6 Puerto Rican Food Joints in Chicago
Chicago may be known for its deep dish pizzas and Chicago-style hot dogs but I’m a little upset that Puerto Rican food isn’t in the mix. Don’t get me wrong, Chicago is great; full of diversity and rich in history and culture, but if you look closer, Chicago is home to one of the largest communities of Puerto Rican descent in the entire nation.
Let’s check out the most authentic places in town to indulge in the comfort of Puerto Rican cuisine. Are you guys ready? After typing up this piece, I may have to go on a food run.
La Cocina Boricua de la Familia Galarza: The family-run restaurant has been serving their love through food for more than 20 years. They have honest, homemade Puerto Rican cooking at very fair prices. La Cocina Boricua is most popular for their guachitos appetizer and their almost to perfection jibaritos. As soon as you walk into their doors expect great service. You will pretty much become a regular after your first visit. Before I forget, it’s BYOB so feel free to bring a bottle of that sweet old wine.
Location: 2420 W Fullerton Ave.
La Bomba: This Logan Square favorite maintains a loyal following. If people like what they see and eat, it’s obvious they will come back. While it still sells all the great snacks that made it popular at the park in their early days, it now offers made-to-order items such as one of the city’s best jibaritos and also some of the crunchiest fried pork in town. Be ready to have a fried appetizer overload. And if you are on a budget this is the place to hit up.
Location: 3221 W Armitage Ave.
Las Delicias de Puerto Rico: This Cragin jibartio shop is run by a Puerto Rican cook herself, that after years in the field she decided to branch out on her own. All her hard work and passion for Puerto Rico is expressed through her exquisite selection choices on the menu. It’s hard to get past the signature sandwich. The snack case has all sorts of popular Puerto Rican street snacks, including empanadas, bacalaitos, and balls of papa rellana.
Location: 4821 W Armitage Ave.
El Nuevo Borinquen: When the original Borinquen on California closed, it left a hole in Chicago’s food scene so everyone was upset that the creator of jibarito was no longer exisiting. But as soon as the place reopened, all the Chicago Puerto Rican’s came running back. They still provide the same menu with heavy indulging flavors most were crying about. Get the carne frita if you haven’t given your taste buds the experience.
Location: 1720 N California Ave.
Papa’s Cache Sabroso: Papa has transformed many into regulars over the years. Most that come back is specifically for the roasted chicken alone called pollo chon. It’s loaded with garlic on the inside and crispy golden skin on the outside.
Location: 2517 W Division St.
Café Central: As soon as you step foot inside this longtime cafeteria, you will feel nothing but good vibes; which doubles as one of the city’s oldest Puerto Rican restaurants, where they’re cranking out homestyle, local favorites such as mofongo and lechon. Regulars enjoy the mixta plates, which allow you to mix and match your meats with white rice and beans or yellow rice with pigeon peas. Anything you order here will become a favorite so try not to go too crazy.
Location: 1437 W Chicago Ave.