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Mar 17, 2004 09:00 AM

Paella in DC?

  • m

Reading an article in the NYTimes food section this morning gave me a real jones for good paella. Is there any hope for a metrobound dc kid?

thanks - Marty

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  1. Jaleo has it on their menu...available until 30 minutes from closing. According to the menu on, it's $39.95 and serves 2-4 people.


    1. Taberna Del Alabardero , 1776 I St. (entrance on 18th Street between H and I streets) NW, Washington; 202-429-2200. Beautiful place with prices to match. Haven't been in a while; last time I was there (over a year ago) I had a paella that was wonderful. Would be interested if others had been there more recently.

      If you go, be sure to make time to sit at the bar for a drink and tapas before you take your table.

      6 Replies
      1. re: Geoff

        I second the Taberna recommendation. And feel free to grab a drink at the bar- just stay away from the Cardinal Mendoza! I have hazy memories of a glass [a never-ending glass] of Cardinal and then clubbing with the waitstaff. ?! The Cardinal works in mysterious ways.

        Jaleo's paella is ok. Still not as good as Tavira's, in Chevy Chase, and the paella there was competant but boring.

        1. re: turbogrrl

          I'm sorry to reply to such an old thread, but I just couldn't let this stand.

          Taviera is PORTUGUESE, not Spanish. I have lived in Portugal and traveled extensively in Spain and both language and cuisine are markedly different.

          1. re: jquinnjr

            Let what stand exactly? Nobody was debating the differences between "PORTUGUESE" and Spanish cuisine, merely asking where one could get a decent paella 8 YEARS AGO!!!

            1. re: SpareRib

              Sorry, you're right. I was insufficiently clear, although I did note that I was replying to an old thread.

              Taviera is a Portuguese restaurant--and a very good one, in my opinion. Paella is a Spanish dish. Turbogrrl's review of Taviera's Paella is somewhat akin to reviewing the great Phad Thai at a French restaurant.

              1. re: jquinnjr

                So to use your own analogy, if someone was looking for an exceptionally good Phad Thai, and a local French restaurant happened to sell a very good Phad Thai you would object to our saying it was a good Phad Thai just because it was being served in the wrong kind of restaurant?!

                The OP was looking for a good paella, and Taviera happens to have what at least one reader believes it a tasty dish that for all intent and purpose fits the description of paella. Does it really matter what kind of restaurant it is? Are we really that hung up on semantics now that we can't make an honest recommendation about the food without legitimizing our recommendation and validating its authenticity?

                1. re: SpareRib

                  Jeez SpareRib, I wasn't looking for a food fight.

                  I'm not hung up on the semantics, but I would point out that you are more likely to get a good, authentic dish in a restaurant that specializes in the cuisine of that country. When I am really craving a Phad Thai, I don't suddenly think "Hey, let's go to the Mexican place down the street!"

                  Finally, while I'm not prepared to say that turbogrrl is wrong, I've been going to Taviera for a long time and I have never seen a paella on the menu or as a special. Not saying it couldn't have happened, since they do sometimes serve non-Portuguese "Mediterranean food", but just that I've never seen it.

                  As I said before, I have yet to find a really good paella in a DC restaurant.

      2. I'm not a paella expert, and this probably doesn't begin to compare with Taberna, but I recently had the dish at Mar del Plata, on 14th Street. It was tasty and ran about $20-$25 per person. I'd definitely go back.

        1. I have not been in awhile, but La Fourchette in Adams Morgan had a good consistent paella...served with warm crunchy french bread.

          1. No specific recs, (though churreria madrid is another option). Where ever you end up, make sure you call ahead to let them know you are interested in paella. This will help with the pacing of the meal.

            1 Reply
            1. re: mouse

              a couple of days late but had to offer that the best paella we have had in the dc area is - cubano's in silver spring! rice was cooked just perfectly as was seafood and chix.