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June 15, 2023

Boqueria, a tapas bar that originated in New York City, to open Philly location next year

The restaurant, which serves Spanish-style small plates, will sit in the ground floor of a 27-story residential tower near Rittenhouse Square

Food & Drink Restaurants
Boqueria Philadelphia Rittenhouse Liz Clayman/Boqueria

Boqueria, a Barcelona-inspired tapas restaurant and bar, is opening a location in Philadelphia next year. It will be on the ground floor of a residential tower being built at 1620 Sansom St.

Rittenhouse Square will add some Spanish flavor to its restaurant scene when Boqueria, the Barcelona-inspired tapas bar in New York City, opens a Philadelphia location next year. 

The restaurant will sit on the ground floor of the 27-story residential development underway at 1620 Sansom St., according to Brand Urban, the real estate firm that is leasing the 5,000-square-foot dining space. Boqueria, which opened its first New York location 17 years ago, also has expanded to Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Nashville and Washington.

Boqueria's menu, which varies slightly by location, primarily includes Spanish-style small plates like bacon-wrapped dates with almonds and bleu cheese, Spanish frittatas with eggs, confit potatoes and onions, and the boquerones con naranja, made with pickled white anchovies, orange, olive oil, black pepper and Boqueria's house-made potato chips. There also are cheeseboards and entrees focused more heavily on fish, steak, chicken and pork. 

The drink menu offers signature cocktails based on preferred tastes — fresh, light or dark — alongside a list of classic drinks and sangrias. Its vermouth selection allows diners to pair an aperitif with their food as part of an early-afternoon tradition that originated in Barcelona. 

Boqueria's founder, Yann de Rochefort, told the Inquirer last month that he was unsure exactly when the Philadelphia restaurant will open, noting that it will fill a void left by the closing of Tinto, the Rittenhouse Square tapas restaurant from Jose Garces. Boqueria is expected to cost as much as $5 million, and most likely will open after tenants have started moving in to the apartments above it. 

"We're thrilled to be part of Boqueria's continued expansion beyond New York City and into some of the country's most exciting and burgeoning markets, including Atlanta, Nashville, Washington, D.C., Chicago and now Philadelphia," Taryn Brandes, founder of Brand Urban, said in a press release. 

"Rittenhouse Square is the city's most in-demand live, work, play neighborhood and an established regional destination for quality dining, culture and entertainment. Boqueria Philadelphia will be ideally positioned within the vibrant Rittenhouse Square restaurant scene with its signature Spanish menu and energetic atmosphere." 

Rochefort opened the first Boqueria location in New York City's Chelsea neighborhood in 2006. It featured a long communal table in the center of its dining room and drew attention for its energetic crowd. The restaurant now has four New York locations and five more in other U.S. cities, including two in Washington.

When the second Boqueria location opened in Washington in 2019, The Washington Post noted that the "restaurant requires that you lean in" due to its volume, sometimes prompting guests to crane their necks and repeat themselves so people can hear them amid the flurry of activity. 

Boqueria also is planning to open a restaurant in Atlanta's Colony Square neighborhood sometime this summer. 

For Philly residents looking to get a taste of Boqueria without making a trip to New York or D.C., Rochefort and his co-founders released a cookbook based on their restaurant in 2018. "Boqueria: A Cookbook from Barcelona to New York," features many of the restaurant's tapas, entree and dessert recipes.