When I first moved to Chicago, one of the first restaurants I went to was a neighborhood tapas place near my apartment. This started my love affair with small plates dining and where I discovered one of the best food combinations ever: bacon + dates. Unfortunately, my former favorite restaurant is no longer in existence but thankfully there are plenty of other tapas restaurants throughout the city. Cafe Ba-Ba-Reeba is one of Lettuce Entertain You’s oldest restaurants and definitely a local favorite. I’ve dined here many times throughout my Chicago tenure with the most recent time being a few weeks ago for girls weekend.
Generally when ordering tapas, a good rule of thumb is to order 2-3 dishes per person. On this particular visit there were three of us so we ended up with six dishes which was plenty of food. Of course a carafe of sangria was ordered which is a classic drink pairing for Spanish style tapas.
The menu at Ba-Ba-Reeba is quite large with just under 70 different tapas choices to order from. They also have a paella menu if you are looking for a more hearty dish. This particular visit we stuck with the tapas. First up was the Burrata with Tomatoes, Corn, and Basil. This burrata was perfectly creamy and paired nicely with the classic combination of tomatoes and basil. I also loved the addition of the charred corn which made this dish unique.
Next up were the Bacon Wrapped Dates which in my opinion can’t be skipped when ordering tapas. This version is served with an Apple Vinaigrette which goes great with these sweet and salty bites.
Another favorite item that I always order is the Baked Goat Cheese in Tomato Sauce. Just as the description says this dish is simple but full of flavor. Warm, tangy goat cheese mixed with the tomato sauce spread on toasted garlic bread = perfection!
Another popular menu item are the Ham and Chicken Croquettes. These meat mixture is lightly fried and tastes awesome dipped in the lemon aioli.
On this particular visit we also ordered the Artisanal Cheese Plate because we apparently needed more cheese in our lives. 🙂 I can’t remember exactly what types of cheese we got, but there were three different varieties served with bread, almonds, fruit, and jam. Of course you can never go wrong with a cheese plate.
The final dish we ordered is another favorite of mine. The Spicy Potatoes with Tomato Aioli are hot, crispy, and slightly spicy. They taste even better dipped in the tomato aioli. Another must order for sure.
Cafe Ba-Ba-Reeba is perfect for a girls night out or to host a big group party. The menu is expansive so there is something for everyone. In addition to dinner, they also offer a fantastic weekend brunch.
Cafe Ba-Ba-Reeba is located at 2024 N. Halsted St. in Chicago’s Lincoln Park neighborhood
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