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Guide - Restaurants - Spanish


615 W Randolph St, Chicago, IL 60661 312-377-2002

Description: WEST LOOP. Clean lines, a 48-foot stainless steel bar, and an abundance of blond-wood communal tables make Avec an open, inviting space. Choose from over 120 varieties of wine, all served carafina-style ­ the price of a glass fetches approximately one-third of a bottle. A tantalizing selection of small plates can be ordered for sharing, including pan-seared prawns with garlic, leeks, and red chilies. Large plates are rich with flavor and texture and include wood-fired pizza with sardines and arugula or housemade tagliatelle with asparagus, artichokes, and fresh ricotta. Reservations are not accepted, so come early to avoid the inevitable crowd.
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Café Ba-Ba-Reeba!

2024 N Halsted St, Chicago, IL 60614 773-935-5000

Description: LINCOLN PARK. This was Chicago's first tapas bar, and it is still a fun place to spend an evening. Great sangria, outdoor seating, and glinting neon attracts a young crowd of revelers. However, the list of more than 60 tapas brings in those looking to dine in style. The plato de la casa is highly recommended, offering many traditional dishes. You may want to sample cannelloni with tuna, veal with mushrooms, eggplant and sherry, or sausage brochettes with garlic-cumin mayo. There is also an entree menu offering larger portions. EL: Red or Brown Line to Fullerton or Brown Line to Armitage
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Café Iberico

737 N LaSalle Dr, Chicago, IL 60654 312-573-1510

Description: RIVER NORTH. This popular Spanish restaurant once had only four tables, but now it can seat more than 400 with ease. And, the house is usually packed, thanks to authentic tapas offerings and an upbeat, festive atmosphere. Have a fruity pitcher of sangria and order hot and cold appetizer-sized dishes like baked goat cheese, vegetarian Spanish omelets, chicken brochette with caramelized onions or grilled octopus. A gourmet food shop lets you try to recreate your favorites when back at home. Reservations accepted for parties of six or more. EL: Red Line to Chicago/State or Brown Line to Chicago
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Emilio's Tapas Sol y Nieve

215 E Ohio St, Chicago, IL 60611 312-467-7177

Description: STREETERVILLE. Billed by many as the "King of Tapas," owner-chef Emilio Gervilla reigns supreme at his Spanish restaurant that serves up food fit for royalty. The baked goat cheese served with crispy garlic bread, the cannelloni stuffed with tuna, asparagus, and olives, and the tomato bread topped with Serrano ham and Manchego cheese are just a few of the delectable tapas that ensure Gervilla his kingship. The interior space features murals and walls with a faux stucco finish.
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Mercat a la Planxa

638 S Michigan Ave, Chicago, IL 60605 312-765-0524

Description: DOWNTOWN. The light streaming through the massive, arched windows enhance the vibrant colors of this Catalan restaurant located in the Blackstone Hotel. The tables and chairs carry off sleek, modern lines that are contrasted with bright greens and oranges and rich purples. It seems more like a Spanish market than a restaurant. The festive ambiance is further enhanced by the selection of small dishes. Traditional tapas like octopus with smoked paprika can be found alongside flatbreads served with beef shortribs, horseradish, and bacon. There's even the option for ordering a whole roasted suckling pig, which the chef will gladly carve himself.
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Tapas Barcelona

1615 Chicago Ave, Evanston, IL 60201 847-866-9900

Description: EVANSTON. Spain comes to Evanston by way of this cheery tapas restaurant. The prices are reasonable and the menu outstanding. The Pollo Al Curry (roasted chicken with grapes and curry mayo), Salpicon De Mariscos (assorted seafood and octopus salad), and Esparragos Con Tres Salsa (fresh asparagus, avocado, and tomato) are but a few of the small plates to be had here. Lovely outdoor garden dining area available during pleasant weather.
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Tapas Gitana Northfield

310 S Happ Rd, Northfield, IL 60093 847-784-9300

Description: NORTHFIELD. Brightly-decorated tiles and vivid murals set the scene at this romantic tapas spot in the suburbs. Whether you bring a special someone or a group of buddies, Tapas Gitana's selection of hot and cold small plates, paellas, soups, and salads offers something for everybody. Whet your appetite with marinated olives, and then dig in to warm crepes filled with goat cheese, pine nuts, and spinach, or maybe into grilled tiger shrimp with lemon-garlic butter. For an unusual dessert, try banana mousse with white chocolate shavings.
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3412 N Sheffield Ave, Chicago, IL 60657 773-388-2727

Description: LAKE VIEW. The name says it all, as tapas here come with, well, a twist! Traditional tapas are turned on their heads with interesting innovations and unique combinations. Cold and hot tapas like Jerk chicken drumettes and jalapeno gnocchi make mouths water. Order the sangria as it's almost legendary among locals who love this "twisted" tapas eatery. The interior space is cheery with windows at the front and work by local artists lining the walls. Outdoor seating available.
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