RESTAURANT REVIEW – Bolivar & Lincoln in Lakeview

The Owners of Bolivar & Lincoln

For a truly epicurean adventure, family-owned Bolivar & Lincoln serves traditional, highly rated Venezuelan cuisine, including Arepas, Empanadas and Tequeños, in the heart of Lakeview.

Venezuelan cuisine has its origins in Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, French, West African, and indigenous traditions. While preparation varies greatly by region, staples include corn, rice, plantains, yams, beans and meats, potatoes, tomatoes, onions, eggplants, squashes, spinach and zucchini. Ají dulce (sweet perennial peppers) and papelón (unrefined sugar cane) are found in most recipes. 

Reviews of Bolivar & Lincoln border on rapturous. On Google, one wrote, “I lived in Venezuela and these flavors are COMPLETELY AUTHENTIC!  The tequeños are a complete fall back to my time in Maracaibo! The plantains were so tasty and had the right level of sweetness and were super delicious dipped in the nata!”

Highly recommended starters are the Bolivar & Lincoln Platter, a combination of tequenos (fried wheat flour cheese sticks with garlic and fancy sauce,) mandoca (plantain cheese and sugar cane, corn flour mix with nata garlic and fancy sauce,) tajadas, and tomatoes. All of the appetizers on the platter are also available as individual appetizers. Follow the appetizers with several whimsically named Arepas, which are gluten-free free Venezuelan corn flour bread, including the Queen Arepa, which pairs fresh chicken avocado salad with gouda cheese. Or, you can celebrate with a Party Animal Arepa, combining pork and gouda. Or, channel your inner A llanero with a Cowboy Arepa, pairing NY strip Angus beef strips, avocado, tomatoes and white cheese. Vegetarians will enjoy the Veggie Arepa, combining with black beans, plantain and avocado.

Entrée options include a succulent Platacon Montao- fried green plantain topped with avocado, tomatoes, onions, cheese, ketchup, Wasakaka sauce, garlic sauce and your choice of shredded beef, pork or chicken. Or, celebrate the spirit of Venezuela with Pabellon Criollo, Venezuela’s national dish: Juicy pulled beef, black beans, rice and plantains topped with avocado and cheese.

Highly recommended drinks include fresh papaya and passion fruit juices, or a delicious virgin margarita. You can also BYOB to their beautifully decorated restaurant or its adjoining patio.

Your Venezuelan odyssey would not be complete without sampling their Venezuelan flan or their freshly made Key Lime Pie. 

Bolivar & Lincoln is located at 3349 N. Sheffield Ave, Chicago, IL 60657, and is open Monday-Thursday 11am-9pm; Friday and Saturday, 11am-10pm. The restaurant is closed on Sundays. For more information, click here.

Alison Moran and Dean’s Team Chicago