Chicago >Food & Dining > Mercat
638 S Michigan Ave, Chicago, IL | Directions 6060541.873275 -87.624448
Neighborhoods: Loop, Central
I believe this to be true: Mercat is the best tapas restaurant in the city.
What a breathtaking dining room. Plus, the best food of any hotel restaurant on Michigan. Great tapas. Be sure to get the special sangria.
Amazing Food, Spectacular Space – We arrived for a Saturday evening reservation for 6 people at 8PM and had a short wait. The host staff and bartenders on the first floor were accomodating while we sipped the seasonal sangria steeped with an unusual hot pepper--it was unexpected and delicious and set the stage for the rest of the evening. We ordered the chef's tasting menu with three courses per person at $55. We had plenty of food and I'm sure we had more than three plates each since the chef sent out some extra little specials.
What really stood out were the quality of the ingredients. This is a tapas restaurant in a city with some very good choices, and Mercat oofers the best tapas I've ever had. Standouts included complex, nutty jamon iberico, a tasty cheese flight, morel arroz, an octopus dish, and colorado lamb, diver scallops & ribeye from the grill. So-so choices came from the veggie selections, including escalivada (roasted eggplant, cippoline onions, bell peppers and tomatoes), and the patatas bravas (a beautiful presentation of what amounted to slightly spicy tater tots). We also opted to order some desserts including an uncooked catalan flan which was amazing and light and four chocolate presentations on one plate: everyone was fighting for the hot chocolate with whipped creme and the mousse in the demitasse cups.
The restaurant was packed and the timing was off just slightly. On a couple of occasions, we had enough time for members of our party to leave for 5 minute breaks. There was also one slip up with delivering the wrong drink to the table. These tiny issues did not affect our experience. The space is huge, two-stories with great views of the park across the street. It has hip, urban appeal with two levels of dining and a VIP birdsnest above the whole scene. The best tables are windowside or along the south wall, since the tables on the main floor are relatively close.
This is "foodie" tapas and I'll be back again!
We love Mercat – If you are looking for a restaurant that has great food and even better service, head down to Mercat a la Planxa in Blackstone Hotel on S. Mich ave. We had dinner with some friends on Staurday night. It was exciting to be a part of such an extrodinary dining experience. The room was electric, great music, unusually creative drinks, wonderful food and a professional service staff. This is how a restaurant should be.
Try the dry aged beef, the sortrib coca, seared tuna and the diver scallops. These were our favorites. Ask for Jerry....he will make you feel like royalty. Welcome to the neighborhood!
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