Taberna del Alabardero

From January 2006 100 Very Best Restaurants

THE SCENE. World-bankers and Euro expats hunker down in the gold-leaf-and-brocade dining room for expense-account lunches and celebratory paellas. The tapas menu livens up the place in mid-afternoon.

WHAT YOU'LL LOVE. The antique charm of the place–absolutely untouched by the Ferran Adria strain of modernist Spanish cuisine–is matched by lovely renditions of traditional Spanish and continental pleasures. And even if you're just ordering a wine by the glass, the staff brings the bottle to the table for your inspection.

WHAT YOU WON'T. Some will find the decor–and the formal service–fusty. And the kitchen's missteps are harder to forgive given the prices of many dishes.

Ann Limpert
Executive Food Editor/Critic

Ann Limpert joined Washingtonian in late 2003. She was previously an editorial assistant at Entertainment Weekly and a cook in New York restaurant kitchens, and she is a graduate of the Institute of Culinary Education. She lives in Petworth.