Bahia Social Club (Tasty Tapas, a bit pricey)

Bahia (say it with me [ba-HE-a]) Social Club is a newer spot to come into the West End at 832 W Beech St.  Bahia, meaning bay in Spanish, is described as a “Tapas Style Brazilian Cuisine & Social Club,” and I found the food good, but the bill high.  More impressions follow below.

From the white outside to the cool and fresh inside, the place looks comfortable and clean without having a sterile feel to it.  Outside, a few tables sit on Beech and wrap around onto Nebraska.  Inside a nice central bar is located in the front of the room, with additional seating in the back.  The restaurant has a very casual and open feel to it, with newer style reggae (Rebeloution, Expendables, Soldiers of Jah Army) playing through the speakers.

There was good crowd – though not packed – for a Tuesday night which always bodes well for a newish place, and the staff and kitchen had no issue keeping up.  Speaking of which, both of the waitresses were extremely nice and outgoing.

The drinks were good.  Tasty sangria and mojitos, with the menu also including “frozen concoctions” and other Brazilian classics like the caipirinha.

Now, most importantly, the food.  Our waitress explained it’s best for a group of two to get 3-5 plates.  The one page menu has about a dozen offerings and there are additionally daily specials.  I was grabbed from the beginning by the promise of a “spicy tuna taco” from the the sign on the sidewalk so had to get that, along with another special, a half tamale, half burrito stuffed with all sorts of stuff and deep fried called a burmale.  To finish off we got the Grilled Shrimp and Chorizo Coca and the Roasted Tomato and Goat Cheese Coca from the regular menu.  Coca is like a heavenly flatbread – or think of it as a mini pizza.

To start with the bad: the “spicy” tuna taco.  It came out as a diced salad of raw tuna in a soft taco wrapping.  The taste? bland and boring.  No spice whatsoever and the wrapping was a cold cheap flour tortilla you could buy at Waldbaums.

The good: everything else.  The burmale was incredible.  Perfectly golden-fried, with a filling that was incredible.  If they could freeze them and sell them at the supermarket, they’d be the best hot pocket ever.  Both of the Cocas were also great.  The coca itself was a freshly cooked pita-sort bread that had nice spice and oil on it.  The goat cheese and roasted tomates: excellent.  The shrimp and chorizo on the other was cooked well and had  great flavor – and worked together.

One point though, I would have appreciated if our waitress pointed out that we basically got two very similar dishes (both stuff served on bread), because when I was ordering, I didn’t realize they were so similar.  My fault, but being a first time guest at the Bahia Social Club, a little more guidance would have helped.  To get a more full taste of the food, the next time I’m back, I’d like to try the chicken skewers, skirt steak, and mussels.

So besides the one bomb, the other three dishes were great and I enjoyed them, the drinks, and the “scene.”  The one con in this whole experience for me though was the steep price tag, which I’ll allow you to add yourself via their menu.  When I think tapas, I think a feeding frenzy of little tastes and lots of plates.  At these prices though – some costing nearly the same as an entree (two items are $14 each) at other establishments – it kind of stifles the tapas concept.  From my perspective there either needs to be some price adjustments made or a “special” tapas list that is a bit cheaper on weekday nights.

Additionally reading up on them, they have live music on Thursdays and a happy hour Fridays.  For more information, refer to their Facebook Page.

So besides one food qualm, and me being a grumpy old man about the prices, I enjoyed this addition to the West End and look forward to having a coca in the future.  Have you had a chance to go here yet?

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22 thoughts on “Bahia Social Club (Tasty Tapas, a bit pricey)”

  1. First of all… $14.00 for Tapas is outrageous.
    I saw this place it did look “cute” if you like cute.
    It looked more like a bar than a restaurant.
    But i wish them well, LB needs more reasonable places to eat.

  2. I’ve been wondering about this place bc they always have customers, no matter the time of day. Prices seem a little high but i like to try every place in lb- and if its worth the extra $ then so be it. . . thanks for the review!

  3. I have eaten there a few times and enjoyed a couple of different menu items. The Fish Tacos are awesome, and so was the Skirt Steak. I didnt think it was overly expensive and look forward to going again.

  4. I think the food is high enough quality for the price. The servings are a little bigger than traditional tapas joints so the price didn’t concern me. The jerk chicken I had was damn tasty!

  5. I have been there quite a few times now and absolutely love it. Everything I have had thus far on the menu has been outstanding. If i had to make a recommendation I would go with the churrasco skirt steak is my fav…The pulled pork arepa is might tasty as well. My personal drink of choice was the Mojito Regal! It is absolutely delicious. The service was exceptional, except they forgot to tell me the specials on one occasion ;/ Big thumbs up to the whomever came up with the Bahia concept! It’s so refreshing to see such a nice place open up in the west end!

  6. So far I have been there 4 times and liked the food every time. If you don’t like $14.00 tapas order something else! there is plenty to choose from. Drinks are great, bartenders understand what a “buy back” is and the music has been stellar. A big thumbs up to Mike and John for coming up with a concept that breaks the mold of the usual west end watering hole with deep fried or microwaved everything! it is more upscale which is welcomed in that part of town. I think it’s worth the little extra coin for something original.

  7. I have now had the opportunity to eat here a couple of times so I feel I can give a fair unbiased review.

    Personally I find the pricing to be very reasonable. Especially considering the quality of the food, which on all occasions has been great.

    The food as mentioned, is very good! My Personal Favorites are Fish Tacos and the Churassco skirt steak.

    The Atmosphere is inviting and Cool. Has a good vibe to it and a nice step up IMHO to west end scene.

  8. Based on this write up, I’m going to try it tonight, I hope the portions are not small, it one of my pet peeves.

    I’ll get back to you on our experiences.

  9. hey everyone, its better than having the dirty old tiki bar! (no offense tiki bar lovers, but its time to clean up the act). these guys are local owners. lets go out and support them and support nice new restaurants and establishments in LB. i havnt eaten there yet but cant wait to, the food i saw coming out looked so good.

  10. This is a great new place for Long Beach. I’ve been there 4 times already. Loved the Fish Taco’s and Cuban sandwich. Thought it was hight quality and more than fairly priced. I also love the band that was playing on Wednesday nights (Solar Sounds).

  11. I’ve been to Bahia a bunch of times and each visit everything was great – food, drinks, service, crowd. This is a great step in the right direction. As a lifelong West Ender, it is a welcome site. If you want to grab a$2 can of beer and order of sliders, this isn’t the place. But I think most of us deserve more than sharing the Beach House or Minnesota’s with 125 drunk 25 year olds. You really owe it to yourself to try this place out. And if you’re 25 and like to eat and drink well, check it out. The boys up there did a great job and the kitchen churns out tasty food that you won’t get anywhere else in town.

  12. The steak and the cuban sandwhich are really good, The portions are small but there not that small and they make up for it because its cheap……..14 bucks for a steak isnt common these days unless your going to TGI fridays. I was happy, the drinks were pretty frickin awesome with an average price tag. I stopped in on a monday with my wife and ate at the bar,the staff was awesome. We were there for a good 3 hours non stop eating and drinking and the bill was only like $85. Well definetly be back!

  13. Found the service to be a bit more than shaky, and that was not because of the earthquake.
    They didn’t seem to have any experience in serving at all

  14. My husband and I ate here tonight and used the Groupon. The food was so wonderful that we ordered more. Meghan, our waitress, explained the food perfectly! Strongly suggest the Fish Tacos, Pulled Pork Arepa and the Skirt Steak! Enjoy!

  15. the first time we (my wife and I) were there we loved it, BUT! The second and last time we were there it was very different. Lousy service, a long wait for the food to be delivered and when it was, it came out all together (evey dish we ordered) and it was all cold.
    So much for that place, in this case it was 2 strikes and they are out.

  16. Please add to the above… I’m not a fussy eater, and I’ve never had a meal bad enough to do take the time to do a write-up about until now
    We were thee also with the use of Groupon and thought that it was over-priced and the seating arrangement’s were really bad.

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