D.C.’s second Boqueria brings Penn Quarter a taste of Barcelona’s modern tapas scene with lots of swaying palms, Ibérico ham carved at the entrance, and abstract artwork.
The 164-seat restaurant opens for dinner tonight in Penn Quarter (777 Ninth Street NW). It will serve executive chef Marc Vidal’s best sellers — think seafood paella, patatas bravas, and boquerones — alongside a lineup of dishes exclusive to D.C.
Boqueria, which has four locations in New York, was founded by Georgetown graduate Yann de Rochefort. Displays of Spanish bottled vinegars and vegetables and a glossy red meat slicer welcome guests to the thick marbled 24-seat bar — the brand’s biggest yet — which will serve Shishito margaritas, exclusively Spanish wine, and lots of sherries and sangrias. A nearby temperature-controlled wine locker sports a curved retro design, with a lacquered burgundy finish that picks up Boqueria’s logo.
D.C.’s debut Boqueria — and its first outside of New York City — opened in Dupont Circle in 2012.
For its second District location, potted plant life from D.C.’s Little Leaf by Salt and Sundry lives everywhere to create an overgrown Mediterranean vibe. There’s also a hand-selected piece from late Chicago painter John Almquist, a big name in the Mid-century modern world. Dramatic lighting fixtures such as dangling Edison bulbs and oversized oval lanterns also sport an abstract look.
Diverse seating options across the sleek setup include semi-private booths near the cooking action, with partitions comprised of vertical metal rods. Striking terrazzo flooring lines the entry vestibule and bathrooms. In-demand D.C. interiors firm Studio 3877 (The Smith and Succotash) also designed the white oak-clad private dining room with an 18-seat custom dining table and a flat screen TV for conferencing capabilities.
A grand opening is scheduled for Wednesday, March 6, and lunch will join the mix on Thursday, March 14. Happy hour (3 p.m. to 7 p.m. daily) will come online later this month, adding clams with garlic and parsley sauce and head-on shrimp cooked in sea salt into the rotation for the first time.
Scroll on for a look inside D.C.’s new Boqueria: