I've had Cafe 28 on my to visit list for years since I read a VT tip on it, finally a Groupon inspired me to check it off the list. We made an early 6pm Saturday night reservation on Opentable as they are so busy that there are no reservations available later in the evening. The recent reviews on Yelp are overwhelmingly positive but I prefer Cafe Laguardia in Bucktown for Cuban. And I'm looking forward to trying La Unica, a storefront Cuban place on Devon that fellow VTer Dlandt recommends, and 90 Miles Cuban which gets rave reviews.
Favorite Dish: We started with an appetizer, Taste of Cuba ($7.95) with came with 3 empanadas de picadillo and 3 chicken & ham croquetas, I have had better empanadas recently at Cuatro and better croquetas at Cafe Iberico.
My favorite Cuban dish is ropa vieja (old clothes is the literal translation), flank steak in a garlic tomato & bell pepper sauce which came with white rice, black beans & fried plantains ($15.50). It was good, not the best I've had, nor the most tender. David had the Cuban roast pork ($15.50) slices of Cuban style roast pork with caramelized onions & mojo over top served with congri (beans & rice) & frituras de yuca. It's not a dish that thrilled me.
Our tab was $70 before tip including 3 drinks, 1 appetizer and 2 entrees. The prices here are a little higher due to it's location in Lakeview I assume.
In January, Allan and I took our daughter out to eat at a favorite restaurant of hers calledCafe 28 on Irving Park Road in Chicago. It's a Cuban-Mexican Cuisine that was delicious. It's on a corner lot and takes us almost half a block. But inside, it is quite cozy with divided rooms. The room that we were in had brick walls covered with lovely framed photography by a local artist. Each room has a small bar-like space. Our waiter was really handsome. Even Allan said, "I wonder if all the waiters are that good looking?" Jill and I certainly agreed that he was cute, but better yet, he was friendly, helpful, and quite efficient.
The greeter at the entrance was also quite friendly. That sets the mood, and that positive mood continued all evening.
Their menu includes appetizers that they term as "starters", Salads, Soup, Sandwiches, Entrees, "Sides", and Desserts,.
Favorite Dish: The Black Bean Soup is a good place to start. It is quite delicious. Next, we ordered salads, which were not too large (that's good) and were fresh and crisp.
Then we shared an appetizer sampler with small examples of their popular treats. we all agreed that it was a hit. Allan partook of their Pork Chops which were oh, so, tender, and I had roast pork disk that was really an appetizer, but just the right size for my smaller appetite. I cannot remember what Jill ordered, but I know that she was quite pleased with it.
To end the wonderful evening, we split one dessert three ways, and that was a good idea because it was way to large for one person. To accompany the dessert, we had wonderful Cuban coffee.
I highly recommend Cafe 28.
What a wonderful way to spend an evening! This is one of my favorite restaurants in the city! After hearing raves about this place I had to try it myself and I am hooked. The flavors are exceptional. This hip place fills up fast but it's well worth the wait. I have yet to be disappointed by the cuisine. And the service is great. The waiter remembered us months after the first time we dined with him. Definitely on the top of my list of favorite places to eat. Rumor has it the brunch is great, too.
*Update 05/04* They expanded about a year ago and this has cut down on the wait time considerably. The service is not quite what it used to be. It's on the slow side - but what is lacks in service it makes up for in cuisine tenfold. Don't let the mediocre service scare you off. The food is still exceptional and so worth the wait!
Favorite Dish: The cuisine is Cuban-Mexican infusion. Everything is amazing. I have not had a bad meal here yet! You have to try the Papas Rellenas appetizer. Trust me. My favorite old standby has to be either the Cuban Style Chicken or the Blackened Duck. The first time I ate there I tried the Cuban Style Chicken. It was one of the most amazing things I have ever tasted!! The sauce is a burst of flavor on your tongue. It's an incredible dining experience.
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