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“not impressed”

Bolat African Cuisine Restaurant
Price range: US$0 - US$25
Cuisines: African
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Good for: Groups
Dining options: Delivery, Outdoor Seating, Reservations
Dining style: Casual Dining
Neighbourhood: Lakeview
Cross street: School
Transit: Red Line and Brown Line Belmont stop. The #22 Clark Street Bus stops in front of the restaurant.
Description: Savor all of the flavors of Africa with Bolat's rolling Sub-Saharan culinary excursion menu. Choose from hearty dishes, including meaty stews and soups. Vegetarians will find a fair share of tasty vegetarian options, prepared with a variety of vegetables, fresh fruit and grains. For those that crave meat, Bolat boasts an extensive list of entrees, from the more traditional like suya (kabob) to the more adventurous, such as goat and oxtail. And, diners tend to favor the jollof rice (rice cooked in tomato sauce), as the perfect side for any meal. Don't forget to browse the list of specially blended premium cocktails, exclusive South African wine selection, and the palm wine, a sweet treat from Nigeria that is definitely a great compliment to your spice-laden meal. So come on in and take a culinary journey with us through a continent that's as rich and as complex as any other.
Level 5 Contributor
53 reviews
30 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 21 helpful votes
“not impressed”
Reviewed 13 August 2012

went there pretty late in the evening, had a reservation. The place is small, the photos on the website are very nicely done cause it feels like a big place till you go there. Decent decor. The food took a while to come, mainly cause they make everything fresh. The jerk chicken was dry, burnt and spicy, real spicy... the rice it comes with was decent... over all the dish is very very dry, and maybe thats how it was supposed to be eaten but its very dry. The goat curry was quite good, the goat was just very tough, so they replaced it with tilapia, the smallest fillet I would have ever eatne in a restaurant. Again it comes grill or fried - i chose grilled - its grilled on a pan with some spices on it with almost ZERO oil - sounds healthy, but tastes burnt and dry ... over all not very impressed. Always wanted to try African cousine, not sure if I'd be back.

Visited July 2012
Thank ChicagoTravelerV
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

9 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
Rating summary
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
chicago, il, usa
Level 4 Contributor
26 reviews
14 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
“Don't go”
Reviewed 5 August 2012

There are so many problems at Bolat it's hard to even explain. Just look at the Yelp reviews. Do not waste your time or money here. There are so many wonderful restaurants in Chicago!

  • Visited September 2011
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Thank jggeb
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Hamilton, Hamilton, Bermuda
Level 3 Contributor
11 reviews
4 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
“A gem .. . but needs some work”
Reviewed 18 May 2012

I won't argue with the comments regarding Bolats operations/service. We had some concerns because the restaurant didn't open on a Tuesday (granted we didn't make reservations) and the hostess was very late on the following day to open the place. For whatever reason, there are some operational kinks that need to be worked out. We wanted to give it a chance because of great reviews one of friends gave it.

We certainly weren't disappointed with the food. The dishes were authentic and delicious. I had the jollof with goat and I'm still talking about it with my wife. The rice was had a familiar spiciness without the familiar greasiness (which is a common problem with jollof). The goat was tender and complimented the flavor of the rice. Finally, the fried plantain dish was also a hit.

Also, the service was extremely friendly if not entirely punctual. Maybe an effort to provide an authentic West African regional dining experience?

I will certainly be back the next time we are in Chicago because the food was fantastic. I will also recommend it to anyone with an appropriate caveat about service. I do hope that they can improve on their operational issues because this place has a lot of potential.

  • Visited May 2012
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Thank BernardA865
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Level 6 Contributor
297 reviews
167 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 225 helpful votes
“Not all we hoped for, but an interesting experience”
Reviewed 6 April 2011

We went to Bolat on a Tuesday evening around 8 pm and found ourselves as the only guests, not a good sign. I was disappointed that they had a minimal and boring wine and beer selection, with nothing from West Africa.

The menu is very intersting, with items from many West African countries. I had a shrimp piri-piri appetizer, a main dih of peanut soup with goat meat from Nigeria, and a Senegalese sorbet as dessert. I did not car for the goat (bony and stringy) but the other items tasted very good, The panut soup was surprisingly spicy.

The service was fr iendly but not expert. The bill for two was around $80, including 2 beers for me and 2 glasses of very ordinary wine for my wife. After I paid, the waiter informed me he would have preferred cash to credit..

If you're adventurous, give it a try but I can't say I would go back.

  • Visited April 2011
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Thank niemand
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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