Tonight was our second visit--the first was in early 2022, when it was a BYOB hole-in-the-wall, albeit a charming one with just the chef and one waiter. We were the only table. We brought our own wines (a cava and a Rioja), and they had trouble opening them with an old-fashioned wing corkscrew. The only glassware they had were one size of thick water goblets. The menu was quite limited, but the service was attentive and the food delightful.
We went back tonight, assuming it was still BYOB (the website did not have a wine list and the only listed drinks were explicitly non-alcoholic), so we brought our own bottle, Screwpull and plastic wineglasses. We pulled out our bottle of Tempranillo, and the waiter appeared with proper wine glasses and expertly wielded a professional corkscrew. We noticed there were several servers, all Spanish; and a nook in the corner with two chairs & a guitar (yup--live music on weekends). And they do have wine now--turns out you have to ask for it. Had we known, we'd have ordered a white to go with the seafood tapas & paella.
We had a charcuterie board, "Malaguena" salad (with burrata), marinated anchovies and olives with housemade potato chips, blood sausage with blistered shishitos, and a seafood paella. Only place in Chicago that makes it with the crusty "soccarat" on the bottom. The shrimp were head-on and very fresh, The "small" paella was large enough that we couldn't finish it. Seasoning was robust enough that our red wine went well with even the paella. Desserts looked tempting (the sugar on the crema Catalana at the next table was caramelized at the table!) but I must avoid sugar these days. So we stuck with the cheeses we saved from the charcuterie board. They even have an espresso machine now.
Prices were higher, but portions much bigger and so was the menu. Timing was impeccable, service gracious. We'll be back...but ask for a wine list.
My wife, her sister and I went for a early diner. We had seen that it changed hands.
We read the reviews and the published menu and decided to go. We were not disappointed. The food was excellent, since early it was not crowded and it was nice and quiet for good conversation. I would recommend it. I hope it makes it as we will go back again. It is possibly more upscale than what that location is used to.
CAFÉ CRÈMERIE, is a European-style café inspired by owner Lisa Gasparian’s European travels and love for all things food and culture. Lisa sought to create a unique destination for guests to relax and enjoy fresh, quality sweets, savory snacks, rich smooth coffee, and delicious wines within a cozy atmosphere. For this Mother and entrepreneur, every day holds moments to savor filled with experiences and vibrant inspiration to make CAFÉ CRÈMERIE the best European escape possible for the neighborhood she calls home. Step inside, settle in, and let us transport you to a European state of mind. A bientôt!