You might walk right by La Bodega the first time you visit it in Watertown, Massachusetts. There isn’t much announcing the restaurant’s presence, just a humble wooden sign that’s more formality than advertisement. However, once you do that double-take, check your maps app of choice, and realize that you are indeed at the right building; you’ll also realize that that building doesn’t fit in with the surrounding corporate offices and that it isn’t actually a building at all but a refurbished rail car.
Entering a greenhouse-like structure, you’re greeted with a modern-rustic bar decked out with twisting vines and serving some of the most creative and delicious cocktails in the Greater Boston area, including an Old Fashioned made with fig-infused bourbon, and the The Uruguayan Bee featuring honey grappa and oak-aged gin.
To your right is the railcar where it’s time to get to what really makes La Bodega special, the food. La Bodega serves exquisite Uruguayan tapas that are both strangely familiar and totally unique at the same time. Perhaps it’s the mingling of standard tapas fare like olives (which are unique here in their own right, marinated with fennel and chili) and shishito peppers, with the more awe-inspiring items like the acorn-fed, 36-month-cured Spanish Mangalitsa ham, wild octopus, and the poussin, or young chicken, wood grilled with lemon, rosemary, spring garlic and parsley.
Of course, dessert cannot be forgotten, and if you’re going to make the trip out then you should feel free to indulge. The best way to do that is with the infinitely decadent flan con dulce de leche.
More adventurous eaters are rewarded for their curiosity by the restaurant’s chef and co-owner, Gabriel Bremer. He and his team make good use of the wood-fired grill and locally sourced produce, fish, and meats, to serve dishes of a kind and caliber that you won’t find anywhere else, except maybe in Uruguay, where Bremer’s wife and co-owner, Analia Verolo, calls her home.
21 Nichols Avenue
Watertown, MA 02472