cafe ba-ba-reeba

two words: brunch tapas

Some places adopt a food tradition as a kind of theme, a kitschy twist, a hook to get people in. Tapas could have been that for Cafe Ba-Ba-Reeba. They could have easily gone down that street. But thankfully for all of us, they didn’t. They went all in. And this tapas, pintxos and sangria restaurant not only provides a sprawling space for long, Spanish-inspired early evening drinking meal, they went above and beyond and brought it to brunch too. And no, this isn’t some kind of westernized dim sum, this is just some classic brunch favorites, shrunk down (slightly) so you can get a little bit of everything.


Cafe Ba-Ba-Reeba is on what I like to call Brunch Row, aka that strip of Halsted St that has brunch spot after brunch spot and bubbly 20 and 30 year olds spilled onto the street, a little too drunk on a Saturday at 11am. The restaurant has been around for a while, since 1985, and has become a bit of an institution. It’s seems to always be full (with several birthday parties happening), but never a wait (because there seems to be endless tables and seats going further and further back in the restaurant). And always plenty of paella to go around.

the details

Address2024 N Halsted St, Chicago
Hours4p-8p Tuesday through Thursday
12p-9p Friday and Saturday
12p-8p Sunday
closed Monday
Price$-$$, considering the breadth (and just how naturally filling things are, despite the small plates), this might be one of the cheaper brunches. Most tapas range from $5-15, so you can definitely load up with variety.
Aestheticwarm, simple, think the timeless combination of wood & brick

good to know

Go here for: a brunch where you don’t have to choose between sweet or savory

Order this: breakfast paella, maybe some sangria if it’s that kind of Sunday

Amount of time to spend: I guess it depends on your appetite, because this could be everything from a quick brunch to a day long eating occasion 

When to come: any time is a good time for tapas (but it does get crazier as the day goes on)

Getting here: the closest station is Armitage (brown line) about a 5 minute walk through the cutest block. Or if you’re on the red line, it’s about a 10 minute walk from the North/Clybourn stop.

Other things to note: 

  • Brunch is only Friday through Sunday, otherwise this is a strictly tapas hour(s) establishment.
  • Paella is priced by serving thankfully.
  • They do have happy hour (4-6p in the bar and lounge area) with $1 pintxos, $16 pitchers of sangria, and 1985 priced tapas.

Last visited: July 2019

Last updated: April 2020

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