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Tapas & Takeout With Cafe Ba-Ba-Reeba!

We sat down with Chicago tapas joint Cafe Ba-Ba-Reeba! to get the intel on everything from paella to tapas to the best dishes to order on Grubhub. Prepare for your next takeout meal to be packed with flavor, not to mention expertly curated due to the below suggestions. Read on for Ba-Ba-Reeba’s answers to our burning questions.

Break down ‘tapas’ for us — is there a wrong and a right when it comes to ordering a spread?

Cafe Ba-Ba-Reeba!: The best way to order tapas is to take full advantage of the smaller portion sizes and order a wide variety of items; we suggest 2-3 items per person. Our menu is broken into categories — vegetarian & cheese, pork & chicken, beef & lamb and seafood — so we recommend ordering something from each. And remember, the more the merrier! The more people you’re ordering with, the more dishes you can try.

What does Ba-Ba-Reeba! mean?

Cafe Ba-Ba-Reeba!: It is the refrain from an old Spanish folk song — a catchy exclamation.

Most popular order? Most underrated order?

Cafe Ba-Ba-Reeba!: Our Spicy Potatoes dish (“Patatas Bravas”) is one of the most popular tapas at Cafe Ba-Ba-Reeba! Since opening in 1985, we have used over 800,000 pounds of potatoes and served over 1.3 million orders. Underrated would be our Jamón Ibérico — which is pricey, but in the opinion of a Spaniard, no authentic Spanish meal can start without a sampling of the finest cured ham in the world.

All of your tapas have some serious spice and flavor action — what are key Spanish and Mediterranean spices you use to bring Cafe Ba-Ba-Reeba! tapas to life?

Cafe Ba-Ba-Reeba!: A few things no Spanish kitchen can live without: garlic, saffron and pimentón. Garlic is prominently featured in many of our most famous dishes, while saffron and pimentón (a smoked paprika) are two of the key ingredients in our famous paella as well as some of our other dishes. Some of our dishes from the south of Spain also highlight the influence of nearby Morocco and northern Africa — so spices like cumin, coriander and cayenne are also used in our cooking.

If you’re ordering tapas for lunch, what’s the winning combo?

Cafe Ba-Ba-Reeba!: We’re open for lunch delivery on Friday starting at 11:30am. If you’re ordering solo, our Brussels Sprout Salad, Seared Scallops with torched oranges and jamón serrano, Empanadas and Chicken & Chorizo Skewers are solid choices. We recommend going in with a group, though, and selecting a few items from each menu category. That way, you can partake in more of the richer dishes, like our famous Spicy Potatoes, Rioja-Braised Short Rib with manchego mashed potatoes, Garlic Shrimp with red pepper flakes, Baked Goat Cheese in tomato sauce and more. Don’t forget to throw in a couple desserts! It is Friday, after all.

It’s not an easy feat perfecting a paella dish — what’s the secret?

Cafe Ba-Ba-Reeba!: We have had the luxury of over 30 years of experience cooking paella in our kitchen with the guidance of our founding Chef-Partner Gabino Sotelino (a native Spaniard) to help perfect our recipe and method. We have also flown in the help of an award-winning Paella Chef, Carlos Palomar, many times over the last three decades to help train our cooks and tweak our recipes. Outside of the help from a native Spaniard, cooking the dish in the traditional paella pan and using top-quality ingredients such as Spanish “Bomba” rice (short-grain rice used for paella), high-grade saffron, Spanish extra-virgin olive oil, and imported pimentón are the keys to a perfect paella.

Order from Ba-Ba-Reeba! today.

Tapas await!

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