Foodies, world travelers and diehard snackers alike will adore Pintxos, the weekend-only small plate spot above Cafe Iberico. A little slice of Basque country in River North, the warm space is part bar, part restaurant, part perfect way to end a night of clubbing that doesn’t involve a White Castle crave case.
From the Basque for "thorn," a pintxo is a small slice of bread upon which a combination of seafood, meat, peppers and sauce is held in place using a skewer, giving the food its name. Throughout northern Spain, pintxo cafes are ubiquitous, and locals typically pass the afternoon wandering from one to the next, grazing on the little bites along with petit wine pours know as txikits until eventually they find themselves full. In Chicago, Pintxos exists in a vacuum, so there's no wandering from cafe to cafe, and a smaller chance you’ll wind up full. Those of us who aren't satisfied by tapas, let alone its cute little sister pintxos, might ask, "Hey where's the rest of my friggin' meal?"
If the selection of diminutive dishes doesn't fill you up, there’s tortilla espanolas served in portions large enough to feed four and family-style pollo al ajillo. Or, you could you use the extra stomach room as an excuse to indulge in an elfin flan or bread pudding.
Average cost: $10-$20
Centerstage Reviewer: Amanda Nyren