A few weeks ago, Neel and I went to a work related dinner with a few others at Cafe Ole. Cafe Ole is a staple for Mexican food in Memphis. Everyone has been and knows about it. But we haven't reviewed it yet, and we don't want to be anti-traditional. There's something to be said for the old staples.
We chose Cafe Ole for the work dinner because of its convenient location in Cooper Young. That location allows you to go somewhere else in Cooper Young post-dinner for dessert or for a post dinner drink. Cafe Ole also has a great patio on the side of the restaurant. I actually think it's one of the best patio's in Memphis. And it seems, others agree. Of course, you always have to ask yourself can you stand the patio in the summer when it's 95 degrees at 8 p.m. But a good margarita can go a long way to counter the heat. We also chose Cafe Ole for our dinner because they can usually handle large groups quickly and you don't need reservations, also a plus. On the other hand, there's probably a reason, you don't need reservations and can sit quickly with large groups....it's because of the food!
Don't worry, I'm not going to torch them for gross food. It just is what it is: average to below average Mexican food in Memphis. Neel and I split chicken fajitas and they were nothing to write home about. Strangely, they gave us four large strips of chicken and laid them on top of the grilled onions, peppers, etc rather than cut up the chicken into smaller strips. Not sure if the cook was just being lazy or what, but I think that cutting the chicken in smaller pieces may have added more flavor. On the plus side, the white cheese dip was pretty good, the margaritas were good, it was relatively cheap, and the patio was great as always. On the down side, I thought the salsa was watery and just plain bad. Nothing else really stood out as bad but nothing stood out as that good either. So basically, Cafe Ole is a moderately cheap, average Mexican restaurant in a good location with a great patio. For that reason, we give Cafe Ole 2.5 stars. But I will say, that it is a good option for large groups who want to quench that margarita fix.