Last year I went to Barcelona for the first time and fell in love with the food. I didn’t think I would care for Barcelona’s tapas style cuisine because I used to associate tapas with fried croquettes, lamb meatballs, and heavy cheese crostinis. I was wrong on all accords! Tapas menus are nobread approved and staple items on tapas menus include several of my favorites. Boqueria, located in Flatiron, the Upper East Side, and SoHo, brings a bit of Barcelona to New York City and is the perfect restaurant to go to for great tapas and sangria before a night out, or for when you are in the mood to reminisce about your study abroad days…
To start, I recommend a meat and cheese plate (nobread). There are plenty of meats and cheeses to choose from, and a plate of charcuterie was on almost every table. Other nobread approved orders you HAVE to try include: dates stuffed with almonds wrapped in bacon, traditional Spanish omelette with potatoes and onions, sautéed spinach with garbanzos and pine nuts, shrimp in garlic and oil but nobread, the octopus, and squid seared a la plancha. The patatas bravas are a tapas staple; however, they are subject to cross contamination so if you are sensitive I would avoid. Also, the paella can be made gluten free if you ask for it with no romesco sauce and no soffrito! The seafood paella was pretty much incredible, and not to be missed! Anything on the menu that contains romesco sauce has gluten, but all dishes can be prepared without this sauce. Although Boqueria is famous for their staple Spanish tapas dishes, their seasonal vegetable dishes including the cauliflower NO ROMESCO and butternut squash were some of my favorites! These dishes, as well as the octopus and other dishes cooked on “la plancha” are subject to cross contamination, too, so be sure to discuss with your server the severity of your gluten allergy.
Everything at Boqueria is perfect for sharing and goes very well with your refreshing margarita or glass of sangria. Reservations are only taken for parties of 6 or more, so be sure to go early if Boqueria is your Saturday night dining destination. And if the wait is long (it was an hour and a half for 5 people on the saturday night I went), grab a drink and a few apps at the bar; the food is worth the wait!