Barcito - San Sebastian Style Dining | Chicago, Tasting Table

Eat San Sebastián-style at Barcito

When we traveled to San Sebastián last year, Ryan Poli was our guide.

The chef ate through the city in preparation for the opening of his new River North restaurant, Tavernita, and passed on more recommendations than we could use. His love for San Sebastián's pintxos culture has now informed Barcito, a lively little tapas bar adjacent to Tavernita.

Snag a stretch of marble bar (or a table with a stool, if you must sit) and prepare for a stream of snacks. Of the bread-based pintxos, try escalivada, a tangle of roasted peppers with romesco sauce and goat cheese ($2). A rub of tomato colors the bread surrounding Serrano ham and Manchego ($4), and a smear of aioli is a welcome addition to a tiny bocadillo (sandwich) of tortilla Española ($3).

Ibérico ham croquetas ($5) and frites bravas ($3)–a reconstruction of patatas bravas into French fries with aioli and piquant tomato sauce for dipping–are meant for sharing. Hog the mussels conserva ($5) in a fennel-laced shellfish broth for yourself.

There's sangria on draft, and a concise selection of Spanish beer and sherry. But we suggest staying Basque and ordering a glass of cider, aka sidra ($7), instead.

Barcito, 151 W. Erie St.; 312-374-1111 or