Cafe Ba-Ba-Reeba! review image

Café Ba-Ba-Reeba!


2024 N Halsted St, Chicago
View WebsiteEarn 3X Points


OpenTable logo

Cafe Ba-Ba-Reeba, or Ol’ Reliable as we like to call it, has been around for over thirty years. In restaurant years, that’s a long time. But just like The Stones or your mom after 1.5 margaritas, it’s still here to party. They do it up big - big space, big menu, and big noise, supplying a lively atmosphere that makes it perfect for a lot of occasions.

Ba-Ba-Reeba hopped on the tapas bandwagon early, billing itself as Chicago’s Original Tapas Bar. We can’t confirm whether or not that’s true, but we can confirm that it gives you what every good tapas concept should - a large, diverse menu so you can choose a variety of dishes, ample portions that are easily splittable, and worthy Spanish classics. Some plates are better than others, but you’ll be pleased more often than not. Try a little bit of everything because that’s what tapas are for.

Ba-Ba-Reeba is a well-oiled machine, and we mean that as a compliment. The place is a labyrinth with one dining room leading to the next, and they’re cycling people in and out at record speed. For this reason, Ba-Ba-Reeba is great for a last minute reservation because you can almost always snag a table, but they also restrict capacity to specific rooms so it always feels full.

Because it’s a production with a heavy emphasis on efficiency, you lack some of the charm that you might get from your neighborhood tapas place. But we’ll gladly take that trade-off if it means we can get a seat for a good meal that doesn’t require a month’s advance notice.

Sign up for our newsletter.

Be the first to get expert restaurant recommendations for every situation right in your inbox.

By signing up, I agree to the Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policy.

Food Rundown

Chorizo-Wrapped Medjool Date & Cheese

Ba-Ba-Reeba offers a selection of pintxos which are single-serve tapas traditionally paired with a happy hour drink. We’re partial to the chorizo-wrapped dates because dates wrapped in salty meat is never a letdown, and this chorizo has a bacon-like crispiness.

Cafe Ba-Ba-Reeba! review image

Burrata With Grilled Housemade Bread

This appetizer comes with a tangy tomato marmalade. We’re into it.

Warm Potato And Onion Omelette

We appreciate that Spain doesn’t restrict eggs to morning activities. This one makes for a solid accompaniment to some of the more flavorful dishes.

Spicy Potatoes With Tomato Aioli

Patatas bravas sound a lot less sexy when you spell it out like that. But these are still pretty darn good.

Cafe Ba-Ba-Reeba! review image

Goat Cheese Baked In Tomato Sauce

A bowl of rich tomato sauce with a hefty dollop of goat cheese surrounded by thick, crispy garlic bread.

Rioja-Braised Short Rib

A brick of short rib with cheesy potatoes and veggies. An unfortunate letdown. The flavors aren’t bad, but the short rib is dry and flavorless.

Cafe Ba-Ba-Reeba! review image

Grilled Squid With Olive Oil & Garlic

A simple and tasty preparation of grilled squid.

Cafe Ba-Ba-Reeba! review image

Roasted Chicken Empanada

A decent empanada. You won’t write home about it, but it’s hard to go and not split one amongst the group.

Cafe Ba-Ba-Reeba! review image

Seafood Paella

With your choice of four different paellas, we’d steer you towards the seafood paella with shrimp, scallops, and monkfish.

Featured in

The Best Chicago Restaurants For A Birthday Dinner guide image

The Best Chicago Restaurants For A Birthday Dinner

The Chicago Neighborhood Delivery & Takeout Directory guide image

The Chicago Neighborhood Delivery & Takeout Directory

The 2020 Chicago New Year’s Eve Takeout Guide guide image

The 2020 Chicago New Year’s Eve Takeout Guide

10 Chicago Restaurants With Easter Specials guide image

10 Chicago Restaurants With Easter Specials

Suggested Reading

TÊTE  Charcuterie review image
TÊTE Charcuterie

TÉTE Charcuterie flys a bit under the radar, but it's a strong player in the West Loop. Eat charcuterie, but know they serve excellent veggie dishes.

Mercat a la Planxa review image

Good food, but the crowd doesn't match the place. If you're cool with a weird atmosphere, the food won't disappoint.

Bub City review image

Bub City is a BBQ restaurant in River North with a busy bar and occasional live music.

Ema review image

Ēma is a small plates Mediterranean restaurant in River North, and it’s good for a lot of occasions.

Infatuation Logo
2023 © The Infatuation Inc. All Rights Reserved.


Get it on Google PlayDownload on the App Store