Gordos vs. Chi Chi’s: Which Cuban Cuisine Do You Choose?

Tallahassee has been undergoing a Cuban cuisine invasion lately and we’re not complaining at all. However, we do see distinct differences in the two Cuban restaurants here in Tally. One is the all-classic Gordos we know and love, the other is the newest Cuban café called Chi Chi’s. Both so alike but so different. There are many ways to compare the two but we can start off with the basics, like the location.

 Courtesy: Gordos

Even though both restaurants are located in Tallahassee they sit on different corners of town. Chi Chi’s is lesser known and almost hidden among the Tennessee strip of bars, fast food and everything else in between. This little café is a good Cuban fix for a quick stop. AKA quick little break between class? Drive over pick up some amazing croquettes and head back to your 3:30 p.m. English class. Both restaurants feature an outdoor area with picnic tables for a great Instagram opportunity. I am going to have to disclose however, Gordos area is much bigger and presents more photo-op opportunities than Chi Chi’s. Chi Chi’s is undeniably cute inside with a red theme throughout and vintage Cuban posters plastered all over the walls. So Chi Chi’s wins in that aspect! Both consist of a fun and enthusiastic staff that make the experience even more memorable!

A very important and probably significant factor in deciding which restaurant to go to is the hours. We all know Gordos opens at 11 a.m. and is open late until 11 p.m. so either visit for a late brunch with friends or a pregame for happy hour. Chi Chi’s doesn’t fit the stereotypical restaurant hours we’re used to; they’re open from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. and closed on Sundays. We’ve got to give this one to Gordos for sure, and a big shutout for being our Sunday hangover savior.

When it comes to drinks, Gordos is undeniably an expert. All of Tallahassee knows about their incredible smash served in their classic Gordos cups. Your kitchen cabinet probably has seven more just like it. Gordos is definitely a great drinking joint with the giant bar inside and the great feel of a smash and the wind in your hair from the Gordos patio. Drinks are not limited to just alcohol, however, we have to look at the entire spectrum to determine this one. In Chi Chi’s favor is Cuban coffee. Point blank because it is the best coffee to spark you up. Hot or iced this is a Cuban cuisine classic and is paired perfectly with all the Cuban pastries. If you’re looking for a pick me up before your 9:30 a.m. class, Chi Chi’s is the perfect stop. For this category we have to give the two a tie since they both have equally amazing beverages, they’re simply on opposite ends of the spectrum.

 Courtesy: Facebook

Now for the ultimate determining factor: the food and man, this was a tough one. Gordos offers a wide variety of items and a bigger menu than Chi Chi’s. It includes legendary food like the Gordos sauce paired with their deliciously seasoned fries. They also turn away from Cuban food with traditional meals like burgers and salads; something Chi Chi’s lacks but makes up for with its authenticity. If we are basing the food competition solely on the Cuban food, Chi Chi’s is a clear winner. They are extremely authentic and offer mouthwatering pastries that Gordos lacks. The croquettes are out of this world and for $1 each you’ll be ordering a plate full. Along with this, the ‘Buenos Dias’ sandwich is the perfect breakfast sandwich and will surely be our Saturday morning recover food, along with a Cuban coffee of course. The Cuban sandwiches are authentic and taste as if it were from Versailles Palace in Miami. Along with the Palomilla entrée and sandwich it’s no doubt Chi Chi’s is certainly authentic and equally as delicious.

All in all, each restaurant has its perks and we are lucky to have both so near to us. Whether it be a late night drink or a morning coffee both of these restaurants are a destination we plan to take our children to when we look back on our past and visit Tallahassee in the coming years.