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“Needs to be much better at this price”

Cuba Libre Restaurant & Rum Bar - Orlando
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Ranked #114 of 3,882 Restaurants in Orlando
Certificate of Excellence
Price range: $25 - $50
Cuisines: Caribbean, Cuban, Latin
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Restaurant details
Good for: Special occasions, Romantic, Large groups, Bar scene
Dining options: Breakfast, Late Night, Dinner, Lunch, Reservations
Dining style: Casual Elegant
Description: A must-see, must-experience cinematic destination featuring award-winning Cuban cuisine, Latin rhythms, open-air tropical ambiance, lively floorshows, Latin DJs, and classic cocktails.
Reviewed June 9, 2013

We visited Cuba Libre on a Monday night and it was very quiet. The decor is fantastic and makes you feel like you're really entered a 'venue' rather than just another restaurant. The waitress was friendly and very knowledgeable about the menu, but I felt the explanation of each dish went on too long - there's a line between educating guests about the cuisine, and getting in the way of them enjoying their social event.
Most of us opted for the '15 tastes of Cuba', where for around $40 per person you get a selection of the Cuban appetizers, a trio of the entrees and desert each. The appetizers (and the bread) were delicious and like nothing I'd tasted before. We were all excited to get the entrees but these really disappointed. The Mahi Mahi with Chipotle sauce was tasty, but the steak was unacceptably cold and a little tough. The shrimp was fine, but certainly not remarkable.
The deserts were also fine, but only of the level of, say, Chilis or TGI's, certainly not of a high enough standard to justify the price tag.
I'm not a restauranteur, but feel the menu would be better executed by preparing a smaller number of dishes (10 tastes of Cuba?) to a higher standard and cooked to order. I got the impression most of our food had been batch prepared and then plated up. Simply put, although Cuba Libre offers something different, the competition in Orlando is now so fierce, even within Pointe Orlando, that it needs to be much better to justify the notably higher price tag.

Thank bikemonkey
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviews (859)
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595 - 599 of 859 reviews

Reviewed June 5, 2013

No parking very touristy. There is a dance floor but no band was there at the time we visited. Waiters were nice and service was good.

Thank Robert B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 31, 2013

Looking for something a little different...found it at Cuba Libre. Our party of 4 was seated immediately on the patio, and an umbrella was raised to ward off the late evening sun and any threat of rain. We shared a refreshing pitcher of white sangria while perusing the menus: regular, Twilight 3 course, and the 15 Tastes of Cuba. The tasting menu was 15 "small" portions which spanned the regular menu and could easily have been shared by 2 or even 3 people for dinner. Favorites from the tasting were the shrimp ceviche, malanga fritters, and mulangos (fried sweet plantains), and the churrasco a la cubana (skirt steak). For the adventurous, the grilled baby octopus was perfectly cooked and delicious and enough to share our party of 4.

    • Value
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Thank Cindy B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 28, 2013

Cuba Libre – we were so looking forward to our dinner and dancing on Saturday night! We are originally from Miami and longed for some good Cuban food and a night of salsa dancing.
Unfortunately Cuba Libre did not deliver! The place itself is gorgeous but it lacks so many ‘Cuban’ touches it felt completely foreign.

The concept – Cuba Libre – if Cuba were free, how it’s place in the Caribbean would lend itself to influences of its neighbors, nice thought but there were barely any truly traditional Cuban dishes on the menu. Also as anyone who has visited a ‘real Cuban’ restaurant, the food is usually ample and the prices quite reasonable, yet your portions were small and your prices exorbitant, so much so it would keep many from ever being able to try your uniquely blended food. Your drink prices were only rivaled by Disney drink prices or high end Miami clubs with miniscule glasses.

Service – was ok, not great or spectacular especially in relation to the price we paid for food. Also it was absolutely infuriating that each drink or plate we ordered came with an inordinate amount of explanations about it. We found this to be over the top and downright annoying. We also felt that our server should have picked up on our many cues that we were familiar with the cuisine and did not need any further explanations. We were afraid to request sugar for our coffee in fear we had to hear about what sugar cane field it came from.

We were so hoping to dance the night away to the sensual, sultry sounds of salsa and other Cuban rhythms in the beautiful venue. We were so happy to hear there were three places to dance with three different styles of music. The smaller venue upstairs had a mix of American 90’s top forties while the rest of the restaurant had merernge and bachata – that’s it no variety whatsoever.

When we inquired if there was going to be salsa we were told by one of your managers it was outside in the patio. The patio that was no more than 8 feet wide and maybe 100 feet long, where the few tables that were there were an additional $30 for VIP seating. The same patio with no air conditioning and a myriad of bugs swirling about to the beat of the music. Seriously? Is the Salsa music on the outside your bait and switch?

We found it absolutely egregious that ‘Cuba’ is related to this venue for a variety of reasons. First Cuba has truly little to do with the menu. True Cuban cuisine gems are nowhere to be found. The rhythms of Cuba are world renown, you are hard pressed to find someone who can stand still once a salsa, guaguanco, or son permeates the air. The diversity of Cuban rhythms and their intricate syncopations are hypnotizing yet your beautiful expanse venue was void of these wonderfully moving and colorful sounds and instead was filled with the repetitive and monotonous sounds of meregue and bachata.

If Cuba becomes this boring when it is actually freed, then I fear we would lose one of the greatest cultures of the Caribbean.

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3  Thank miamicouponqueen
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 25, 2013

...aside from the cost (which is really consistent with the rest of this shopping center), I loved the atmosphere, and the food was great. There were empanada specials that I took advantage of, and the mojitos my friends had were reportedly delicious.

Thank carsingingkel
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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