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Best Cuban in Orlando - Where is Bob Mervine

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Shoeman Nov 13, 2004 12:43 PM

Best cuban in orlando that is not numero uno or retundo.

Thanks

  1. b
    Bob Mervine Nov 17, 2004 01:19 PM

    Here I am! I've been busy putting togeher an Orlando dining guide called Orlando Chow that will publish next spring along with having some eye problems that have drastically cut down on my on-line time.

    Best Cuban sandwiches are from Senor Castro at Cuban Sandwihes to Go on Lee Road, west of I-4. Best Cuban food comes from the family of Reuben Perez at Don Pepe's in Altamonte Springs (Intersection of S.R. 436 & 427). He's opening a second location in December in the old Pebbles location on Aloma.

    The menu, however, is not purely Cuban with lots of cross-cultural Latin items. Still it's very clean and the service is prety good, even when they are busy. it can be noisy.

    Rolando's and Numero Uno are, for my tastes, kind of run down and old.
    I like the energy at Vega's on Colonial, but the quality can vary quite a bit . . .

    Bob

    12 Replies
    1. re: Bob Mervine
      b
      Bill Nov 18, 2004 11:52 AM

      Have you ever tried Alex' Cuban Cafe on 17-92 just south of 434. It is owned and operated by Rolando Vietas' daughter and granddaughter who were with Mr. Vietas at both Rolando's and years earlier at numero Uno. I'v enjoyed the large portions and low prices.

      1. re: Bill
        b
        Bob Mervine Nov 27, 2004 03:00 PM

        I have seen a post (your's?) here recently and this is the first time I have heard of it.
        I have added it to my list to try and will report back when I know more -- albeit not likely before the New Year.

        Bob

        1. re: Bob Mervine
          g
          GeoKing Nov 29, 2004 03:51 PM

          A week ago I returned for a dinner at Rolando's in 436 and both my wife and I were very dissapointed. We are originally from Cuba and Rolando used to have good Cuban food but now the food taste more of Central America than Cuba. Don Pepe's continues to serve good tasty food.

      2. re: Bob Mervine
        s
        Shoeman Nov 18, 2004 02:15 PM

        My wife, son and I will be at WDW for 1 week. The worst part of going to Disney is the food.

        Any other recommendations would be greatly appreicated.
        We are the typical hounds trying to find the buried treasures. Especially, ethnic cuisines. I was hoping that you might be able to repost your current favorites.

        Thanks

        1. re: Shoeman
          b
          Bob Mervine Nov 21, 2004 10:37 AM

          That's a long list.
          I'm not going to try and win you over about Disney dining. Don't know what problems you've had there or what hot buttons they have pushed with you. I'll only say that a half dozen or more of their better restaurants are among the finest in the city -- if you take the time to plan your meals and do a little homework. That's another meeting.
          First scroll up to Nov. 21 and read the message I posted about the area around the Marriott World Center. Many of my favorites are posted there.
          If Asian works for you I would add Seito Sushi in Celebration and anew restaurant at ChampionsGate off I-4 west of highway 192 called Zen. Just opened and first rate Pan-Asian.
          A bit closer to Orlando -- 10-15 minutes drive --is WestSand Lake Road, our Restaurant Row. Try Cedars, Middle Eastern, Anaelle & Hugo, Mediterranean and very fairly priced, Roy's - Pacific-Asian fushion, Chatham's Place, continental, Timpano's or Morton's or Ruth's Crhis for dependable and pricey steaks, Sushiman -- in the Marketplace -- for good sushi and Stonewood Grill, north of Sand Lake on Dr. Phillips Blvd.

          Hope that helps.
          Bob

          1. re: Bob Mervine
            s
            Shoeman Nov 22, 2004 02:39 PM

            Thanks for all you're help.

            Actually, I would love to stay in Disney and eat. I will tell you where I've been, which were aweful. The sushi rest in Japan, norwegien buffet, and O'hana. I'd rather eat cuban sandwiches and smoked turkey legs. But, I am interested in Le Cellier, Jiko, and Bumo?

            Lastly, any great Indian. Other then the one you said you "didn't mind" from the above post?

            1. re: Shoeman
              b
              Bob Mervine Nov 25, 2004 01:31 PM

              The Japanese restaurant is awful in Epcot -- with so many that are so much better all around.

              The Norway restaurant is there for novelty -- reindeer meat and lots of salmon. Very overpriced.

              Ohana started out well -- but has faded in the last few years. Didn't stick to its original concept.

              For what it is Le Cellier is pretty good. Fair prices and most of it prety good quality. About the only place to get a steak in Epcot.
              Jiko and Boma are both at the AK Lodge. Jiko is dinner only, one of Disney's finest chefs (Anette Grecchi Gray) has developed an authentic African-based menu. Get her Mac and cheese -- not African, The chicken tangine, the short ribs, the corn tamale appetizer, the duck app . . . I love the food.

              Boma is for families -- breakfast and lunch, buffet style. Lots to choose from and half the price of Jiko -- and kids can eat chicken tenders. Also worth it.

              Lastly, any great Indian. Other then the one you said you "didn't mind" from the above post?

              Don't remember -- but (unless this is the one I mentioned) try Dakshin. It's in the Crossroad shopping center at I-4 and SR 535 near Goodings. Quite nice and untypical Indian -- most of our Indian food is formulaic and designed to appeal to British tourists. This is an exception.

              Bob

        2. re: Bob Mervine
          d
          doylestownhoppie May 10, 2008 07:26 AM

          Hi - We are travelling to Orlando on June 3 and taking our kids to Disney. We are not staying at Disney. We are older (50's) and are adventurous eaters however, we also have well behaved 4 and 5 year old girls so we don't need the fanciest of restaurants. We are looking for places close to Disney for lunch and dinner and I am not sure where the places in the posts are relative to the Disney area. We will have a rental car. We are looking for 1 or 2 nice restaurants and the rest somewhat kid-friendly. Can you give us an idea of what is close to Disney? We like ethnic - Cuban, Brazilian, anything. Also will probably need a good pizza restaurant.

          1. re: Bob Mervine
            Mild Bill May 10, 2008 10:37 AM

            http://www.amazon.com/Orlando-Chow-Re...

            Thumbsup!

            1. re: Bob Mervine
              b
              Bengaliwife Mar 11, 2010 06:01 PM

              Hi Bob!
              I had not seen you on this board in a while and I was worried about you. Great to see you back here! Congraulations on your upcoming guide for Orlando. I hope you are doing well and I look forward to reading your posts here again.

              1. re: Bengaliwife
                s
                southie_chick Mar 18, 2010 06:20 PM

                I'm glad to see Bob Mervine's name again too - it always brings a smile to my face whenever I see an old post of his. Unfortunately, he passed away WAY too soon (maybe about 2 years ago). However, I still use his tips on my yearly trips to Orlando & raise a glass in his memory whenever I have a great meal in Florida for all the help & kindness he's given to me & his fellow 'hounds over the years.
                Hope he's up there with Julia Child & all the other great chefs we've lost having the best meals he's ever wanted - but I do miss him, as I'm sure many of us do.

                1. re: southie_chick
                  Sandwich_Sister Mar 20, 2010 08:54 AM

                  There is no doubt he's up there dining with the elite. I also always smile when I see one his post show up. It actually wasn't until 9 -10 months ago I realized he had passed away years ago.

                  His posts are still very relevant. He knew great food and I'm happy that his memory lives on in this forum. He'd be happy to know he's still helping people find great food. :)

            2. c
              claudia008 Dec 28, 2007 12:22 PM

              Has anyone tried Havana's Cafe located at the Vista Centre Shop in Lake Buena Vista?
              I took my kids to Disney and ate there one night, the food was fantastic, authentic and reasonably priced. Address is 8544 Palm Parkway Lake Buena Vista. The restaurant is located 5 minutes from Downtown Disney. We ordered like five different meals everything was tasty.

              1. b
                bcodom Dec 28, 2007 01:09 PM

                I'd like to cast another vote for Don Pepe's in Altamonte Springs.

                The Black Bean Deli in Winter Park always garnishes a lot of "favorite Cuban" votes in the local paper.

                And my husband loves Cubans on the Run on 17-92 in Casselberry for their cuban sandwiches....

                Barbara

                1 Reply
                1. re: bcodom
                  Sandwich_Sister Mar 20, 2010 08:55 AM

                  I was going to mention cubans on the run. Great sandwiches there.

                2. o
                  Orlando Vic Mar 25, 2008 05:03 PM

                  Agree with everything good said about Don Pepe's in Altamonte Springs. Truly tasty food at prices that won't break the bank.

                  Ditto for Black Bean Deli. Orlando Sentinel's restaurant critic calls Black Bean Deli the best Cuban restaurant in Orlando. Just keep in mind that it is a take out restaurant only. That does not detract anything from the food quality which is very good. Just don't go expecting a sit-down dinner.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: Orlando Vic
                    b
                    Big Bad Voodoo Lou Mar 25, 2008 06:41 PM

                    I'll chime in with another recommendation for Habana Grill (what Don Pepe's in Altamonte is currently called). I love that place!

                  2. c
                    carl1232 Mar 11, 2010 10:22 AM

                    well i think the best cuban sandwiches are @ this place ( los autenticos sandwich cuban cafe ) http://www.urbanspoon.com/r/26/146371...
                    they have great reviews ,but is more of a cafe as the name suggest its not really sitdown entrees. They do however have amazing sandwiches
                    cubancafeonline.com is there official website

                    1. t
                      taylork65 Mar 16, 2010 08:53 AM

                      Tino's is a new place on Curry Ford by DayBreak Diner. Absolutely incredible authentic cuban food.

                      They make a good cuban sandwich too, but I suggest trying the Grilled Pork or the Cuban-Style Ribs.

                      6 Replies
                      1. re: taylork65
                        rgcblackie Mar 18, 2010 09:46 AM

                        Hi there. I am a seven year Orlando resident (coming previously from Miami) who just happens to be Cuban. I can tell you that I have eaten at just about EVERY Cuban restaurant / take-out joint in Orlando and I have been sorely disappointed in all but a few instances. Here are my top 5 choices for Cuban in Orlando (in no particular order):

                        1. Padrino's Cuban Bistro (in Hunter's Creek). Martiquitas, ropa vieja, lechon asado, bistec con cebollas, & flan all rock.

                        2. Cafe Madrid (Curry Ford & Conway). Sangria, arroz con pollo, sopa de pollo, picadillio, & carne con papas are all good.

                        3. Cuban Sandwiches to Go (Lee & Edgewater). All sandwiches are as good as what you'll find in Miami.

                        4. Bongos (Downtown Disney). Yeah, yeah. I know. It's Disney. But their food is pretty good (if expensive). I like their pastelitos & cafe from the outside window, too.

                        5. Columbia House (Celebration). Yes, it's another Disney location. But my family really likes the food here. Their 1905 Salad is awesome (although it's admittedly not very Cuban). It can get very pricey, very quickly too. But it' s fun and the food is a lot better than many of the lesser-priced Cuban haunts in Orlando.

                        Hope this helps!

                        -----
                        Padrino's
                        9680 Argyle Forest Blvd Ste 26, Jacksonville, FL 32222

                        1. re: rgcblackie
                          c
                          crewsweeper Mar 18, 2010 09:54 AM

                          rgcb...thanks for your list. FYI, the Columbia is Spanish. They so advertise. They are a local Florida chain starting out in Tampa (Ybor City) and expanind to St Augustine, West Palm Beach, Orlando and other places. They are known for their paella and mojitos and, as you noted, their 1905 salad.

                          Will give Padrinos a try next time I'm in the area.

                          1. re: crewsweeper
                            rgcblackie Mar 24, 2010 11:15 AM

                            Thanks, crewsweeper! Cloumbia House may advertise that they are Spanish, but when a restaurant serves arroz con pollo with maduros, Cuban bread, ham croquettas, boliche, and ropa vieja (to name a few items), trust me, they ain't all that Spanish (if you know what I mean). And hey, Bongos isn't all that bad. Although I must admit, I was a bit embarassed putting it on the list. Maybe it was the combination of the Estefans and Mickey. :0)

                          2. re: rgcblackie
                            pdpredtide Mar 22, 2010 05:51 AM

                            Ill have to agree, Padrino's is really good cuban

                            1. re: rgcblackie
                              t
                              taylork65 Mar 23, 2010 12:42 PM

                              Have you tried Tino's on Curry Ford?

                              also, bongos? haha, only kidding.

                              1. re: taylork65
                                rgcblackie Apr 13, 2010 01:33 PM

                                One more recently discovered Cuban restaurant to add to the list:

                                Havana Bistro Cafe
                                7975 South Orange Blossom Trail (near FL Mall)

                                It's basically a take-out joint (although you can eat-in also). They make awesome sandwiches (in the true Cuban-Miami style), have familiar Cuban dishes like ropa vieja, pollo asado, yucca, frijoles negros, maduros, and carne con papas (among others). They also have most of the typical Cuban pastries and desserts you'll find in a Miami/Tampa bakery along with something that's pretty hard to find in Orlando, cafe con leche with (pressed) pan con mantequilla. Oh, and their chicken soup tastes almost like my Cuban grandmother's!!!! Yay!!!!!

                                Seriously, you've gotta try this place.

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