A cut above the rest at Boca Cafe

by Emma Nolan
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Boca Cafe strives for quality, and in a sea of generic IFSC coffee chains, this is a place where you can get a proper sandwich.

“I was sick of walking over that bridge,” owner Keith Ryan tells Dublin Gazette.

Having lived in Spencer Dock for seven years and having to constantly walk across the Samuel Beckett for a decent sandwich and coffee, he decided three years ago he was going to take matters into his own hands.

“I love a good sandwich and there was nothing over this side of the bridge, so the idea was to bring quality sandwiches here. People I know who work around here were saying the same thing, they were fed up walking over the bridge and that was the eureka moment.

“We were originally going to call it Bocadillo, [Boc-a-dee-yo] which means sandwich in Spanish, but nobody could pronounce it,” he jokes.

So the name was shortened to Boca, which means ‘taste’ or ‘mouth’ – perfectly fitting for a cafe dedicated to excellent coffee and sandwiches, which are a meal in themselves.

With choices like the Chicken and Chorizo (which contains roast lemon chicken with chorizo, mozzarella, carrot and fennel slaw and pesto mayo on sourdough) or the Roast Beef (with caramelised onion, vintage cheddar, tomato, celeriac slaw and horseradish mayo) the menu has been carefully thought out by Keith, manager Niamh Barry, and head chef Kevin Byrne.

Formerly of Green Bench cafe on Montague Street, Byrne’s reputation for crafting a whopper sandwich precedes him.

“We’re striving for quality here,” he says. “All the meat is slow-roasted and all of the sauces are scratch made in-house. It takes longer, but it’s worth it, and we try to get better and better every week.”

All the sandwich ingredients, down to the pesto and the ketchup, are made in Boca’s kitchen.

“Absolutely no corners are cut and it tastes better this way.”

Breakfast is also an event here, with the star of the show being the Avo and Eggs on Toast – a crisp slice of sourdough topped with avocado, bacon, feta, tomatoes and two soft poached eggs. The perfect feed before a busy day in the IFSC.

Anything not made in house is provided by quality Irish suppliers; Baker Street Bakery provide the breads and the baked goods and sweet treats come from nearby Camerino Bakery.

As for the coffee, Boca uses Full Circle Coffee Roasters, and head barista Natalia explains they use single origin beans from Altos de Erapuca in Honduras, roasted by Full Circle founder Brian Birdy.

The flat white is velvety smooth, naturally sweet and made with care. It’s up there with the best of Dublin’s top coffee spots and will no doubt become a must try destination for connoisseurs and caffeine lovers alike.

Bold and Bright
Located on Spencer Dock, behind the Convention Centre, Boca is a comfortable spot for group and solo dining.

Spacious and high ceilinged, the decor is clean, bold and bright. And while Keith says there are a few finishing touches to be added, its vibe is modern yet welcoming, and there’s plenty of room to sit in and enjoy lunch without having to rush back to the office.

They also deliver to offices in the area.

Boca have been open for just a few months but are quickly establishing themselves as a one of Dublin’s best new cafes.

“I used to walk around the block here with my daughter Holly and if you had have told me three years ago, that I would have a cafe here up and running, I would have said you were mental.”

Keith’s business partner Marco Garbinesi had always wanted to open and cafe and with encouragement from both him and Keith’s wife Orla, Boca was born.

“It’s been hard work but I feel like this is a place I could happily sit in and have a coffee, it’ll be a nice moment when I get a chance to do that.”

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