East Bay Chefs Sergio Emilio Monleón & Emily Sarlatte To Open La Marcha This Month
Photography by Phi Tran
Chefs Sergio Emilio Monleón and Emily Sarlatte, owners of Ñora Cocina Española, the popular Oakland-based mobile catering business, will open their highly-anticipated, first full-service restaurant: La Marcha, a rustic, neighborhood tapas bar in the heart of Berkeley, in October 2015. “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. La Marcha’s innovative menu of tapas and paellas, coupled with a welcoming community atmosphere, reflect the chefs’ shared passion for Spanish cuisine and desire to bring the tapas bar culture to the San Francisco Bay Area.
“At La Marcha, we are passionate about creating a dining experience that is fun, memorable and inviting, just like a traditional tapas stroll in Spain. I want our guests to feel an instant sense of community when entering our restaurant,” said Chef Monleón.
“I look forward to making guests at La Marcha feel recognized and taken care of, creating a special neighborhood spot with great traditions and delicious, authentic Spanish cuisine not only for Berkeley locals, but the entire Bay Area,” added Chef Sarlatte.
La Marcha’s flavorful and innovative menu offers casual tapas-style dining at the bar or main dining room with more than 25 small plate (tapas) options, salads, an array of eight or nine different paellas, and a variety of Spanish-inspired desserts.Chefs Monleón and Sarlatte have a deep commitment to knowledge and attentiveness with their cuisine, while preserving their love for dishes with vibrancy, resulting in a perfect balance between traditional and new Spanish cuisine. The selection of paellas at La Marcha perfectly reflects their approach, from the very traditional Paella Valenciana, with rabbit, duck, snail, green beans and rosemary, to the more innovative Paella Tres Cerditos, with chorizo, smoked pork belly, pork loin, lima beans, leeks and apple cider, all with the requisite saffron and rice.
La Marcha’s menu is the embellishment and embodiment of Chefs Monleón and Sarlatte’s very successful Ñora Cocina Española, launched in 2012, which specializes in high-end weddings, corporate parties, special events and Bay Area food festivals such as Off the Grid and Eat Real Festival. The La Marcha concept takes the best of the Ñora brand and incorporates the same variety of dishes, such as their traditional and very popular paella, while letting their creativity spark ideas for new flavors and varieties.
In addition to flavorful, inventive Spanish cuisine, La Marcha features a wine program that showcases 20 different sherries, a fortified wine originally from Southern Spain. Since each sherry varies in taste, La Marcha offers sherry tasting flights, and the occasional sherry pairing dinner on Monday evenings. Their wine program also entails 30 affordable old world Spanish style wines, as well as three wines on tap. Other alcoholic beverages include a rotating selection of Spanish-style ciders and a curated assortment of local Bay Area craft beers.
With interior architecture and design by Restaurant Design Concepts that includes natural and rustic elements such as wood, bricks and terracotta, the atmosphere at La Marcha reflects an authentic cozy tapas bar set in Spain. Natural colors and bright pops of red, white, and blue give the space a warmer feel with recessed lighting and pin lights illuminating the bar. Televisions at the bar show soccer games during the day and classic Spanish films in the evening, adding to the ambiance of the neighborhood restaurant.
La Marcha is located at 2026 San Pablo Avenue in Berkeley, Calif. Beginning in mid-October, La Marcha will be open Tuesday through Sunday for dinner in addition to two happy hours. From 4 to 6 p.m. La Marcha hosts an early evening happy hour where guests are offered complimentary tapas with purchased drinks. Dinner is served from 5 to 10 p.m. Just like a traditional tapas bar in Spain, La Marcha continues into the evening with late night happy hour from 10 p.m. to 12 a.m., again offering free tapas with purchased drinks. For additional information and updates, please visit www.lamarchaberkeley.com.