Bites – Asian Tapas

March 26 2014 - 9:00 AM

Asian-style tapas restaurant, Bites, opened late last year in Chicago’s Lakeview neighborhood under the radar. I was lucky enough to check it out last week. The cozy spot features a nice selection of small plates with influences from China, India, Thailand, Japan, and Korea. This global influence is what sets Bites apart from the numerous tapas-style restaurants sprinkled throughout the city.

The restaurant, a brainchild of Asana Nakornchai and Marita Tantivirasut, both from Thailand, is a cozy and inviting spot that encourages social dining. The menu is divided into several sections including Meaty, Under The Sea, and Meatless, making it easy to mix and match small plates based on one’s preferences.

Some menu highlights include the Spicy Miso Ramen, a large enough portion to share or just enjoy on your own, which includes pork belly or tofu, egg noodles, bamboo shoot, mushrooms, boiled egg, and sesame chili oil. The cleverly-named Drunk Chicks are fried boneless chicken bites served with your choice of Asian whiskey sauce, or spicy hot sauce, while the Pretty in Pink rice noodles are a nice vegetarian option with tofu, omelette, scalllion, and crushed peanuts. Craving some Indian food? Try the samosa, a traditionally-prepared option that is not overly greasy and stuffed to the brim with curry, potatoes, and served with a fantastic homemade cilantro yogurt dipping sauce.

The cocktail list is also quite inventive and takes a similar fusion approach. The Wassup Wasabi includes vodka, ginger syrup, lychee juice, lemon and a subtle wasabi kick, while the Gentlemen’s Wood, their take on a Manhattan, includes bourbon, simple syrup, cherry, mango, and orange bitters. If you’re looking for a kick, try the Hot Geisha featuring shochu, ginger syrup, lemongrass, mint, and Thai chili powder, served mild, medium, or spicy.

Check out the gallery below for a look at some items from the Bites Asian Tapas menu!

Where is your favorite spot in Chicago to grab tapas?