Last month, I attended a Chicagogrammers event to sample the new summer Mediterranean tapas menu at Nia Restaurant in the West Loop (and also sample salon services at Mirror Mirror next door). I was lucky enough to score a gift certificate to come back and enjoy dinner. (I remind my husband of these things when he teases me for stopping to snap a photo of something for Instagram.)

We made a reservation for a Friday evening and opted to share the 8-course pre-fixe tapas menu for $35 per person. If you go this route, everyone gets the same thing for each course (it’s served family-style), so you have to agree with your dining partner(s) on what to order. You can add on additional items (which we did).

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I started with the red sangria. I’m a big fan of sangria and this was very tasty! I feel like it had a little extra something – maybe cinnamon, or maybe the wine they used was a spiced wine.

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First course: Arugula salad with roasted beets, blue cheese, walnuts, sherry dijon dressing. Normally these aren’t my preferred salad toppings, but this was very good.

nia-caponata

Second course – Caponata. Similar to bruschetta. Roasted eggplant, capers, currants, pine nuts and olive on crostini. Very tasty.

nia-meatboard

Third course – Artisan Meat Board. Proscuito di parma, sopressata salami, mortadella. With a side of caponata. I’m a big fan of fancy cured meats in general.

Fourth course – Crisp potatoes with spicy tomato sauce. A standard tapas option. Very tasty.

Fifth course – Wild mushroom risotto. So good. Oyster, shitake, enoki, crimini and porcini mushrooms in a creamy parmesan sauce.

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Sixth course – Grilled calamari. You could also order it crispy (fried).  The grilled version included chickpeas, which aren’t my favorite so I ate around them.

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Seventh course – Strip steak with lemon-basil pesto and hand-cut fries.

nia-meatballs

We added on an extra seventh course – Lamb & feta meatballs with pomodoro sauce and mozzarella. These were a big hit. Would definitely order these again.

Eighth course – Classic bread pudding with vanilla gelato and caramel.

Overall, everything we ordered was delicious, and there was enough variety for each course that I would go back just to order all the other stuff I was considering. We cleaned our plates and left feeling full but not stuffed.

Nia also has a nice patio out front, and the delicious sangria and small plates would make for a great happy hour destination.

What’s your favorite thing to order from a tapas restaurant? I always look for seafood, especially octopus, scallops or calamari.