• Allison van Tilborgh

Cuba Libre Orlando (Vegan Guide)

Updated: Nov 21

According to, Cuba Libre Restaurant and Rum Bar's website, "The restaurant’s name, which translates to 'a free Cuba,' signifies hope for the future of the treasured island nation." They do this through an exploration of Cuban flavors, music, art, and traditions. The website continues, "Cuba Libre’s mission is to provide an 'escape' to Havana through exciting food, beverage and entertainment experiences that celebrate the Cuban people and culture. Two-time James Beard award-winner and Founding Chef Guillermo Pernot’s menus feature tantalizing tastes that reflect Cuba’s culinary traditions, as well as the emerging modern cuisine that he is experiencing during his continuing travels to Cuba." Aside from Orlando, they also have locations in Philadelphia, Atlantic City, Washinton DC, and Ft Lauderdale.


See below for your guide to eating vegan at Cuba Libre's Orlando location:


APERITIVOS (APPETIZERS)

Tropical Chips and Trio of Dips (vegan by default)

Plantain and malanga chips. Black bean hummus, guacamole Cubano, Cuba libre salsa.


REVIEW: A bit of a measly portion, but everything here is delicious. The guac is the same as the Pineapple Guacamole Cubano. The salsa is the star, in my opinion. It's nice and spicy.




Pineapple Guacamole Cubano (vegan by default)

Avocados, grilled golden pineapple, roasted jalapenos, fresh lime juice, extra virgin olive oil, and plantain chips.




REVIEW: This guac is amazing. I love the creativity of including pineapple in the dish. Super fresh and flavorful! Also, a VERY large serving with the large one.


Black Bean Soup (vegan by default)

Traditional Cuban black bean soap with rich authentic flavors. Cachucha relish.


Jardin Salad (vegan with modifications - remove queso blanco)

Watercress, baby spinach, romaine, organic grape tomatoes, Kalamata olives, red onions, marinated queso blanco (REMOVE), boniato chips, red wine vinaigrette.


NOTE: The bread, unfortunately, is not vegan because it is pressed with butter on it.


PLATOS FUERTES (ENTREES)

Paella Vegetariana (vegan by default)

Baby spinach, “Soyrizo”, wild mushrooms, garbanzo beans, saffron long grain rice, asparagus and grilled artichoke hearts salad



REVIEW: This is probably my favorite thing I tried here. Super delicious, and doesn't feel like you're "settling" for the vegan option. Although it's a bummer that this is the only vegan option for entrees, its very good, and I'd come back just to get this. I particularly liked the soyrizo and mushrooms.

SIDES

Arroz con Frijoles (vegan by default)

Steamed white rice and Cuban black beans


Aguacate (vegan by default)

Sliced fresh avocado, olive oil, sea salt

Yuca Fries (vegan with modification, remove aioli)

Crispy and creamy yuca. Cilantro-caper aioli (REMOVE)



REVIEW: These were pretty good, but obviously missing flavor without the aioli. If you are a yuca stan, I'd go for it, but if you aren't crazy about it from the get-go, I'd pass.


MADUROS (vegan by default)

Fried ripened sweet plantains


OVERALL REVIEW

I really enjoyed the restaurant's ambiance, music, and food. Although there were not too many vegan mains, there were plenty of vegan side and appetizers which left me very satisfied. The paella was the star, alongside their guac. I would come back with friends and suggest it for Orlando vegans who want to go somewhere fun with out-of-town guests!

29 views0 comments