Last Saturday, we went to Gene Siskel for a screening of a Romanian movie (The Phantom Father) as part of their annual European Film Festival. A few of us decided to have dinner afterwards, and I suggested Tavernita or Mercadito. One of my friends swore that Mercadito is much better, so we walked there first. The hostess was in disbelief that we didn’t have a reservation and after telling us that there was a 2 hr wait for a table she suggested we could hang out by the bar and order chips and salsa. Chips and salsa were definitely not what I had in mind for a filling dinner, so we walked to Tavernita instead. The hostess there was much nicer, and even though the wait for the dining room was 2 hrs as well, she showed us in the Barcito area where tables are mostly first come first served.
We sat at the bar and other a drink, while waiting for a table to clear out. I had a delicious Coctel de Sidra and one of my friends had the Blano de Invierno, shown in the picture bellow (I didn’t take any pictures, these are all from here.) All the cocktails we had were very good and the bartender was nice and knowledgeable.
After not even being half done with our drinks, one of the tables cleared out (well, there were still 2 people left to wait for a friend, but they were nice enough to share it with us). We ordered a few of the pintxos, a few dishes from Pica Pica and the foie gras conserva from their bar menu. My personal favorite was the Mussels Conserva: tasty mussels pre-removed from their shells, in a nice light sauce with a bit of spicy peppers. The shrimp pintxo was also one of our table’s favorite dish.
The hamachi crudo and the foie gras were also to die for, the Spanish tortilla came as a decent size sandwich and the dessert was worth leaving room for. We had the fried tres leches cake and the cream trio (chocolate, pistachios and passion fruit). My personal favorite was the passion fruit cream, but that may be because I am obsessed with passion fruit 🙂
My only gripe is about the table service: hard to get the waitress’ attention and the bus boys kept taking our plates/utensils before we were finished eating. We also had to take the silverware from other tables (it is placed in baskets at the table) and most tables ran out of napkins.
Bottom line: great food, awesome bartender, nice atmosphere, could work on the table service. We enjoyed our night there a lot and will definitely be back, but this time with a reservation for the main dining room 😉