The vibrant La Marcha restaurant seems to be the busiest spot on the block, usually with a line waiting to get in. A relatively small space, its two sweetest tables are tucked into the front bay windows and extra seating is found at the bar. Overall, it evokes an authentic cozy atmosphere that I remember from tapas bars in Spain. A TV above the bar adds to the ambiance.
|interior of La Marcha in Berkeley, California|
|sweet window seating at La Marcha in Berkeley, California|
|bar at La Marcha in Berkeley, California|
There are more than 20 kinds of tapas. Salads are also an option, and the restaurant is known as well for its large variety of paellas (there are six). I was attracted to La Marcha by a special event sherry-pairing dinner that I was unable to attend. So at a later date my dining companion and I had our own private tasting with the assistance of knowledgeable Jason (indeed, the entire staff is friendly and helpful), who explained the finer points of each of the dry sherries in my flight covering the five main styles--from a light fino to a robust oloroso. I came away knowing that I favor a robust sherry.
|Jason delivers sherry flights at La Marcha in Berkeley, California|
|tapas and sherry flights at La Marcha in Berkeley, California|
Our tapas selection included patatas bravas, a trio of croquetas (mushroom, salt cod, chicken), albondigas (wild boar meatballs), gambas (prawns with heads on), goat cheese-stuffed piquillo peppers, and cumin lamb sliders. I regret that I missed the bruselas (grape-sweetened fried Brussels sprouts). Next time.
|wild boar albondigas at La Marcha in Berkeley, California|
Our perfect ending to this repast was traditional churros con chocolate.
|churros con chocolate at La Marcha in Berkeley, California|
The extensive drink menu includes eight sherry flights, plus wines, ciders, Spanish beers, and an extensive collection of fortified wines, sweet wines, and sherries. “La Marcha” is a reference to the typical late-night Spanish bar crawl, where patrons stroll from place to place and enjoy small plates and drinks throughout the evening. Here you can stay put and do it all in one spot. In addition to special event dinners (including sherry-pairing and cider-pairing as well as winemaker dinners), the restaurant offers two daily happy hours and half-off sangria every Sunday (the popular sangria here is made with Tempranillo wine, oloroso sherry, fruit juice, chopped fruit, and a splash of Pedro Ximénez). And, every Tuesday is Flamenco Night. Ole!
In honor of International Sherry Week, November 6-12, 2017, La Marcha is hosting an array of events--including a three-course sherry pairing dinner and educational sherry flights, plus the inaugural “Night in Jerez,” the ultimate sherry-tasting party featuring tapas, paella, and a live flamenco show on November 10. Check the website for more details.
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images ©2018 Carole Terwilliger Meyers