Café Ba-Ba-Reeba

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4.8
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5871 Reviews
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$30 and under
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Tapas / Small Plates
Cafe Ba-Ba-Reeba! is Chicago's original tapas restaurant, serving authentic Spanish cuisine in Lincoln Park since 1985. Founding Chef Gabino Sotelino’s menu is designed to share, featuring tapas, pintxos (bite-sized tapas) and the classic Valencian rice dish, paella. Guests will experience a variety of tastes and flavors with signature dishes including Spicy Potatoes (patatas bravas), Baked Goat Cheese in tomato sauce and roasted Bacon-Wrapped Dates. The beverage menu boasts an extensive Spanish wine list, along with six types of sangria ranging from classic red and white to seasonal flavors like white peach and passion fruit. The restaurant is known for a lively atmosphere and warm ambiance, decorated with artwork celebrating Spanish language, cuisine and culture. Guests are invited to dine on the all-season patio,which features a sliding glass roof that opens during warmer months.

Cafe Ba-Ba-Reeba! is owned by Chef Gabino Sotelino and Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises.
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What Insiders Are Saying

The Infatuation
7.7

Cafe Ba-Ba-Reeba is a tapas restaurant that's been around for a long time. It's ideal for a lot of occasions.

Ratings 7.5-8.0:These are restaurants that are reliable, tasty, and particularly good for whatever we have deemed them “Perfect For.” Hit up a 7.7 for Date Night with confidence, as long as you don’t need the restaurant to be the most interesting thing that happens that night.
What 5871 People Are Saying
Overall ratings and reviews
Reviews can only be made by diners who have eaten at this restaurant
4.8based on recent ratings
4.8
food
4.6
service
4.6
ambience
4.5
value
Noise · Moderate
96% of people would recommend it to a friend
5
4
3
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OT
Chicago
1 review
Dined a day ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Birthday and graduation

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TM
1 review
Dined 3 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Our dinner was AMAZING! We will definitely be back

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H
San Francisco
1 review
Dined 3 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

We had the best service. Our waitress was Jocelyn and she was amazing.

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CK
Chicago
4 reviews
Dined 3 days ago
Overall 3food 3service 5ambience 2

Pretty good food, great service. Was disappointed in the atmosphere, too warm, and the “patio” is roofed in, only a small number of tables actually outside.

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OT
1 review
Dined 4 days ago
Overall 4food 4service 5ambience 5

I enjoyed having dinner here. I love tapas style dining and it’s great for a first date, which was the reason I was here. The food was good, we tried about 6 tapas and my favorite was the scallops. My only complaint is that most of our food did not come out hot, just warm. I’d come back to try more of their tapas for sure!

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DP
Chicago
5 reviews
Dined 6 days ago
Overall 4food 5service 4ambience 5

Came here for a graduation dinner with 6 people. We were early for our reservation, but the table was ready and we were promptly seated! The dining room was pretty busy, so we weren't greeted by our server for awhile, but we got water and were fine. Service was a little slow, but the restaurant/our server seemed super busy with other large parties, so it wasn't a big deal. Overall, dinner was awesome and we'll definitely be back!

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Z
Chicago
4 reviews
Dined 6 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Food was great for the most part. Paella was a huge serving but loved it! They had variety of sangria so that was a plus. Overall, it’s a great place for tapas dinner.

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MA
Chicago
1 review
Dined on June 9, 2019
Overall 3food 4service 1ambience 3

We love this restaurant, the ambiance and food is very good, the only thing to complain is the service , we had been there multitude of times and no matter how you said the order that you want the tapas, they always bring you whatever comes first out of the kitchen. Sometimes you have an entree first and them the tapas appetizer that you would like to eat in the first place.

Café Ba-Ba-Reeba
Responded 5 days ago

Dear Marina, I'm so sorry to hear of your recent less than acceptable experience with us, especially in regards to the service you received. We always try to exceed our guests' expectations but unfortunately, sometimes fall short. Would you be willing to provide your contact information so we can have one of our managers get in touch? Thank you.

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OT
Chicago
1 review
Dined on June 9, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 4ambience 5

Loved the food and location we sat to have convos without feeling like people could hear.

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OT
Chicago
1 review
Dined on June 9, 2019
Overall 3food 3service 1ambience 3

Service has disimproved since I started going here and it is no longer value for money

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OT
Chicago
1 review
Dined on June 9, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

As usual, we had an amazing experience! The server was extremely helpful/accommodating with my moms gluten sensitivity. He went out of his way to ensure she could enjoy her meal, and was helpful in adapting dishes to meet her needs

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OT
1 review
Dined on June 8, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

It was our first time and it was outstanding! Great food and great service!

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OT
Minneapolis
1 review
Dined on June 7, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Delicious!

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CC
Raleigh
1 review
Dined on June 7, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

One of the best Tapas restaurants in the country. Well worth the trip.

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LM
1 review
Dined on June 6, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Really good food. Good service, very nice place i definitely come back.. see you next time

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s
Indiana
1 review
Dined on June 6, 2019
Overall 3food 4service 4ambience 5

dinner was great. waiter was great server. was not happy when bill came. almost didn't check because there were so many items on check but was advised to by a friend who had an issue being overcharged and sure enough, 3 items were charged twice ...felt like was done on purpose to pad the bill as waiter was not surprised. food great as always. service good also. just warning for people to check your bill! lots of items, easy way to overcharge.

Café Ba-Ba-Reeba
Responded 7 days ago

Dear Susan, I'm so sorry to hear of your recent less than acceptable experience with us, especially in regards to the items you were incorrectly charged for. We always try to exceed our guests' expectations but unfortunately, sometimes fall short. Would you be willing to provide your contact information so we can have one of our managers get in touch? Thank you.

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QT
Chicago
63 reviews
Dined on June 6, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 4

Great place for tapas(small plates) and good drinks and service. The Q’s shared: Beef Empanada, & garlic shrimp – which was to die for. All delicious along with their delicious homemade bread, great drinks and lively atmosphere made for a great dinner. All tapas we ordered had 2 pieces of food per plate and some, like the shrimp had four pieces of shrimp. Of course, the Mr. had to have the meatballs. I wanted to try their Carpaccio. Eat in the bar area, there are tv’s to watch a ball game or news but the tv is not loud. Choose from a few “specials” at a discounted price.

Mrs. Q says: Yes, it is handicap accessible if you eat in the bar area. A note of caution, depending on your disability there are two steps to get to the bathrooms irregardless of where you are seated.

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MI
Toronto
1 review
Dined on June 2, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

Great food. No bad dishes and really loved the piri piri chicken thighs. A tad noisy but we could hear each other if we spoke up. Would definitely come back.

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d
Chicago
3 reviews
Dined on June 2, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

Wonderful food. Great service. Accommodated us for our anniversary. Had a great time and will definitely return.

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OT
Chicago
1 review
Dined on June 1, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Always a great time and the food and drinks are never disappointing!

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L
1 review
Dined on June 1, 2019
Overall 3food 4service 3ambience 1

So noisy and congested. Very much like a single bar, rather than a restaurant. Food was good, but the whole scene was a big negative.

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LV
Chicago
1 review
Dined on June 1, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

My son and I enjoyed and hope to visit soon. The coupon was a great incentive!

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SR
Chicago
16 reviews
Dined on May 31, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Another fantastic dining experience! Love those bacon wrapped dates & passion fruit sangria. Thank u!!

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M
Chicago
18 reviews
Dined on May 31, 2019
Overall 4food 3service 5ambience 3

Cafe BBR is one of my favorite restaurants in Chicago, but my last visit with a first-timer was disappointing. The paella was dry. The noise level was way too high. And I didn't get the feeling that the staff were as attentive as I'm used to -- although our own wait staff was excellent. It just didn't feel as good as it usually is.

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JK
1 review
Dined on May 31, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

This was one of the best eating experiences I’ve ever had... if you have a chance to eat here, do it... you won’t be disappointed!

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P
Chicago
1 review
Dined on May 29, 2019
Overall 3food 3service 2ambience 2

We only had two dishes, the NY strip was very good but the paella was way too salty. The services was absent minded at best. Altogether, it was an okay dinner.

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D
Chicago
2 reviews
Dined on May 28, 2019
Overall 2food 3service 2ambience 5

Regular here at cafe ba ba reeba. Our server was great. Service was not. The food was not done well for example the fried chicken was very soggy. Waited 20 minutes in between 2 sets of tapas that came out. And waited another 20 minutes for the paella that didn’t come out and ended up canceling. Spent a total of 2 hours with most of it waiting for food to come out or not to come out.

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S
Chicago
1 review
Dined on May 28, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

My wife and I have been coming here for 30 years. Always a great time!

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OT
Washington DC
1 review
Dined on May 27, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

My girlfriend and I were visiting and saw the good reviews. We were not disappointed. Great wine list, great food and reasonably priced.

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BA
Chicago
1 review
Dined on May 27, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 3ambience 5

Food was really good only issue we had was our server was not attentive and seemed to be rushing is out .I also stated on my reservation dinner was for a Birthday never once asked about it

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OT
Chicago
2 reviews
Dined on May 27, 2019
Overall 3food 4service 2ambience 2

We have been to Cafe Ba-Ba-Reeba many times before and are familiar with the process.

The food was consistent with what we had had before but the service was lacking. When we had been there for 40 minutes we had only received 1 beef empanada. (There were 3 of us and we initially ordered 4 dishes). It was hard seeing the tables around us receiving food before us. When we asked our server about when the food was going to come he gave the standard “kitchen is backed up” excuse. It may have been true, but we would have appreciated a heads up after we had been waiting for 30 minutes. To have to ask him where the food was made us feel like we weren’t all that important to him.

We have always enjoyed it here, but tonight was a miss.

Café Ba-Ba-Reeba
Responded on May 29, 2019

I'm so sorry to hear of your recent less than acceptable experience with us, especially in regards to the wait times for food as well as the service. We always try to exceed our guests' expectations but unfortunately, sometimes fall short. Would you be willing to provide your contact information so we can have one of our managers get in touch? Thank you.

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DS
Chicago
13 reviews
Dined on May 27, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

My favorite Chicago restaurant. The food the service the ambiance, it's all perfect.

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G
1 review
Dined on May 27, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

The food was great! Our service was really good. The waitress pointed out the favorites but also mentioned what she liked. The breakfast Paella was great!

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OT
Chicago
1 review
Dined on May 26, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

The food is amazing and the experience was great!

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JV
1 review
Dined on May 26, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

The food was outstanding. We really enjoyed the whole thing, food, drinks, and the service.

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OT
1 review
Dined on May 26, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Our party of 7 ordered 2 tapas each and 1 paella. Every dish was excellent. The atmosphere was fun and service was spot on. We can’t wait to go again.

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k
1 review
Dined on May 26, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Love this place never disappoints. The food and drinks are always great. Great place to bring a crowd and have some fun.

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B
Chicago
12 reviews
Dined on May 26, 2019
Overall 1food 3service 1ambience 3

My glass has something floating in at and the staff made it seem like it was a hassle. We had to ask for extra silverware after our plates and silverware were carted away between portions. Our waiter barely checked on us and when he did he was badgering us to buy more or move along when we still had drinks. No bread came out. And on top of that we had a coupon for a free item per guest and he scrutinized us like we were pulling some hoax. In the end he gave us the free item from the lettuce promos but not without hassling us.

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OT
Chicago
6 reviews
Dined on May 26, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Very nice time. Food, service and Sangria were amazing!! Can’t wait to go back!!!

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OT
Chicago
1 review
Dined on May 26, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Wow I am blown away by your brunch! I’m surprised I did not know about it before and waited this long to go. I’ll definitely be back! It’s a great way to get a little taste of everything.

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