It’s a sign of the dining times in Washington that you can head to Ballston and find a Spanish feast fit for adventurers: prized pata negraham or briny gooseneck barnacles, scallops roasted on the half shell and house-made Albariño vermouth. Co-owners Josu Zubikarai—who opened DC’s Taberna del Alabardero—and Javier Candon share the pleasures of their native Spain beyond ubiquitous tapas, though communal dining remains the wisest tactic. Some of the best dishes are made for a crowd, such as crackly-skinned suckling pig carved tableside and classic paella with braised rabbit, duck, artichokes, and saffron-infused bomba rice—crunchy bottom and all. Expensive.
Also great: Crab cocktail with salsa rosa; revuelto (mushrooms with shaved foie gras and egg); steak tartare; Grandma’s Vegetable Stew; goxua dessert (layered sponge cake, custard, berries).