Puerto Rican Lunch at Cafe Central

Chicago is known for an array of cuisines and dishes, but I wasn’t expecting to check out a Puerto Rican joint while I was there. I haven’t had Puerto Rican food in a long time, and there was one particular item I was curious to try. I headed to Cafe Central over in West Town for lunch.

Lunch at Cafe Central

This small casual restaurant serves Puerto Rican comfort food. It also happens to be BYOB.


There was one particular dish that they’re known for – the steak jibarito. What’s a jibarito and why haven’t I had this delicious sounding sandwich before?


I sat at a booth near the door and the waitress gave me some water, bread, and a small  cup of tomatillo salsa. I also ordered some coconut water- hydrate! There were a few men sitting at the counter chatting and I could tell that they were regulars. This seemed to be a legit spot!

Place Setting
Coconut Water

The green tomatillo salsa was chunky and had a spicy kick to it. This would be good on pretty much anything!

Tomatillo Salsa

I ordered the Steak Jibarito. A jibarito is a sandwich where the bread is replaced by green plantains. Genius! It’s filled with lettuce, tomatoes, onions, mayo, and good ol’ American cheese.

Steak Jibarito

It was delicious! The warm crispy plantains with the thin, but tender steak was pretty amazing. The mayo, onions, and cheese made it one tasty sandwich! I added some tomatillo salsa to spice it up a bit. Yum!


I also tried the mofongo. Green plantains are mixed with salt and seasoning, then mashed into a ball and stuffed with garlic fried pork rinds. I couldn’t pass this up!


It was served a chicken and tomato-based broth to enjoy with the mofongo.

Chicken Broth


The mofongo was yummy. I enjoyed the salty bits of the crispy pork rinds with every bite. Plus, anything fried with garlic is extra good.

Porky Goodness

This lunch was much better than expected. The waitress was very nice and checked on me a couple times. I think it was pretty obvious how much I was enjoying everything. I got my salty pork fix with the mofongo and I could not get enough of that jibarito! Seriously, how is this my first time eating this tasty sandwich?

Great Meal

This is a spot I would definitely come back to. Sometimes, the most simple food in the most casual setting turn out to be your most memorable meal.


All I’ve been wondering since is – where can I get a good jibarito in New Jersey?

Cafe Central
1437 W Chicago Ave #1
Chicago, IL 60642
(312) 243-6776

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