Taberna del Alabardero
1776 I Street, NW
Washington, DC 20006
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
Main dishes $28-$35.50
Cuisine: Taberna has been a mainstay of classic Old World cuisine, but since taking over a year ago, chef Dani Arana has lightened the menu, pointing up Spain’s relationship with the sea as well as its earthy indulgences in organ meats.
Mood: The red room, with its domed private rotunda in view, teeters between baroquely romantic and nightclub VIP lounge. The subdued noise level tips the balance toward the romantic.
Best for: Promising second or third dates; upscale after-work celebrations; lovers of good sherry.
Best dishes: Among recent tapas: olive-oil-drizzled toasts with anchovy and avocado or pork tenderloin and poached egg; cevichelike salpicon of mussels, scallops, octopus, and shrimp; sausage-stuffed peppers. From the dining menu: braised oxtail; sautéed sweetbreads, scallops, and wild mushrooms (an appetizer rich enough for a light meal); veal-tongue carpaccio; grouper au gratin. If you want paella, try the wild-mushroom veggie version.
Insider tips: International regulars know to indulge in happy-hour tapas, all half price in the lounge area from 3 to 6 pm weekdays.
Open Monday through Friday for lunch and dinner, Saturday for dinner. Expensive.