Top 10 Tapas Chicago Venues

tapas chicago

Going out to eat should be an experience, something that you can make a night of. Small plates of gourmet dishes eaten amongst friends is the perfect reason to check out these tapas Chicago venues.

Tapas Valencia

Tapas Valencia is an award winning Spanish tapas venue that excels in preparation an atmosphere. They provide outdoor seating and a very modern designed main dining room – your eyes will be as satisfied as your mouth. Their bacon-wrapped dates seem to always be a good choice, while washing it down with their house-sangria.

Café Iberico

Cafe Iberico is a very popular tapas venue – for good reason. Their menu is quite extensive with a great selection of seafood tapas to add variety to traditional dishes [fries and octopus anyone?]. Their dishes a little larger than a lot of other tapas restaurants, which makes this the perfect stop for small groups wanting to try a lot of different dishes.

Café Iberico octopus tapas

Bing / Flickr / Creative Commons

Cafe Ba-Ba-Reeba

Cafe-Ba-Ba-Reeba provides a fantastic dining experience. Their menu is large with traditional items, gluten-free items. They support the Green City Market & various farmers markets around Chicago, as well as preparing only organic chicken to assure quality is top-notch. It is very easy to dine here and leave with a four-course meal and a flight or two of Sangria in you. Reservations are highly recommended, this is a hot spot – it is the original Tapas Chicago Venue after all.

Emilio’s Tapas

Emilio’s Tapas is classy, cozy and satisfying. Chef Emilio was the mastermind of the kitchen at Cafe Ba-Ba-Reeba when it originally opened in 1985. He has taken his expertise and created his own tapas restaurant that rise above in taste and options. Their patio area is a perfect place to enjoy the beautiful weather as you sip on sangria. With two locations you should be able to dine at your convenience.

Bulerias Tapas

Bulerias Tapas emphasizes the their atmosphere as much as they do their food. They aim to provide a lively, yet passionate experience to everyone that enters through their doorway. The dining experience rivals that found in traditional Spanish tapas restaurants. The tables are close and the environment is welcoming and friendly. This venue is great for one on one dining, but I recommend going with a group for the plain fact that it will be easier to try much more of their menu, as it is pretty extensive.

Mercat a la Planxa

Mercat a la Planxa specializes in cuisine inspires by Barcelona. They offer many items that are not traditionally found on Spanish tapas menus. Their unique menu is packed with enough options that you would need to come here an absurd amount of times to taste everything. They offer a Chef’s Tasting Menu, and a Luxury Tasting Menu, that pair chef’s choice dishes with glasses of wine to compliment the flavor fully.

Mercat a la Planxa bacon wrapped dates tapas

Rebecca Peplinski / Flickr / Creative Commons

Twisted Tapas

Twisted Tapas provides a very warm, quaint atmosphere paired with exquisite taste. Their menu offers everything that one would want from a tapas venue, and at a very reasonable price. They offer a great mixture of hot and cold dishes to tailor to your mood as well as a variety of tastes to sample. Jalapeno gnocchi, the wagyu short rib, fish tacos, and chicken meatballs are just some of the unique offerings. Rather than focusing on Spanish influences like many tapas menus, they explore the globe.

Black Bull

Black Bull is an all around experience in ‘Spanish customs of drinking, socializing, and grazing on delicious food.’ A fantastically diverse menu, paired with knowledgeable servers make for a delightful dining experience. They have a well stocked wine list specializing in Spanish wines, as well as house-cocktail creations to further set it apart.

The Purple Pig

The Purple Pig is a very unique tapas restaurant. Their menu sets itself apart from all the traditional tapas offering – pig ears and blood sausage are two of the offerings. If you are an open-minded eater, this place has many dishes that will surprise you!  For the more traditional eater, they provide a variety of offerings from around the world; some dishes you would never even think of. For a unique dining experience to expand your taste pallet, The Purple Pig is a must stop for tapas Chicago.

purple pig tapas dish

Wicked LIttle Cake Company / Flickr Creative Commons

Nia

Nia has a simple philosophy that they follow, ‘subtle sophistication that matches perfectly with the ambiance of the restaurant and the staff.’ They offer an eight course tasting menu that is well worth trying out; come hungry because the portions are larger than expected. Nia is a very intimate venue that truly focuses on flavor. They have a wonderful outdoor seating area to add sunshine to the flavorful experience. With a well-packed menu, you will not leave without satisfaction.

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Ross Perkins

Ross Perkins is the Executive Editor & a connoisseur of all things enjoyable– at least in his mind. He is an avid traveler in the name of inspiring sights, music, food & cars. He is a published photographer & writer that is looking for any reason to get out and explore his surroundings.

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