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La Boqueria

La Boqueria
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Cost
R70
Ambience
Business meetings, Groups, Quick meals
Food
Mexican, Modern, Spanish
Payment
Amex, Diners Club, Mastercard, Visa
Corkage
No BYO

Critic's review

Sylvia McKeown

Food
Come hungry and with friends, so as to make the best out of this fun-loving establishment. Inspired by Hispanic food markets around the world, La Boqueria’s menu comprises a wide selection of regional cuisine. Who knew that hot fried olives would be such fast friends with edamame? Tapas bars normally conjure up images of endless small plates, but the size of their ‘Son of a butcher man’ dry-aged primal cut steak is overwhelming. In fact, all their mains are more than generous at best and that doesn’t even take into account the ‘Feasting’ section. There’s something on this menu for every appetite size, be it a white anchovy snack on toast or 10 groaning grilled Queen prawns covered in caper salsa fresca.

Make sure you still have space for dessert, though, because although they made name for themselves with their white-chocolate hazelnut gelato cookie Whoopie pie dessert, the G&T tart and chocolate nemesis dessert are equally formidable choices.

Drinks
Their focus and pride comes from their small-batch and natural wine from across all our beloved regions. Each selection extends across the palate to a feeling such as ‘quench’, ‘nourish’, or ‘cleanse’ rather than by the grape. There are tons of names you’ve undoubtedly never heard of but can get by the glass anyway.

Service
Welcoming, knowledgeable and always there when you need them. And, considering how busy the place gets, that’s a feat unto itself.

Ambience
Tapas and good times should be shared and you can do all that swimmingly at this establishment. It’s always packed full of bright buzz, whether inside with the murals and odd tree or outside on the expansive deck.

Best for…
A catch up and a drink with friends

Eat Out critics dine unannounced and pay for their meals in full. Read our full editorial policy here

(August 2018)

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User reviews

  • Evening experience was great advice tapas on everything
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  • Blown away by the food, an unexpected treat! Can’t fault any of the dishes we had which included Oysters, tapas and dessert! Will definitely be back! Oh and do try their craft tequila!
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  • Unfortunately, the group of 6 (including myself) who went to La Boqueria for a rare celebration, had a miserable time because of the poor quality of the food. The prawns were decidedly "off" - tasted rotten, with a disgusting "floury" texture, the traditional Andalucia Spanish chicken was over-salted and had too much paprika (drowning out the subtle flavours). The only passable meals were the steaks. The sides were underwhelming - the vegetables were under-cooked to being just off raw and the beans were flaccid and tasted off. The "tapas" portions were tiny. Overall, bad food, which - alongside the sherry, wine and grappa - was over-priced. The manager did nothing about the "off" prawns - not even a complimentary drink or dessert as an apology. Sadly, the "hype" around this restaurant conceals far from fresh food, which is definitely not authentically Spanish (I am Spanish and have traveled to Spain many times and feasted on the food, is badly managed and over-priced. A huge disappointment. I would not recommend it to my worst enemy.
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  • ALL DAY EATERY LOCATION: 17 3rd Avenue, Parktown North, Johanesburg. Well positioned in the buzzing neighbourhood of Parktown; with secure parking in the next door shopping centre. DRINKS: I was delighted to find my favourite fruity flavoured; Strawberry and Lime Kopparberg Cider available. I was also pleasantly surprised by the Rekordelig Cider brand being available. The In House Infused Gin combinations; Bombay Sapphire (Grapefruit and Sage) and Inverroche Classic Gin (Blueberry and Rosemary) with variations of tonics are a must. You also can’t leave without enjoying The Boqueria’s Bottle; a porthole infusion of burnt orange, fresh apple with cinnamon and Tequila - Agave Guervo. There are several variations of aperitifs, gins, whiskeys, tequilas, tipples, craft beers and wines. We enjoyed a variety of potions all exciting, refreshing and bursting with flavours. APPETIZERS/HORS D’OEUVRE/STARTERS: Salmon Tiradito : All salmon lovers behold this Norwegian salmon dish with coconut shavings, red chilli, crispy poppadoms, ponzu dressing with mange tout Calamares : This dish was a served with a roasted garlic and zesty lime aioli dip and crispy pepper rubbed squid. A scrumptious variation of flavours zesty zingy and spicy. SALADS AND SOUPS : Poke Bowl – Wow wow wow!! Must have Springtime Summer Salad. This Hawaiian RAW fish salad had so many of my favourite elements. A combination of chilli lime brown rice that was boiled to perfection, perfectly marinated salmon and tuna poke which was chopped into bite size portions; for eating ease. The coconut cream, sweet juicy pineapple, creamy chunks of avocado, edamame beans, pickled carrot and cucumber, with nori seaweed flakes made this my favourite dish thus far on the menu. Wonder Bowl – Perfect for cold weather days. This is a ramen bowl with miso broth. This hearty broth included delicious, fresh, field mushrooms, chilli nori seaweed flakes,with a perfectly prepared poached egg, fresh sprouts, red cabbage and noodles with a choice of either grilled rump or pork fillet (sliced into bite sizes). We chose the rump; which was seasoned and prepared to perfection. These portions could have just as well been a main meal; the portion sizes are large, filling and delicious. Most patrons seemed to have just ordered these “SuperBowls”. ENTRÉE/MAINS: Laiki Lamb Kabob – For Lamb Lovers is a shoulder of tender lamb, marinated with fresh herby and pickled lime yoghurt marinate. Combined with saffron tomatoes, roasted garlic hummus with a pickled green bean salad with whipped feta. Served with flat bread and hand cut chips. Butcher’s Daughter – 300g Mature Rib Eye with ponzu and miso butter. Charred with Spanish hazelnut picada, exotic mushrooms and baby gems. Portion sizes were large and both meals were cooked with technique. DESSERT/SWEETS: Churros – A trio of churros (Spanish fried dough pastry) served with a chocolate, red chilli hot pot Poached Cinnamon Toffee Apple – Fennel spiced ice cream, salted caramel shard and butterscotch sauce with apples poached in red wine. The desserts were decadent and colourful. All the elements came together perfectly. AMBIENCE: Wonderful energy as you walk in through the doors, you see a huge, colourful, beautiful painting of a Spanish female bullfighter. It sets the mood for your colourful, delightful experience ahead. The restaurant buzzes with energetic, keen lunch time patrons. SEATING: There is an outdoor seating section, to soak in the sunlight with a tasty cocktail. There are also two levels on the inside of the restaurant. Bookings are essential as this spot is on popular in Johannesburg. HANDS: As you walk in you are greeted with a friendly, attentive smile from the reception desk, to your waiter who will serve you. We were assisted by a waiter called Calvin. A friendly, energetic, attentive guy. MUST MENTION: The wall art is huge with high visibility for ALL to see. This image can not be missed. The positioning is deliberate, in your face; at the entrance. They are not hiding their intentions, in any little hidden away portraits. They want you to SEE her. The female seems to be a rebel; a non conformist and a radical. The artwork is bold, colourful and bright. A tattoo! A cigarette? Stars for teardrops? A female bullfighter? Symbolisms both hidden and visible everywhere in the art. Hemingway used bullfighting as an ongoing metaphor for war and the nature of masculinity. A bullfighter is daring, fearless, confident, skilful, tactful, precise....Who lives a life of thrill and danger; yet she seems calm. The bullfighter is a "fighter" and won't succumb. No ordinary person will fight an enormous bull. This image is very thought provoking indeed. There's a lot to reflect on when looking at the statement being made. Is La Boqueria the female in the image? Symbolisms of large blood red roses, even a commitment of a tattooed blood red rose depicts love, strength, fragility, gentleness, pride, loyalty...But mostly it depicts the celebration of LOVE in all aspects and the PRIDE of Spain. A blood red rose is a symbol of The Patron Saint of Catalonia (Sant Jordi) who according to legend was a soldier. On his Feast Day lovers exchange red roses. Its always about the little details that sets you apart. La Boqueria shows us this in the image. The artist who painted this is extremely talented with accuracy, technique and little details. Job well done! Brilliant work. Let me know what you think of this art work? This is my 5min refelection on it. I am no expert. AND: A must experience restaurant in Johannesburg. It’s perfect for all occasions from relaxed business meetings, to friend and family get togethers. The flavours on the menu were delivered. The food was definitely made with care and technique. Food textures were good. Thank you for the wonderful adventure La Boqueria with all the beautiful blends and flavours. The painting says it all!! Everyone is trying to be the only one but La Boqueria; you are the ONLY ONE!!
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  • After our first mind-blowing experience at La Boqueria (see my previous review), my partner and I were more than ready to return - even if only for a quick lunch stop before heading off on a safari. To start, we once again opted for the octopus (Pulpo a la Plancha) which was just as flavourful as we recalled from the first time with the chorizo providing a pleasant spicy kick. In addition to this were the crusted zucchini and aubergine fries (Baingan Fries) which I found quite nice as a light and crisp appetizer. Our entree had to include the 10 queen prawns (Ten Pan Prawns) - again based on our experiences from the first visit. However I was sad to report that despite the prawns being tender and moist, the flavour explosion we felt the first time was not there. The prawns this time round were quite bland and heavily reliant on the dip to do something for the dish. Thus the disappointment that this time round was not to live up to our first impressions begun to set in. Also as a second-rounder we opted for the seafood paella (Paella Marisco) once more - which had been incredibly palate-pleasing the first time round despite several bones in the white fish slightly putting us off. However, we were informed by our waiter that the dish had been changed up since our last visit and so the expectation was that such a change could only make it better. This was not to be. From the first bite my partner and I immediately looked at each other, both thinking the same thing - SALT. From the mussels to the squid heads - the dish presented a salty mess barely tolerable. We were left having to drown the dish with lemon juice to neutralize the saltiness and unfortunately the rice did not make up for that initial poor impression. I may not know too much about Spanish food but one thing I can summate is that the spiciness is not supposed to be to the point of killing the taste buds. Hence unlike the last time, our paella was left unfinished with a comment made to the waiter whom we can only hope relayed the message to the chef. Unfortunately on this occasion, due to our limited time, we were unable to stick around for dessert (not that we were too excited about staying for anything more at that point). At the end of the lunch, my partner and I agreed on one thing - LB lacked consistency. From the absolute highs encountered during our first experience here to the complete turnaround this time. If not careful, it is this that could lead to their downfall as customers that are served food of a certain standard once, remains with that expectation from there on. Turn it around and pick it up, LB. I know you can do better.
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Facilities

  • Accepts credit cards
  • Beer served
  • Cocktails
  • Dinner
  • Food
  • Licensed
  • Lunch
  • Parking
  • Serves food
  • Takeaways
  • WiFi

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