Quick-service restaurant with southwestern motif serving Mexican-American dishes.
Two sentence insider summary
Cafe La Bamba offers guests a quick-service option that is richer in appearance and more savory in taste than Universal’s other counter-service restaurants. Designed to be part of the USF “Hollywood Hotel” facade (a famous Hollywood landmark demolished in the 1950s), the venue was unused for many years. Finally in the summer of 2012 it became home to Universal’s Superstar Breakfast, and in December 2012 it resumed lunch service on a seasonal basis.
Breakfast: Cafe La Bamba has been open for breakfast as part of Universal’s character dining experience — the Superstar Breakfast — since the beginning of 2012. For now it appears that this event will continue on through 2013 and 2014. Please be aware that reservations are recommended for this event, as times and seating are limited. You can learn more on our USF in-park dining experiences page.
Lunch: In early December 2012 Cafe La Bamba opened for lunch, marking the first time the venue was open to the general public for quick-service dining in many years. However, once the holidays were over, its lunch service was closed down. Going forward, this eatery is expected to be opened seasonally.
Entrees are $8 to $15 per person.
Sample lunch menu
Tostada Salad – Chicken $8.99, Steak $9.49, Spicey Beef $8.49
Tacos – Chicken $8.99, Steak $9.49
Burritos – Chicken $8.99, Steak $9.49, Spicey Beef $8.49
Mojo Roasted Chicken $10.99
Chimichurri Skirt Steak $14.99
Chipoltle BBQ Ribs $14.99
All entrees come with two sides: Tortilla Chips, Black Beans & Rice, Tortilla Soup, Chili
A little history
“The La Bamba was an early landmark hotel in Hollywood California. In the 1930’s it was a trendy and exotic destination for locals as well as tourists. The architecture of many of the Hollywood hotels, restaurants and nightclubs tended to be on the exotic side.
Many of the movie industries’ art directors, of the time, began their careers as Architects. And, as a result, there were many examples of both commercial and residential buildings that were influenced by popular movies. The original La Bamba Hotel was an example of this influence. The design of the hotel’s interior was influences by Spanish and Moroccan architecture.
The restaurant at the hotel was named Cafe La Bamba. And, on their menu, they claimed to be Hollywood’s original restaurant. Raleigh Design was selected to create an interior reminiscent of the hotel as well as influenced by the 1942 movie Casablanca.” raleighdesign.com
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Guest reviews of Cafe La Bamba
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Character breakfast- Go to Disney
Down fall for Universal! My family of 6 went for a 9am breakfast to mainly meet the characters since my nephew loves the minons. Very over priced for what you get on your plate. Food was at best, warm and just enough for a child, and you pick from 3 options. We got there a few minutes early, and our name could not be found on the sheet, which was not a problem. But booking this took about 30 minutes on the phone. Seems very disorganized!!! For what we payed the food was not worth it and on top of it you already payed to get in the park. Character time was good. Since we were disappointed at this breakfast I called around and got in at the Hilton sunday breakfast for a few disney characters where, face time was the same with the characters and they had many options for food.
Character Superstar Breakfast- Amazing!!!!
OMG! This was one of our highlights of our trip! Not only is the restaurant easy to get too from the front entrance as our party of 8 was a little behind schedule but they greeted us with smiles and walked us into the restaurant chatting us up a storm how it will work and be seated. There was 5 plates to choose from if I remember correctly and they were all well topped up with food.
Once seated, the characters started to arrive starting with Sponge Bob who just made the day by goofing around with one of our kids at the table. There was plenty of food and drinks and the staff made sure that we had everything we needed for our breakfast. After spongebob, we saw EB, Bit from the movie Hop, then Gru who loved our Minion hats the girls were wearing and inducted them into his family of minions and then of course a minion showed up and we all took pics together with them and the staff with each character made sure that all the characters stamped our autograph books. It was a lot of fun!
To be honest, we have done the character breakfasts at Disney with our girls and this was by far just as well handled and for such a cheaper price. It was amazing and with characters that our older girls enjoy and watch everyday now!
I would do it again in a heart beat and would recommend it to anyone who would like to meet the characters but not wait around for their time slots on main street parade or sections.
All of 8 of us had a great time and laughed a lot as the characters interacted with the girls.
BTW - your website was awesome for planning and providing details on how best to see as much as we could with kids and not run them down! Thanks so much!
Long wait, even with reservations, & not enough food!
Our family of 5 people had reservations for a character breakfast and had to wait about 45 minutes to get seated. There were many unhappy and hungry families waiting along with us. If I had not prepaid on the UO website for the tickets, we would have walked away. I saw one family get a refund processed, but by that point there were only a couple parties left before us. Once inside, it was cafeteria style ordering. There was no bacon and sausage left, and we were supposed to have it taken to our table, but only 3 servings showed up and I had to go fetch the missing food. The only egg option is scooped out scrambled eggs that were bland and plastic tasting. Our 8 and 10 year of boys saved the day by being so excited to see Gru, EB and other characters. I feel bad for those families spending only the day at the park and wasting so much time for a mediocre breakfast.
I recommend making free reservations at one of the on-site hotels during their character dining days and time slots. I did not learn about this until after already buying La Bamba tix on the UO site. We had breakfast and dinner at different restaurants at the Royal Pacific during character dining and they were such vastly better experiences. It wasn't crowded even during spring break, no waits and the food was soooo much better. The breakfast cost only a couple more dollars a person (a credit card is required for breakfast reservations at Jake's and 48 hours cancellation is required or the card is charged). We met all the same characters who were at La Bamba, plus Bart Simpson. AND the rest the family beyond the boys also enjoyed our meals.
Needs a LOT of work for lunch!
This review is regarding lunch.
1. Good: the Chimichurri steak, pico de gallo, salsa, guacamole. They give you 10% off if you have a AAA Card.
2. Not so good: Tortilla soup (was sweet!), no corn tortillas. Tostada salad OK.
3. Ugly: disorganized slow cafeteria-style service. For $3.49, one should get a basket of chips with your guacamole! Also, I had to wait for the steak to come out. They forgot about my order, and the line management was poor - the line backed up. They forgot that I had sides included with my entree, and tried to pile the entree, sides, guacamole, and chips onto one plate. Mexican rice tasted funny - had cinnamon aftertaste.
Bottom line: promising and necessary eatery that needs a LOT of work.
CHARACTER La Bamba!!!
oK...I hafta admit...we booked a Breakfast at Cafe La Bamba just to get our Special needs son a little extra \"face time\" with the characters. We were not disappointed! The staff was very accommodating and the characters did a good job of interacting with the kids. Gru came back, (with his handler of course), and put on a little \"skit\" that made my son very happy.
The food was fresh and tasty. While it isn\'t a buffet, the quantities are very generous and we didn\'t leave hungry...not by a long shot. The meal is a bit pricey, but is well within standard \"character breakfast\" range.
Going to US again in December and hope to stop in CLB for another pleasant experience.
we came here for the superstar breakfast, the breakfast itself is chosen from pictures of the meals, but they are happy to mix and match for you, we had no problems just ordering pancakes for our daughter. It was a lovely breakfast and we had good service in pleasant surroundings and lots of coffee. The character interaction we had was fantastic, especially with gru and one of his minions...one of the many highlights of our holiday. We had the second sitting (around 10ish i think) and it was nice and quiet as everyone else had been to the earlier one, so if you want really good interaction try that .