Midtown Musings: Boqueria Opens in Midtown
A few weeks ago, we got a sneak peek of the new Boqueria, the latest outpost of chef Marc Vidal’s growing empire of tapas restaurants. It’s just opened, and we’re so excited for visitors in the Garment District to check it out.
Why? First off: the design is stunning. Architect Alireza Razavi opted for a ceiling of undulating pale wooden frames to create a striking perspective from every angle. Some areas of the restaurant feel soaring and grand, while others feel intimate. Marble counters, sleek wooden furniture and cushy banquettes add to the sumptuousness, and a sparkling open kitchen draws eyes to the back.
Smart segmenting of the large space makes for several dining options. The main dining room, with 85 seats, centers around a central island bar (itself with 20 seats), and has a mix of large tables for groups, banquettes and date-ready two-tops. There’s also a chef’s counter lining the open kitchen, a chef’s booth tucked to the right, and a 16-seat private dining room inspired by a gourmet Spanish grocer.
But nobody goes to a restaurant purely for the enticing architecture and inspiring interiors. We came to Boqueria to eat!
Restaurateur Yann de Rochefort has been serving New Yorkers Barcelona-inspired tapas since 2006, when the first Boqueria opened under chef Seamus Mullen in Flatiron in 2006. Chef Marc Vidal replaced Mullen in 2010, by which point Boqueria already had a second location, in SoHo. Since then, he’s led the ever-popular brand to open in the Upper East Side, downtown Brooklyn, and D.C.’s Dupont Circle. Each one features a reliable menu of delectable Spanish tapas and main dishes—plus cocktails and extensive wine menus.
Must orders include the tortilla Española—a traditional Spanish omelet made with organic eggs, potatoes and onions—creamy Serrano ham croquetas, garlic shrimp in brandy, grilled octopus, and what might just be the best patatas bravas—crispy potatoes with a tomato sauce and garlic aioli—outside of Catalonia.
But those are just the appetizers. We love the parrillada mixed-grill platter with steak, house-made chorizo, jamón ibérico, and other meats served with a rich hazelnut romesco and salsa verde. The seafood paella, unsurprisingly, is another signature dish, and comes with a hefty serving of fish, shrimp, squid, clams and mussels in a crisped bed of saffron bamba rice.
And for dessert, churros are the way to go, either in their traditional form or in a few more innovative spins, such as a pressed s’more or the decadent churro ice cream sundae.
Located on W 40th Street between 7th and 8th avenues, the Boqueria in Midtown is at the top of the Garment District, and makes for a great option for visitors looking to escape the crowds of nearby Times Square. Only a few blocks away from Refinery, it’s one of our new neighborhood favorites.
Check out more of our Midtown Musings on local gems for our insider’s guide to exploring Manhattan.