English Food The foreign life

The Spanish Square rounds up the Spanish restaurant offer in Chicago nicely

*Note: I am in no way compensated by anyone to write about restaurants. The owner and staff didn’t know that I intended to write about it when I dined there, and this is just my humble and personal opinion of this restaurant, as it would be about any other.

In the last few years a myriad of Spanish restaurants have opened in Chicago: mfk, Salero, Vera or Black Bull are just a few among them. The latest to join them is The Spanish Square, a bodega and tapas bar that opened in Lakeview in January.

As many other excited Spaniards did, I visited it the first week it opened. I gave it some time to settle, and I visited again in two separate occasions recently. I have to say that I haven’t seen before so much disparity of opinions among Spaniards about a restaurant. The main complaint is that many think that their tapas are too small, and therefore it is too expensive. I have to disagree with the second part. They offer many smaller tapas (actually, the size tapas would be in Spain), but they are also half the price than what you would expect in other places. So I don’t think it is more expensive than other comparable places. But I think that by the time they have their credit cards ready, patrons have probably also had a couple of glasses of wine or sangría, are forgetting how expensive alcohol is anywhere, and what sticks out to them is a bill that seems too high for what they ate.

My veredict? I actually like it. I think the quality of the food is, for the most part, great. I love their adobo, they know how to cut and serve ibérico meats, and the service was outstanding during the day and good enough on a busy night. The small tapas allow you to try more options. On top of that hey have always been very welcoming and accommodating when I have visited with kids, which is a plus.

The only item I wasn’t crazy about were the croquetas. They tasted more like Cuban croquetas than Spanish ones. They have too much filling and not enough bechamel, whereas Spanish croquetas normally have more bechamel than filling, and therefore are more delicate. But that is a little issue among a sea of strengths. The space is beautiful, and understated. I could actually think that I am in Spain. The rest of the menu is solid, although many locals may miss a paella option. Their market is well stocked, and reasonably priced if you compare with the other places where you can buy products from Spain. And everyone there is nice and friendly, and pretty enthusiastic about the place. It is definitely worth a visit, either for a family lunch or for a dinner out with friends.

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