Wednesday, 14 September 2016

Dinner at La Boca, Hope Street, Glasgow

I was invited along to sample La Boca on Hope Street which is conveniently located right in the centre of Glasgow. I brought along a good friend of mine Lisa, aka Little Miss Glasgow Girl (see her blog HERE). I was really looking forward to this for a number of reasons - firstly I love tapas but haven't really found a place as nice as my favourite tapas joint in Dublin (The Port House), secondly I had heard nothing but good things about this place and thirdly I was getting to have a proper catch up with Lisa and talk about our favourite thing - food. 

We were greeted by the lovely Ally and Katie when we arrived and shown to our table. Stephen (who owns La Boca) came down to have a chat with us and to tell us the hows, whats and whys of La Boca. Stephen is so passionate about this place (and rightly so) and whilst talking to him my expectations of what was ahead were growing rapidly. So what did I learn from Stephen. Well firstly this is probably the most authentic tapas restaurant outside of Spain - everything about it is Spanish. So you will only get drinks here that you would get in a Spanish tapa's restaurant, you can get the largest selection of Spanish beers here, everything is either made in the restaurant or brought over from Spain, there is always a Spanish speaker working, the chefs are Spanish, Stephen and his family lived in Spain and his Daughter, Ally who works in the restaurant is fluent in Spanish. Stephen built the place - he wanted it to be so authentic - so authentic that he put in individual toilets like you would have in Spain. 
From talking to Stephen it was apparent that the quality of food used is very important to him. Everything is made fresh daily which is music to my ears. However, it is noted that sometimes this can have a drawback - when things run out they run out or it may take some time to cook your dish - but these apparent drawbacks don't bother me - I'd much prefer good quality, fresh food over cheap, reheated stuff.

There is also an extensive wine and cocktail list here. Ally is the wine expert so she will be able to give you a helping hand when picking your wine.  

The menu is extensive and covers everything from finger food; salads; meat dishes; fish dishes; vegetable dishes and dishes from the grill. Lisa and I decided to pick one dish from each category and went for the following:- 

  1. Queso Charcohondo, cured sheeps cheese from Extremadura served with fig almond cake, quince jelly and grapes;
  2. Ensalada De La Casa, fresh spinach, avocado, tomato, red fruits and walnuts. Dressed with wholegrain mustard, honey and olive oil;
  3. Pollo Al Curry, a creamy Andalusian curry;
  4. Bacalao Con Tomate, fresh cod cooked in their own tomato sauce with onion, peppers, garlic and coriander;
  5. Tortilla Espanola, Spanish omelette made with potato, egg and onion.
  6. Berenjenas Con Miel De Cana, Aubergine fried in a light batter and drizzled with sugar cane honey.
  7. Pan Con Alioli Y Aceitunas, bread with alioli and olives - this dish was given to us to start, and 
  8. Patatas Bravas, crispy cubed potatoes served with spicy garlic and chilli alioli - we didn't actually order this dish, we were going to but decided to be more adventurous and go for the aubergine dish, however the chef wanted us to taste the garlic and chilli alioli and I'm so glad that he did because it was EPIC.
Where to start with the food? Well firstly, it was amazing, the quality of the food used was just great. The flavours of each dish were amazing. We did probably have too many dishes however, but I wanted to sample as many dishes as possible (for research purposes obviously). So my favourite dish was the Aubergine dish - it was so tasty. Sometimes I can find that aubergine dishes are just mush but the texture of this dish was great & the addition of sugar cane honey really finished it off. Another outstanding dish for me was the cured sheeps cheese - now I'm a fan of cheese at the best of times but this cheese is simply delicious, it's not strong or overpowering but it certainly has lovely deep undertones to it. The alioli (the regular & chilli one) were out of this world tasty, so fresh. 

The only dish that I wasn't really sold on was the cod - it didn't really do anything for me from the way it looked to how it tasted. It didn't taste bad but it just wasn't as full of flavour as the other dishes. Food rating: 4/5.

Service in La Boca Tapas is great. Ally and Katie were so friendly and helpful to us. I did however keep a watchful eye on how they interacted with other customers and I'm pleased to say that they were just as friendly and helpful. The food arrived out nice and quickly, however in true tapas style they arrived out when they were ready and in no particular order. Our knifes and forks were in a container on the table (which is what you would expect from an authentic tapas restaurant), I think that it would have been handy to have a few spoons in the container also, just for ease of sharing some of the dishes. Service Rating: 4/5.

The atmosphere is great here. Firstly it just looks amazing from the blue and white 'tiled' wall, to the beautiful decorations on the wall, to the lovely bar. It all really works well together. There was a good stream of customers coming and going which I thought was great for a wet and miserable Tuesday night. When we walked in there were a few people sitting at the bar - I thought this gave the place a real authentic feel. Whilst I love the idea of individual toilets, on the night we were there the lock on the only female toilet was broken, so I had to use the boys toilet. Atmosphere rating: 4/5.

As I was invited to sample La Boca Tapa's dishes I did not pay for my meal so I'm not going to rate the price aspect of it. However from looking at the menu I would say that everything is very reasonably priced, certainly for the quality and quantity of food. 
Last Words
This is a little gem of a place, it has it all - great food, service and atmosphere. To be honest when I was talking to Stephen at the start I was thinking to myself that the restaurant cannot be as authentic as he is making it out to be but put simply, it is. I also love the fact that it is family run, that Stephen is so passionate about it and it appears that he has hired staff that are just as passionate about it too. If you are looking for authentic Spanish tapas then this is the place for you. I will be bringing Mr EmmaEats here soon as he loves tapas and I think he will be blown away by the place. Total rating: 16 out of 20 (I converted 12 out of 15 into a figure out of 20 (and rounded it) so it is in line with all my other reviews).

Date Visited: Tuesday, 6 September 2016.

Restaurant Details:
La Boca Tapa's,
189 Hope Street,
G2 2UL,

Website: click HERE
Telephone No: 0141 2377575

Finally, I would like to state that whilst I was invited to try out La Boca and didn't have to pay for my meal this has in no way impacted my review. My review is unbiased and independent.

Thanks a mil for reading.

Emma mai xx


  1. La Boca is a place I always walk by and think I need to try it! After reading your review I definitely have to go! The food looks amazing and the fact everything is fresh is great!


    1. Catriona, it is definitely somewhere you should try. It really is a lovely place for so many reasons. I'd love to hear what you think of it after you have visited.

      Thanks a mil for reading my blog.

      Emma mai xx

      PS my photography skills are not the best so the food is even more amazing in real life ;-)