I really enjoyed a Ñora Cocina Española dinner a couple years ago, so when I heard Chefs Sergio Emilio Monleón and Emily Sarlatte, were opening their first restaurant, I jumped at the chance to check it out. La Marcha opened a couple months ago in Berkeley and the name refers to “the typical late-night Spanish bar crawl.” That sounds right up my alley!
The media dinner started off with Sangria and then after a few minutes, all these plates started to appear. I love tasting lots of different dishes, so tapas is definitely my jam. And the happy hour with discounted drinks and free food sounds pretty great.
Some of my favorites were the crispy Croquetas de Bacalao (salt cod potato fritters with pistachio hazelnut romesco), flavorful Bruselas (crispy brussels sprouts, grapes, balsamic) and fresh Col Rizada (sauteed kale, jamon serrano, manchego, pistachios, dried cranberries, balsamic brown butter). The tapas were pretty good, but…
In my humble opinion, La Marcha’s specialty is definitely the paella.
Paella is not an easy dish to make, but we tried three and all were flavorful and perfectly cooked. The Paella Tres Cerditos (chorizo, smoked belly, shoulder chop, lima beans, leeks, cider, saffron, rice) was sweet-savory and full of porky goodness.
The Paella Mixta (head-on prawns, chicken, chorizo, farlic, sweet peppers, saffron, rice, $26) was a stunner. I mean, LOOK at it.
But surprisingly, my favorite was the vegetarian:
The Paella Huertana (kabocha squash, red torpedo onions, chickpeas, purple cauliflower, saffron, rice, slow cooked farm egg, $28) was unexpectedly hearty, even without the meat. I think it was my favorite because I happened to get the crispy rice from the bottom of the pan (that’s the best part).
And sherry and a slice of Olive Oil Cake was the perfect way to end the meal.
If you check it out, be sure to let me know what you think!
2026 San Pablo Ave, Berkeley
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