaurant is that the sound travels and can make the restaurant very noisy during busy times.
The menu at Bongos is quite lengthy. It was much larger than the menu at most table service restaurants on the Disney property. You will want to take your time looking over it! The menu is mostly Cuban food including such delicacies as Cuban style steak, tamales, fried sweet plantains, and shrimp Cuban criolla. The kid’s menu has picky eater safe options such as pizza, chicken nuggets, and hamburgers.
You can’t go to a Cuban restaurant without ordering a mojito, right? I ordered a traditional mojito, which was strong, yet refreshing on a humid Florida evening. One for more than enough for me though! For my entrée, I chose the Cuban style steak, which is thin tenderized steak seasoned with garlic salt and mojo topped with onions and parsley and served with fried green plantains, white rice, and black beans. The steak was a little over cooked for my taste. I prefer my steak cooked medium and this was well done. I was expecting it to be spicy, but it wasn’t. The seasoning and flavors were perfect. The fried green plantains were crispy and perfectly cooked. I think they are an acquired taste, however. Some people love them and others despise them. I for one thought they were the best thing on my plate.
At times it was difficult to hear our server since it was a little noisy; however, he was extremely friendly and knowledgeable. He was immediately able to answer any questions we had and offer up suggestions, which impressed me since it was such a lengthy menu!
If you are a fan of Cuban food, you won’t want to miss Bongos Cuban Café. If you don’t mind loud, live music and enjoy dancing, try an evening on the weekend. If you would prefer a quieter dining experience, you might want to try lunch on a weekday. I can’t wait to go back to try a Cuban sandwich!