{Barbakoa} Latin Flavors Ignite!

I couldn’t help but say “yes!” when I was invited to dine at Barbakoa a couple of weeks ago. I had passed by this new restaurant situated in the old Buona Beef establishment but never had a chance to make it in. There are so many exciting things about this restaurant that I am certain that I will make this a regular destination.

The lively vibe and bright spacious patio makes you feel like you’re in the city, almost. The vivid decor reminds me much of Carnivale in the West Loop, probably because one of the partners belongs to the restaurant Klein restaurant group. If you’re familiar with the high ceilings, colorful splashes of red, purple and orange, you’ll know what I mean.

On a Thursday night, the place wasn’t packed but there was quite a crowd. The room was a bit cool but the patio was perfect for a summer night. Unfortunately, there was a wait for the patio so we sat inside. Ladies, bring a pashmina!

The restaurant menu is designed for tasting, but if you’re not into multiple courses, you can order a la carte.  But check this out!

The most economical tasting menu will leaving bursting at the seams and satisfied.  I can’t wait to go back and try their upgraded menus!

Let’s have a look at the $22 per person menu which is what we enjoyed.  We asked our server to bring out his favorites (actually, he offered!) and we gladly obliged!  Highly recommend doing this…

Guacamoles, not your average guac!

A simple but pretty presentation.  The first guacamole at the top is finished with chicharron also known as fried pork rind.  The avocados had a nice balance of flavor, mild (some guac has too much onions or garlic) and a crispy top.

Second item, mango guacamole  had just a touch of sweetness. Again, nicely balanced and flavorful, the mangoes were like a celebration of summer!

Salsas…..

…if you can’t take the heat…let your server know!  We love spicy food so not an issue.  the first was a serrano pepper green salsa (mild) and the second was a habanero salsa.  Both excellent and not the knock your socks off kinda spicy. I was still able to taste my food after eating this.

The main event…TACO’s – wow. my favorite part to tell you about!  LOOK AT THIS FEAST!

We were given four taco to try – EACH!  Short ribs, halibut, shrimp and carne asada.  the carne asada was so amazing I almost ran to the kitchen to beg for more.  But I had some more serious work ahead of me, that is, to taste the rest of the tacos.  I loved that the taco are the tiny tortillas, the size of your palm but the chef stuffs it as full as a burrito.  Tasty stuff my friends.  I loved all the textures of soft, crispy, crunchy, sweet, salty – all of the above (except bitter).


Wait, I just lied. I think my favorite part is dessert.  A five course dessert!  Amazing.  Small bites of 5 different desserts was a heavenly way to polish off a meal.

Need I remind you that it was only $22 per person?

Add a couple of giant mojitos and dinner was $75 including drinks, taxes and tips.  WHOA!  Date night is going to happen more often.