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When I first visited Papi’s last year, it was shortly after they had opened the Kennesaw location. Although Papi’s had been open about a month there were a few slip ups but I could overlook this as the staff still seemed to be in training mode. The food was decent and prices were reasonable at Papi’s so I returned numerous times.
A couple visits ago, I noted they had really stepped up their game: service had improved, they expanded their dining area to include more booths and even added a bar area. This more efficient service was a notable change from the previous 4 times I had been there. Sadly, on a recent visit, service had declined once again. And the restaurant was almost empty. We had to wait for long periods to order and the server kept forgetting things.
After sampling many menu items I have narrowed it down to 2 favorites: the Ropa Vieja sandwich and the garlic marinated pork special available on Thursdays. Both are under $7. The Ropa Vieja is shredded beef marinated in cuban spices. I remember that it used to come with peppers in it but they’ve since done away with that which is too bad, because it really added a dimension of flavor. The pork special is great because you get rice, beans and plantains with it as well.
I’m really not much of a fan of their Cuban Sandwich. The pork always seems dried out. I’ve had it several times and not been to pleased. I think I’d enjoy it more if it weren’t shredded pork, but more like a pork loin as I’ve had in other restaurants.
As far as sides, I’d choose the plantains or yucca fries over beans and rice any day. The plantains are always sweet and flavorful and the yucca fries are always served hot and crispy. They come with a side of garlic dipping sauce. Be careful, a little goes a long way. My favorite way to eat these are to dip the fry in some garlic sauce then in ketchup. The mixture of the two flavors is delicious.
One thing I wish they would change is that they don’t offer fries with sandwiches. You can add black beans and rice to the sandwich but you have to order fries separately (they are on the appetizer menu and enough to feed 2 people) and they always bring out the fries first. What gives?
If anyone from Papi’s reads this, here’s my $0.02: Start offering the sandwiches with yucca fries for one price. I know the portions of both sandwich and fries are pretty substantial. So, make the portions a little smaller for both the sandwiches and fries, but charge the price you were charging for the sandwich alone and offer it as a combo.
As it stands, 1 sandwich and 1 order of fries are plenty of food for 2. Unless you are famished, this will fill ya up.
Coffee and dessert here a tasty too. The cafe con leche is excellent and the flan and tres leches cake are good but be warned, very rich too. I just don’t understand why they insist on serving them in those ridiculous plastic containers. If the guest isn’t taking the food to go, give them a plate for goodness sake.
I’m not blown away by the service, but for the price and quality of the food, I’ll deal with it.
745 Chastain RD
Kennesaw, GA 30156