95 S Rand Rd, Lake Zurich, IL | Directions 6004742.196117 -88.110687
A colorful scene and medley of tropical cuisines brings Latin flavor to suburban Lake Zurich. – The Scene
Nestled inside a northwest suburban strip mall, Julio's casual cafe setting of brightly colored walls and bird and lizard motifs transports diners to warmer climes. Locals dine at the bar; a few outdoor tables dot the sidewalk in front.
A blend of South American, Mexican and Caribbean cuisines ranges from fried plantains to paella. To start, creamy-crispy artichoke fritters are paired with spicy lemon-pepper dipping sauce; crab and shrimp quesadilla has Asiago and jack cheeses and honey-wheat tortillas with smoky chipotle sour cream. Seafood paella is satisfying, but pales in comparison to the riot of flavor in the classic Cuban ropa vieja, a savory stew of shredded beef brisket, chunks of garlic, black beans and bell peppers tossed in tangy tomato sauce. For dessert, the signature pina colada cake consists of white cake layers filled with rum-soaked pineapple and white-chocolate mousse sprinkled with toasted coconut.
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