One of my classic Raleigh favorites has been the Oakwood Cafe which dishes out fantastic Cuban and Argentinian grub. Located on the corner of two one-way streets and with slightly odd hours, the place was always at first a bit of a mystery to me. But after a couple of efforts the Oakwood Cafe became one of my hidden dining secrets. Home-style Latin American food that was a great deal for lunch. While the interior is a bit dated and worn, we’re talking about a cozy, family-run restaurant that delivers fantastic food with lotsa love. A change in jobs took me out of the area so I recently made an effort to get back here to visit my sweet little Cubano cafe and I’m glad to say it’s as great as ever!
Just be aware that the Oakwood Cafe sits on the corner of two one-way streets and parking is tight, so it helps to be coming from the south or from the east of its location. The parking lot is tight and has room for maybe 8 vehicles so plan accordingly. With a small patio to the side, the Oakwood Cafe presents a casual, pub like exterior and inside it’s about the same! Some 4-tops scattered about with booths and a back bar that gives you a view into the kitchen and where you can pay for your meal! While the place is a bit weathered and worn, it’s all very clean and functional!
My first return visit was for dinner with a couple of Oakwood Cafe first-timers. With a nice mix of steak, braised pork, fish and pasta (don’t miss their Cuban sandwich), I have to believe the Oakwood Cafe has a menu broad enough to satisfy the pickiest of eaters. I ordered up my favorite beef milanesa napolitana and it was the same wonderful, thinly fried steak with marinara sauce, ham and cheese. The rice-bean on the side gave the substantial meal some balance and it was a LOT of food. My dining mates tried out the braised pork and a huge shrimp scampi, impressive dishes which I may try next time. Finishing off with their wonderful tiramisu with luscious mascarpone cheese was a great ending to the meal.
And if a great dinner menu isn’t enough, I heard the Oakwood Cafe served up a mean breakfast on the weekends. I stopped in and went with the sausage-bacon omelette along with a side of home fries. The omelette was a huge rectangle of eggy goodness with some sausage and cheese sprinkled on top. The home fries were top-notch. Crunchy with a light coating covering fluffy potato underneath, a really great complement. And a nice flat biscuit with some crunch finished off breakfast nicely. Coffee was the only disappointment, especially since Cuban places are known for their coffee. But what the heck, the Oakwood Cafe nailed brekkie otherwise!
What I can tell you is that I’ve been to the Oakwood Cafe well over twenty times for lunch and dinner. You can now include breakfast on that list and it was REALLY good. The Oakwood Cafe may not look like much from the outside but this little home-spun cafe is one of the best restaurants in Raleigh in my opinion. Not super-fancy, not super modern but great, home-cooked food with a Cuban-Argentinian twist. Seriously, if you haven’t tried this little gem, please do stop on by, they’ve been feeding Raleigh well for at least the 10+ years I’ve been going and continue to do a great job!
300 East Edenton Street
Raleigh, NC 27601
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