The Spanish Square | Lakeview | Tapas/Spanish | Restaurant
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Anthony Soave

Tapas bar and Spanish market also featuring live music, wine tastings, and Spanish-language nights.

Our Review

This Spanish restaurant and market has more than a hint of a nostalgic feel: owners Mara Baer and Manuel Moreno after moving to Chicago from Sanlúcar de Barrameda, on the country's southern coast, that they missed their native food. Along one wall, separated slightly from the dining room by columns and arches, is a small market that sells cheeses and cured meats along with goods including olive oil, anchovies, and dates preserved in sherry, plus housewares like paella pans and ceramic dishes. A small wine cellar—with an iron gate across part of the entry area that makes it resemble a very inviting jail cell—is carved out of another wall. The menu is divided into cold and hot tapas, along with cheese and charcuterie, small sandwiches, and toasts with various toppings. Ensaladilla (a sort of potato salad with tuna, peas, carrots, and hard-boiled egg) and pimiento de piquillo relleno (a small red pepper stuffed with tuna salad and topped with tiny shrimp, crumbled egg, and aioli), both elevated by the outstanding Spanish tuna, hinted at great things to come. And the crispy, creamy croquettes and tender, delightfully vinegary adobo (swordfish marinated in vinegar, battered, and fried) were satisfying bites. But even chorizo couldn't save the bland habichuelas, a mushy combination of white beans, chorizo, and undercooked potato. Most of the other tapas fell somewhere between the two extremes, but there is one section of the menu where the Spanish Square shines. Three of the four tostadas ("toasts" not to be confused with Mexican tostadas) came to the table, and I enjoyed every one. Even the simplest, pan con tomate—tomato puree on a huge slice of crusty bread cut into slices—was habit forming, especially if you opt to add jamon. Read more >>

Mike Sula

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Price: $$
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