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Cafe Marbella

Cafe Marbella
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  • Cafe Marbella

    Post #1 - April 5th, 2008, 5:55 am
    Post #1 - April 5th, 2008, 5:55 am Post #1 - April 5th, 2008, 5:55 am
    Had some excellent tapas and shared two entrees (party of four) at this relatively new spot. Tried the paella, good......the seafood combination with garlic, fresh tarragon and shrimp butter sauce, very good.

    The hot tapas that stood out were the sauteed squid rings and the figs wrapped in bacon with brandy cream sauce, almost like a dessert.


    It's byob and reasonably priced. I've posted only the hot tapas.

    Image
  • Post #2 - April 5th, 2008, 6:32 am
    Post #2 - April 5th, 2008, 6:32 am Post #2 - April 5th, 2008, 6:32 am
    They also had about four or five hot tapas specials listed for the evening.

    Cafe Marbella
    3446 W. Peterson
    773-588-9922
  • Post #3 - April 14th, 2008, 12:09 pm
    Post #3 - April 14th, 2008, 12:09 pm Post #3 - April 14th, 2008, 12:09 pm
    Ms Snax and I went to dinner last Sunday with her family, who can be quite skeptical, and we had quite a fine meal.

    The room is large, more like a party room than standard restaurant, with unexpectedly eclectic artwork and Spanish folk-rock playing on the sound system. We had heard they were in trouble (I believe Time Out issued a "Save This Restaurant" call recently), and in arriving shortly before 6, the complete absence of customers definitely supported that presumption. However, by 745 as we were wrapping up, nearly every table was full (maybe 40-50 customers), and the one (yes, ONE) waiter was scrambling to keep up. We must have set the trend for the evening :)

    The five of us ordered 17 plates, seeking to sample as much as possible. Overall impressions: the chef has a nice touch with the sauces and dressings, is liberal with spice (especially garlic), with seafood proving the only weak point (generally dry and a bit rubbery). I even liked the gazpacho (not usually my thing), which will prove even more refreshing once spring and summer finally arrive.

    Standouts included the salads (potato featured mega-garlic, to our liking, and avacado/greens perfectly dressed), sauteed spinach with onions/apples/raisins, and mushrooms in white wine sauce, meatballs in red wine sauce. Pork dishes were prepared nicely, but the meat quality varied a bit (some pieces seemed properly cooked but still tough). Their desserts were all solid, and were surprisingly light. Their pies have a thin cheesecake layer topped with creme fraiche and fresh fruit, with the strawberry version blowing everyone away.

    I can't think of another restaurant in a mile radius of Marbella I'd rather attend, especially for the price. The entire meal was barely $100, for a HUGE amount of food.
    We crack us up.
  • Post #4 - April 26th, 2008, 6:11 am
    Post #4 - April 26th, 2008, 6:11 am Post #4 - April 26th, 2008, 6:11 am
    Last night at Cafe Marbella, the future bride and I enjoyed what has to be one of the city's best byob bargains. Not everything was perfect, but all was good+. The gracious and enthusiastic service combined with the good and plentiful food to make our $43 tab seem like a real steal.

    We shared a couple of hot tapas to start: Gambas Al Ajillo (sauteed shrimp with garlic, cayenne, parsley and white wine) and Espinacas A La Catalana (sautéed baby spinach with onions, apples and raisins). When I tasted the first bite of shrimp, I knew I was going to enjoy this meal. This dish is very aggressively seasoned: tons of thin slivers of toasty garlic and a whole, dried cayenne pepper infused the still bubbling wine as the dish was served. The gambas were served sizzling in the small crock in which they were cooked. A dramatic and fun presentation. The spinach was simple and tasty, with nicely plumped raisins and sweet, caramelized onion. The sweetness in the dish was actually a little too much for my taste, and next time I'll ask for some lemon to squeeze for some balance.

    After finishing the first course, we ordered the second. This is a practice I'd recommend at Marbella, at least until they've smoothed out some potential pacing issues. At least one table near us complained that the pacing was too fast. Progressive ordering seems in keeping with the Spanish way anyhow.

    Our second course: Patatas Bravas (deep fried potatoes with spicy tomato sauce) and Zortziko De Mariscos (sauteed seafood combination with garlic, fresh tarragon and shrimp butter sauce). The potatoes were very nicely crisped outside and fluffy inside, and the sauce - much like the shrimp dish - was aggressively picante. My only problem with this dish was that they served the sauce poured directly on the potatoes, sapping most of their crispness after a couple of minutes. Next time I'll have to either eat faster or ask for the sauce on the side. The seafood combo had an incredibly rich, tasty butter sauce that had been flavored with what I imagine was heavily reduced shrimp stock. I loved the sauce, but some of the seafood was a bit on the rubbery side. The mussels, shrimp, and cod were excellent, but the octopus and squid were both a little tough to chew. This dish is great for a group to share, as it's really too rich for one, or even two people to finish. Cardiologists should stay out of the kitchen, I imagine, when the chef throws the butter in the pan to make this sauce.

    I don't know what to call the dessert we shared, as it was offered via tableside display rather than a menu. It was a deliciously simple combination of thinly sliced, very ripe papaya atop fresh whipped cream and a very thin layer of cheesecake.

    The owner was present and active all night, greeting people, opening their wine bottles, and displaying a genuine interest in hearing feedback from his patrons. He has a more-than-competent staff as well, who kept up nicely as the restaurant grew busier and busier throughout our dinner.

    Cafe Marbella has an extensive menu with very reasonable prices, and I look forward to exploring it more fully.
  • Post #5 - April 29th, 2008, 9:10 pm
    Post #5 - April 29th, 2008, 9:10 pm Post #5 - April 29th, 2008, 9:10 pm
    On Sunday evening, my daughter, son, and I took my husband out for his birthday to Café Marbella. We all enjoyed our meal. The food was good to excellent, and the prices are quite reasonable. Our waiter was helpful and gracious, but a bit disorganized, and we early on received another table’s dish (which we ate, thinking it was a complimentary one). They clearly want to accommodate their patrons. I heard the waiter tell someone on the phone that they were busy enough at 8:30 to still take people for another half hour, even though the sign on the door says they close at 8 on Sundays. The room feels wide open, even though it isn’t that huge. The pink walls have some interesting art on them; the ceiling is rather busy with both chandeliers and track lights. The Spanish pop/folk music was just shy of being too loud but was generally quite pleasant.

    We only ordered from the tapas menu. Three of us had soup—I had the garlic soup, which was okay but lacked the punch I expected. It had a few bits of shredded chicken and bread in a thin tomato broth and, of course, garlic. The garlic was surprisingly tame. It’s quite a large helping. Good, thinly sliced bread is served with everything, and there’s olive oil on the table. My husband and son had the soup of the day, a sweet corn bisque, which was very rich and tasted quite strongly of fresh corn—they both liked it a lot. We had two salads, a green salad with shrimp, the Marbella salad, and a special, a potato salad with shrimp called ensalada rusa. Both were good, although the shrimp were perhaps a tad chewy. The red wine (?) dressing on the green salad was especially good. The chicken navarra, chicken strips cooked with red wine, was inhaled by my kids: tender and tangy, a very superior chicken finger indeed. (Though teenagers, they’re not that far from that kids’ delight.) Don’t misunderstand—no breading on these chicken pieces.

    We enjoyed the mussels with salsa verde, shallots, parsley, and white wine and cream sauce. The sauce was rich and the mussels perfectly cooked. The patatas bravas, well described above by Kennyz, were my favorite dish of the evening: perfectly seasoned and still quite hot and crisp right out of the kitchen. They have a little spicy kick on the outside that goes well with the airy potato inside. Finally, we had baked goat cheese in a tomato and basil sauce served with toast slices. The sauce was essentially a marinara sauce. The cheese was good, but the dish was not my favorite; my daughter the goat cheese fan loved it. Unfortunately they were out of the figs wrapped in bacon.

    Dessert was very good. The “Gypsy’s Arm” was a rolled chocolate cake with a Kahlua mousse filling—really delicious, not too rich. We also had very good flan.

    I look forward to returning and exploring the menu further. We ordered no entrees, which looked to be in the $15 range. The tapas were mostly in the $7 - $9 range. The restaurant is BYOB; they have pop and bottled water.
  • Post #6 - January 17th, 2010, 1:15 pm
    Post #6 - January 17th, 2010, 1:15 pm Post #6 - January 17th, 2010, 1:15 pm
    LTH,

    Empty restaurant and big for rent sign on the window, Cafe Marbella has gone out of business.

    Regards,
    Gary
    One minute to Wapner.
    Raymond Babbitt

    Low & Slow
  • Post #7 - January 17th, 2010, 1:17 pm
    Post #7 - January 17th, 2010, 1:17 pm Post #7 - January 17th, 2010, 1:17 pm
    G Wiv wrote:LTH,

    Empty restaurant and big for rent sign on the window, Cafe Marbella has gone out of business.

    Regards,
    Gary


    It looks like they're moving to 5527 N. Milwaukee. http://www.cafemarbella.com/
    Hors D'oeuvre: A ham sandwich cut into forty pieces.
    - Jack Benny
  • Post #8 - March 1st, 2010, 11:13 am
    Post #8 - March 1st, 2010, 11:13 am Post #8 - March 1st, 2010, 11:13 am
    We went to dinner here last night at their new location on Milwaukee Ave. They are still BYOB, and they were fairly crowded with a large birthday party taking over half of the dining space.

    The place is neat and clean, but needs some color and decor. They have been in this space for about 5 weeks now, so hopefully in time a few photos and or painted walls will liven the place up a bit more.

    So, the important part--the food. We were very pleased with the portions and most of the dishes that we ordered. I failed to pick up a menu so I will recap as best as possible without having the proper names of each dish.


    Winners / Recommendations
    --Portabella mushroom (hot) which had a great oily, spicey sauce that worked great with the bread.
    --Fried squid salad (hot, but served over a cold salad and a special that evening), and the fried squid was nicely seasoned, perfectly fried and the salad was simple mixed greens, but it was a hit at the table.
    --Soft shell crab, which was also nicely seasoned, lightly fried and was another winner.
    --Bacon wrapped figs. So so so good. Great brandy sauce that came with it.
    --Pork loin with Cheese on toast points.
    --Chocolate truffles
    --Pineapple sponge cake

    The Okay / Try for Yourself
    --3 meat selection: a ham, a spanish chorizo and another sausage meat. They were all okay.
    --Cheese was a simple mild white cheese, thinly sliced into triangles with green apple wedges and oranges.
    --Shrimp with avacado was okay, but really heavy on the mayo. It tasted like a big mac and one bite was enough.


    The Oh Hell No / Never again
    --Tuna stuffed red pepper. Nothing worked for me here. I spit it out--and I never do that. I always at least finish the bite, even if I don't like it.

    We liked it, the staff was friendly, we like BYOBs and we will be back. Great addition to the neighborhood and I hope they do well here.
  • Post #9 - April 9th, 2010, 3:09 pm
    Post #9 - April 9th, 2010, 3:09 pm Post #9 - April 9th, 2010, 3:09 pm
    After driving past the place a gazillion times on Milwaukee Ave recentIy I finally got the wife to go last night.

    We've lived in Portage Park since 1984 about 3 minutes away. In the middle of our meal I realized and remarked Cafe Marbella has the most sophisticated flavors I've ever eaten so close to home.

    We tried about 8 different tapas between hot and cold. We even got a special treat from Enrigue, one of the owners. Normally their succulent baby pig is only an entree but he whipped up a small plate cause I kind of begged. Wow....wonderful.

    I've eaten at Iberico since day one, Baba Reba, and that place in the mansion in Naperville. Marbella's flavors are far out in front.

    Enrique said they have drawn a nice size portion of their regulars from their old location on Peterson. He said Friday and Saturdays it's best if you call ahead for a table because the place has been filling up on Fri/Sat.

    Being BYOB for the time being the best place to have a very good selection of wines and beers to go is Paterno's on Milwaukee Ave., South of the restaurant on the corner of Central Ave. and Milwaukee Ave. (1 minute away)

    here's a few of our orders:

    http://gallery.me.com/chicagokenji#100038&bgcolor=black&view=grid
  • Post #10 - September 10th, 2010, 7:30 pm
    Post #10 - September 10th, 2010, 7:30 pm Post #10 - September 10th, 2010, 7:30 pm
    This evening, the spouse and I unexpectedly found ourselves without our third wheel...but we had eaten a somewhat filling late lunch of homemade maki. Casting around for a cuisine that was relatively light but not asian, my husband said "tapas!" The last few times at Tapas Barcelona had disappointed me somewhat (it's fine, just not..very real.) So we googled up the closest tapas place, which happened to be Cafe Marbella. After securing a bottle of premade sangria from the convenience store across the street (it's byob) we were greeted warmly by the owner/maitre'd, who had our drinks in glasses of ice the minute we turned around.

    We weren't very hungry, and what we ordered was just right: clams in an onion broth, marinated olives, gazpacho, and a kind of openface pepper-and-onion sandwich. All of it was quite good, simple stuff: not chef cuisine, but an expat proudly presenting the food of his homeland. I can see where the flavors in some of the other choices might have stood out more, but we really enjoyed our meal nonetheless.

    It was, how shall I say it, more real than most of my recent tapas experiences, all of which seemed a bit too Disney for my taste. Since my own culinary background is not that far removed from Spain, we eat this way all the time - thus, none of it was groundbreaking - for instance, the olives were not from an "olive bar," they were the same glass-jar olives I tend to pick up from ethnic markets - e.g. much better than Lindsay California Pimento-stuffed olives, but not by any means pedigreed (though they had some very nice garlic-stuffed ones and a few cornichon.)

    Of what we tried, I liked the gazpacho best - it was much smoother than any bread-based gazpacho I'd experienced, made with sweeter red bell peppers instead of zestier cubanelles, but nice. Other dishes headed out from the kitchen looked good, and the host was happy to waft them past you on the way to their destination if you appeared to be curious.
  • Post #11 - July 14th, 2011, 3:00 pm
    Post #11 - July 14th, 2011, 3:00 pm Post #11 - July 14th, 2011, 3:00 pm
    Time to revisit Cafe Marbella if it's been awhile, or make a point to go there . The restaurant is putting out some truly delicious, flavorful dishes in a fun and inviting atmosphere at reasonable prices, plus is byob and has plenty of free street parking as added bonuses. The space has 2 dining rooms, with one wall devoted to booths( hurrah) and a small 4 seat bar in the back. The restaurant has been at its' "new" Milwaukee location for about 2 years- this being imo the main reason why Marbella isnt getting the attention it deserves. Not exactly much going on along this wide and somewhat desolate stretch of Milwaukee, but definitely worth going a bit out of your way for. I have dined here 3 times in the last few months, and have been really impressed with the quality , creativity and flavors being put forth by co-owners Chef Virgilio and charming Argentine-born Enrique who handles the front of the house .

    At a set-menu group dinner for 20, every single tapa was noteable-some of the dishes I recall :
    -creamy vegetable soup ( lots of sopping-up of the last spoonfuls with bread)
    -grilled portobello , bathed in infused garlic-oil
    -grilled shrimp on a bed of perfectly dressed greens
    -grilled baby lamb chops
    -pork loin kabob with onions and peppers-
    -"Gypsy's Arm"-jellyroll spongecake with cream/fresh fruit filling

    On a more recent visit-
    -patatas alioli ( garlic potato salad)
    -Gambas al ajillo- shrimp in garlic oil
    -shaved fennel/apple/olive salad( still thinking about this one and not even a fennel fan !)
    -baked goat cheese and tomato sauce with toasted bread
    -meatballs in a red wine sauce
    -pork tenderloin with a sauce of brandy and dried fruits( rich,demi-glace consistency-wow!)
    -fresh berry tart with cream

    So break out a nice bottle or 2, gather a few friends and discover what's being done here.We promised Enrique we'd give a shout out to all the LTH'ers for this locationally challenged neighborhood gem,so do identify yourselves, it might get you a piece of the Gypsy's Arm on the house!

    Cafe Marbella
    5527 N.Milwaukee Ave
    Chicago, 60630
  • Post #12 - December 3rd, 2012, 2:18 pm
    Post #12 - December 3rd, 2012, 2:18 pm Post #12 - December 3rd, 2012, 2:18 pm
    We were here on Friday with two other couples. We arrived at 8, and it was about 1/2 full, with larger parties coming and going. Lots of good food, I think my favorite was some sort of shrimp on angel hair pasta that had been cooked until it was crispy at the edges, but also chewy - like I've had Chinese noodles a few times, only with Spanish flavors instead. We also had excellent clams in a garlic sauce. Service was good, pacing was fine (we did order, then order again, then order again). Definitely recommended if you are in that part of town!
    Leek

    SAVING ONE DOG may not change the world,
    but it CHANGES THE WORLD for that one dog.
    American Brittany Rescue always needs foster homes. Please think about helping that one dog. http://www.americanbrittanyrescue.org
  • Post #13 - September 30th, 2014, 12:08 pm
    Post #13 - September 30th, 2014, 12:08 pm Post #13 - September 30th, 2014, 12:08 pm
    Any updated information about Cafe Marbella? I was thinking of going there and hoping to find if the quality was still there.
    John Danza
  • Post #14 - October 13th, 2014, 10:01 am
    Post #14 - October 13th, 2014, 10:01 am Post #14 - October 13th, 2014, 10:01 am
    Went to Cafe Marbella this past Saturday. The food was fantastic, but the service was somewhat wanting. They need more wait staff, although the were responsive when called over. That's probably the nature of a place where tables order food in multiple waves throughout the evening.

    Back to the food. For cold tapas, we ordered the garlic potato salad, the spanish olives, the manchego plate and the special avocado salad. The garlic potato salad was tremendous, flavorful but without the raw garlic bite I've gotten from other tapas places. The olives plate and the machego plate is hard to mess up, since they're not really prepared. The Avocado salad, which had crispy potato straws and goat cheese, was really good, with a special vinagrette that was well balanced.

    For the warm tapas, we ordered the spanish meatballs and the shrimp on a bed of fried angel hair pasta. The spanish meatballs were a disappointment, being somewhat like a rendition of swedish meatballs, with a creamy sauce on them. The shrimp on the angel hair was excellent, with the crispy bed of angel hair providing a great mouthfeel with the shrimp.

    Cafe Marbella has a number of paellas as main course dishes, so we ordered the paella made with shrimp to share. The dish was incredibly good. It looked amazing, with the bright colors of the red peppers and peas contrasting the yellow rice. The rice itself was cooked well with no starchiness or stickiness. The shrimp was amazing, perfectly cooked which could lead people to think they were undercooked because they never had them done right. That's always a problem with paella generally, that the seafood or meat gets rediculously overcooked because it takes so long for the rice to cook. Cafe Marbella has that knocked.

    For dessert, we shared the flan and the banana tart. The flan was excellent. The banana tart was great as well, tasting like a banana cream pie in a tart form.

    Cafe Marbella is BYOB, which really helps keep the pricing in check. Everything noted above, plus a 20% tip and tax, came to $120 all in.

    I'm definitely sold on Cafe Marbella and will be returning often.
    John Danza
  • Post #15 - October 13th, 2014, 12:35 pm
    Post #15 - October 13th, 2014, 12:35 pm Post #15 - October 13th, 2014, 12:35 pm
    John Danza wrote:Cafe Marbella has a number of paellas as main course dishes, so we ordered the paella made with shrimp to share. The dish was incredibly good. It looked amazing, with the bright colors of the red peppers and peas contrasting the yellow rice. The rice itself was cooked well with no starchiness or stickiness. The shrimp was amazing, perfectly cooked which could lead people to think they were undercooked because they never had them done right. That's always a problem with paella generally, that the seafood or meat gets rediculously overcooked because it takes so long for the rice to cook. Cafe Marbella has that knocked.

    Did the paella have saffron & the socarrat (the bottom crust)? I've had some tasty enough versions around town, but usually one of those two have been missing and I'm on the hunt for a seriously great paella.
  • Post #16 - October 13th, 2014, 12:52 pm
    Post #16 - October 13th, 2014, 12:52 pm Post #16 - October 13th, 2014, 12:52 pm
    BR wrote:
    John Danza wrote:Cafe Marbella has a number of paellas as main course dishes, so we ordered the paella made with shrimp to share. The dish was incredibly good. It looked amazing, with the bright colors of the red peppers and peas contrasting the yellow rice. The rice itself was cooked well with no starchiness or stickiness. The shrimp was amazing, perfectly cooked which could lead people to think they were undercooked because they never had them done right. That's always a problem with paella generally, that the seafood or meat gets rediculously overcooked because it takes so long for the rice to cook. Cafe Marbella has that knocked.

    Did the paella have saffron & the socarrat (the bottom crust)? I've had some tasty enough versions around town, but usually one of those two have been missing and I'm on the hunt for a seriously great paella.


    It definitely had saffron, but it did not have a bottom crust. Frankly, I'm not that thrilled with a bottom crust, so I consider the lack of it as a good thing. But I'm not a paella purist, just an eater. I liked what they served.
    John Danza
  • Post #17 - October 13th, 2014, 1:07 pm
    Post #17 - October 13th, 2014, 1:07 pm Post #17 - October 13th, 2014, 1:07 pm
    John Danza wrote:
    BR wrote:
    John Danza wrote:Cafe Marbella has a number of paellas as main course dishes, so we ordered the paella made with shrimp to share. The dish was incredibly good. It looked amazing, with the bright colors of the red peppers and peas contrasting the yellow rice. The rice itself was cooked well with no starchiness or stickiness. The shrimp was amazing, perfectly cooked which could lead people to think they were undercooked because they never had them done right. That's always a problem with paella generally, that the seafood or meat gets rediculously overcooked because it takes so long for the rice to cook. Cafe Marbella has that knocked.

    Did the paella have saffron & the socarrat (the bottom crust)? I've had some tasty enough versions around town, but usually one of those two have been missing and I'm on the hunt for a seriously great paella.


    It definitely had saffron, but it did not have a bottom crust. Frankly, I'm not that thrilled with a bottom crust, so I consider the lack of it as a good thing. But I'm not a paella purist, just an eater. I liked what they served.

    Thanks - the socarrat is one of my favorite things about paella, but it seems like it's getting harder to find. I'd prefer a version with it, but I'll at least settle for one that's otherwise well cooked, and with good seafood and saffron.
  • Post #18 - October 13th, 2014, 7:43 pm
    Post #18 - October 13th, 2014, 7:43 pm Post #18 - October 13th, 2014, 7:43 pm
    I suspect lots of folks don't like the rice crust. Perhaps, you can let them know in advance BR that you prefer it and I bet you will get it.
    Ava-"If you get down and out, just get in the kitchen and bake a cake."- Jean Strickland

    Horto In Urbs- Falling in love with Urban Vegetable Gardening
  • Post #19 - October 13th, 2014, 8:03 pm
    Post #19 - October 13th, 2014, 8:03 pm Post #19 - October 13th, 2014, 8:03 pm
    pairs4life wrote:I suspect lots of folks don't like the rice crust. Perhaps, you can let them know in advance BR that you prefer it and I bet you will get it.

    The problem is that a lot of places now cook it in a nonstick pan, making the socarrat impossible . . . oh well.
  • Post #20 - October 14th, 2014, 7:53 am
    Post #20 - October 14th, 2014, 7:53 am Post #20 - October 14th, 2014, 7:53 am
    I too am a fan of the socarrat but have noticed it harder to find on paella dishes around the city. Leading to my question, where is the best place for paella now? With a nice crusty rice/socarrat bottom.
  • Post #21 - October 15th, 2014, 6:21 pm
    Post #21 - October 15th, 2014, 6:21 pm Post #21 - October 15th, 2014, 6:21 pm
    BR wrote:
    pairs4life wrote:I suspect lots of folks don't like the rice crust. Perhaps, you can let them know in advance BR that you prefer it and I bet you will get it.

    The problem is that a lot of places now cook it in a nonstick pan, making the socarrat impossible . . . oh well.


    Sigh, that's like serving BBQ without the bark.
    Objects in mirror appear to be losing.
  • Post #22 - August 3rd, 2015, 10:39 am
    Post #22 - August 3rd, 2015, 10:39 am Post #22 - August 3rd, 2015, 10:39 am
    Had an absolutely outstanding dinner last evening at Cafe Marbella. Easily the best Spanish Tapas in Chicagoland. And with BYOB an absolute must visit.

    I've been a patron for about 10 years since they were in a non-descript space on Peterson Avenue. The move to the current Jefferson Park location made a lot of sense. The building looks like a rustic urban Spanish villa - more inside than out.

    I would put Cafe Marbella's chef up against any challenger in the City...period. He's that good. His wife, Son and other family members are the primary front-of-the-house staff and the service had traditionally been a tad slow but was perfect last night - seems they got their service routine down better.

    Generally, there will be between 8-10 Nightly Specials cursived on a small notepad insert in the regular menu. Seafood and Shellfish generally dominate the specials although you'll always see a vegetarian offering and a game item or two.

    Last night wasn't the best night in my couple of dozen lifetime visits, but it easily broke into the top 5. No small feat.

    Elegantly sauteed cod with baby clams and a flavorful butter/oil glaze.

    Oyster Mushroom with Angel Hair Pasta which resembled something between a LIGHT mushroom stroghenoff or soup. Wonderful.

    The co-highlight of the evening with the Cod: Sliced Duck Tenderloin with a succulent, again light, cranberry sauce. Accompanied by Tempura-ed Cauliflower which melted in your mouth. Perfect contrast with the crispy fried exterior.

    Patatas Riojana which are crispy cubed potatoes with pan sauteed SPANISH Chrorizo slices and large chucks of diced garlic - a standard for me. Always Top Notch.

    The Lady enjoyed some form of Chocolate cake that she is still raving about and I ended dinner with a Double Espresso that kept me up until about 3 am - but it was outstanding.

    Our total bill for a plethora of masterfully prepared Iberian delicacies (a few plates more than what was listed here) was about $90. Outstanding food at a very reasonable price.

    Bring your favorite Rioja or Ribero del Duero - or better yet bring them both!

    Highly Recommended.

    You're Welcome!

    Cafe Marbella
    5527 North Milwaukee
    Chicago, IL
    773-853-0128
    https://www.facebook.com/Cafemarbellatapas

    P.S. - Perhaps also bring a bottle of Cava for those seafood courses and/or dessert!
  • Post #23 - April 14th, 2017, 9:13 am
    Post #23 - April 14th, 2017, 9:13 am Post #23 - April 14th, 2017, 9:13 am
    Recently dined for dinner again at Cafe Marbella. Superb experience once again.
  • Post #24 - September 17th, 2017, 9:07 am
    Post #24 - September 17th, 2017, 9:07 am Post #24 - September 17th, 2017, 9:07 am
    Another outstanding meal at Café Marbella last night. Sorry, no photos. Just commentary.

    First, my comment from a couple of years ago about problematic service has not been true the last few times I've been there. They've definitely worked that out.

    The food continues to be excellent. Here are some noteworthy dished:

    * Rossejat De Gambas - crispy "pan-fried" angel hair pasta with shrimp: the dish of the night. A crispy patty of angel hair pasta with perfectly grilled shrimp on top. It had just a whisper of spice. There were slivers of perfectly caramelized garlic strewn on top.

    * Suprema De Pollo Marbella - stuffed chicken breast with spinach and topped with manchego cheese: This is a takeoff on Chicken Parmesan. The chicken was nicely seasoned. Not noted on the menu was a small accompaniment of angel hair pasta lightly coated in a creamy sauce. Everyone gobbled on this one.

    * Several of the dishes came with the main protein ingredient surrounding a cubed single potato, covered with some julienned vegetables. The potato was outstanding. It appears to be a small red potato that's been cut to have six flat sides. It's then baked with a variety of spices to make it a cube of garlicky, salty goodness.

    As has been previously noted, the restaurant allows BYOB even though they have a small wine list. Corkage is $10 per bottle. I always BYOB there.

    I highly recommend Café Marbella when you've got a taste for Spanish tapas.
    John Danza
  • Post #25 - May 7th, 2019, 1:35 am
    Post #25 - May 7th, 2019, 1:35 am Post #25 - May 7th, 2019, 1:35 am
    Sunday, May 5, I met my brother (in town from California) and my daughter for tapas only at Marbella. We did three rounds, each choosing one item (with the concurrence of the others). We finished each round before selecting the next. Still when 3 dishes came it was, IMHO, about the limit for being able to eat in a genteel manner. With 4 people, I'd suggest order 2, then order the two as soon as they arrive, but wait till all those finished before ordering the next round. I hope my memory is correct as to what we ordered, one was a guess. I will update this posting if I get better information.

    DSCN0779.JPG Alcachofas Con Vinagreta (artichoke hearts)
    DSCN0780.JPG -- Aguacate Relleno (Stuffed avocado)
    DSCN0782.JPG ----- Queso De Cabra Al Horno (baked goat cheese)
    DSCN0783.JPG ------ Setas Al Ajillo (portabella mushrooms)
    DSCN0784.JPG -- Rossejat De Gambas (angel hair pasta with shrimp)
    DSCN0785.JPG ------- ??help?? Escalopes De Cerdo
    (pork scallopini)
    DSCN0789.JPG -- Champinones Al Ajillo (mushrooms)


    The last two dishes had a just a little kick to them, at least if one wasn't careful to avoid the peppers (I was careful to NOT avoid them, but I like spicy). Others might prefer to NOT order them last.
    DSCN0790.JPG Calamares A La Plancha (squid)
    DSCN0791.JPG ---- Patatas Bravas (deep fried potatoes)


    Everybody commented that the sauces were top notch, and were pretty much finished off, I did some by sopping up with the supplied bread.

    As we were leaving, I noticed they seemed to be trying to attract the Cinquo de Mayo diners, but, it didn't seem to work, as only 1 or 2 other tables were occupied while we were there, at 6 PM.
    DSCN0792.JPG Trying to attract Cinquo De Mayo diners
    --Carey aka underdog

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