Review: Mercat a la Planxa

31 October 2015

I made a quick stop to Chicago before heading to the South for the real point of this trip. Had a few errands to run so was burdened with a car, so stayed far from the centre. Aside from excellent BBQ (as I’ve detailed in the previous entry), I made a late decision on Hallowe’en night to run into town from Midway for a late dinner.

Not the easiest thing to do to find a table on a busy Saturday night for 1, but I went with somewhere that has been reliable in the past — Mercat a la Planxa. I’ve had several good meal at this place, featuring Jose Garces’s take on Catalan cuisine. So I was hoping for a good evening.

A little odd that it was just over half full for a busy night, and many clients seem to be from the adjacent hotel. Not a great sign. I placed my order and chilled out with some wine. Then the first item arrived, sipia


Cuttlefish from the planxa. Not bad, but not great. These tasted rather bland, with not much proper seasoning really. Oh well… Then more food — peppers.


Not bad, but I didn’t get a spicy one again…this is the 3rd time this has happened at this restaurant, so I have become suspicious… Then next was botifarra negra


Or better known as morcilla or black pudding (or blood sausage), this was pretty good, done well. You gotta think this would be done well. In fact this gave me a bit more confidence in the kitchen so I ordered a main after this. In the meantime the service was pretty messy too…

I had a bit more wine after I finally got my server’s attention… Then the main — the secreto


It always worries me when a piece of iberico needed sauces (albeit, thank goodness, on the side). This was honestly the most bland iberico I have ever had. Is this a cut-price item they are sending from Spain? Awful. No taste, no flavour. What’s going on? Truly puzzled by this…

I had enough so just had a coffee and headed out for the long ride back to Midway. Oh, what a disappointing dinner. What happened with that iberico?!?!

Mercat a la Planxa
638 South Michigan Avenue
Chicago, Illinois


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