Chi Cafe – late night dining in Chinatown

Chi Cafe | Interior

It's busy here, even after 11 p.m.

Walk into Chi Cafe in the middle of the night and you’ll see a bustling, mod space packed with locals and hipsters chowing down on congee, noodles and stirfrys from the restaurant’s voluminous menu. While a big selection of dishes was nothing new, what stood out was the emphasis on organ meats — pig intestine, kidneys and blood as well as fish stomach, duck’s tongue and tripe were featured in many dishes. It took several minutes just to read through the menu to see what might be lurking in the next dish. That’s not a complaint, mind you. I enjoy reading menus to find things other than General Tso’s chicken or fried rice, even if it’s what I eventually order.

My dining companion was adventurous and ordered the House Special stir-fry — a salty mixture of greens, tripe and squid. I stuck by the safe, if equally salty, shrimp in garlic sauce and ordered a mango smoothie after sadly learning that they were out of avocado. While it did take a while to place our order, the food was served fast and plates were quickly removed.

The bright, cafeteria-style decor and energy of Chi Cafe invites you in, but it’s not a place to linger at this hour. Get your food, wolf it down and go wherever the night takes you next.

Chi-Cafe | House Special Stirfry

The house special stirfry includes squid and tripe.

Chi Cafe
2160 South Archer Avenue
Chicago, IL 60616-1514
(312) 842-9993
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Open Sunday to Thursday from 8am – 2am; Friday & Saturday from 8am – 5am.

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