Openings and Closings

Moquila in Boca Raton Serving Up Latin Fusion With a Mexican Twist

Moquila Restaurant and Tequila Bar has been undone -- and now redone, to exacting perfection.

After opening its doors in 2005, the Mex-chic establishment has changed direction to focus less on the tequila and more on the art of fine cuisine. 

Moquila's seafood-heavy menu is strictly upper-class Mexican, a refined Mexican-ladino blend with traditional elements like roasted tomatillo salsas, fruit-infused sides, and innovative ceviches -- each interpreted with a variety of flavors pulled from many different cultures.

Keep reading for more details and a photo tour of Moquila...

Moquila is now under the direction of chef Alex Rodriguez, who effortlessly pulls together a mix of cuisines -- from his homeland of Puerto Rico to the likes of Cuba, Spain, and Central America. 

Rodriguez has a way of making individual tastes register, his care for detail evident in the colorful, artful presentations and the delicate balance of flavors mirrored by the blending of cultures. 

The base for each dish remains wholly Mexican -- favorite flavors, ingredients, and dishes from Rodriguez's extensive traveling of the country's vast food scene before settling in as head chef at Moquila.

Be sure to stop by Moquila now through July 29: All food and drink is 25 percent off until the official grand opening. The restaurant and bar is open Tuesday through Sunday, 4 to 11 p.m.

The dining area is lit with warm light and offers a wide-angle view with a wall of windows that sets the stage for the interior's light wood detail, black-topped tables, chunky chairs, and snuggle-ready booths.

There's house-made guacamole to start, offered with a basket of fresh-fried tortilla chips. Pair it with the trio of salsas for a variety of flavors and textures.

Follow it up with an appetizer, any of Rodriguez's three specialty ceviches ($11 to $13). Or try the trio ($18). The order has three, but when curious dining companions prepare to pounce, fork in hand, decide just how much you'll share.

The first of three ceviches, the Veracruz. It rings true with smoky, fire-roasted tomatoes. Vibrant shavings of fresh-chopped cilantro are a dark counterpoint to fleshy, buttery chunks of scallops and shrimp offset beside firm, green cubes of avocado that add a delicate richness.

The viridian Chile Verde ceviche offers up lightly marinated red snapper, while the play of sweet, ripe mango against slightly acerbic green tomato proves the perfect balancing act.

A shockingly delicious concoction, the Chino Latino ceviche with yellowfin tuna, gives an Asian-fusion kick from the wasabi, ginger, and soy suffusion that manages to take a back seat to the rich mouthfeel and cloying sweetness of fresh coconut milk.

The entrées are akin to tiny sculptures of nouveaux art, too beautiful to dig in before visually devouring. The chef's favorite: the Peurco Asado, a fusion of black beans and rice, firm slices of sweet plantain, and a chili verde sauce that -- like his melting pot background -- offers a melding of cuisines to create a Cuban-Mexican masterpiece ($18).

In true tequila bar-fashion, Moquila has more than 100 pick-your-poison varieties to choose from. Here, several El Tesoro options.

The bar highlights several specialty cocktails, but the signature is the La Pasion Margarita ($9), a tart mix of pomegranate liqueur and juices.

The full slate of connoisseur tequilas includes standard favorites and boutique novelties alike. Sit back and sip, or take them down quickly... either way, you'll be shouting "Moquila" in no time.

99 SE Mizner Blvd.
Boca Raton 33432

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Nicole Danna is a Palm Beach County-based reporter who began covering the South Florida food scene for New Times in 2011. She also loves drinking beer and writing about the area's growing craft beer community.
Contact: Nicole Danna