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“Disappointing Experience” 3 of 5 stars
Review of Cafe 28 - CLOSED

Cafe 28
1800 W Irving Park Rd, Chicago, IL 60613
(773) 528-2883
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Price range: $30 - $30
Cuisines: Mexican, Caribbean, Latin, Spanish, Cuban
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Good for: Bar scene
Dining options: Breakfast, Outdoor Seating, Reservations, Waitstaff
Dining style: Casual Dining
Cross street: Ravenswood Ave
Transit: Located steps from the Brown line-Irving Park Rd. stop. #80 Irving Park Bus
Chicago, Illinois
Level Contributor
37 reviews
19 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 13 helpful votes
“Disappointing Experience”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed September 19, 2012

My husband and I decided to try this restaurant after driving past it for years. My husband is Cuban and we've hit almost every other place in the city.

We arrived around 1:15pm or so on a Thursday afternoon. Apparently, we walked into the "wrong" door as we had to wait for about 2 minutes before someone noticed us. Frankly, we were about ready to walk out and go elsewhere. As we were escorted to the other part of the restaurant, we were asked if it was our first visit (mine yes, husband no) and then instructed about where we should have walked in. This was a little off-putting. We were seated promptly after this.

The restaurant is very nicely decorated. Colorful and with local artists. That's what gave them the three instead of two ranking. The place was pretty empty but it was later in the day so I wasn't surprised about that.

We asked if they carried Materva soda (they do not). Disappointment. We ordered our beverages (ginger ale). The server returned with our beverages and to take our order. I ordered Guacamole as an appetizer and was asked if I wanted chips with that. (Huh? Seriously? Yes, please). Then I ordered the Tinga de Pollo tacos and my husband ordered the Masas de Puerco and instead of the congri he asked for black beans and rice. Very shortly thereafter, our entrees were delivered. No guacamole, no chips, nada. My husband wasn't very impressed with the black beans, nor was I. They were a bit bland but then his mother’s black beans are the best I’ve ever had so perhaps we have a very high standard. My Tinga de Pollo was good and I would order it again. My husband didn't like his Masas de Puerco at all. The mojo wasn't very prevalent in the flavor – he felt it was rather bland.

No one checked back with us while we ate, no one asked if we would like more to drink until we were completely done with our lunch. Our guac was completely forgotten and not even on the check (which is good because I would have dinged them if it had been).

As soon as they cleared our plates, they asked if we wanted desert and we said no. They immediately left our check. While we were waiting for them to return with our credit card, they turned off the music. Seriously. Turned. It. Off. It was slightly past 2pm. Yes, I realize they close at 2pm; however, if you still have customers, leave the music on for Pete’s sake.

When we got up to leave and walked towards the “correct” exit just a few minutes later, two employees were sitting by the front door talking. I tried to push the door open, it was locked. Finally, after we struggled with the door, one of them got up and unlocked it for us. No thank you for coming, no I’m sorry for the door being locked. Nothing. Wow. We dine out a lot and in what I do for a living, I deal with caterers, restaurants, all levels of customer service. I wouldn’t say this was the worst experience I’ve ever had but it wasn’t the best or even all that pleasant.

My husband will not return. I might as I realize all places can have an “off” day but we were both disappointed in the food and the service.

  • Visited September 2012
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 2 of 5 stars Service
    • 2 of 5 stars Food
Thank Pamela D
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

31 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
Rating summary
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
Chicago, Illinois
Level Contributor
79 reviews
57 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 29 helpful votes
“Menu from the heavens”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 16, 2012

We were suggeste this restaurant by my husband's coworker and I'm so glad we finally decided to go. We were a small party of 4 and made a reservation, which was a good idea becuase they seemed full by the time we left. The atmosphere was peaceful but spunky. The artwork was colorful and made up mostly of local artists work that you could purchase. The wait staff was also professional and made our experience pleasant.
Next came the food. The menu wasn't huge, but it was still very hard to decide due to the fact that everything was unique and full of variety. My vegetarian friend had no trouble finding something to suit her tastes and us meat eaters definitely had no trouble. We were all happy with our dishes, but I want to make a special comment about the pistachio encrusted chicken breast. I was so blown away by this dish I think I could have had seconds. The chicken was moist yet crunchy and the Port, goat cheese sauce was mouth watering. Even the jalapeno mashed potatoes had a great depth and smokiness to it.
I would strongly recommend the trip to the North side for this restaurant. I know I will be returning very, very soon!

  • Visited September 2012
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Food
Thank Hannah L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Deerfield, Illinois
Level Contributor
65 reviews
49 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 21 helpful votes
“Authentic Cuban Mexican with great patio”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed August 25, 2012

Had a meeting before I went to the Cubs game, so a friend suggest I try this place. Right on Irving Park, at the end of a building , parking is a little difficult, but wow what a surprise. Great authentic Mexican and Cuban dishes, and a fabulous patio out back. I had both the fish and the chicken tacos, just because I could not make up my mind. Both were outstanding. My friend had the Cuban sandwich, and fries, and said it was as good as usual. When she use to live north of the city,this was one of her favorite places,and was happy to finally come back and share it with me. People are great, felt like I was back in Mexico for one of my family vacations. If you are in the neighborhood, you have got to give it a try.

  • Visited August 2012
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Food
Thank bgsu1980
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Richmond, Virginia
Level Contributor
31 reviews
20 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 14 helpful votes
“An excellent experience.”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 9, 2012

Friends took us to this terrific restaurant in their neighborhood. The food was delicious and the service excellent, with friendly staff. The next time we visit Chicago, we'll head back for more Cuban style food.

Visited August 2012
Thank Mimmyg
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Traverse City
Level Contributor
31 reviews
25 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 15 helpful votes
“Excellent food, nice combination of unique dishes and spicy, enhanced main dishes”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed April 3, 2012

The menu and food were excellent, great for sharing small dishes or a couple of main plates with a small group. The service was fair at best, friendly but slow, had to wait with empty drink glasses a few times

    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Food
Thank spartymatty
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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