Frontera Cocina – Restaurant Review

by “The Food Guy” – Food Blogger / Restaurant Critic for Vero Vine


Frontera in Chicago has been on my bucket list of must try restaurants for quite a while now.  When I learned that one was within 2 hours driving distance, I had to go and check this place out for myself.  Located in what was once known as Downtown Disney, the newly re-designed Disney Springs has added additional shopping, attractions, and some really great new restaurants.  Chef and proprietor Rick Bayless has won countless James Beard awards and has hosted the PBS TV show “Mexico, One Plate at a Time” for over 10 years.  Disney only welcomes the best of the best, so how will Chef Rick Bayless’ new restaurant stack up against the rest?  Let’s dive right in and take a look.

Parking at Disney Springs is much improved over Downtown Disney.  They now have two major parking garages to park in.  We parked in the Lime Garage since it was closest to the restaurant.  The new garages have some cool new technology that tells you how many parking spaces are left, and which rows actually have spots, so you don’t find yourself driving around aimlessly to find a spot.  We pulled in and found a spot within a few minutes.  We had a short walk up the stairs, then over and down another set of stairs to enter Disney Springs.  Once we entered, both my wife and I looked at each other and felt lost.  We are both very seasoned Disney visitors, but there have been so many changes, it felt new to us again.  As we stepped in further, we saw the World of Disney and got our bearings.  We were able to easily find the restaurant not far from where we parked.  We arrived fifteen minutes early for our 4:00pm reservation and were seated immediately.

The restaurant has only been open since June 27th, so they are still really new.  The dining room is really open with that comfortable but industrial feel of the new style gastro pubs with the exposed ventilation ducts and high ceilings.  The A framed ceiling is lined with dark wooden beams, skylights to allow in as much natural light as possible, and a large light fixture over the dining room that reminded me of hanging chili peppers.  Two walls in the dining room had shelves with tequila bottles as decoration on them.  There is a second dining room separated by a small wall directly in front of the bar.  They also have outdoor seating with a man made water view behind the restaurant.






Now on to the food!  Let’s jump right in and see what I had to eat and drink!


Fiesta Mexicana Iced Tea – ($3.00) – Both my wife and I ordered this drink and thought it was quite refreshing.  It is a black tea flavored with mango, melon and papaya.  It came unsweetened, but they had several sweetener options to choose from.  They even had a stevia option which was nice to see.


Queso Fundido – ($12.00) – This was the appetizer we ordered to share and it arrived to our table hot and bubbly!  It contains chihuahua cheese, roasted pablano peppers and caramelized onions.  Four warm corn tortillas and two different salsa’s were served alongside.  The cheese was nice and stringy as you would expect and had good flavor.  The corn tortillas were very fresh and held together well.  The red salsa was the milder of the two.  It was oh so good!


Chipotle Chicken Tostada – ($13.00) – My wife ordered this appetizer as her main entree.  The dish consists of crispy tostadas, chipotle seasoned chicken, crema, creamy black beans, queso fresco, and topped with a slice of avocado and a cilantro leaf.  The tostadas were crisp and held together well, the chicken was nicely seasoned and tender. It was delicious!


Arroz con Plantains – ($5.00) – Since my wife ordered an appetizer as her main course, she ordered a side dish to accompany it.  This side dish consists of white rice studded with plantains and cilantro.  The rice was perfectly cooked and the plantains were caramelized nicely.  It’s such a simple dish but oh, so good.


Shrimp Mojo de Ajo – ($27.00) – I’ve seen Chef Bayless prepare his mojo de ajo on his TV show many times, so I knew before my arrival this was the dish I would order.  It’s made with pan-roasted Mazatlan blue shrimp with mojo de ajo sauce, plantain rice, grilled calabacitas.  Warm corn tortillas were supposed to come with the dish, but I did not receive any.  There were a ton of shrimp, I think I counted at least 10, the rice was the same as what my wife had as her side dish and paired nicely with the shrimp.  The mojo de ajo  lived up to my expectations and was fantastic!


Coconut Lime Cuatro Leches – ($9.00) – I’m a fan of coconut and lime flavors, so I chose this dessert for myself.  It’s made with sponge cake that is soaked in 4 milks (coconut, half and half, condensed, and evaporated), topped with whipped cream, toasted coconut, fresh blackberries, and lime zest grated over the top.  The cake was fresh and light, the whipped cream was a good choice for the icing, and the lime zest gave it a very fresh taste.  All in all, this is a very tasty dessert!


Pecan Pie Bar – ($9.00) – This is what my wife picked for her dessert.  It’s made with Mexican vanilla ice cream, and chocolate sauce.  The pecan pie bar was like a dark chocolate brownie, only not as dense as a brownie would be due to the pecans which made it a little crunchy.  The ice cream was fresh and tasty, and the chocolate sauce and crushed pecans were used as a garnish.

In Conclusion:

With expectations set high, we were not disappointed.  You can tell that they have only been open a short time due to some chaos in the kitchen.  Our desserts were provided at no charge due to a delay with the main course arrival, and now that I read the description of the Shrimp dish, the tortillas never made it either.  All new restaurants have growing pains such as these, and they will get past them and eventually find their groove.  Will I come back and give them another shot? Absolutely!  If you find yourself in Disney Springs anytime soon I definitely recommend you check them out!

Have you tried Frontera Cocina?  What has your experience been with them?  Sound off in the comments below and let me know your thoughts, or feel free to email me at with your questions or comments.

Atmosphere – 5 Forks

Service – 5 Forks

Food – 4 Forks

Ratings Scale Legend:

1 to 5 Forks – 1 Bad to 5 Excellent

Frontera Cocina Website


Wednesday 11AM–10PM
Thursday 11AM–10:45PM
Friday 11AM–10:45PM
Saturday 11AM–10:45PM
Sunday 11AM–10PM
Monday 11AM–10PM
Tuesday 11AM–10PM

Address: 1604 E. Buena Vista Drive, Orlando, FL 32830

Phone: (407) 560-9197

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