[Chicago] Cafe Ba-Ba-Reeba
Our last meal in Chicago took place in Cafe Ba-Ba-Reeba! We went there for a late lunch before catching our flight back to Toronto and it was a very delicious and memorable meal.
Cafe Ba-Ba-Reeba claims itself as Chicago’s first Spanish restaurant. It serves fresh, authentic Spanish cuisine ranging from small tapas dishes, one or two bite “Pintxos” snacks, made-to-order paella, and refreshing, fruity sangrias.
The charcuterie, cheese, olive oil, rice and spices are imported directly from Spain. Look at all that ham!
We started with some made-from-scratch artisan bread. The bread is baked daily in their wood-burning oven. They sliced the bread and toasted it before it was served. The bread had a nice crusty exterior and the centre was chewy.
We also ordered a pitcher of white peach sangria with peach schnapps and absolut peach. It was very fruity and refreshing. I was starting to feel tipsy before our food arrived…
Our first dish was the grilled squid with olive oil & garlic. It was divine… The squid was fresh, tender, perfectly seasoned to bring out the natural sweetness. We could not get enough of it!
This roast dates with bacon & apple vinaigrette receives raving reviews online and we had really high expectation for it. The savoury crisp bacon went well with the sweet dates. It was very appetizing and tasty, but I would not say it was a mind-blowing dish.
I enjoyed the shrimps with garlic, olive oil, and red pepper flakes. The shrimps were quite big and tasted very fresh. I thought it was a bit too salty but still quite enjoyable.
The beef tenderloin & blue cheese was recommended by our server but we decided not to get one. We ended up getting it as a complimentary dish because we waited so long for our paella. We thought it was really nice of our server! However, this was rather disappointing. The beef was slightly overcooked and did not have the tenderness one would expect from tenderloin. The blue cheese had a weird powdery texture… and the chips were oh-so-greasy!
For our paella, we went with the seafood paella with shrimp, sea scallops, green beans, and cherry tomatoes. It took a while to get it, but it was so worth the wait! There was tons of seafood in the paella. The shrimps and sea scallops were cooked perfectly and the cherry tomatoes were bursting the sweet tangy flavours. The rice was aromatic and flavourful.
When we got our bill, we were surprised that we got our paella and beef (which we did not even order) for free! This was all because we waited for our paella for too long.
Overall, our meal at Cafe Ba-Ba-Reeba was excellent. The seafood was great, paella was amazing, and service was impeccable. The restaurant was a fun and vibrant place to enjoy brunch while sipping delicious sangria and sharing tapas with friends.