Mercat a La Planxa
Just Go!Great place. we were visiting from Houston and found it by searching for "Tapas" on my iPhone app. Best place to stumble into ever.6/13/2013 12:00:00 AMno fuss lunch spotI've been here for dinner a few times, and it's always been great which is why I took a client there for lunch. We made a reservation, but it wasn't necessary. The restaurant was quiet but the service didn't suffer as a result as it sometimes does in that situation. The lunch menu is delicious and affordable and is just as good as dinner. They're food is delicious, fresh, and neatly prepared. Some of the foods are authentic, and some are inventive, and I don't think you have to be a foodie to appreciate it. The servers are extremely knowledgeable about the menu, and also take extreme care to cater to guests with special dietary needs. I'll definitely be going back.6/11/2013 12:00:00 AMDeliciousWe had the tasting menu and it was veryyyy good. By the 3rd course, we were almost full. Tapas were inventive and tasty. The bacon dates was really good (and i normally don't like this dish elsewhere). The blue cheese w. bread and apple taster was good. The sirloin sliced w. 3 sauces was great.6/11/2013 12:00:00 AMAMAZING FOOD - Fun with FriendsI went with 3 girl friends who had never been to a Tapas resturant. They all loved the food, fun and sharing of Tapas.
They kept raving about it the next day and we cant wait to go back.6/9/2013 12:00:00 AMOverall good, BUT...We did the 3 course Sunday brunch--more than enough food with a lot of variety and savory seasonings for a fairly reasonable price. The salmon benedict was the best, but we were really disappointed in the roast suckling pig. It arrived nicely presented like an appealing slice of pork, but it was ground meat w/ fillers like a hamburger! It tasted OK, but just wasn't what we expected.
The ambiance of the historic Blackstone was very nice. Our waitress was especially accommodating and pleasant. We had asked to be moved because some of the seating is very close together and we wanted to have our own conversation.
If I went back again I would order just the salmon benedict, or maybe something else, but never the misnamed "roast suckling pig".6/9/2013 12:00:00 AMReally delicious and uniqueReally delicious and unique food. Great location---near Field Museum and Printer's Row.6/8/2013 12:00:00 AMGreat food but priceyWe had their express lunch deal. The food quality was excellent, but quantity was barely enough even for a light lunch, unless you take the burger in the second course.6/8/2013 12:00:00 AMAmazes me yet againMy experience at Mercat was yet again out of this world. The food, the fun ambiance and the service were all spectacular. I will rave about this restaurant again and again as it is hands down my favorite restaurant in Chicago.6/2/2013 12:00:00 AMBest tapas in ChicagoIron Chef Garces is doing amazing work. The food is beautiful, tastes great with complicated layers which give each item great depth. Romantic, fun, and reasonably priced for what you get. This was our third time there.6/2/2013 12:00:00 AMTastyWe had the luxury tasting table, and everything was just delicious. The food kept coming and coming. We certainly left there full and satisfied! It was my first time there, and we'll definitely return!6/1/2013 12:00:00 AMExcellent drinks and good foodThe drink selection here was the best we found in Chicago (from the cream sherry, brazil drink (super refreshing) to the $19/glass red wine). The small plates were good and sometimes quite good but certainly not interesting or memorable or even "wow, that was great-let's order it again." A bit disappointing for the price and caliber of restaurant. We had lamb meatballs, rabbit dish, spinach empanadas, wild mushroom soup (which actually was one of the best), squash florets, mushroom flatbread, cheesecake, chocolate Bon bons and I actually cannot remember a few! Would I return, yes. Would I only have a few plates and dinner elsewhere, likely. Drinks were actually worth returning for, not usually what I notice at a restaurant.6/1/2013 12:00:00 AMI have been to this restaurantI have been to this restaurant before and I wonder if the chef has changed, because my experience was not quite as good. I again loved the ambiance and energy of this place, and the friendly and helpful server. But the food was not as good this time. As another reviewer suggested (but I ignored), there is too much salt; particularly on the spinach and on the potatoes that are part of the tasting menu. The great items were the prociutto "salad" (lettuce wrapped in prociutto), the olives, the roasted dates. Not-so-favs included the octopus (or was it squid?), spinach, and potatoes. But, I would come again to try things not on the tasting menu, because it is just a very fun atmosphere. Cocktails were interesting too.6/1/2013 12:00:00 AMAn experience!This dining experience was one of a kind. I loved every bite. Creative, delicious menu!5/31/2013 12:00:00 AMTasty!Great small plates and interesting drinks. A tad on the expensive side but worth it.5/31/2013 12:00:00 AMI love this restaurant andI love this restaurant and have been been there 3 times with clients. We order lots of different things and share, which makes for a fun meal. The flavors are superb and everything tastes great! The bacon wrapped dates with marcona almonds are my favorite. An excellent (and fun) dining experience.5/30/2013 12:00:00 AMWe'd come back for breakfastMy sister and I came for breakfast on our last day in Chicago and we were treated to a wonderful meal. She said her eggs Benedict was one of the best she has ever had and my shrimp, short rib and grits dish was a unique breakfast treat that was cheesy and delicious.5/27/2013 12:00:00 AMFantastic foodA great experience, the server prepared an a-la-carte set of options. Truly amazing.5/26/2013 12:00:00 AMGreat food, with an spanish touchIt has many of the basics of the Spanish food, but clearly the chef puts his own touch to some classic dishes.
A bit noisy, but that makes it attractive and different too. Not your typical business dinner restaurant, fun for groups, very good food. A bit expensive but it's worth every dollar.5/25/2013 12:00:00 AMwe had a wonderful dinnerwe had a wonderful dinner and fantastic service. loved everything we ate! would definitely go back5/24/2013 12:00:00 AMMercat BrunchTook my in-laws here for the tasting brunch. The food was good... But the time between coarses was too long. Also, they didn't bring clean plates between courses and the tasting menu was brought out family style.5/19/2013 12:00:00 AMGreat food at reasonable prices,Great food at reasonable prices, with great service.5/17/2013 12:00:00 AMExciting, innovative placeThis restaurant was an easy walk from our Grant Park hotel - glad we had reservations, as they filled quickly to a lively, noisy capacity. Luckily, we had a booth, so we could at least hear each other talk. Very innovative, unusual and delicious cuisine; we ordered four tapas and dessert between two people, which was plenty of food. Would be a great place for live flamenco!5/17/2013 12:00:00 AMfor a different experienceGood way to sample new items; somewhat hit or miss. Terrific pork and beef short rib selections but so so first course/appetizer of goat chesse and olive spread and great serrano ham covered spinach.5/16/2013 12:00:00 AMTapas or "small plates" are awesomeMy coworker & I took a client to dinner here. The three of us each ordered one plate per round and shared each tapa as per the server's suggestion. It was so much fun to be able to try so many different flavors and dishes. I believe we went 3 or 4 rounds before ordering desserts! The food was phenomenal! We had the queso mixto (three types of cheese with fruit/bread/jam) and charcuterie mixto (three types of thin sliced sausage), lamb meatballs, branzino fish, three different flatbreads, butternut squash dumplings, ham & sausage croquetas, and more. Dessert flavors included-a yellow cake with lemon curd & blueberry & creme fraiche; 78%cacao with hazelnut & brown sugar tuille; and these chocolate coconut bon bons that were so good!5/16/2013 12:00:00 AMFabShared several tapas with a pal and one signature pasta dish with rabbit, foam, brown butter,chestnut puree and cherries was so good we ordered it twice! All the other items were very good and great wine list. (Just didn't love the empandas...kind of greasy and too little filling. I like them baked vs. fried so we just ate the filling.) I will be back!5/15/2013 12:00:00 AMGreat Mother's DayMy wife and I had a tremendous time. The food was great and our waiter was fantastic!!!Ku5/11/2013 12:00:00 AMA great experience. Both theA great experience. Both the food and service were excellent. We'll definitely go again.5/10/2013 12:00:00 AMGreat food - slow deliveryExcellent food. Service was slow, but you have to expect that at Mercator. It's a good place and excellent for the foodies.5/9/2013 12:00:00 AMDelicious Tapas!The food here was terrific and there was a wide array of small, medium and larger dining options. It was easy to see how Jose Garces earned the title of Iron Chef! Our waiter was very knowledgeable as to ingredients, preparation and portion sizes as well as the specialty cocktails-which were also very inventive and delicious. As the place filled up, service got a tad slow. We ordered dessert just in time to be able to finish and get to a show at the Auditorium Theater around the corner. The table next to us inquired about ordering dessert but the waiter did let them know that the kitchen was a bit behind and apologized as he knew they had theater tickets as well-not something most places would do. I most certainly will be going back!5/9/2013 12:00:00 AMSuperbAdmittedly the only tapas place I have been to in Chicago so far, but the food was exquisite and the service was excellent. The bacon wrapped dates were the highlight of the courses we had. The noise level was a bit much and at time felt like I was at a pub screaming just to have a conversation. Other than that, the food, service and ambiance were quite nice.5/7/2013 12:00:00 AMWonderful food and serviceMercat is one of our favorite restaurants in Chicago. Its great for entertaining out of towners or a special occasion. I always order from the Chef's Tasting Menu - and I am never disappointed. We went on a Monday night and it was busy but we were not rushed from our table. The service was excellent and attentive - great team work by the waiter and his support staff.5/6/2013 12:00:00 AMEnjoyable for drinks and appetizersStopped to chat with a friend and enjoyed their sangria flight, martini, and tasty appetizers. Would definitely return for dinner. Light, airy, comfortable space.5/5/2013 12:00:00 AMI love this place. SecondI love this place. Second time back and it was absolutely wonderful.5/5/2013 12:00:00 AMMercat - Always GoodMy third meal at Mercat. The food and service are excellent.5/4/2013 12:00:00 AMNot for busy timesMercat's food is good though expensive and very limited in selection. The main issue is seating/service. We had a reservation, but had to stand for 30 minutes waiting for a table to come available. The wait staff looked overloaded on this friday night too. Loud thumping music.5/3/2013 12:00:00 AMEvery tapas was a hit...Our server was excellent and guided us through the meal because several of us were tapas novices. Every single item served was delicious. We also appreciated the vegan friendly approach. Lots of fun was had by all.5/3/2013 12:00:00 AMSpanish Delights!Mercat continues to be a real treasure for Chicago, serving authentic Spanish/Catalan dishes that are always a treat. The tasting menu is a real feast with terrific variety, and there is an excellent selection of Spanish wines to complement the food. It can be a bit loud when the restaurant is full, but it is the sound of happy, energetic diners!5/2/2013 12:00:00 AMTapa-tasticWe are not adventurous eaters (no organ meats or game) and we found plenty of delicious choices.4/30/2013 12:00:00 AMMercat shines againWe've been to Mercat many times, and we are always amazed at how good it always is. On our most recent visit, there were some new items on the menu that were superb. Old standbys continued to be deliscious. We tend to stick to the traditional tapas, since we can sample more dishes. Though we are carnivores, we love the non-meat dishes more, although it's hard to pass up anything with bacon or pork. I love the all-Spanish wine list. Spanish wines are a great value and they have bottles from virtually every wine-growing region. Our wait-person and the service were not as polished as previously.4/29/2013 12:00:00 AMFood was good, we enjoyedFood was good, we enjoyed the tapas menu selections. The noise level was very high, you're packed in like sardines & the service was lacking.4/27/2013 12:00:00 AMWe had a handicapped personWe had a handicapped person in our party. The hostess could not have been more understanding and accommodating. Very good dining experience and a happy place!4/27/2013 12:00:00 AMOur group did the Chef's TastingOur group did the Chef's Tasting Menu and it was incredible and they had no problem making a pescetarian only plate for me. We were a bit worried that it wouldn't be enough food and that was far from the truth. In fact, we wish our table was bigger to hold all the plates.4/27/2013 12:00:00 AMFlavor, flavor and more flavor!Either my group had an uncanny ability to make great selections from the vast menu or it's really difficult to find any dishes that aren't delicious. I think it is the later. We had several of the A La Planxa fish and seafood selections - the lobster, scallops, striped bass - all amazing. Also had the Spinach from the vegetables menu, with currants, pine nuts and apples, which was the best spinach dish I've ever had. The lamb chops were so succulent and flavorful that the accompanying sauces were almost superfluous but I tasted them anyway and they were very nice. The desserts were just the right size for satisfying the sweet tooth at the end of the meal. Nice staff, beautiful room and I just cannot say enough great things about the food.4/26/2013 12:00:00 AMA bit on the pricey side,A bit on the pricey side, but great wine selection and nice ambiance.4/26/2013 12:00:00 AMfun atmosphere, good food,fun atmosphere, good food, and close to auditorium theater.4/26/2013 12:00:00 AMWe had an awesome server whoWe had an awesome server who took the time to explain the menue and suggest things we might like. She made our evening.4/25/2013 12:00:00 AMOutstanding. Traditional SpanishOutstanding. Traditional Spanish tapas taken to a whole different level. Amazing flavors.4/24/2013 12:00:00 AMFood was excellent, all dishesFood was excellent, all dishes were mouthwatering. The only issue we had was that while the first few dishes came out in great time, the remaining dishes were delayed. Other than that, all was well.4/24/2013 12:00:00 AMgood food, bad seating.We have been to Mercat several times now. Food is generally good but not reliable from visit to visit. Some dishes vary drastically from time to time.
This restaurant is right next to several huge downtown hotels, which are close to the convention center.
Seating is also an issue. Even with a reservation, we seem to end up in awful spots -- tables that might seat 2 people, where 4 are stuck. Of course, the best seats are next to window. It seemed to us that the front-staff are "fixing" the seating arrangements. Next time, we are going to require a better seat or bail.
Service is slow, whether the place is empty or busy.
This is a moderately expensive restaurant -- reasonable. Expensive street parking is easy to get.4/24/2013 12:00:00 AMHad a nice business lunchHad a nice business lunch with a party of five, so can't comment on the dinner menu, bar scene and wine list, which were said to be considerably more extensive. Creative lunch menu enabled a vegetarian in our party to have a good meal, too. I had scallops, which I thought were a tad mushy, but good flavor. All other entres were said to be very good. Everyone enjoyed their meal.4/22/2013 12:00:00 AM