Answering the question of whether it’s possible to pack the delightful flair and welcoming ambiance of Barcelona’s Barcelona’s El Mercado de la Boqueria into a single New York Restaurant, Yann de Rochefort’s newest Boqueria spot sits comfortably right by Times Square. With locations sprawled throughout Manhattan, Brooklyn and Washington D.C., Boqueria is a popular Spanish tapas bar that has successfully brought to life authentic Spanish cuisine and the lively atmosphere to America.
This new location is a contemporary reimagination of Spain— inspired by de Rochefort’s many trips to Barcelona and encouraged by the Spanish-founded AC Hotel next door that initially approached de Rochefort with the new location. The luxurious interior showcases raw, wooden ceilings beautifully as it opens up from the kitchen in the back to view of the The New York Times building right across the road. Mirrors casually sprinkled throughout add dimension to and accentuate the 27-foot entrance and the more intimate seating area near the open kitchen. Farther back, a colorful cluster of Spanish canned goods and bottles lines the walls of a hidden room making for a whimsical addition and a perfect photo opportunity.
The Boqueria menu features a typical assortment of tapas, but despite the familiarity of dishes, the flavors take you by surprise. The press preview menu stunned with an assortment of flavors. Starting with a peek into dinner menu, the Montado de Escalivada, bite-sized toasted bread topped with fire-roasted eggplant along with herbs, served as a perfect introduction to the assortment of fresh flavor combinations that would follow. The balance between the seasoning of the eggplant and the creaminess of the goat cheese made for an impeccable bite. The Croquetas Cremosas were a definite standout with an explosion of a rich, creamy sauce within a tiny ball of fried goodness. The Paella de Mariscos, however, was the dish that made me think twice about my decision not to study abroad in Spain. The seafood flavor was refreshing and lingered pleasantly without being overbearing. Served in a large skillet that went around to each table, the vibrant colors of the succulent shrimp with the rice was a sight to see.
I would highly recommend finishing with the Churros Rellenos de Nutella because the scrumptious stuffed churros are like something out of a dream, and it would be a travesty not to try at least a bite. The wide array of drinks is a perfect companion to the delicious dishes and the emphasis on fresh and colorful flavor can be seen and experienced through Boqueria’s special seasonal sangrias as well.
Founder de Rochefort said Boqueria isn’t just for the ravenous New York Times editors and journalists streaming in from across the street but that the scalable menu makes it not a commitment but quite accessible. The charismatic restaurant places an emphasis on authentic Spanish cuisine, and the accompanying fresh flavors and festive atmosphere, Boqueria is a not-to-miss spot for anyone looking to enjoy a quality meal. The restaurant officially opens today, April 23 so make sure to take a bite into Barcelona.
Email Liv Chai at [email protected]