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Chicago Tribune

A Taste Of The Islands: Favorite Places For Puerto Rican And Cuban Cuisine

Compiled by Christine Badowski

March 20, 2003
Copyright © 2003
Chicago Tribune. All rights reserved. 

Cousin's Grill

4612-A W. Diversey Ave. 773-205-7619

"The best restaurant a person can go to if they are in the mood for Puerto Rican food. I congratulate the owners and the cooks on their excellent work. I love all of the items on the menu, especially the jibarito--it's great day or night. Don't just take my advice--go see for yourself."

-- Michelle M.

The Winds Cafe

2657 N. Kedzie Ave. 773-489-7478

"I always have a great time, and the food is always great at this bar and cafe. The staff is always really courteous and hospitable. They have a diverse menu, a great selection of beers on tap and the kitchen is open late. The restaurant has a friendly, diverse crowd with a nice neighborhood feel. There is always great music coming from the jukebox: jazz, rock, blues, Latin, etc."

-- Rod D.

Borinquen Restaurant

1720 N. California Ave. 773-227-6038

"Wonderful meal and atmosphere. I've never been to Puerto Rico, but many people tell me this is authentic. I loved the jibarito; it was my first taste of Puerto Rican food. I had no idea what I had been missing! Very quick (we got carryout). The servers are helpful, polite and bilingual."

-- Amanda S.

La Bruquena

2726 W. Division St. 773-276-2915

"I am from north Jersey and have been looking for a good Spanish place to eat. The food at La Bruquena tastes home-cooked. The servers are nice. The place is a mom-and-pop restaurant, but anyone can feel at home with the atmosphere and delicious food!"

-- Monet H.

La Palma

1340 N. Homan Ave. 773-862-0886

"Beyond being a very quaint place, La Palma serves great food in large quantities for low prices. The atmosphere encourages people to laugh and enjoy themselves even more."

-- Jasmine N.

Rancho Luna Cuban Cuisine

3357 W. Peterson Ave. 773-509-9332

"I know Cuban food. I even know how to cook it. And I can say that they know Cuban at Rancho Luna. Stick to ropa vieja, bistec encebollado, bistec a la Cubana and the sandwiches. On the weekends, you can even dance. They have a good quartet that plays until 10 p.m. and then the deejay takes over."

-- C.B.

Cuban Island

3446 W. Peterson Ave. 773-588-9922

"Of all the Cuban restaurants I've tried in Chicago, this is the best!"

-- Cristina C.

Cafe Laguardia

2111 W. Armitage Ave. 773-862-5996

"Everything about this place was rockin', including the awesome ambience, with animal prints everywhere (including the ceiling vents). The staff was super-friendly. We had nachos to start. They were amazing! It wasn't a giant pile greasy chips with globs of beans and cheese like some places are known for. For dinner I went with the volcano jumbo shrimp. It was hot (I love hot) but it was well-layered and spicy. Cafe Laguardia is on my top 10 list of city eats."

-- E.G.

Calypso Cafe

5311 S. Harper Ave. 773-955-0229

"This restaurant may seem like a local dive, but I honestly like it! The menu includes a large variety of well-spiced and creative Caribbean items. The drinks are frou-frou and fun. The service is helpful. It's a really great value for the money, and food portions are large. The atmosphere is fun, although a bit contrived. Definitely a thumbs up!"

-- Celeste L.

Ambassador Caffe

3605 N. Ashland Ave. 773-404-8770

"Very good! The place itself is small but has awesome Cuban food. The appetizers were my favorite. The best empanadas in town."

-- M.C.

Cafe 28

1800 W. Irving Park Rd. 773-528-2883

"Prices were a bit higher than expected. Food was presented beautifully, but the pork chops were very tough. Chipotle chicken and jalapeno mashed potatoes were superb. Sides ordered separately were small, especially for the price. Although very, very cramped (elbows could touch those eating at next table), service was exceptional."

-- E.D.

Cafe Bolero

2252 N. Western Ave. 773-227-9000

"I have dined here several times over the past three years and it only gets better. The stuffed roast beef is a big hit, and we love the plantains, rice and black beans that come with most dishes."

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