The Top Spanish Restaurants in Chicago

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A tiled wall lined with hanging aged pork legs.
Chicago is stocked with splashy and subtle Spanish restaurants.
Garrett Sweet/Eater Chicago

Where to find terrific tapas, pinxtos, sangria, and much more

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Chicago is stocked with splashy and subtle Spanish restaurants.
| Garrett Sweet/Eater Chicago

Between flamenco, sangria, and late-night dinners, there’s a lot to love about Spanish dining. And then, of course, there are the tapas — the small plates that are easy to share, brimming with bold flavors to please all kinds of diners.

Thankfully, Chicago is home to a slew of spots specializing in just that, with styles ranging from the traditional to the modern day. From a casual neighborhood retreat in Andersonville to a Michelin-starred seafood palace in West Town, here are Eater Chicago’s picks for the city’s best Spanish restaurants.

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Andersonville diners can be difficult to win over, but first-time restaurant owner (and native Spaniard) Francisco Bolanos seems to have solved the neighborhood puzzle with his cozy and casual storefront spot. Fans come back over and over for hits like patatas bravas, huevos rotos (manchego, jamón serrano or Spanish chorizo), and marisco paella (mussels, clams, calamari, shrimp, green peas).

Inspired by the coastal regions of the Catalonian and Basque countries of Spain, this tiny subterranean restaurant focuses on simply prepared food, easy-drinking beverages, and a relaxed, intimate ambiance that draws neighborhood denizens and visitors alike. Don’t miss favorites like suzuki bass crudo (guacamole, squid ink tostada), gambas al ajillo (garlic confit, chili flake, baguette), and the Neon Hatch cocktail (mezcal, pineapple cordial, falernum, orange bitters).

Lincoln Park’s charming all-day Spanish restaurant from chef James Martin features a stellar lineup of sandwiches at lunch (first-timers would do well to opt for the lamb) and an ambitious dinner service that dwells on favorites like Iberico pork with bulb onions, cabbage, pickled snap peas, and red and green mojo. There’s also a hidden patio in back, and great coffee options during the day. The bocadillos are kind of a midwestern take on the Spanish item. It’s not authentic — they’re larger and stuffed with whatever’s in season.

This lively Lincoln Park restaurant has been drawing groups for more than 35 years for a variety of Spanish plates. Kick things off with a sampling of the pintxos (namely the chorizo-wrapped dates and bacalao croquettes), and try the paella — the mariscos version packs in a medley of saffron-laced seafood, including shrimp, squid, and mussels. If there’s a wait, head to the bar for some sangria — the staff serves six kinds.

Longtime local favorite Bulerias, which has relocated from a previous home in Lakeview, remains a destination for Spanish dishes like chuletitas de cordero, pulpo a la plancha, and paella negra. It all pairs perfectly with a pitcher of sangria or bottle of cava. The restaurant is named for a fast flamenco rhythm.

Mama Delia is one of two restaurants on this map from Bonhomme Hospitality (the other being Porto). In 2020, the company remodeled this space, which was formerly known as Black Bull, and added a gourmet market and larger outdoor patio. The team upped the sherry selection and added more conservas and seasonal plates like Vieras XO, Atlantic sea scallops with jamon iberico and XO sauce.

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With one Michelin star under its belt, Porto is a beautiful space, a former bank, taken over by the owners of neighboring Beatnik. Porto captures much of the energy of its older sibling, but channels it by focusing on Spanish seafood. Grab a seat at the chef’s counter and watch staff create magic with conservas (tinned seafood) and smell the smoke from imported fish prepared on a wood-burning oven in the back. This restaurant earned a Michelin star in 2021 and provides locals with a unique experience that’s not to be missed.

Opulent Basque-inspired destination Asador Bastian burst onto the Chicago scene in 2023, but its origins date back to 2020 when partners and spouses Hsing Chen, a skilled pastry chef, and Doug Psaltis, who led Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises’ RPM wing, purchased the 140-year-old Flair Building. After an extensive gut and build-out, the team unveiled a Spanish spectacle designed to evoke the asadores of San Sabastián. A txuleton, or a hefty bone-in ribeye, is the star of the show and patrons can choose their cut from a rotating selection of five cattle producers. The fat on this special steak tastes like pastor. It’s magical. But it’s not just about beef — the seasonal dishes show wizardry with vegetables, and there’s plenty of seafood for folks who avoid red meat.

Celebrity chef and humanitarian José Andrés brought his flagship restaurant to River North in 2021, imbuing Jaleo Chicago with all the classics that earned acclaim for his locations in D.C. and Vegas. There are a few wrinkles for the local set (table-side paella is exclusive to Chicago). It also has a subterranean sister bar, Pigtail, but Jaleo is well positioned as a strong happy hour destination. Grab a gin and tonic and play a few rounds of foosball for a fun night.

A restaurant interior with dark red floors and furniture.
The first Jaleo opened in 1993 in Washington D.C.
Barry Brecheisen/Eater Chicago

This lavish New York import swept into Fulton Market with much fanfare and quickly became known as a loud, lively spot for groups to dine on Spanish classics like gambas al ajillo and albondigas while drinking lots of sangria.

Chicago dining heavyweight Gibsons partnered with Jaleo’s Andrés on this riverside steakhouse above Bar Mar which features standout steaks including angus, wagyu, chateubriand, bone-in, skirt steak, and “vaca viejo,” sourced from older working cattle. For even more meaty fun there are sweetbreads, blood sausage, and suckling pig. Also, don’t ignored the first-level restaurant, Bar Mar, an epic happy hour destination with fun cocktails and seafood specialties.

This Michigan Avenue fixture, known for a focus Catalan culture and cuisine, has long drawn local diners for favorites like the arroz de carnes (chorizo, iberico secreto, chicken, Catalan sausage) and bacon-wrapped dates (stuffed with Marcona almonds and topped with bleu cheese fondue). Try the restaurant’s grilled items, which range to include hearty portions of ribeye, hanger steak, and rack of lamb.

Chef Emilio Gervilla cut his teeth working at tapas bars and restaurants throughout Spain before opening up his namesake suburban restaurant in 1988. Ever since, he’s been serving diners a range of small plates with big flavor, including paella Valencia, patatas con aioli, and paprika-seasoned octopus. The downtown location shuttered in early 2018, but check out the calendar on the regular for events like cooking classes, wine dinners, and family paella nights in the suburbs.

Colorful mosaic artwork and around-the-clock crowds outfit this South Loop space, where staff serve a menu of tried-and-true Spanish tapas like grilled artichoke hearts, spicy potatoes with Manchego cheese, and grilled beef tenderloin skewers. Best to book on a Saturday, when the restaurant hosts live music and Flamenco dancing. 

The ambiance rivals the dishes at this suburban restaurant — a sister spot to Tapas Valencia — housed inside a 1847 mansion on a four-acre estate. In an environment like that, it’s easy to feel transported — and the food only helps, thanks to authentic flavors found in plates like ham croquetas, grilled chorizo sausages, and grilled chicken skewers. 

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Andersonville diners can be difficult to win over, but first-time restaurant owner (and native Spaniard) Francisco Bolanos seems to have solved the neighborhood puzzle with his cozy and casual storefront spot. Fans come back over and over for hits like patatas bravas, huevos rotos (manchego, jamón serrano or Spanish chorizo), and marisco paella (mussels, clams, calamari, shrimp, green peas).

Inspired by the coastal regions of the Catalonian and Basque countries of Spain, this tiny subterranean restaurant focuses on simply prepared food, easy-drinking beverages, and a relaxed, intimate ambiance that draws neighborhood denizens and visitors alike. Don’t miss favorites like suzuki bass crudo (guacamole, squid ink tostada), gambas al ajillo (garlic confit, chili flake, baguette), and the Neon Hatch cocktail (mezcal, pineapple cordial, falernum, orange bitters).

Lincoln Park’s charming all-day Spanish restaurant from chef James Martin features a stellar lineup of sandwiches at lunch (first-timers would do well to opt for the lamb) and an ambitious dinner service that dwells on favorites like Iberico pork with bulb onions, cabbage, pickled snap peas, and red and green mojo. There’s also a hidden patio in back, and great coffee options during the day. The bocadillos are kind of a midwestern take on the Spanish item. It’s not authentic — they’re larger and stuffed with whatever’s in season.

This lively Lincoln Park restaurant has been drawing groups for more than 35 years for a variety of Spanish plates. Kick things off with a sampling of the pintxos (namely the chorizo-wrapped dates and bacalao croquettes), and try the paella — the mariscos version packs in a medley of saffron-laced seafood, including shrimp, squid, and mussels. If there’s a wait, head to the bar for some sangria — the staff serves six kinds.

Longtime local favorite Bulerias, which has relocated from a previous home in Lakeview, remains a destination for Spanish dishes like chuletitas de cordero, pulpo a la plancha, and paella negra. It all pairs perfectly with a pitcher of sangria or bottle of cava. The restaurant is named for a fast flamenco rhythm.

Mama Delia is one of two restaurants on this map from Bonhomme Hospitality (the other being Porto). In 2020, the company remodeled this space, which was formerly known as Black Bull, and added a gourmet market and larger outdoor patio. The team upped the sherry selection and added more conservas and seasonal plates like Vieras XO, Atlantic sea scallops with jamon iberico and XO sauce.

With one Michelin star under its belt, Porto is a beautiful space, a former bank, taken over by the owners of neighboring Beatnik. Porto captures much of the energy of its older sibling, but channels it by focusing on Spanish seafood. Grab a seat at the chef’s counter and watch staff create magic with conservas (tinned seafood) and smell the smoke from imported fish prepared on a wood-burning oven in the back. This restaurant earned a Michelin star in 2021 and provides locals with a unique experience that’s not to be missed.

Opulent Basque-inspired destination Asador Bastian burst onto the Chicago scene in 2023, but its origins date back to 2020 when partners and spouses Hsing Chen, a skilled pastry chef, and Doug Psaltis, who led Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises’ RPM wing, purchased the 140-year-old Flair Building. After an extensive gut and build-out, the team unveiled a Spanish spectacle designed to evoke the asadores of San Sabastián. A txuleton, or a hefty bone-in ribeye, is the star of the show and patrons can choose their cut from a rotating selection of five cattle producers. The fat on this special steak tastes like pastor. It’s magical. But it’s not just about beef — the seasonal dishes show wizardry with vegetables, and there’s plenty of seafood for folks who avoid red meat.

Celebrity chef and humanitarian José Andrés brought his flagship restaurant to River North in 2021, imbuing Jaleo Chicago with all the classics that earned acclaim for his locations in D.C. and Vegas. There are a few wrinkles for the local set (table-side paella is exclusive to Chicago). It also has a subterranean sister bar, Pigtail, but Jaleo is well positioned as a strong happy hour destination. Grab a gin and tonic and play a few rounds of foosball for a fun night.

A restaurant interior with dark red floors and furniture.
The first Jaleo opened in 1993 in Washington D.C.
Barry Brecheisen/Eater Chicago

This lavish New York import swept into Fulton Market with much fanfare and quickly became known as a loud, lively spot for groups to dine on Spanish classics like gambas al ajillo and albondigas while drinking lots of sangria.

Chicago dining heavyweight Gibsons partnered with Jaleo’s Andrés on this riverside steakhouse above Bar Mar which features standout steaks including angus, wagyu, chateubriand, bone-in, skirt steak, and “vaca viejo,” sourced from older working cattle. For even more meaty fun there are sweetbreads, blood sausage, and suckling pig. Also, don’t ignored the first-level restaurant, Bar Mar, an epic happy hour destination with fun cocktails and seafood specialties.

This Michigan Avenue fixture, known for a focus Catalan culture and cuisine, has long drawn local diners for favorites like the arroz de carnes (chorizo, iberico secreto, chicken, Catalan sausage) and bacon-wrapped dates (stuffed with Marcona almonds and topped with bleu cheese fondue). Try the restaurant’s grilled items, which range to include hearty portions of ribeye, hanger steak, and rack of lamb.

Chef Emilio Gervilla cut his teeth working at tapas bars and restaurants throughout Spain before opening up his namesake suburban restaurant in 1988. Ever since, he’s been serving diners a range of small plates with big flavor, including paella Valencia, patatas con aioli, and paprika-seasoned octopus. The downtown location shuttered in early 2018, but check out the calendar on the regular for events like cooking classes, wine dinners, and family paella nights in the suburbs.

Colorful mosaic artwork and around-the-clock crowds outfit this South Loop space, where staff serve a menu of tried-and-true Spanish tapas like grilled artichoke hearts, spicy potatoes with Manchego cheese, and grilled beef tenderloin skewers. Best to book on a Saturday, when the restaurant hosts live music and Flamenco dancing. 

The ambiance rivals the dishes at this suburban restaurant — a sister spot to Tapas Valencia — housed inside a 1847 mansion on a four-acre estate. In an environment like that, it’s easy to feel transported — and the food only helps, thanks to authentic flavors found in plates like ham croquetas, grilled chorizo sausages, and grilled chicken skewers. 

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Step into the unknown, my adventurous friends, and let me paint a picture of...

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