The Best Spots for Tapas in Chicago

Tapas are defined as a variety of small Spanish dishes, either sweet or savory, that are served as a snack with drinks, or with other tapas as a meal. Tapas are an essential part of Spanish culture that has been brought to America, and has a huge market in the Windy City.

Here are some of the best places to get tapas in Chicago:

112 West Grand Ave, Chicago, IL 60654

The menu for Arbella can be primarily described as international. Some food items are of Japanese, Korean, and Thai origin, but this place also serves up some mean tapas. After all, this place is managed by the same people that run Tanta, the Peruvian restaurant a few doors down.

Their drink selection by mixologist Tona Palomino also reflects the diversity of the menu, with 33 cocktails grouped according to geographic region. Ask the bartender to make you a Chicago fire extinguisher; it’s a must try!

Mercat a la Planxa
638 S Michigan Ave, Chicago, IL 60605

Serving exquisite plates of seasonal Catalan cuisine and cocktails is this festive and fun spot in the historic Blackstone Hotel, at the heart of Chicago (on Michigan Avenue!). Primarily offering meat and seafood served a la planxa (on the grill), the masterful mix of Spanish cuisine created by Executive Chef Jose Garces (of Iron Chef fame) is best complemented by their fine selection of cava, sangria, wines, and cocktails.

Cafe Iberico
737 N Lasalle Blvd, Chicago, IL 60654

This bustling River North restaurant has been serving authentic Spanish cuisine to large groups since 1992. Although the restaurant has a no-reservation policy, people flock to it for the affordable tapas and sangrias. Order the pincho de pollo, queso de cabra, and canelon de atun for the best experience.

Emilios Tapas Sol Y Nieve
215 E Ohio St, Chicago, IL 60611

Under the watchful eye of Chef Emilio Gervilla, Chicago’s own Tapas King, Sol Y Nieve has continued to flourish since its humble beginnings in 1988. Driven by his love for Spanish food, Chef Emilio has continued nurturing his passion for cooking and is responsible for putting Spanish small plates in Chicagoans’ consciousness. His numerous awards and almost 30-year old restaurant are testament to his delicious traditional yet innovative Iberian-influenced cuisine.

The restaurant is conveniently located near several tourist attractions and landmarks, which make the open patio one of the most coveted in Chi-town. There are flamenco performances several nights a week, and as an additional treat, Moment Chicago residents get 20% off their total bill with their GoConnect card!

Salero Restaurant
621 W Randolph St, Chicago, IL 60661

Salero brings their own brand of Spanish food to Chicago, featuring interesting flavors and strong Basque influences. More than tapas (called pinxtos in the Basque region), Salero favorites include dishes like octopus a la plancha and chorizo stuffed quail, best paired with wine from their extensive list of Spanish liquors. The upscale yet fun casual dining ambience makes it great choice for dates and special occasions.

What are your thoughts on the best places for tapas in Chicago? Would you add anything to this list? Let us know in the comments below!

Author: Maddy Osman, an SEO Content Strategist who has a passion for blogging. Her lifestyle blog, ChicagoCheapAss, shows young adults how to find the best deals and values in Chicago!