A fine Colombian
by Nina Willdorf
Be warned: if you're looking for a healthful, mellow meal, El Cafetal is not
the place to go. But if you're the type who savors hearty oxtail soup in a
bright atmosphere accented with Jesus paraphernalia and Telemundo soap operas,
this Colombian restaurant in Allston will be perfect for you.
Thick sauces, protein-laden staples, and a beef-heavy menu pretty much
guarantee that, if nothing else, you won't walk away hungry. Simple
entrées, ample portions, and cheap prices add up to one thing: full,
The appetizers were the big hit on the long menu. A cornmeal pancake with
butter and cheese ($2.50) was warm, soft, sweet, and salty. A bright-orange
beef empanada ($1) deliciously married chopped savory meat with a crumbly outer
shell. The large oxtail soup ($8) was so huge that two of us could barely put a
dent in its big rounds of potatoes, chunks of beef, and soft cooked carrots.
But the appetizers and soups were laughably dainty in comparison to the
"Mountain Dish," ($9) a call-you-out signature medley of oversize pinto beans,
a tasty thin steak, fried pork strips, and a fried egg -- all crowning a hill
They should pay you to finish that one.
El Cafetal, located at 479 Cambridge Street, in Allston, is open daily from
10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Call (617) 789-4009.
The On the Cheap archive