Tapas is the name of the game for Spanish food in Chicago

Megy Karydes

By , Local Expert, Chicago
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We can't help but adore restaurants that specialize in a given cuisine. When we're in the mood for Spanish food in Chicago and are either in or near the Loop, we head to Mercat a la Planxa in downtown Chicago (be sure to order the sangria flight), Emilio’s Tapas Sol U Nieve in Streeterville (which also has an outdoor patio) or Café Iberico in River North (with its own little mini grocery store).

Black Bull Tapas, just north of the Loop in Chicago’s hot Bucktown neighborhood, is a newcomer quickly making a name for itself. Neighborhood favorites Tapas Gitana and Café Ba-Ba-Reeba!’s solid track record and consistently great...  Read more »

  • 1

    Mercat a la Planxa

    Although it boasts great views of Lake Michigan and great tapas created by an Iron Chef winner, Mercat still feels like a hidden gem.

    Local Expert Tip: "Order the sangria flight which comes with a white, rose and red sangria."

  • 2

    Black Bull

    Black Bull can be family-friendly during the day and romantic at night. Great place for a wide variety of tapas offerings.

    Local Expert Tip: "Come on a Tuesday or Sunday and enjoy unlimited tapas for $25."

  • 3

    Emilio's Tapas Sol y Nieve

    Enjoy an array of hot and cold tapas first, then take a stroll down the Chicago River which is just a block away.

    Local Expert Tip: "Order the bacon wrapped dates - the sauce is amazing."

  • 4

    Café Ba-Ba-Reeba!

    Authentic tapas served in a lively atmosphere perfect for dates, parents and kids alike.

    Local Expert Tip: "Great for large groups and definitely order the paella!"

  • 5

    Café Iberico

    Take the el or cab it otherwise valet ($12) or be prepared to pay for parking in a nearby lot.

    Local Expert Tip: "Take the el or cab it otherwise valet ($12) or be prepared to pay for parking in a nearby lot."

  • 6

    Mesón Sabika

    White tablecloth dining in a mansion makes its guests feel both elegant and casual. The outdoor patio is dog-friendly, too.

    Local Expert Tip: "The paella here is a Valencian classic. "

  • 7

    Cafe Marbella Tapas

    Although a bit out of the way, free parking, BYOB and an excellent menu make Café Marbella Tapas worth the visit.

    Local Expert Tip: "Bacon wrapped figs (not dates) and the gazpacho are not to be missed."

  • 8


    On a street lined by bars and known for the Chicago Cubs, this Wrigleyville neighborhood tapas place attracts regulars for its unique twist to tapas.

    Local Expert Tip: "It is a small spot and they don't take reservations so plan accordingly."

  • 9

    Tapas Barcelona

    Diners keep coming back for the sangria and variety of plates. The outdoor patio, when the weather...  Read more »

    Local Expert Tip: "Make reservations on weekends, especially if you want a spot on the outdoor patio."

  • 10

    Tapas Gitana

    Bacon wrapped dates, baked goat cheese in tomato basil sauce and wine from Spain get keep this North Shore restaurant busy throughout the week.

    Local Expert Tip: "The bacon wrapped dates and the baked goat cheese in tomato basil sauce get high marks among diners."



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