Universal Orlando Resort

Getting to Know – Cafe La Bamba

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Open daily for VIP Tours and seasonally for day guests, Cafe LaBamba is a quick service Mexican restaurant in Universal Studios Florida which is frequently closed for other tours and rentals. Today we answer the question of what is inside this restaurant and, if open, is it worth a visit.

Quick Glance

  • Location: Universal Studios Florida
  • Cuisine: Mexican and Tex-Mex
  • Service: Buffeteria & Mobile Order Pick Up
  • Price: $15-$17 entrees
  • TouringPlans Rating: ★★★★
  • Seating: Indoor and outdoor tables

The Atmosphere

Cafe La Bamba entrance & exterior food menu.

Styled after the demolished Hollywood Hotel from the golden age of Hollywood in the 1930s, Cafe La Bamba is an opening day Universal Studios Florida quick service dining location. Located next to the Horror Make-Up Show and Central Park Crepes in the Hollywood section of the park it originally served American food and BBQ items but now has a Mexican and Tex-Mex menu. Cafe La Bamba is frequently closed for VIP Tours, corporate rentals, and private events.

Guests walk under the cafe welcome signage and pass by a peaceful water feature with bubbling jets and a crane with a water jet shooting out of its mouth. The cafe is set up as an upside-down V shape, with a seating area to the right, a bar space to the left, and ordering and mobile pick-up to the front immediately upon entry. The restaurant’s interior is bright with lighting sconces and art from Southern California. Faux columns hold up detailed crown molding that gives off a period-specific opulence. The left bar is closed off and only open to the outside. The outside seating at the entrance is mostly in the sun, leave the restaurant if you can and hug the right wall to a seating area under trees near a wall-mounted fountain.

The Food & Drink

Cafe La Bamba breakfast.

Cafe La Bamba offers two different menus. The first is a VIP Tour group morning buffet with a menu of fruit, breakfast pastries, eggs, breakfast meats, pancakes, seasoned breakfast potatoes, and more. Breakfast is fresh and filling but nothing to write home about. Breakfast is included with VIP Tours and is not open for regular guests.

Cafe La Bamba’s second menu is Mexican and Tex-Mex food like chips and fresh salsa, taquitos, rice bowls, tacos, and salads. All options come with the option of a protein, vegetarian, or vegan option:

  • Pollo Asado – grilled chicken marinated in a blend of garlic, orange juice, and lime juice
  • Baja Shrimp – seared shrimp seasoned with chile, coriander, and cumin
  • Carne Asada – grilled beef seasoned with chile, coriander, and cumin
  • Mojo Pork – braised pork cooked in a blend of garlic, orange juice and lime juice
  • Vegan Chorizo – plant-based sausage with chile, smoked paprika and garlic
  • Portobello el Pastor – roasted mushrooms marinated in pineapple, chipotle, and lime juice

Unlike Chipotle or Moe’s the pricing is consistent between meat and meatless options. A full bar is located opposite the seating area with margaritas, beers, wine, liquor, and more. There is also a counter service window for this bar the restaurant, open even when Cafe La Bamba is closed. VIP Tour dinners and corporate buyouts close Cafe La Bamba on select nights for private events. These menus are pre-purchased and vary by event, ask your host for more information.

The Opinion

Seating area and order pick up.

Cafe La Bamba, the quick service restaurant, revamped its menu with fresh Mexican dishes and opened with positive reviews. Several years after opening, after several shutdowns and start-ups, the food quality and service speed have slipped. Most complaints focus on issues with Mobile Ordering and poor food preparation but some also complain the overall quality has lowered. VIP Tours, events, and corporate rental menus are rated higher on sites like Yelp and are considered higher quality.

TouringPlans Touring Tips

  • Cafe La Bamba is open seasonally, check the Universal Orlando app for daily hours.
  • Save Time and use Mobile Ordering; plus you’ll know if the restaurant is open or closed!
  • Alert a host Team Member about food allergies to discuss options with a chef.

Have you dined at Cafe La Bamba? Did it live up to the hype or leave you craving more? Leave your thoughts in the comments section below.

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Joseph Matt

Joe covers theme parks through the lens of his quality engineering day job. He has over five years of writing experience at Touring Plans and has gone on dozens of trips to Orlando over his life. When not at amusement parks you can find Joe at breweries, enjoying live theater, playing video games, and cooking.

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