When it comes to date night in Orlando, International Drive doesn’t typically top my list of dining hubs to frequent. But a recent visit to Cuba Libre has had me completely rethinking my I-Drive snobbery.

From a décor standpoint, nothing rivals Cuba Libre, which is tucked into the southeast corner of Pointe Orlando. Walking inside, Marc and I felt like we’d been transported to an outdoor courtyard in the heart of Havana. Lamplights, a cobblestone floor, and walls designed to replicate the exterior of colorful Cuban buildings, truly gave it an exotic feel.

Then there was the Mojito menu, featuring 15 different varieties including Classic, Watermelon, and Passion Fruit Mojitos. I ordered the Grilled Pineapple Mojito (white rum, grilled pineapple puree, hierba buena, guarapo, fresh lime juice, and splash of lemon-lime soda). Oh mama! It was dangerously good.

While the main menu is loaded with an extensive selection of Cuban fair, what initially drew me to Cuba Libre was its “15 Tastes of Cuba” menu, which features… you guessed it… 15 different dishes highlighting the restaurant’s most popular choices.

Plate after plate of appetizer-sized portions arrived at my table, each presented with an expert description of what I was about to savor. I loved the flavors, the variety, and the excitement of never knowing what would arrive next. This tasting menu, which is priced at $39.95 per person, ended perfectly with a tiny dessert finale consisting of Tres Leches de Caramelo and Tocino del Cielo (a traditional Cuban flan). It was such a fun dining experience.

Marc and I visited on a Friday night, but our server informed us that on Saturdays Cuba Libre turns into Orlando’s best Latin nightclub. Hundreds converge, starting around 10:30pm, to show off some serious Salsa skills. Besides the main room, DJs also spin until 2am in the Gloss Ultra Lounge upstairs as well as on the outdoor patio.

We were so pleasantly impressed by this inaugural trip to Cuba Libre. The service was bang on, the setting was unreal, and while I would hardly consider myself a Cuban food connoisseur, I thought everything was delicious. I definitely recommend this for date night, especially if Latin dancing is your thing and you’ve got the stamina for a late night out. Expect to spend about $100.

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