Taberna de Alabardero -- anything better?
I was so excited about this place -- then we had a COMPLETELY mediocre meal there friday night. Nice apetizers at the bar, but a dry, flavorless paella that was 98% rice...barely enough for a main course. Uninspired starters; passable dessert. Was not cheap, either, and i was expecting better. Anyone have a better spanish restaurant they can recommend?
Many Spanish expats consider Taberna the best in North America. It's the favorite of the diplomatic, World Bank, corporate crowd for la Alta Cocina, the Spanish Haute Cuisine, but that may not be what you were looking for. Paella really doesn't belong on that menu and they don't do it justice. Maybe they offer it for those who aren't very familiar with Spanish food which isn't really as well known to Americans as French or Italian.
Lots of other places in town offer more informal Spanish food, the kind you would find in tapas bars, and paella. They will prepare it with a great deal more affection
Jaleo is the obvious choice, I frequent both the Penn Quarter and Crystal City locations and have never been disappointed (except for the butifarra, one can make better choices here). Search board for recommendations. My last visit about 3 weeks ago, there was a paella festival of sorts, the restaurants were featuring recipes by some Spanish celebrity chef. Ask if it is still going on.