Vera | West Loop/Fulton Market | Tapas/Spanish, Bar/Lounge, Wine Bar | Restaurant
Spanish wine bar from Mark Mendez, longtime executive chef at Carnivale, and his sommelier wife, Elizabeth.

Our Review

Even before leaving Jerry Kleiner's Carnivale, Mark Mendez made much of his desire to cook simply, from scratch, with premium, local-if-possible products. Now, in an environment with a radically decreased volume in both production and decibels, that approach bears out consistently across a mutating menu, on which prices are low and a great many of the small plates prove to be truly shareable. A whole meal could be made simply from a few glasses of leathery Black Slate Porrera and the chef's tripe, morcilla, and garbanzos, an offal plate so textured and soulful I had to order it on two separate visits. It's also possible to gorge on substantially meaty plates at astonishing value. But I'm most excited to see what Mendez does with vegetables as the seasons change. Elizabeth Mendez's affordable, unusual wine list—which includes wines from underrepresented regions (Portugal, Switzerland) and a impressive range of sherries by the glass—is reason enough to venture to this West Loop corner in the shadow of the Green Line. It's thrilling to watch her and her husband fully express themselves. Read the full review >>

Mike Sula

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Bar Details

This Spanish wine bar from Mark and Liz Mendez is a cream-colored, high-ceilinged room with a handsome bar and cheese counter. Liz put together the wine list, which has at least a couple dozen by the glass and a range of tasting flights and bottles from both old- and new-school Spain. She's also offering several European beers and Spanish ciders as well as a host of sherries by the glass—a Grant La Garrocha palomino fino recommended by the server turned out to be just $5. —Kate Schmidt


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