Authentic and affordable, this family-owned Puerto Rican café in Humboldt Park is a local favorite despite its no-frills, cafeteria-style interior. Behind a glass wall strung with Puerto Rican flags, the front room consists of a to-go counter, hardwood floors, and two communal tables, while the back room is filled with more tables and an enormous picture of the restaurant’s specialty: the jibarito. Translating to “little hillbilly,” this dish was made famous by owner Juan Figueroa and consists of meat, tomato, cheese, and garlic mayonnaise sandwiched between deep-fried plantains. Regulars suggest topping it with Borinquen’s homemade hot sauce.
Congratulations to Mei Lin, winner of Top Chef Season 12.