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“DID NOT MEET EXPECTATIONS” 3 of 5 bubbles
Review of Al's Cafe & Creamery

Al's Cafe & Creamery
Ranked #1 of 8 Dessert in Elgin
Certificate of Excellence
Cuisines: American
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Good for: Special Occasion Dining, Kids, Child-friendly
Dining options: Lunch, Dinner, Outdoor Seating, Reservations, Seating, Serves Alcohol, Takeout, Waitstaff, Wheelchair Accessible
Level Contributor
57 reviews
53 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 33 helpful votes
“DID NOT MEET EXPECTATIONS”
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 16 May 2014 via mobile

We had a family get together at Al's, which I'd heard about from family members; mostly about the milkshakes.

They were thick and generous in a metal container, but not the best I'd ever had; a bit too smooth, maybe used soft cream instead of scooped? However, a matter of taste.

Given that my introduction to Al's was through milkshakes, I thought it might be a hamburger place and that's what I ordered, but the menu was much more extensive.

I did order the hamburger but found it looked and tasted like it was made from a pre-formed and frozen patty, a bit rubbery. The salad that they provided in place of the fries was generous and fresh.

However, those around me who ordered the larger items, like schnitzel and fish, were not pleased with the quality.

The weather was great so we were able to eat outside in the courtyard, and that made it pleasant, but would not return for the food.

The service was friendly and efficient and that also helped overcome any disappointment.

I would come back to sit in the courtyard for a salad and maybe try another milkshake!

Helpful?
1 Thank NORTHAMERICAN1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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150 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
    90
    47
    10
    2
    1
Rating summary
    Food
    Service
    Value
    Atmosphere
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
Greenville, South Carolina
Level Contributor
39 reviews
17 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
“A surprising find. World Class cuisine in Elgin”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 15 May 2014

I am usually skeptical when a small restaurant off the beaten track is so highly reviewed, so I had to check it out. Especially since the name was so unassuming.

Having a greasy lunch, I was looking for a decent steak salad. So I took a chance on this one. Boy was I pleasantly surprised.

Easily the best steak salad I have ever had. The dressing comes on the side automatically and was good, but the salad needed very little of it because the hint of fresh basil and steak drippings made it superfluous. The steak portions were very generous and done to perfection. The wine choices were pretty good and my choice went very well with the salad. The server was friendly and very adept. When I inquired about the chef, it turns out he was professionally trained and did his tour of duty in several european countries.

For dessert I had the peach maltini. Just enough alcohol and sugar to complete the meal and excellent all by itself.

I only had one observation on the meal. The pretzel roll seemed small when it was delivered (I had been eying the fresh bread on the table next to be), but balanced the meal so I was not overfull. There was only one regret, I wanted to try one of the Scandanavian dishes, but only have the one stomach and it was full. They rotate the dinner menu to different countries to reflect the chefs specialities. I am certain they will all be as good as the salad. You can bet I will be back.

If you have followed my previous reviews you will know it is rare that I give a 5 star rating, but this place earned it.

Well Done; Al's Cafe and Creamery. Well Done.

  • Visited May 2014
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Food
Helpful?
1 Thank madcap6808
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Atlanta
Level Contributor
9 reviews
5 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
“A "Don't Miss It" type of place”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 9 May 2014

A very special place.
Absolutely wonderful chocolate malt. Don't miss!
Beautiful ice cream bar.
Friendly staff.

  • Visited May 2014
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Food
Helpful?
Thank HCJC
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Washington, DC
Level Contributor
6 reviews
3 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
“The only quality restaurant in town”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 15 April 2014 via mobile

Excellent food prepared by and under the direction of the chef/owner. Limited selection appetizers and dessert. Very friendly and competent staff. Intimate upstairs room with local character but closed weekday nights. Dining outside on blocked streets possible during mild weather.

  • Visited March 2014
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Atmosphere
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Service
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Food
Helpful?
Thank Eurotraveler_9
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Elgin, Illinois
Level Contributor
23 reviews
5 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
“Unique food; unique setting; excellent service!”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 22 March 2014

When you first step foot into "Al's", you feel the tradition and the history of the building and the community of Elgin. Then you receive your order and you appreciate the great flavors. I go to Al's with my husband for quiet dinners, and with a group of ten for wonderful food and wide-ranging conversation. Al's is perfect for both! (In addition, I have had showers, graduations, and other celebrations here, and they have been perfect.) Whether it is the special sandwiches (the Florentine!), the monthly themes (Salmon Run; Ribs'n'more, German approaches, steak), or the fantastic hand-dipped ice cream, Al's is the place to go!

  • Visited March 2014
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Food
Helpful?
Thank TravelinKaren355
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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