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“Enjoyed our dining experience”
Review of Mercat a la Planxa

Mercat a la Planxa
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Ranked #101 of 9,548 Restaurants in Chicago
Certificate of Excellence
Price range: $31 - $50
Cuisines: Spanish
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Good for: Special occasions, Bar scene
Dining options: Breakfast, Dinner, Lunch, Late Night, Reservations
Dining style: Casual Elegant
Neighborhood: Downtown / The Loop
Cross street: Balbo
Transit: Nearest Red-line Stop is Harrison, head east on Balbo, restaurant is on the corner of Balbo & Michigan. Bus lines are the #3, #127, #129 all three stop at the entrance of Mercat a la Planxa.
Description: Mercat a La Planxa features an extraordinary selection of tapas dishes from cut-to-order charcuterie and cheeses to fresh seafood, steaks and chops, all inspired by Barcelona & Spain's Catalan region. The impressive menu includes an emphasis on meats and seafood served a la planxa or grilled-to-order. At the bar enjoy a tempting array of seasonally inspired sangrias, Spanish-styled cocktails and martinis, and for the wine lover choose from our extensive collection of Spanish cavas, and our carefully selected wine list featuring 40 Spanish wines available by the bottle or by the glass. 3 Private Dining Rooms available for that special event you are planning. From boardroom luncheons and corporate events to anniversary dinners and birthday brunches, Mercat is the perfect location for any celebration!
Level Contributor
23 reviews
17 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 118 helpful votes
“Enjoyed our dining experience”
Reviewed April 17, 2011

My husband and I stayed at the Blackstone while in Chicago, and decided to have dinner at Mercat. Reviews seemed iffy but I decided to go with it anyway since it was so convenienet! We ordered:
Olives - good, but with the pits more trouble than they were worth
La Peral Cheese plate- very good, the blue cheese flavor is very strong and could have used more of the accompaniments (apple slices, etc)
Garlic Shrimp - good and very garlicky
Beef Shortrib Flatbreak - one of our favorites!
Bacon Wrapped Dates - excellent
Butternut Squash Dumplings w/lamb ragout and black truffles - one of my favorites but a little exotic for my husband :)
Spicy potatos with paprika - good
We also had a pitcher of sangria that we both liked as well as a dessert that I can't remember what it was but we enjoyed. All in all, it was a good meal, the only bad thing I can say is they cram you in there like sardines. When I had to use the restroom, we had to actually move our table so I could get out, and I'm a fairly small person. The service was fine, and it's a fairly energetic atmosphere, so don't go expecting a romantic evening.

  • Visited April 2011
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
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Thank dutchgirl73
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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796 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
Date | Rating
  • Chinese (Simplified) first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Japanese first
  • Portuguese first
  • Russian first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Level Contributor
77 reviews
54 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 31 helpful votes
“Nice tapas, good quality, fair dessert. Not iron standard”
Reviewed February 22, 2011

little over priced; good wine list. Reservations recommended.

  • Visited February 2011
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
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    • Food
Thank MSAUsa
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Chicago, Illinois
Level Contributor
42 reviews
27 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 18 helpful votes
“Don't understand all the hype !”
Reviewed December 7, 2010

Was anticpating a wonderful experience from all the reviews and media attention of this establishment but was sorely disappointed. Made a reservation and was seated immediately on a busy Saturday night. Our server was pleasant but uninformative. She only told us about Chef Garces winning Iron Chef and said to order 3-5 items per person. When further asked what she would recommend she said try one from every section and walked away. Here's my take:

Seasonal Sangria: white with grilled apples and rosemary - Excpetional !
Complimentary Flatbread - Delicious
Presenstation of Food - appetizing and inventive
The only item we walked away saying that was delicious and memorable was the Setas Al Horno (wild mushroom confit)

We had Calots (charred green onions), over blanched and flavorless and stringy and knives at table were not even sharp enough to cut food into pieces. Garrotxa Quesos was average. Croquetas de Bacalo average. Pelotas calabaza (butternut pasta was good). Some lamb/bacon skewer dish. The lamb was bland and grizzly.

I was expecting more flavor and more assistance as a first time visitor. Over priced for the portions. Quite frankly we stopped ordering because we weren't impressed. Everyone around us was ordering the Fig dish which we did not order but seemed to be impressive. I am a novice Tapas diner but I've been to other Tapas places in the city which far exceed the value and complexity of tastes.

Atmosphere is loud and social not recommended for intimate dinner conversation. If you go ask alot of questions of your server.

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    • Food
1 Thank AdvisorMember35
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Sugar Land
Level Contributor
387 reviews
180 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 313 helpful votes
“Wonderful tapas, fun atmosphere”
Reviewed November 26, 2010

Awesome meal here with my husband and cousin. They wanted to try the $85 premium tasting menu, which I knew would be too much food for me,but the whole table had to do it, so I took the pescetarian option. WOW! I can't remember all of the tapas plates they served us...it was at least 15, most with three generous portions plus a few "solo serving" seafood or vegetarian options. Everything was delicious. Highlights include the prosciuotto wrapped dates, seafood albondigas, lamb chops, green bean salad, butternut squash dumplings and mushroom risotto. The chocolate croquettes were fabulous. The wine list offered a variety of choices, and our server's recommendations were excellent. Next time we return we'll do the a la carte option

    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Thank sugarlandmom
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Cleveland, Ohio
Level Contributor
32 reviews
17 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 15 helpful votes
“Fabulous Evening”
Reviewed November 14, 2010

I was visiting a friend in Chicago this weekend and we were lucky enough to get reservations at Mercat. We had an amazing experience and meal.

We arrived a bit early and were directed to the circle to wait. The circle is a cute little area with 4 little bar tables. We liked it so much that we decided to eat there. The hostess was so thankful we gave up our table that she brought us each a glass of sparkling wine which was a nice surprise.

On to the food. We decided to go with the tasting menu and wine pairings. Wow. The food was incredible...and plentiful. The first course was amazing chorizo, cheese, olives, peppers and more. I can't even remember all the food as it just kept coming out. There were stuffed dates that were like heaven on a stick. We also loved the squash pasta pillows. The steak was to die for too. We both were so happy we went with the tasting menu. It was delicious and gave us time to just chat without thinking about what to order.

Oh, and the chef came out to visit which was nice touch...not Jose, but that's ok. It was great he did that.

Go to Mercat...you won't be sorry!

Thank SKS4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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