Looking for somewhere impressive to take your friends from out of town, potential in-laws or just your bestie? La Boqueria, a staggeringly beautiful Spanish restaurant with touches of global cuisine on the menu and a damn clever wine list, is the spot! Make your reservation sooner rather later and soak in the friendly atmosphere at Parktown North’s newest cool kid on the block.
The first thing that struck me at La Boqueria, is just how pretty everything is. The double volume space lets in tons of light from windows lining the wooden ceiling, sleek mid-century furniture and hanging macrame pot plants give a repurposed feel to an overall sleek look. For such a large eatery, it also feels cosy. Between intimate booths, cafe style seating, a beautiful marble bar with lounge areas and two private upstairs sections, the interior is laid out cleverly. There’s an outdoor patio for South Africa’s summers too, so they can cater to just about any need. On to (possibly) the most import thing- the food, which is as good as the restaurant looks.
True to its Spanish roots, the tapas offerings at La Boqueria is made up of lots of small bites with robust flavours and textures. Olives are a firm favourite of mine and I didn’t think they could be improved but then need everything tastes better fried. These are paired with a salty caper parsley aioli. I like how the salty-crunchy combo of the olives works with the sweet, tender blistered peppers called Pepper de Santiago.
The Market Bowl was a delicious bowl of veggies, packed with artichokes, peas, marrow, pistachio, Fior de Latte (mozzarella), and mint. I cook with a lot of these ingredients and flavours regularly and splurge on some of the more lavish items in this dish so I knew I’d love it. I really did, it’s such a great combination and good for a light lunch that doesn’t leave you hungry.
Confession time; being a sugar addict of note I’ve tasted all four desserts on the menu. And I regret nothing! The Whoopie Pie is an amalgamation of white chocolate hazelnut gelato sandwiched between two cookies, with Nutella, mini marshmallows and toasted almonds. It’s life changing. I could have another right now even though I felt like I needed a nap after eating one. The Poached Cinnamon Toffee Apple is also a thing of beauty, apple halves are poached in red wine and served with spiced ice cream and a butterscotch sauce. A really delectable winter dessert.
Something else that’s been done really well at La Bouqueria is the wine menu. Whenever I’m tasked with picking a wine, I automatically think “What would my friend Ashleigh order?” and make a decision based on that. This wine menu is clever because categorises wines by their personality, which it make it so much easier to understand each wine and order accordingly. With headers like ‘Cleanse’, ‘Nourish’ and ‘Entice’, you know what to expect for the bottle. The wine menu also spearheads local boutique wine farms and features natural and biodynamic wines of a really high quality.
My first trip to La Boqueria was an event with a huge food tasting of lots of little bits- I think we may have been served half of the menu. My favourites from that night that aren’t pictured here are the Edamame Beans, Oxtail Marmalade Toast, Pork Belly, Gin Tonic Tart and Churro’s will all winners in my book.
For more information on La Boqueria, please visit laboqueria.co.za or call them on 011 325 0011