photo: Courtesy of Nick Flandro
Drenched in tropical colors and salsa music, Sangria's colorful atmosphere matches its homemade sangria flavors (rojo, blanco, champagne, white peach, raspberry and mango). This spacious nightspot is definitely a moneymaker: It's just too tempting to stop at one round of tapas and sangria, so plan on dropping some cash to keep the party flowing. A glass of sangria runs about $5, and a pitcher goes for $20.
Sangria serves recipes from 24 Latin countries with a wine list from Chile, Spain and Argentina, and the mod-style eatery turns into a nightclub at midnight. The versatile menu has many veggie and seafood options, in addition to carnivorous classics. Fish lovers can munch on calamari, grilled octopus or a shrimp taco ($3.95-$10.95). There are also more perplexing options for vegetarians like fried dates wrapped in bacon ($6.95). Paella runs $9.95 (with mushrooms) to $13.95 (sea fare). Platos grandes for the entire table range from $14.95 to $32.95. Our waiter, Juan, said his favorites were a stuffed-pepper dish called Chili Cilis and the meat and potato boat, which is potato skins filled with chili and braised short rib.
The main dining room and loft are open Tuesday through Saturday at 5 p.m. Though there's plenty of space in the Weed Street District (near North and Clybourn Avenues), this place gets packed on the weekends (reservations are required for late-night tables); the DJ arrives at 11 p.m. on Friday, and last call is at 4 a.m. If you're driving, expect to fight for a spot, unless you want to pay $10 for valet service.
Average cost: $10-$20
Centerstage Reviewer: Katy Nelson