If you’re a foodie you know that ‘farm-to-market’ is one of the biggest restaurant trends of the past year. Tampa, not to be left out, has welcomed a number of new establishments with menus developed around the local, mostly organic, and seasonal produce and meats. As it turns out, delicious vegetables don’t have to come from other states, and lots of local farms raise tasty poultry and cut a mean slice of bacon.
Boca (kitchen * bar * market) opened up earlier this year to much anticipation – thanks to a locally-known and respected owner, a storied location, and a unique menu for the area. Not to dwell on peripheral details, but I was principally impressed by how well the space was transformed from its previous inhabitant (Smoke BBQ). The layout is not an easy one, but it flows well, with the bar and sitting area up front, and most of the seating toward the rear. The large windows open the dark wood-ceilinged interior, and there is a pleasant looking patio sitting along the South Boulevard side. Best of all, the A/C is cranked during the day, so you can enjoy the sunny natural light without sweating through your deep v-neck.
If you come hoping to eat well, you won’t be disappointed on that note either. I first went for brunch, and then for lunch, so I can’t speak to Boca’s sundown offerings. Everything I had was prepared well, and tasted good, and most importantly, was a decent portion. The eggs were delicious, the stuffed french toast decadent. I was a bit miffed about how few beets were in the beet salad, but it was a half, so maybe the full is more beet-heavy? My yellowfin tuna was excellent – a beautiful piece of fish befitting a Toyko fish auction buyer. The chef paired it with sauteed peppers and a quinoa-esque grain. Overall a great dish for the price ($15), although more peppery than I’d guess is acceptable to the middle of the bell curve.
I will definitely try Boca again, maybe for dinner, to truly gauge its abilities. In the meantime, I suggest you get your butt over there to see and be seen, at the hottest new place. If you’re like me and hate to valet, then plan on hunting for parking, as it’s about nonexistent in that area. Exclusivity, y’all!
I’ve added Boca to my Local Tampa map, which shows some of my favorite homegrown, non-chain spots for all things culinary and delicious.