La Marcha - tapas - Berkeley

This newish traditional tapas place (opened October 30) is really popular. They were turning people away around 9:00 on Tuesday night. Reservations strongly recommended. Three or six seem like good party sizes as a lot of things come three to an order.

http://lamarchaberkeley.com/

will order again:

  • tortilla, about an inch thick, juicy and a bit sweet, I guess more onion than average
  • mushroom croquettes
  • octopus and fried chickpeas (not really a tapa since you can’t eat it with your hands)
  • escalivada: really great version of this dish with turnips, other seasonal vegetables, and pine nuts in a slightly pesto-ish dressing

won’t order again:

  • salt cod croquettes with romesco and white anchovies: nice if you got all three elements in a bite but the croquettes themselves were dry and didn’t have much cod flavor
  • crema Catalana, pretty good

disappointing:

  • pata negro was sliced too thin, not by hand, and dressed with olive oil and picked peppers instead of being served plain
  • fried squid was too heavily battered for my taste (nice crunchy texture though)

pata negro (about half the serving)

octopus and fried chickpeas

bacalao croquettes

fried squid

We finally made it - for the early happy hour on Sunday. When we decided to start with Sangria, we learned that it is 1/2 off on Sunday, and you get 5 tapas (the super small ones) with the 1L sangria. The sangria was decent enough. We also each had 2 glasses of the happy hour wine (for a total of 4 more tapas), plus we ordered 2 regular sized tapas.

We had:
(the small ones)
Tortilla de patatas - good
Albondigas (of jabali) - very good
Atun - very good
Patatas aioli - tasty, a bit underdone
Croquetas de champigñon - yum
Calamares - tasty and tender squid - oil probably not hot enough at fry time
Pollo al ajillo (2 orders) - only real disappointment of the day. Nearly tasteless (at least with the other items)

(The larger ones)
Col rizada - probably best in show.
The final thing (not on the online menu) was some light fritter with shrimp (could have been a chickpea flour)- very good.

Ok, the final final thing (from the happy hour snacks) were the churros with chocolate. The perfect bites to end a really lovely afternoon.

Almost empty when we arrived (but no tables available without a reservation) and packed, including the entire bar, when we left.

This a great addition to the “let’s go walk to go eat” selection.

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Something I learned last night: from 4-6, it’s happy hour but you can also order off the regular menu. The after-10 happy hour is just the shorter menu with maybe half the tapas (mostly fried) and no charcuterie, cheese, salads or paella.

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