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Triumphant Tapas at La Boca

There is no sincerer love than the love of food.

Full to capacity almost every night, La Boca has been a hit with both locals and the world travelers that visit Santa Fe. One of three hot spots run by revered rock star chef James Campbell Caruso, La Boca has earned numerous awards both locally and nationally, including the Santa Fe Reporter’s “Restaurant of the Year,” and the International Wine and Food Society’s “Award of Excellence.” Further acclaimed in the New York Times, Travel and Leisure, Esquire, and by the Food Network, La Boca is a celebration, European style —a narrow, cozy space with the lively feeling of a bodega in Spain.

So what about the food? With Chef James, we’re talking about a seven-time James Beard Award Nominee for “Best Chef of the Southwest” and one of only four chefs nominated to compete in the Sherry Council of America’s “Copa Jerez International Food and Sherry Pairing Competition” in both 2011 and 2013. And we haven’t yet mentioned his venture in the literary realm with the gorgeous coffee-table cookbook, “El Farol: Tapas and Spanish Cuisine” (Gibbs Smith, 2004). So, experiencing the menu at La Boca could probably affect you like falling in love with another person’s life.

La Boca offers plates of meats, seafood and vegetables, scrumptious soups, hearty main dishes and delectable desserts, all using fresh produce, the finest cheeses and meats and traditional spices. The bruschetta is unlike anything you’ve ever had, a toasted piece of bread smothered in a mushroom cream sauce, and topped with a soft fried egg and truffle oil —so rich! Orthodox yet pagan, La Boca walks a tightrope of the obvious and obscure: Moscilla (blood sausage) and figs, boquerones (marinated Spanish anchovies), Ravioli Negro (squid ink ravioli stuffed with shrimp and lump crab with sweet pea puree), and mind-blowing jamon croquettes. Many of the menu’s ingredients are imported from Spain. And while La Boca prides itself on being an ambassador of Spanish sherry culture, this hottest of Santa Fe wine bars also features an extensive selection of carefully-chosen Mediterranean and South American wines. A tip: they have a tapas happy hour (hora feliz) from 3-5 every day that knocks at least one of the $‘s off the price.

La Boca is where you go when you’re looking for a different, yet historically rooted experience. It’s a special kind of Santa Fe, and an ideal choice for out-of-town guests. Eat well here.

Location : 72 W Marcy St

Phone : (505) 982-3433

Website

Hours:

Lunch from 11:30 a.m.- 3:00 p.m.; 1/2 price tapas from 3-5 p.m.; Dinner from 5-10 p.m.