I can say with confidence that some of my favorite nights of my four years of college were spent in the dimly lit and incredibly smelly halls of the Iberian Pig Tapas Bar in Atlanta. From parents’ weekends to birthdays and drinks with friends, this place is almost always my go-to place. Earlier this semester, however, I realized I’d had the same order since my first trip all those years ago. So, I enlisted a friend and ordered three times more than our stomachs could hold in order to give you the best menu summary possible. Here are my takeaways.
Cheese & Meat Platter
Frankly, I will say that I don’t think you can go wrong with the charcuterie. Especially in good Spanish restaurants, these small appetizers will always hit the mark. My Iberian pork favorites include Jamón Ibérico and Mahón DO, although chorizo and manchego also get honorable mentions.
Bacon Wrapped Dates
Unsurprisingly, this restaurant’s trendiest dish is Absolutely worth the chatter. My mom asks for those dates whenever she’s in Atlanta, and I’d be lying if I said they hadn’t appeared in my dreams before. The salty taste of the bacon mixed with the sweetness of the dates and the pungent spice of the romesco sauce is to die for, and these will absolutely be part of my IP order for as long as I visit ATL.
Pork Cheek Tacos
These would never have been on my radar if not for the presence of other experienced tapas eaters. Honestly, it would never have occurred to me to order tacos at a tapas restaurant, but I can definitely say I’m glad I did. Not only are the shells the most amazing I’ve ever eaten, but the avocado crema sweetens the whole dish perfectly. On top of all that, pork is one of the best meats I’ve ever eaten. It’s quite safe to say that there were none left on the plate when we left.
In all honesty, I ordered the broccolini so that there was at least one vegetable on the table. That being said, I would skip it next time. The dish was well prepared, but there was nothing to write home about; it was your mother’s broccolini in a very good sauce. This dish definitely balanced out the meal, but if you’re trying to go for the “wow factor” it didn’t do it for me.
Iberian Mac ‘N’ Cheese
This is another one of my all-time favorites, and as a macaroni and cheese lover, I can say this one is unique enough to warrant ordering. Although it might seem like an unusual choice for a Spanish tapas experience, I think it’s one of the best options on the menu. The sauce is both tangy and creamy, and the flavor really balanced out some of the other dishes we had ordered. I would shamelessly go to Iberian Pig just for their mac and cheese, and I can’t imagine a meal there feeling complete without it.
Braised Veal Shank Ravioli
It was amazing, although honestly, I would skip it on my next order. With the mac and cheese it looked like a lot of pasta and it was almost too rich to finish. The demi-glace on top of the ravioli bites is reduced to an almost caramelized consistency, and while it was an amazing thing to try, I could barely put a dent in it. I will say, however, that the roasted wild mushrooms on top were amazing, and I almost would have preferred to eat that rather than the pasta itself.
Huevo Con Trufa
This was definitely the unexpected winner for me. The rich truffle cream with the balance of perfectly cooked egg and braised pork cheek tasted like heaven in a pan. To top it off, the perfectly toasted bread was the necessary vessel for the whole dish. It was one of the best things I’ve ever tried and made my entire menu experiment worth it. This dish was also the closest to anything I’ve eaten in Madrid or Barcelona, so it gets extra points for its authenticity. I’m a sucker for anything truffle flavored, so beware the truffle comes out very strong here.
It’s been one of my favorite things on the Iberian pork menu for a long time, although I’m shocked to say it could be replaced by new options. That’s not to say, however, that this dish won’t always hold a special place in my heart. The tenderness of the beef is incredible, and like everything else on the menu, the accompanying pairings are absolutely incredible. It is a staple of tapas.
These are amazing empanadas, don’t get me wrong. Like literally everything else on the Iberian Pork menu, they are incredibly well done and definitely worth trying. That being said, I don’t think they necessarily stand up to the rest of the stuff here that I love. Empanadas are well done everywhere, and even better here, but I just think on a menu with so many amazing flavors and concepts, it wouldn’t be my immediate pick.
Again, the Iberian pork patatas bravas are amazing. These are obviously Spanish staples, and they’re incredibly well made. However, in a shocking turn of events for anyone who knows me, I just don’t know if these are worth the stomach room among all the rest of the menu. If you’re looking for a good base, these are absolutely your best bet. The cream on top is to die for and the potatoes are crispy and creamy at the same time.
I never thought I’d be one to say pork tenderloin could blow my mind, but this one does. The tenderness of the meat combined with the crispy potatoes and hot sauce is incredibly balanced, and this is a dish I will be ordering for years to come. The lomo is always a crowd pleaser, and I can proudly say that I’ve ordered it since day one.
Honorable Mention (Beverages)
Potentially the best part of Iberian pork is that the genius of the menu doesn’t stop at the kitchen. Every cocktail I’ve ever had here has been amazing and paired perfectly with every dish. The wine list is also impeccable.