Variety is the spice of life.
That's the idea behind Latinicity Food Hall and Lounge ( 108 N. State St.; Latinicity.com ), described on its website as " a multi-sensory experience featuring 10 innovative kitchens, a tapas restaurant, coffee cafe, full bar, market and lounge." The venue also aims to bring elements of Spain, Portugal and Latin America to Chicagoand, in a lot of way, it succeeds.
Among the items that are available salads, grilled chicken, sushi ( reflecting the Japanese influence in Peru ) and burgers ( that sport a Latin twist ).
I recently tried a variety of items, and came away understanding why Latinicity is so crowded. The lomo saltado with quinoa was delicious and I'd definitely return for the tres leches cake. However, the chicken torta was only serviceable and the tacos were delicious but cooled quicklyreminding me of my Chipotle experiences.
However, I also got to go to Pata Negra ( Latinicity.com/patanegra )a separate restaurant within Latinicityand had a much less uneven experience. In fact, I highly recommend this Block 37 spot.
Pata Negra specializes in tapas divided into several categories, including charcuterie and cheese, meat or fish, and other classifications. ( By the way, starting with sangrias is a great way to begin the meal. )
The chorizo pamplona ( 15 slices ) is smoky and tasty, and the garlic shrimp was pretty delicious as well. However, don't even think of leaving Pata Negra without trying the cauliflower, which is easily the best dish there. ( It wasn't listed online when I last looked, so definitely check to see if it's there. ) Also, save room for dessert, as the creme brulee is practically impossible to resist.
Note: Restaurant profiles are based on invitations arranged from restaurants and/or firms.