Brunch bites: Eivissa

During my period of youthful indiscretions in Europe known as studying abroad, or the more aptly titled European slut tour, I learned quickly that brunch is a state-side affair. Authentic Spanish breakfasts consisted of a well-balanced diet of: coffee, a bowl of cherries and cigarettes. Occasionally, I’d go wild and incorporate an entire packet of galletos. After all, this is a country that drops everything to take a nap in the afternoon (something I strongly advocate).

Eivissa (Photo: Carly Fisher)

Eivissa (Photo: Carly Fisher)

Opening just shy of a month ago, Eivissa has generated a good amount of buzz thanks to chef Dudley Nieto. Known for his trademark regional Mexican menus that launched staple restaurants like Adobo Grill and Zapatista, Nieto has turned his attention eastbound, trading tamales for chupitos (liquid tapas). And as summer offers longer nights and later mornings, Eivissa offers a delicious way to spend a lazy Sunday afternoon, reminiscing those unforgettable nights of unbridled passion in Spanish heat with a chilled pitcher of sangria and several plates of tapas. If you’ve never had these kinds of experiences, let your imagination run free!

Firmly seated on the lunch end of brunch, you won’t find any short stacks here, but rather small plates. That said, tapas are best if shared for ample noshing that will push the physical limitations of your stomach — and your wallet, if you’re not careful. If you are without friends, try sitting at the bar with a crossword or sudoku, to appear as though your lack of social graces stems from misanthropy instead of deep-stemmed anxiety that not even Xanax can cure. If you are a woman, consider inviting a creepy, but wealthy, older gentleman to pick up the tab and your dignity. Whatever works.


Lomo and oca a la panxa pinxtos (Photo: Carly Fisher)

Lomo and oca a la panxa pinxtos (Photo: Carly Fisher)

I was joined by Sinem this week. Unsurprisingly, she arrived 20 minutes late to my apartment. I had pushed our reservations to accommodate her predictable habits. This is a woman who can talk on end about cognitive patterns in lab rats and has yet to figure out how to read a clock. Luckily, we share a deep friendship based on a penchant for gluttony, which aided our quest to devour most of the menu.


Préssac sangria (Photo: Carly Fisher)

Préssac sangria (Photo: Carly Fisher)

With over twenty cocktails available on the menu, we settled with a pitcher of Préssac sangria: a refreshing and lightly sweetened mixture of white wine, St. Germain, lavender and peach segments. Easy going down the hatch, one pitcher was enough to satisfy the both of us. The rest became a whirlwind of dishes that left us in an intoxicating haze of sensual delight.


Empanadillas (Photo: Carly Fisher)

Empanadillas (Photo: Carly Fisher)

Stand out dishes included the lomo pinxtos ($5), mussels sprinkled with sea salt, drizzled olive oil and warm sherry vinegar romesco ($8), and the empanadillas de carne ($8), featuring a perfectly buttery and flaky pastry shell filled with hand ground serano and beef tenderloin with red pepper and green pea emulsion. The belle of the ball had to be the mariscos paella ($28 for parties of two), featuring an enormous dish of seafood, monkfish, octopus and coastal shellfish tossed in creamy bed of flavorful, melt-in-your-mouth rice.

Though interesting in concept, the shot-and-chaser style chupitos just didn’t hit the mark. A refreshing and complex blend of flavors with cucumber-pineapple and pork belly ($4), the smoothie-like consistency of the shot and chewiness of the pork belly was not only tedious, but quickly exhausted for the price.


¡Dios Mío! (Photo: Carly Fisher)

¡Dios Mío! (Photo: Carly Fisher)

A brunch exclusive: a small selection of reasonably portioned bocadillos average out a menu of small tapas and the massive entrees. Served with a choice of soup or salad, sandwiches are about $9 and feature finer cuts of meat and artisanal cheeses. If you can save room for dessert, the chocolate crème brûlée doesn’t disappoint: a rich velvety concoction reminiscent of lonely nights watching Lifetime through dewy eyes, but classier.

The restaurant doesn’t offer cherries and cigarettes, but coffee is readily available and about as close to rounding out an afternoon pseudo-escapism as you can get.

Eivissa is located at 1531 N. Wells St. in the Old Town neighborhood of Chicago. Brunch is served daily, 11:00 a.m.-4:30 p.m. For reservations, call 312.654.9500.

— Carly Fisher


1 Response so far »

  1. 1

    elicia said,

    love it. please blog more because i ALWAYS need brunch recommendations.

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