Boqueria does not look like much from the street, but behind the anonymous front, hides a true tapas gem. Although the menu contains the same dishes as a well-stocked Spanish tapas bar, Boqueria is far too trendy to call it a tapas bar in the traditional sense. There are white linen napkins on the tables, the food is aesthetically arranged on the plate and the clientele is predominantly women of childbearing age.
We ordered (or rather, I ordered, and my lousy Spanish made Tina cringe) 3 servings to share, which turned out to be more than enough. The tortilla was juicy, bouncy and golden brown, just like a tortilla should be, and the bacon-wrapped dates made me forget that I usually find dates quite sticky and horrible. Croquetas cremosas most of all reminds me of deep fried cheese, but Tina entered an exchange-student-in-Granada-2001 nostalgia trip and insisted that we ordered a serving. In came 6 mutant monster croquetas and after only one, she’d had enough.
One of the great things about USA is, that it’s completely fine to ask for a doggie bag for your leftovers. Tina therefore got a nice brown paper bag to carry her croquetas all the way through an afternoon of SoHo shopping. The croquetas survived almost 3 days in the apartment before they were sacrificed as hangover food Sunday afternoon.
It’s easy to miss Boqueria, as the tapas restaurant does not look like much from the outside. I was therefore surprised to see how elegant and stylish this little tapas gem looks once you have entered the front door.
Much has been done to give the restaurant an authentic Spanish touch and on the menu, classics such as Albóndigas, Gambas al Ajillo and Patatas Bravas will probably make most tapas lovers swoon. Most of the ingredients are locally sourced, and the daily specials thus depend on the season.
Visiting a tapas bar is most fun if you are at least two persons, so you can try several different dishes. The tapas start at $5 and depending on how hungry you are, expect to order around 2-3 tapas per person.
Boqueria is not New York’s cheapest tapas bar, but the location, the food and the atmosphere is outstanding, and I cannot come up with a better way to round off an afternoon in trendy SoHo.
• There is a long bar from where you have full view to the kitchen action. A glass of cava starts at $10.
• There is also a Boqueria in the Flatiron District.
Boqueria SoHo, 171 Spring St., New York, NY 10012, Tel.: (212) 343 4255