If humankind had never learned to play with its food, it would never have learned to play with its ingredients, and the world would be one bereft bowl of gruel. With today's Groupon, you get $15 worth of Cuban eats and drinks for $7 at Rumba Room, a downtown Cuban restaurant and nightclub that features sultry eats, well-mixed drinks, and live music and dancing.
While plantains make handy banana doppelgangers and semi-decent boomerangs, the sweet and starchy treats shine alongside island spices, savory meats, and sea-meats. Different in flavor and approach from other Latin cuisines, the Rumba Room's slow-baked sweet and spicy array of Cuban dishes is available for lunch (Monday–Friday) and dinner (usually Thursday–Saturday). If you're new to Cuban eats, try arroz con pollo ($8), a traditional, hearty dish of seasoned chicken with Puerto Rican–style rice, black beans, and sweet plantains or ropa vieja, a succulent seasoned and marinated beef slow-cooked until it falls apart. Spelunkers weary of Alabama cave shrimp can taste the real thing with Veracruz shrimp ($10) in garlic salsa, served with Puerto Rican–style rice, black beans, and tortillas. Specialty drinks like the Cuban mojito ($7) or rum runner ($7) present potable solutions to such dilemmas as lack of rum and taste for mint. If you use today's Groupon for lunch, you'll get a free order of light and sweet coquito rice pudding.
The Rumba Room's brightly painted walls range from red to white to a mural of myriad colors, providing a backdrop for a sleek bar, elegant dining tables, and a wide dance floor. This range of décor is reflected in the room's utility as restaurant, bar, and nightclub. Live salsa bands, dancing, and entertainment all take place in the Rumba Room, whose mission is to introduce many aspects of Latin culture to Memphis. The chic spot enforces a strict "business casual" dress code to ensure that a special-event air wafts merrily through the club at all times. Test out a few dance moves while eating a quesadilla as a display of dexterity, or simply relax and dine while marinating in the vibrant atmosphere.
The Memphis Flyer recommends the Rumba Room for its delectable lunch offerings, saying:
- Friday afternoon, the dance floor was empty but the tables by the bar were busy with customers ordering a Cuban sandwich or Veracruz shrimp. The Cuban sandwich looked delicious: ham, pernil (Cuban roast pork), mustard, Swiss cheese, and pickle on a French baguette...I didn’t try anything, but the menu looked great, offering a dozen sandwiches, tacos, and slow-cooked shredded beef…I can’t wait to try Arroz con Pollo, one of my all-time favorite Cuban dishes. It’s a traditional chicken dish service with rice, black beans, and sweet plantains. – Pamela Denney
Four Yelpers give the Rumba Room four stars:
Rumba Room infuses downtown Memphis with a dose of Latin culture through fusion food, tropical mixed drinks, and monthly live music and dance events. Guests can shake along to Latin rhythms at regular reggaeton, swing, and salsa events, or hone their skills in salsa lessons and dance competitions.
South Main Historic District Association
303 S Main Street
Memphis, Tennessee 38103Get Directions