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May 11, 2009 05:56 AM

Where are the top tapas?

What spots serve the best tapas and or small plates? Prefer downtown and North to Evanston. Thanks for your help!

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  1. Mercat a la Planxa in the Blackstone Hotel.

    1. Agree on Mercat, but you might want to give Tapas Valencia a try a little further to the south. They're now offering a tapas selection at $2 apiece before 6:00 on weekdays. Nothing spectacular, but what we had was solid and authentic and at $2 each well worth the price:

      A nice selection of wines by the glass, too.

      1. Has anyone tried Pintxos, the new weekend-only place above Cafe Iberico?


        1. A third vote for Mercat a la Planxa.

          Other good ones include Emilio's ( ) and Cafe Ba-Ba-Reeba ( ), both in Lincoln Park.

          Once you get north of that area, there aren't many tapas places. Evanston has Tapas Barcelona, which is just okay nothing special, and there's a place in Andersonville I haven't been to called Tapas las Ramblas.

          You can read opinions about many of the tapas restaurants in town in these discussions:

          3 Replies
          1. re: nsxtasy

            Ok- Mercat a la Planxa is a go after all the recommendations. Seems a bit pricier than other spots but we will try it. Have you been there?

            1. re: schaf1

              i had lunch there on a trip recently - they have a pretty good deal during the day where 18 dollars buys you a first and a main - not a HUGE savings but not bad either. the first courses ranged in price from 8-11 bucks and the seconds were from 10-14. oh, and they threw in a soda/iced tea with the deal, so we probably ended up saving most of the money we left as a tip. Portions werent tiny but were kind of all over the place - the burger was very good and well-sized, my scallops came with two scallops each of which had been halved cross-wise (they were nice sized scallops to start with).

              1. re: tex.s.toast

                Mercat's lunch deal makes this a good choice for lunch in the area. That being said, it won't give you a chance to experience the best of their tapas. Mercat can offer IMO the "best" tapas experience in Chicago, but sometimes the "best" is costly (especially when the location is a Michigan Avenue hotel).

          2. A fourth vote for Mercat a la Planxa. Just had a phenomenal meal there Saturday night. Every tapas dish entree we ordered was phenomenal (except dessert - just not that great). Excellent service and outstanding sangria. You really can't go wrong there.