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“Fiesta Cafe is my favorite restaurant”
Review of Fiesta Cafe

Fiesta Cafe
Ranked #63 of 335 Restaurants in Champaign
Cuisines: Mexican
Restaurant details
Reviewed March 7, 2013

I rarely use TripAdvisor for advice on my hometown. But I was just looking at restaurants in Columbus, Ohio, and it occurred to me that a lot of chicanery goes on in the crowd-sourcing of restaurant reviews.

This list of "best" Champaign-Urbana restaurants, for example, is hilarious. It's obvious that some restaurant owners have learned to exploit TripAdvisor. I've never even heard of some of these places. Others are mediocre chains.

Yes, some entrants deserve their high ratings. Fiesta Cafe should not be ranked just below Bob Evans, or Hardee's or whatever.

Tip #1: Order something that sounds interesting. The boring menu items are boring, because a lot of American people like boring comfort food.

Tip #2: Ask the servers. The staff is helpful, and knowledgeable. Many of them have been there a long time. Tell them what you like and ask for advice.

I almost always get Puerco Chipotle, with grilled vegetables on the side. The enchiladas are outstanding as well (choice of verde, mole or traditional ranchera sauces). I recommend cheese or chicken with verde, shredded beef with mole, or cheese with ranchera. Their grilled skirt steaks are wonderful. These come in a few choices of preparations. Pollo con verde is another favorite. I like the Chilles Rellenos, too.

Chips & salsa: The chips are fine, standard. The salsa has always been a disappointment (and yet we keep eating it). I agree with one of the "terrible" reviews on this point. It never looks fresh. It contains no cilantro, as far as I can tell. (The guacamole is much better, especially in recent years.)

Margaritas: I like the 1800 and the Island, but the house margaritas are excellent as well. They have a lot of tequila in them, which is the best part of a margarita, in my opinion. They are not super-authentic (i.e. limited to the classic three ingredients of pure lime juice, Cointreau and tequila). They lean more toward authentic than they do toward Chi-Chi's (etc. chain restaurant). bright green sugarfest.

There's an outdoor area, where you can eat while smoking (if that's your thing).

This restaurant is very LGBT friendly, but also serves a hardcore group of devout locals - Illini fans decked out in orange, academics from the university, workin' people. It's an eclectic mix, and I always see fiends there.

The service is exceptionally quick, and their POS system assigns orders by seat (so splitting bills is easy).

I've enjoyed meals in some of the finest (Michelin and Zagat rated) restaurants from Manhattan to Paris to Montreal to San Francisco ,,, to the south China sea. I've eaten in some wonderful, legendary dives and delis and diners, and tiny bistros.

Fiesta Cafe is my favorite restaurant.

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1  Thank rob-mccolley
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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32 - 36 of 51 reviews

Reviewed February 8, 2013

This is a favorite lunch place for my colleagues and me. We especially like it when we can sit outside. The staff is unfailingly friendly. Chips and salsa arrive promptly and are free. When we're there, we see lots of faces made familiar because they, too, go to the Fiesta regularly. Parking is free and easy.

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1  Thank Reliabill
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 1, 2013

Our favorite place in the Champaign area. Friendly staff, fast service, bright, cheerful and never a wait.

Thank Chuck360
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 6, 2012

I just dined here again. Wow! I used to go here when they first opened and I was a student. Since I left town in 1990, I try to hit this spot every time I come back. They continue to give a great meal for very little cost. The atmosphere is fun, and the hustle and bustle and heavy local traffic attests to the love the community must have for this spot. If you want traditional Mexican American food on a college student budget, this is the place for you. Many memories here.....

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1  Thank aviatrix2000
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 3, 2012

One day you go in and the Poblano Rellanos are delicious and the next time not so good.

Thank LynnieChampaign_Il
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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