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photo credit: Kim Kovacik

Café Central review image

Cafe Central

$$$$

1437 W Chicago Ave, Chicago
View WebsiteEarn 3X Points

Decorated with pictures of family members across the walls, this 70-year-old diner serves a Puerto Rican style of cooking called la cocina criolla. They serve their jibaritos tightly wrapped, almost as if they’ve been in a sandwich press, fusing flavors, and most importantly, completely melting the cheese. That’s one of the many small details that Café Central pays close attention to, like the tender steak with the crispy edges that hang out over the tostones on the steak jibarito, or the ripe avocado slices on the vegetarian jibarito. All their jibaritos come with three condiments: a minced garlic sauce, mayoket (mayo and ketchup sauce), and our favorite, pique, a hot sauce all made in-house daily. Beyond that, Café Central serves their arroz con gandules with salchichón and has four different seafood creoles that come with your choice of side. At this rate, with a bunch of other delicious offerings, Café Central will be around for another 70+ years.

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