Bongos Cuban Cafe

by josh on March 13, 2010

Food Type: Cuban, Caribbean

Location: West Side near Splitsville and Cirque Du Soleil

Dining Plan: 1 Table Service

Cost:  Appetizers are $3-$23.  Entrées are $8-$40 for lunch and $15 – $40 for dinner.  There is an express counter service window that serves sandwiches in the $10 range.

Discounts: 20% Tables in Wonderland.

Menu:

Lunch (11am – 3:55pm): https://disneyworld.disney.go.com/dining/downtown-disney/bongos-cuban-cafe/menus/

Dinner (4pm – 11pm Sunday through Thursday and 4pm – 11:55pm on Friday and Saturday): https://disneyworld.disney.go.com/dining/downtown-disney/bongos-cuban-cafe/menus/dinner/

Bar: Three, including the most popular just inside the entrance. If it’s full, check the bar in the back of the restaurant and the other upstairs. An outside bar is open in the evening.

Setting: Bongos was designed by Gloria Estefan in 1997 and resembles a 1950s era Havana nightclub.  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 bar is housed inside a 75 foot tall pineapple sculpture and features bongo drum stools and the best mojito I’ve ever tasted.

Advantages:

  • Fun atmosphere, beautiful interior artwork, and a gigantic pineapple make Bongos a unique dining experience.
  • Live music outside with dancing inside on the weekends.
  • Food is served in a traditional and authentic manner.
  • Inexpensive lunch sandwiches available in the restaurant.
  • Drink list is more unique than most restaurants with relatively inexpensive prices.

Disadvantages:

  • Music is blaring at what may be an uncomfortably loud level, making conversation difficult.
  • Service is often less than friendly with servers preoccupied with other things.
  • Food is often surprisingly bland and inconsistent.
  • Most meals are served with simple white rice and plantains that lack flavor.

Value: Average.  There is usually plenty of food, but the flavor and quality isn’t always there, especially on the more expensive entrées.  Most meals are in the $20 range which makes Bongo’s a moderately priced meal.

Reputation: Reviews run the gamut more than most others, with many reviews skewing negative over the loud atmosphere and shoddy service. On the other hand, if you’re looking for a rocking atmosphere and don’t mind putting back a few $10 cocktails, then you can certainly have a great time.

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

tb June 19, 2013 at 8:17 am

I looked on the Disney site, and Bongos is now on the dining plan for all plans except quick service.

MM July 20, 2013 at 8:30 pm

Looks like they’re even participating in Quick Serve dining plan too now…

Doug A August 26, 2013 at 7:18 am

Anyone know what characters are often present at Bongo’s? Allegedly, there are some.

Dawn H January 9, 2014 at 4:06 pm

hey Josh, this one is on the dining plan this year 2014, Bongos Cuban Cafe Express

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