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“Wow, a really great place.”
Review of Mercat a la Planxa

Mercat a la Planxa
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Ranked #76 of 9,810 Restaurants in Chicago
Certificate of Excellence
Price range: $31 - $50
Cuisines: Spanish
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Restaurant details
Good for: Bar scene, Special occasions
Dining options: Lunch, Late Night, Dinner, Breakfast, 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!
Reviewed November 15, 2012

First timers at Merkat. Table of four, we selected the chef's choice array. Every item, and there were a lot, was delicious. Nicely presented and explained by the wait staff. Wine list is very good, although very high priced. We would definitely go back to this spot.

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1  Thank rac-columbus
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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631 - 635 of 844 reviews

Reviewed November 14, 2012

Stayed at the Blackstone and went to this restaurant on a recommendation from the hotel. After discussing that the chef, Jose Garces is a two time Iron Chef winner we were intrigued to see his take on Spanish tapas. Seeing as we visited Barcelona a few years ago and absolutely love tapas we were looking forward to the meal. Room is large and has a very styled and cool decor. Service was casual and friendly - the waiter recommended two really great cocktails. Upon discussing the menu, we took the recommendation to dine with the chef's tasting menu. This is where things started to go downhill.

The dishes were very rushed and not described properly. Had we not been familiar with tapas we would have been lost. They delivered the cured meat dish of our first course to the table next to us. Their waiter came by and acknowledged that they did not order the dish but told them to enjoy. When our waiter came by after the food runners dropped off the dishes for the second course we asked him about the missing dish. He didn't have any idea but the kitchen send another one over. Unfortunately this messed up the order of all the other dishes. As part of the second course there was a garlic shrimp dish - it was so over salted and way too much garlic that we couldn't eat most of it. Waiter came by and just picked it up without saying anything. It was obvious that we did not enjoy the dish.

As part of the third course dishes there was grilled shrimp dish. Two grilled shrimp - one was fresh off the grill and the other was out of the fridge! So bizarre. Sent it back they did ask if we wanted it replaced which we refused. I expected it to come off the bill or a different dish (perhaps dessert) sent over but no such luck.

The missteps of the kitchen executing the dishes aside the food was not very creative. Had everyone not discussed Mercat's celebrity Iron Chef I may have thought differently of my experience - just a expensive tapas bar in a hotel. I expected a lot more and left underwhelmed. In a gourmet destination such as Chicago, Mercat should perform much better than it did.

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1  Thank T0r0nt0nianTraveller
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 12, 2012

Loved it all per the the title. Atmosphere very nice. Only one no-brainer thing lacking: a restaurant cuisine that depends on bread and crackers for many of the offerings really needs to have gluten-free options. Gluten free bread and crackers are easy to find, and in comparison to the costs of the meals they don't cost a lot.
As I said - it's a no brainer.

Hopefully they will read this and next time it'll be 5 circles!

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Thank matlock99
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 11, 2012

Really enjoyed our experience here. We have been missing really good Spanish food since we moved to CA last year, and Mercat a la Planxa was just the fix we needed. Everything we ordered was excellent. Service was attentive and fast. The restaurant is on the second floor, with high ceilings and a view of Millennium park (I think). Feels casual and lively, without being noisy. Definitely a place we will visit on our next trip to Chicago!

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Thank Amit_and_Alex
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 5, 2012

Mercat's menu is somewhat limited, but creative. Service is brisk, but not rushed; yet, we ordered, ate, paid and were out of there in about 30 minutes! We could have lingered, if we desired, I feel.
Other tapas restaurants we have visited time the small plates a little more staggered. Mercat's tapas seemed to come in quick succession; but I must observe that each tapa was sizzling HOT and fresh. Complimentary tomato bread was a nice touch. Their Sangria offerings were also more creative that other tapas restaurants.
Restaurant atmosphere is lively, but not overly noisy.
Pricing was more expensive than other Chicago tapas restaurants, such as Cafe Iberico or Emiliio's

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Thank Weeniedog51
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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