First Look: Boca Mexican Grill, Smyrna

Credit: Becky Stein, Special to AJC

Credit: Becky Stein, Special to AJC

Dining Out

Boca Mexican Grill, Smyrna

11 a.m.-10 p.m. Mondays-Thursdays; 11 a.m.-11 p.m. Fridays-Saturdays; 10-9 p.m. Sundays.

Appetizers and salads, $3.95-$9.95; entrees, plates and specialties, $7.25-$15.95.

1669 Spring Road, Suite B, Smyrna, 770-319-6370,

Boca Mexican Grill in Smyrna claims inspiration from Michoacan-style cuisine. But the sprawling menu crosses through multiple states to take in everything from Caesar salad ($3.95) and ceviche ($6.95) to traditional goat stew simmered in chiles and beer ($11.95).
The look: Boca is situated in a modest storefront on Spring Road. The rectangular dining room is anchored by a linear bar that overlooks the namesake grill station where you can watch chefs cook many items to order. Covering the back wall, a mural depicts a brawny bull with fierce eyes that seem locked for a stare-down.
The scene: With its laid-back atmosphere and modestly priced offerings, including $4.75 kids combo meals, the restaurant has quickly become a favorite destination for neighborhood families. And a narrow alley, re-purposed as a patio with umbrella-topped picnic tables, is a lively gathering spot for parties and live music on the weekends.
The menu: Deciding how to explore the menu can take time. Taco plates with rice and beans include beef tongue ($7.95) and fresh lobster ($9.95). Michoacan-style carnitas ($9.95) marinated in chiles verdes and tomatillos are a specialty. Pork ribs with green chile sauce ($10.95) are served like a stew. There's also shredded chicken tinga ($8.95) and enchiladas stuffed with quail ($10.95).
The drinks: Bottled American and Mexican lagers, such as Negro Modelo and Pacifico, are in the $3-$4 range. There's also a small list of wines by the glass ($6-$9) or bottle ($23-$33), and house-made red sangria with seasonal fruit ($4 glass/$15 carafe)
The extras: Visit the salsa bar for a generous display of fresh and cooked salsas, radishes, limes, scallions, peppers and cilantro. Look for $1 tacos on Tuesdays. Party size salsas, dips and sides ($15-$30) are available every day.