Boca’O is a Spanish food truck that specializes in Tapas. They opened in 2019, but I only recently heard of them while browsing Tock for takeout restaurants. I had to cancel my trip to Spain last May due to COVID-19, along with the El Celler de Can Roca reservation I managed to snag 11 months in advance. Needless to say, I was disappointed and have pined for Spanish food ever since.
There’s only a handful of Spanish restaurants in Vancouver, and one less now that The Sardine Can has closed. Tapas are small dishes/bites generally served to be shared in bars, so the idea of bringing that experience home via a food truck seems pretty great.
The Take-Out Experience
Since Boca’O is a food truck, you have to visit their website to see their schedule and location (usually in the Olympic Village area). You can order a variety of tapas, sandwiches and paellas directly from their truck menu or via delivery apps. However, certain items and larger orders (such as Tablas) need to be pre-ordered via Tock at least 24 hours in advance for pick-up.
I ordered their Tabla Mar & Tierra which seemed to give a good selection of tapas for $52. Being packaged in boxes makes it a pain to carry, so make sure you don’t have a long walk ahead. I was disappointed at how the crackers were thrown in there randomly, doesn’t seem like a very appetizing start.
Looks much better when you get to unpack and plate everything!
It’s great that Boca’O offers real Ibérico sausage at this price range, and really gives their menu credibility. This was delicious and not too salty nor packed full of garlic and spices: you can really taste the pork. Thinly sliced like it should be.
This was another item that caught my eye on the menu. Manchego is a sheep’s milk cheese that comes from the La Mancha region in Spain. At 9 months, it’s gotten semi-firm (but not yet crumbly) and the flavors have really concentrated. It’s nutty and buttery, like a milder Pecorino Romano that you can eat as-is!
The crispy wheat crackers were the perfect companion to the meat and cheese. They’re lightly salted and the sesame seeds gave them a toasty flavor.
The Vinagrillos was a tangy and savory bite. I loved how there were two types of anchovies. The white anchovy marinated in vinegar was delicious and it’s hard to find in supermarkets here. It tastes fresh and vinegary, but not too salty. Totally different than the cured anchovy fillets that you buy in tins here. I wish I had a plate of the anchovies with some good olive oil!
The prawn was quite overcooked, but otherwise still an appetizing bite.
This was my favorite dish of the night. More of those delicious anchovies paired with mouthwatering tomato spread and crispy baguette.
The fritters remained surprisingly crispy even after the drive home. I couldn’t really taste the prawns, but the filling was satisfyingly cheesy and garlicky.
The patatas bravas were super soggy and disappointing. It probably didn’t help that they were packed inside a tiny container and drenched with sauce. They’re supposed to be fried and crispy, but tasted more like microwaved potatoes.
Reading that they used imported Bomba rice really made me look forward to the paella at Boca’O. However it ended up being even more disappointing than the potatoes. The rice was overcooked, mushy and sticky. Rather than being tender, the rice had a creamy texture almost like a risotto. Don’t bother looking for the socarrat here.
The seafood was also overcooked and the dish had quite a fishy aroma. In their defense it was probably due to the fish stock in the paella which cooled during the half-hour drive home, but this should have been taken into account when designing a takeout-focused menu.
The dishes here probably would’ve paired better with Cava or Sherry, but since I didn’t have any, I chose the next best thing: Rioja. This Spanish wine is a blend of 85% Tempranillo with 15% Garnacha, Graciano and Mazuelo. If you’re ever searching for this wine, it’s super confusing because the official name is CVNE, but it’s commonly called Cune. Apparently there was a typo on the original label and the name has stuck ever since.
Despite being a Reserva, this was deliciously fruity with a medium body and a long silky finish. A really versatile wine that went well with all the dishes.
Although the meal started off great with high quality Spanish ingredients, the hot dishes made the experience from Boca’O fall flat. Perhaps my expectations were a bit high for this price range, but there’s really no excuse for a Spanish establishment not to have decent patatas bravas and paella, even if it’s coming from a food truck.
Location: see website
Price Range: $$ ($15-$30)
Rating: ** (2/5 – Not recommended)