Chef Emilio Gervilla is a well-known presence in the Chicago small-plate scene. With four Spanish tapas restaurants, Emilio's Streeterville location, Sol y Nieve, is where downtown diners come to eat traditional Spanish food at reasonable prices. Sol y Nieve's extensive menu of hot and cold tapas, priced between $5 and $10, include traditional dishes like baked goat cheese, as well as more creative and equally tasty dishes like an avocado topped with tuna potato salad, shrimp and basil vinaigrette. Sol y Nieve also offers several entree-sized options, including three paella varieties priced around $15 per person. Two dining rooms, decorated with colorful murals and iron light fixtures, evoke a rustic Spanish vibe, and a well-appointed bar serves Spanish wine, ports and sherries.
Sol y Nieve's large outdoor cafe area seats close to 100 people, weather permitting. Although the wait can be long to get a table outside, the restaurant's location between Michigan Avenue and Navy Pier makes the outdoor tables ideal for people-watching. The service tends to be somewhat European in style (read: slow), but a pitcher of sangria and the steady stream of tourists walking by will ensure that you won't be bored.
Average cost: $10-$20
Centerstage Reviewer: Aimee Hall