Cafe Iberico | River North | Tapas/Spanish | Restaurant
Classic, reasonably priced tapas in a cavernous—and at times cacophonous—space.

Our Review

Loud, crowded, and a tad disheveled, Cafe Iberico has been going strong for years and seems only slightly worse for the wear. The cavernous 450-seat restaurant includes two dining rooms, three bars, a party room, and a deli counter offering a selection of Spanish cheese, sausages, and canned goods. At 10 PM on a Wednesday night the front bar was surprisingly packed with a diverse crowd of diners, from a clutch of Muslim teenagers gossiping on the sidewalk for hours to a multiethnic mix of young professional couples and a rowdy squad of pub-crawling frat guys. The service was efficient, if not terribly solicitous, and the bathroom was a mess. But if you stick to the classics, the menu still delivers. A bowl of mild Spanish olives was a nice complement to a simple plate of buttery jamon iberico and nutty manchego cheese, served with rounds of bruschetta. The gambas al aijillo—grilled shrimp in garlic and oil—were firm, crispy-tailed, and came sizzling hot; champignons a la plancha were mushroom caps in their own dusky, smoky oil-and-garlic suspension. The more ambitious dishes sometimes fall flat, but if an item disappoints, you’re not out much, and here even the sangria is cheap.

Martha Bayne

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Price: $$
Payment Type: Diners Club, Discover, MasterCard, Visa

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