Chicago >Food & Dining > La Pena Restaurant
4212 N Milwaukee Ave, Chicago, IL | Directions 6064141.957431 -87.751859
Neighborhoods: Northwest Side, Portage Park
The Worst Service I Have Received Anywhere. – I went to La Pena as part of a large group. Everything started out alright, the service was a little slow and the waitress wasn't very friendly but our appetizers and drinks were delicious so it wasn't a big deal. I ordered a seafood dish as my entree and it was fishy, i had my boyfriend try some to see if it was just me and he immediatly agreed it was bad. I hate sending dishes back but i didn't want to risk eating bad seafood, so i very nicely told the server that i couldn't eat it. She then rudely argued with me telling me it was fine. I ordered a chicken dish next, which was good. My boyfriend ordered a steak topped with a fried egg which was excellent. However, after appetizers, drinks and sampling other peoples food i started to get full and really didnt eat much of my chicken. The server approched me and said, "what? is that bad too?" and walked away. She wasn't very friendly to begin with and was just horribly rude all night. The good food is not enough to make me go back there. I couldn't believe the service we received after spending so much money! After getting home and more closely looking at the bill, we also noticed there were a couple of extra drinks on the bill. Never again!
Good Food, Horrible Atmosphere – La Pena has a nice menu and the food is flavorfull. However, the live music is so lound in intrusive that I will never return. I am not an overly sensitive person and we have been to La Pena several times, but the music ruins the experience. Specifically, they have a full band with amps crammed into the space of a large living room, plus small bar. Several people have asked several times for the amps to be turned off as they are not necessary, but the staff never complies. The food is good, but I'm not willing to leave a restaurant having paid, in essence, for a huge headache and sore throat from yelling.
Great Value! – Brought family there this weekend based upon the reviews here. We were a little nervous as it looked very fancy (read: expensive) but we braved it anyway and what a surprize! Not only was the service fantastic but the prices were very reasonable. The food was outstanding and we came away very pleased!
Awesome...gotta go! – I must admit I was very hesitant when my husband told me we were joining his friend for dinner at this restaurant. Ecuadorian, I thought...'oh, gosh, I'm going to hate it'. I never admit when I'm wrong, but I was wrong. The food was DELICIOSO! The environment, ambiance was fantastic. The live music was entertaining and so different than I've ever heard live. Not something I would listen to on the radio or cd, but it was pleasant to listen to during dinner. The service was great also. I loved everything about it. We went I believe on a Thursday evening and I was told that it turns in to a nightclub around 10 pm, and surely you see alot of young people coming in. Not my type of scene, dinner was over, but I enjoyed the overall experience and I HIGHLY RECOMMEND IT.
Portage Park storefront serves Ecuadorian cuisine in a lively, casual atmosphere. – The Scene
This family-owned restaurant is bright and colorful, with tables covered in fuchsia cloths and tropical bird figurines mounted just about everywhere. Latin bands perform on a small corner stage weekend nights, when diners turn to salsa dancing.
La Pena specializes in ceviches and other seafood dishes, plus traditional South American platters of grilled steak, chicken and lamb. Begin with a passion fruit or mango shake while munching on homemade plantain chips and spicy salsa. Shrimp ceviche is a refreshing start: four plump shrimp with onions and tomatoes drowning in a zesty lime juice marinade. Entrees are hearty and filling: Flavorful carne asada (grilled steak) comes with a mound of rice and a side of beans, while Spanish rice is mounded high on a plate of grilled shrimp. Dessert options include rice pudding, coconut-flavored flan and fried sweet plantains.
I went last Sunday with my family. Have to say it was delicious. I usually dread their restaurant choices, and was genuinely suprised when I walked in. The food we ordered was delicious: Carne Asada, Ayala de Pollo, Arroz con Camarones, and the fried plaintains w/salsa were outstanding. Even my boyfriend (very white) loved it. Plus they do take-out. The service was friendly and efficient as well.
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