Boqueria, a Spanish tapas bar and restaurant, recently opened their first Chicago location in the Fulton Market neighborhood. They invited The Local Tourist to sample the Barcelona-inspired menu of both food and cocktails. The opening of Boqueria Chicago marks the restaurant’s first location outside of its home markets of New York City and Washington D.C.
“Since opening our first restaurant 12 years ago, we’ve always strived to create an atmosphere that brings people together at each location. Through our time spent in Chicago, we’ve learned that the city is all about community. We’re thrilled to open in Fulton Market and look forward to showcasing our love of Spanish cuisine and offering guests a place to connect.”Yann de Rochefort, Founder and CEO of Boqueria
In the style of a traditional Barcelona tapas bar, Boqueria has been designed to promote the feeling of a communal dining experience. Designed by award-winning Studio Razavi Architects, the restaurant features bar-height seating and several large communal tables to help lend the feeling of being out among friends. The spacious open dining room is anchored by a glowing island tapas bar and large open kitchen, extending the dining experience to allow guests to delight in the sights, smells and action of their meals being prepared.
The menu has been carefully crafted by executive chef and Barcelona native Marc Vidal and features classic Spanish dishes, infused with bold flavors and local ingredients. Boqueria will offer a seasonally rotating menu of tapas, paella, Spanish cheese and charcuterie and a rotating selection of dishes inspired by Chicago markets, a selection of meats by local Slagel Family Farms, and fresh bread from neighboring Publican Quality Bread.
Boqueria will feature many traditional tapas offerings, but all of them have benefitted from Chef Marc Vidal’s creative flair. Some of the standout items we sampled at the opening party were:
- Pan con Tomate (a Catalan dish of grilled stirato bread rubbed with tomato, garlic and olive oil
- Pulpo a la Plancha (grilled octopus with fennel, smoked pimentón and Picual olive oil mashed potatoes
- Paella de Mariscos (bomba rice, monkfish, sepia, squid, shrimp, clams, mussels, saffron and salsa verde)
- Fideuá Negra (black squid ink fideuá paella with sepia, clams, shrimp, picada, lobster stock, garlic aioli)
- Dátiles con Beicon (dates stuffed with almonds and Valdeón blue cheese, wrapped in bacon)
- Cojonudo (quail egg, chorizo palacios, toast points)
- Pollo Rustido (Catalan-style roasted chicken, Ibérico lard, lemon, herbs, salsa verde)
In addition to the a la carte menu, Boqueria will offer a special prix-fixe Chef’s Menu, served family style with an optional upgrade featuring their most-prized ingredient: 30-month-aged, hand-carved Jamón Ibérico. They will also offer a Cochinillo Feast featuring a selection of artisanal cheese and charcuterie followed by a whole slow-roasted suckling pig, seasonal roast vegetables, pickled onions, pimentón butter, and salsa verde. The Cochinillo Feast requires a minimum of 7 days’ notice and is for a minimum of 6 guests.
Of course, no visit to a tapas bar is complete without dessert. To round out the menu, Boqueria has a selection of Spanish-inspired desserts including Los Rellenos (Stuffed Churros) with various fillings from Nutella to dulce de leche; Crema Catalana: creamy cinnamon vanilla custard topped with caramelized sugar; and Turrón, almond-hazelnut cake topped with candied hazelnuts and a drizzle of honey.
The bar program, led by beverage director Kieran Chavez features an all-Spanish wine list as well as both Spanish beers and a rotating selection of local options. The menu also includes three classic Signature Sangrías by the glass and pitcher (red, white and rosé) in addition to seasonal variations such as Blood Orange and Sparkling Cava. For fans of vermouth, they have a special vermouth program which pays homage to the Spanish tradition of serving red or white ‘vermut’ on the rocks with seltzer and special garnishes chosen by the guest to craft their own, unique cocktail.
Boqueria is now open for dinner service and will begin weekday lunch starting on December 9 and weekend brunch starting on December 14. Boqueria will accept both reservations and walk-ins. Once all three dining options are available (lunch, brunch, and dinner) hours will be as follows:
- Lunch: 11:30am – 3pm, Monday-Friday
- Dinner: 5pm-10:00pm, Monday; 5pm-10:30pm, Tuesday-Thursday; 5pm-11:00pm, Friday-Saturday; 5pm-9:30pm, Sunday
- Happy Hour: 3pm-6:30pm in bar and cocktail seating, Monday-Friday
- Brunch: 11am-4pm, Saturday-Sunday
Boqueria is located at 807 W. Fulton Market, near the intersection of Halsted and Fulton Market. For more information, visit the Boqueria website or call (312) 257-3177.