737 N La Salle Dr, Chicago, IL 60654
Iberico Cafe & Bar
Bike Parking: Yes
Wheelchair Accessible: Yes
Cuisines: Spanish, Mediterranean, European, Tapas, Continental, Bar & Grills
Alcohol: Full Bar
Takes Reservations: Yes
Outdoor Seating: No
Price Range : Average
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Amazing Spanish Food ! There is not a dish I have tried there that I didn't love! My favorite dishes are Patatas Bravas, Croquetas de Pollo , Paella Iberica and of course their sangria! Dessert Arroz con leche my moms is better theirs is second :-). It does get busy so plan to be there a bit .
Out of all the tapas and Spanish cuisine restaurants in Chicago, that are still open, this is the one that I go back to even though it is not incredible or the best I have had. Cafe Iberico is part bar, part cafe, part dining room, but with the noise and crowd it would do best as just a bar and cafe and drop the dining room act because its impossible to "dine" here in any sense of the word. Couple things to take note of:
Best Time-- Don't try to beat the dinner rush here, everyone does that and you end up waiting longer than you would if you were to show up in the middle of a big rush. Go Spanish and grab your meal at the end of the normal dinner hour. I have never waited more than ten to fifteen minutes for a table because everyone is clearing out. If you just want to grab a drink and tapas the bar is your best bet, but you have to be aggressive and get the eye of a bartender early. Remember, reservations are not taken here.
Ambiance-- It's definitely a get together with a group of friends and catch up type of place. No matter what room you are in, its loud, some spaces are more cramped than others. It's definitely not a romantic or get to know you place to take a date, but perfect for a blind date or those dates you get roped into with someone your meddling mother met at church. Even if you are sitting right next to someone, you will need to raise your voice to be heard.
The Food-- Not the best tapas or Spanish cuisine in Chicago, or that I've had, but take it from someone that has lived in Spain and has tried every tapas restaurant in the city and Chicagoland, its way better than most and the best bet for the money. I always order the paella to test a place out, because there is no middle ground with paella, its either good or inedible. I've had both the Paella Marinera and Paella Iberica and it always comes out great, perfect taste, seafood just right, and overall as good as any 4 star Barcelona restaurant.
The tapas are always good, and fast, but some of them can be done in larger portions-- even for tapas. The croquettes are as good as mine. My favorites are the Queso de Cabra and Salpicon de Marisco.
The wine list provides something for every dish and taste.
The Service- Well, its not self serve, but sometimes it can feel that way. Once we never saw our waiter after ordering- someone entirely different brought our food and one dish never came, nor did our check which we had to retrieve at the front. Other trips have had excellent service, so it depends on the night and who you get. One thing though, the wait staff never seems to be familiar with their wine list, so if you ask for a recommendation based on what you are ordering don't expect help- once I was literally told, "They're all good." Luckily, I am decent at picking depending on what I am eating.
The Prices- Like I said earlier, its the best bet for the money. There is another place here in Chicago that I like a bit more, but the prices are double or triple. Expect to pay around $12-$18 for an entree and $6-$9 for any of the tapas.
04/08/2011Provided by Citysearch -
I've been a tour guide for a university in Chicago, and I tell all of the parents and students to go the Iberico for a reasonable, delicious and authentic dinner out in the city. My girlfriends even have claimed it for themselves as thier fav place, too. It's just that good.
The red sangria- just give me a pitcher with a straw.
Queso de cabra...yes please.
Croquetas (sp?) - Ham and cheese puffs- hot pockets you are a disgrace. To die for.
Gazpacho on special- so fresh and simple.
Vegetarians, meat lovers, and those who like to drink-come here with a group and you will be very happy. Order 4-5 things right away! And then keep em coming.
07/12/2010Provided by Citysearch -
We Iberico to reserve a table for the day of the World Cup final and they told us they didn't accept reservations and that it would have been ""first come first served""! So we went the day of the W/C final at 11.30am (2hrs before kick off) and there was already a line. When we finally entered the hostess told us there were no tables available and that we could stay at the bar (which was already over crowded) if we wanted or eat and leave at a table before the W/C final started! The bar was full and all the tables were all RESERVED! The hostess confirmed they didn't accept reservations and when we asked why all the tables were reserved she didn't know what to say other than ""sorry""! I work in the media and broadcast business and for sure I will never recommend this restaurant to anyone! Very bad service and very poor organization!
08/01/2009Provided by Citysearch -
So I'm giving this place 3 stars. Some of the food we got was pretty good. The COLD avocado soap was nasty! The service was just plain awful! I don't know if they were short staffed or what, but finally my boyfriend had to go refill his own glass of water. It was unreal! I wouldn't go back
03/11/2009Provided by Citysearch -
I've tried a few other tapa places and they never measured up to Iberico's.
There food is great and the sangria is soooooooooo good. :-)
I can't say I've ever had a bad experience. And there is always a wait but well worth it. Try the gambas de ajo yum!
Dont go anywhere else or try another place. This is it people. lol
02/14/2009Provided by Citysearch -
Queso de cabra is so good we usually order 2 orders for 4 plus. Theres a garlic and olive oil shrimp you must try. The sangria is delicious go for white if you dig a sweeter taste. I prefer the red. The seafod paella's make my pants dance and OMG tell them to give you the birthday cake. I dunno what it is bu damn is that delicious. The staff is usually busy so try to order everything at once and dont be one of those annoying jerks that needs something else every 5 minutes and you will enjoy. But it takes forever to get seated but so what? How easy is to get food that has the authenticity you find on a spanish isle. Olive oil is antioxidant and helps protect cells from the mutations that cause cancer...if that helps ease the thought of waiting. : / Me likey.
10/07/2008Provided by Citysearch -
I've been lucky enough to have traveled to Spain multiple times in my life, and one of my favorite things about the country is the wonderful food. Cafe Iberico captures the flavors perfectly; you know you're in a great spot for Spanish food when nothing but Spaniards or other Europeans are there. Frankly, most Americans have a tough time aclimating to ""traditional"" flavors, and so other so-call tapas bars such as La Tasca in the 'burbs or 1492 will stoop to ""Americanizing"" the flavors so people feel more comfortable ordering.
Personally, the tapas are your best choice by far here, as they are decently priced, as is the sangria. Full plates can be a bit difficult to eat, especially during weekends when the place is always (ALWAYS) packed. The bar area is by far the best area to munch on tapas in since it does feel like a real meson.
Because of the crowd and noise, this is not the place for young children (especially rowdy kids who need room to move around) or the elderly. The noise will irritate them, and children probably won't be a fan of much other than the tortilla espanola or the croquetas de jamon y pollo. This is also not a place for people who are in a rush. This place is authentic Spanish, all the way down to the ""manana"" attitude and relaxed pace of life, and just like Spain, a meal is meant to be enjoyed over a few hours, not 45 minutes.
Overall, this is one of the best, most economic places you could go. If you really want tapas on a Saturday evening and don't want to sit in the crowd or deal with an extremely busy waitstaff, I would suggest stopping by the deli area where you can order all of your favorites to go, again at very reasonable prices. Remember, if you do decide to brave the crowd, patience is a virtue- take the time, enjoy catching up with your friends and soak in a few hours of an authentically Spanish way of life.
10/05/2008Provided by Citysearch -
This tapas bar is the closest to Spain I've been since living there. The flavors were perfect and not overdone. My favorite were the gambas al ajillo. The prices are excellent and what they should be for tapas. The sangria is great and priced very well. There will definitely be a wait on the weekend but that's the perfect opportunity to enjoy the livelihood of the bar.
07/26/2008Provided by Citysearch -
We eat out A LOT...we know our stuff. And we KNOW Spain.
This is NOT ""real"" Spanish food.
What they call ""Spanish"" is not made with Spanish ingredients...kind of like passing off a ""Boca burger"" for a real burger...or a ""Chicago Hotdog"" for a grocery store generic. I always think that if someone eats here, is he REALLY going to think that this is what the food tastes like in Spain? Yikes! NO way.
However, the food is edible. (The paella does not qualify as ""food"".)
The best part is the hours are good. Pretty much open all day. Parking is not easy...(valet is only after 5pm)
The worst part is the NOISE! The sound BOUNCES off the ceiling and ricochets off the walls.
You cannot HEAR the person next to you. (Don't bring grandma!...Please don't bring children!) NOISE!!!
Please put in some insulation!!! (Huh!? What!?)