Chi Chi’s Café Truly Brings the 305 to the 850

By Cristi McKee | Photo: Chi Chi’s Café

When approaching Chi Chi’s Café, the upbeat sound of Latin music immediately fills your ears, the smell of guava wafts through the air and meets you on the doorstep, and you are instantly transported to another place and time—and you should be, given that Chi Chi’s was founded by Miami transplants Rafel and Donna “Chi Chi” Diaz. The story behind this relatively new restaurant on the Cuban food scene revolves around the the Diazes “calling it quits on corporate life” and following a dream to Tallahassee. 

With a promise to give you “your Cuban fix,” Chi Chi’s serves authentic Cuban fare for breakfast, brunch, and lunch. Open from 7:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Monday to Saturday, and 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. on Sunday, the restaurant opened in February of 2018 and has maintained its lively, fun, and authentic atmosphere ever since.

The Cuban spot is an optimal spot for getting breakfast or brunch with friends and family, or as a place to drop in to seriously get your Cuban fix for the day with a shot of espresso and a coconut pastry to go.

Regulars at Chi Chi’s fondly review the restaurant, comparing it restaurants in Havana, Cuba, and down south in Miami. Some fan favorites have been broken down by category:

Pastries:

  • Guava and cheese pastry (a pastry filled with sweet cream cheese and guava)
  • Seasoned ground beef pastry (a pastry filled with seasoned ground beef)
  • Cream cheese pastry (a pastry filled with sweet cream cheese)
  • Guava pastry (a pastry filled with guava)

Sandwiches:

  • Cuban sandwich (a sandwich on Cuban bread, with roasted pork, ham, Swiss cheese, mustard, and pickles)
  • Media Noche (similar to a Cuban sandwich with roasted pork, ham, Swiss cheese with mustard and pickles on sweet bread)
  • Buenos Diaz (platter or sandwich with 2 eggs, ham or bacon, cheese, and Cuban toast)

Drinks:

  • Cafe con leche (a hot coffee made with 25% “rocket fuel,” and 75% milk)
  • Iced Cuban (a cold version of a cafe con leche)
  • Colada (a hot coffee made of 100% “rocket fuel”)

Desserts:

  • Tres leches (a sponge cake made with evaporated milk, condensed milk, and heavy cream)
  • Flan (a classic baked Cuban custard)

Entrees:

  • Bistec empanizado (a breaded steak with raw onions, served with rice and beans)
  • Bistec de pollo (chicken steak and grilled onions, served with rice and beans)

Sides: 

  • Yucca fries (classic fries made of yucca)
  • Plantains (classic sweet fried bananas)
  • Black beans and rice (white rice served with black beans on top)

Finger foods:

  • Croquetas (breaded and fried ham or chicken)
  • Empanadas (crunchy and deep fried with black beans and Swiss cheese, ground beef, etc)

Located right off the Florida State University Campus at 460 W. Tennessee St, Chi Chi’s Café has truly brought “the 305 to the 850” to Tallahassee foodies’ delight.

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