Bar Mar Review


Ella Rubinstein, Reviewer

Bar Mar is located in Chicago, Illinois, on Upper Wacker Drive. The head chef of this restaurant, José Andrés, was named one of Time Magazine’s “100 Most Influential People” in 2012 and 2018, and “Oustanding Chef” and “Humanitarian of the Year” by the James Beard Foundation. He has 31 restaurants, each of which is a different culinary experience, from food trucks and vegetable-focused fast casual to Beefsteak and world-class tasting menus.  He is the only chef globally with a 2-star Michelin restaurant and four Bib Gourmands.

When I walked into the restaurant, I was hit with warm air which was a comforting change from the cold Chicago air. The decor and design of the restaurant were fancy and made you stare in wonder at the ceiling. The golden octopus hanging over the bar was stunning, as shown in the picture. We had a reservation for 7:30 pm and we only had to wait about 10 minutes in very comfortable chairs for our table. We were treated with amazing service and kindness from all the staff.

We started with a couple of little snacks. First was the Caviar Cone, which was small but had a lot of flavor. I am not usually a fan of caviar but this was very good. Next, we had José’s Asian Taco, and it tasted like a small bite of the ocean with hints of ginger and fish. We had Neptune’s Pillows, which are little puffs filled with spicy tuna, wasabi, and sesame rocoto. These were delicious and my favorite from this section of the menu. They were perfectly spicy and sized. We got Papatas Bravas, which are Spanish fried potatoes with brava sauce and aioli. The aioli was light and delicious and also came with our last snack, the calamari, which was crispy, flavorful, and just salty enough.

For appetizers, one thing we had was the Pan de Cristal con Tomate, which is crispy, buttery bread with fresh tomato. We also ordered a fish ceviche which had amazing flavors and nothing was too overpowering. We got a classic Shrimp Cocktail which was good, but nothing special compared to other Shrimp Cocktails I’ve had. My friend ordered a lobster roll, which was on a light brioche bun and had a lot of lobster filling on it which made it worth the price. Lastly, my mom and her friend ordered Brussels Sprouts Petals. I strongly dislike brussels sprouts, but surprisingly (or not) these were buttery and actually very good. They came with apricots, grapes, and lemon puree, which tied everything together nicely.

The main courses were huge but finished everything. We tried the octopus which was the best thing I had tried all night (discluding dessert, of course). It was cooked to perfection and had some of the amazing aioli. I ordered the Rossejat, which is almost like a paella in a skillet but some chopped up crispy fideua pasta and Florida sun shrimp. It was very good and my friend and I ate more than half of it. Every bite was crispy and flavorful.

We were trying to decide between the four desserts, and they brought out all four to us before we had even said a word. First was the Key Lime Pie. One word: incredible. It was light, fluffy, and had the best graham cracker crumbles sprinkled all over. The Flourless Chocolate Cake was delicious and had a molten center with classic vanilla ice cream. The Flan was good, it just isn’t one of my favorite desserts because it typically doesn’t have much flavor. And last, the Sticky Toffee Pudding. The toffee sauce was unbelievably amazing and the vanilla ice cream was a good addition. Every bite was truly amazing.

The prices here are a little above average, but the food and drinks are so high quality and delectable you will feel like it’s worth it. I definitely recommend going to Bar Mar. It is a truly one-of-a-kind experience and you won’t regret it.

      (Mocktails we got)