By Amy L. Carlson   Published Feb 07, 2005 at 5:43 AM Photography: Eron Laber

{image1} In the heart of Downtown, in the old Sahar Persian restaurant, Milwaukee's regular lunch crowd can now stop in at Antigua, a Latin Café, 307 E. Wisconsin Ave. With a calming green interior and crisp white linens, Citlali Mendieta-Bump's and Elvira Prado's new restaurant features something the city's center has been missing since Le Peep closed its Downtown doors: breakfast served all day. And, besides the traditional omelets and French toast on the menu, many of the rise and shine options have a fun Latin flair, including staples such as chorizo, tortillas and rice and beans.

On a recent lunch visit, we were pleased to find a friendly waitstaff that was quick to get us seated and made certain we had everything we needed throughout the meal. We sampled the Antigua signature appetizer, entremes rey sol (an original Antiguan dish of round dough pockets filled with refried beans, empanadas filled with melted cheese, mini chicken chimichangas, and shells filled with a creamy mixture made of shrimp, clams, crab meat and Chihuahua cheese, served with salsa, $6.25) A note on the menu description points out this is the original appetizer from Rey Sol, the popular Mexican restaurant owned by Medieta-Bump's father. The appetizer was nothing to write home about, but as with the rest of our lunch at Antigua, we were satisfied with the heartiness and the reasonable price of our meal options.


The lunch and dinner menus at Antigua feature tortas (Mexican sandwiches) and entrées focusing on chicken, beef, pork and seafood. I chose the mole poblano (chicken in mole -- a traditional Mexican sauce made with peppers, peanuts and chocolate, $10.95), and my dining companion ordered the Cuban pork ($6.95). Both dishes were average. The mole poblano came on a large plate heaped with Spanish rice and beans, and while the chicken was moist and tender, the mole lacked some of the rich flavor one typically finds in this Mexican chocolate delicacy. The Cuban pork was flavorful but not as tender as we would have liked.

For dessert, we sampled the pastel de mocha (mocha cake with raspberries and a raspberry sauce, $5.25), which surprisingly appeared with strawberries instead of raspberries. The flan (a traditional Mexican custard with caramel, $4) was light and creamy with a sweet and rich caramel flavor. We also shared a piece of the unique Rey Sol's signature cake ($5.95), a pound cake, which was laced with crushed almonds and almond filling and topped with a strawberry-kiwi sauce. An interesting texture, but good.

We were pleased with our experience at Antigua. I look forward to venturing back for a Spanish omelet ($5.75, served with chorizo and fresh fruit) next time I'm in the mood for breakfast.

Antigua holds monthly open jam nights, a diva night and mambo nights. They also have a fully stocked bar with specialty margaritas. This Latin café is open Monday and Tuesday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.; Wednesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and 4 to 10 p.m.; and Sunday from 10:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and 5-10 p.m. Breakfast is served daily, all day. There are vegetarian options available. Call (414) 224-6300 for more information. Antigua's Web site is