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Nov 13, 2004 12:43 PM

Best Cuban in Orlando - Where is Bob Mervine

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


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  1. 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 . . .


    12 Replies
    1. re: Bob Mervine

      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

        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.


        1. re: Bob Mervine

          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

        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.


        1. re: Shoeman

          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.

          1. re: Bob Mervine

            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

              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.


        2. re: Bob Mervine

          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

              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

                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

                  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. 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. 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....


                1 Reply
                1. re: bcodom

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

                2. 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

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

                  2. well i think the best cuban sandwiches are @ this place ( los autenticos sandwich cuban cafe )
                    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
           is there official website