I grew up spending summers in our old family home in the South of Spain, studied and worked in Madrid, and visited my sister in Barcelona several times. There is no more vibrant and convivial culinary scene than Spanish Tapas. I wish I could say you can find the same in NYC – you can’t. Barcelona, te extraño… Nothing compares to you and your tapas, but at least Boqueria tries!

Boqueria is named after Barcelona’s iconic market “Mercat de la Boqueria” and attempts  to recreate the Spanish buzzing food scene with a Catalan inspired menu.

Boqueria now has 3 locations in NYC, the original flagship in Flatiron, an outpost in Soho and a newly opened (2014) uptown joint in the Upper East Side.

Mariscos - www.boquerianyc.com

Mariscos – www.boquerianyc.com

Yorkville is not inundated with a lot of solid foodie spot, so the Upper East Side Boqueria location was welcomed as a great addition to the neighborhood, replacing Justin Timberlake’s Southern Hospitality. Like its other locations, it has the signature dim lighting and warm and woody color scheme with hints of yellow. You walk in to a vibrant bar scene with several stools around it, and different seating options throughout the space including communal tables in the middle and regular seating tables on the sides. I always prefer sitting at the bar and practice mi Español with the camareros, or at the back tables with open kitchen view. Starting from early evening hours, expect a crowded scene, limited elbow room but a convivial experience!

I am guilty of not reviewing many uptown spots (I’ll admit, I’m most of the time one of those “below 23rd st” types of gals 😕 ) but this UES location has a few perks compared to its downtown peers:
– They takes reservations for all party sizes for brunch, lunch AND dinner. Reservations are easy and even walk-ins aren’t too bad (they grab your name and text you when your table is ready).
– They have outdoor seating for warm days/nights.
– They offer a killer deal for their unlimited brunch feast

Come for their unlimited brunch feast!

Patatas bravas -www.boquerianyc.com

Patatas bravas -www.boquerianyc.com

Boqueria’s menu has all the classic Spanish staples: Pan con Tomate $5, Patatas Bravas $9, Tortilla $7 , Croquetas $12 , Manchego and Jamon ibérico. Don’t go without ordering a charcuterie and cheese platter (served all day) and  the Croquetas Cremosas ( creamy mushroom and Serrano ham croquettes). But their “Market Fresh” daily dinner specials and signature tapas are what they’re best at. My favorites include their Cojonudo $6, Datiles con Beicon $7 and Pulpo a la Gallega $17, and make sure you ask about the recommended specials. The Paella de Mariscos $19 is not “abuela“ worthy but is still pretty legit. Although it sounds like a lot of the menu items are meat-focused, Boqueria also offers great vegetarian options. If this is your major cheat meal, don’t leave without sharing the decadent Nutella Churros ❗

Brunch - www.boquerianyc.com

Brunch – www.boquerianyc.com

Obviously, by definition, all tapas are better shared, along with a glass of one of their homemade sangrias or Spanish wine from their extensive list. And if you’re more of a cerveza drinker just ask “una clara por favor”. Specialty cocktails are also available (go for the Shishito Margarita).

The best part about Boqueria is definitely its buzzing and energetic atmosphere, in a casual setting with a mixed crowd, of all ages .

Great for large parties with their Chef’s Menu group deal

Jamon y queso - www.boquerianyc.com

Jamon y queso – www.boquerianyc.com

Boqueria is perfect for a casual date, meeting up with friends or great for a large group dinner. They offer a great and affordable “Chef’s Menu” group deal ($45 per person +beverage, tax and gratuity). The more you are the more you can order and share! Great for girls’ night out, birthdays or team dinners. They also easily accommodate for private events.

Boqueria UES offers brunch, lunch and dinner. Mon-Thurs 12pm-10:30pm / Fri 12-11:30pm / Sat 11:am-11:30pm / Sun 11am-10:30pm.

Note that this location also offers delivery, take-out and catering services.