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Humboldt Park Puerto Rican cafe serving hometown island standards.

Our Review

Lunchtime is elbow to elbow at La Isla Cafe, with many locals getting down with the usual lineup of la cocina Boricua, mostly starches fried to varying shades of brown, with some pork and fish, many sides of yams and rice, and not a green vegetable in sight. Mofongo, a traditional dish of mashed plantains, contained nuggets of amazingly hard pork, making the dish somewhat hazardous to your dental health, and though it looked beautiful, with streaks of golden fat and lush meat, carne frita, fried bacon, was so rubbery it defied mastication. Bacalao, that Puerto Rican staple, is here available in a fried disc--a bacalaito --made of fish chunks embedded in a fritter. The lechon, roast suckling pig, was somewhat tougher than expected given how tender this meat usually is; chicken, however, was nicely done, flavorful and moist if free of seasoning. La Isla offers nothing out of the ordinary in terms of Puerto Rican chow, but it seems that's just what patrons are looking for, and the servers are very friendly, which goes a long way. The restaurant is clean and hospitable and features the only men’s room I know of that requires you to be buzzed in.

David Hammond

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Price: $
Payment Type: MasterCard, Visa

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