As Cuba opens up, so too does interest in all things Cuban: cigars, baseball, pastel-hued houses and, arguably most importantly, the island’s unique cuisine.
As we eagerly await the opening of a new Fernandez the Bull (coming soon with a full liquor bar on Pine Ridge Road, joining its sister restaurant on Immokalee), we paid a recent visit to its Havanese cousin, Rumba Cuban Café—no chartered jet or tour group required. In fact, it’s in the space of the original Fernandez on Airport-Pulling Road, and the father-son owners have been welcoming guests for a little more than a year. Since they had almost a decade of experience working with the Fernandez crew, the menu is Fernandez 2.0, similar but with a helping of their own family’s flair.
We visited at lunch and had the requisite Cuban sandwich—every bite was better than the last, starting with slow-roasted pork, followed by just the right amount of thinly sliced pickles for a pleasing acidity and capped with perfectly pressed Cuban bread baked in-house that day.
Like Havana itself, the surroundings are humble, although guests of the former space may notice small changes like clear glass windows and large colorful canvases adorning the tiny and otherwise nondescript space. But given the warm reception from the various family members and friends working there and the prepared-with-care authentic offerings, it’s worth rumba-ing, salsa-ing or just moseying on over when you can.
Rumba Cuban Café
1265 Airport-Pulling Road S., Naples
(239) 659-2996, rumbacubancafe.com