January 2007: 100 Very Best Restaurants
An ornate, Old World Spanish dining room near the World Bank.
Reviewed By Todd Kliman, Ann Limpert, Cynthia Hacinli
Comments () | Published January 22, 2007
Happy Hour
Taberna del Alabardero
Address: 1776 I Street, NW, Washington, DC 20006
Phone: 202-429-2200
Neighborhood: Downtown
Cuisines: Spanish/Portuguese
Opening Hours: Open lunch Monday through Friday 11:30 to 2:30; dinner Monday through Saturday 5:30 to 10:30.
Nearby Metro Stops: Farragut North, Farragut West
Price Range: Expensive
Dress: Business Attire
Noise Level: Chatty
Reservations: Not Needed
Price Details: Main dishes $28-$35.50

No. 27: Taberna del Alabardero

Don’t be fooled by the old-world elegance—the bilevel dining room done up in red velvet and striped silks, the World Bank officials negotiating in the corner. The food, drawn from or inspired by Spain’s regional cuisines, is so vibrant and robust you’ll think you were sitting down to lunch in the Spanish countryside.

Flavors run deep in a plate of squid steeped in a thick black squid-ink sauce, in zurrukutuna, a garlicky Basque soup, and in pork belly with its fat seared wonderfully crisp. Paella purists will stick with the classic seafood version, but two other combos worth trying are the rusticky chicken-and-chorizo and the unusual baby-back-rib-and-scallion. Other notable choices are veal sweetbreads with spinach and pine nuts and a caramel cream custard with caramel ice cream.

Tapas can be had in the dining room and at the small bar at lunch and at the bar at dinner—they’re half price from 3 to 7. Show up early—there are only three stools, but there’s room to stand between them. The small plates range from the simple, like a jamon serrano carved from a big cured ham on the cutting board, to more elaborate fare, like a plate of piquillo peppers stuffed with braised oxtail. All go down better with one of the excellent fino sherries, the classic tapas quaff, or a glass of Rioja or Tempranillo from one of the city’s best and most unusual wine lists.

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Posted at 07:41 AM/ET, 01/22/2007 RSS | Print | Permalink | Washingtonian.com Restaurant Reviews