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Wine bars, tapas, small plates DC, Alexandria

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goodvintage Mar 31, 2008 12:12 PM

Heading there for a conference this weekend -- being put up in a Westin Alexandria (Courthouse Square). Prefer close to a Metro stop, but will take a taxi if the place is truly great.
I'm coming from L.A., so I prefer interesting Old World wine lists, fresh ingredient food, and a fun, friendly, on the casual side atmosphere, since I might be going solo.
Thanks in advance.

  1. ktmoomau Mar 31, 2008 12:35 PM

    Eat Bar the bar at Tallula has a great wine list, small plates, even two biters, casual and interesting food.

    Grand Cru in Ballston is kind of hard to find it is a little hidden but it is a wine bar with some small plates. Their entrees were good, I wasn't a huge fan of their cheese plate or charcuterie, but they had lots of other small plates.

    Eleventh St. Lounge doesn't have a huge wine list, but casual good food with some nice wines and good cocktails and lots of small plates, as well.

    There is a Jaleo which has tapas at Crystal City and is metro accessible, but a little further away and you have to change lines.

    1. Smiles2008 Apr 2, 2008 10:40 AM

      I know where you are-let me help you with some recs:
      1. La Tasca (great wine and tapas-you can walk down it's on King Street)
      2. Rustico (great wine and good/fresh/sustainable ingredients-but you would need a rental car)
      3.Las Tapas (small plate tapas-you can walk down it's on King Street)

      How many days-do you want any other recs for food?

      6 Replies
      1. re: Smiles2008
        a
        ALLex16 Apr 2, 2008 11:06 AM

        I second Las Tapas - my boyfriend and I were there a few weeks ago, it was a fantastic evening.

        1. re: Smiles2008
          g
          goodvintage Apr 2, 2008 11:08 AM

          Just 3 days -- thank you! I'm also open to going into the city. I have researched Cork, Vinoteca, Veritas, Proof -- what do you think? I may do another post for those.

          1. re: goodvintage
            Smiles2008 Apr 2, 2008 11:22 AM

            Also, really quickly the Jamieson Grill in the Westin is nice-a little overpriced. They have an arugula dish, which is very good. Plus dessert shot glasses! My favorite was the cheese cake.

            1. re: goodvintage
              d
              DCDOLL Apr 3, 2008 04:48 AM

              we are wine bar fanatics too and Veritas is really great...small though...so arrive early. only has wine, cheese & charcuterie but a gazillion choices by glass or half glass and kept at the right temp. Proof is great too but it's a madhouse most days esp weekends. Cork & Vinoteca get good reviews though haven't been yet. Both crowded too. A couple off the radar, both in Cleveland Park (metro stop right there): Dino's and Bardeo. Dino's is great, tiny little bar with wonderful italian BTG selections. OK food but Chris the bartender is the best. Bardeo is my least fave but the atmosphere is good. Some good BTG choices but they leave them sitting out where they all get warm (the reds i mean).
              I second the rec for Talulla if you want a laid back casual setting with good wine selection. But make sure you do make it at least to Veritas; you are in dupont circle with a metro stop and a gazillion really good restaurants for your post drinking pleasure. Oh yeah Urbana at the Palomar in Dupont has a decent but not fantastic wine bar.

            2. re: Smiles2008
              g
              goodvintage Apr 2, 2008 11:08 AM

              Oh, what about Evening Star Cafe?

              1. re: goodvintage
                Smiles2008 Apr 2, 2008 11:17 AM

                Yes, Evening Star is also great...next to a wine shop and a nearby cheese shop. But, this is also not metro accessible. Should be ok for a lone setting.

            3. m
              max5513 Apr 2, 2008 11:26 AM

              I cant believe no one has said mini- bar. Jose Andres place is one of the coolest small plates places in the country. It is also perfect if you are solo, because like its name implies, it is only bar seating. Absolutely worth the cab ride!

              1 Reply
              1. re: max5513
                ktmoomau Apr 2, 2008 11:31 AM

                Also almost impossible to get into if it is this weekend, but maybe for a solo they might have an opening...

                Proof you would want a reservation for probably as it is really popular, although there might not be reservations. It is pricey, but good. Zaytinya across the street for Proof has small plates too, but I am not sure about their wine list.

              2. d
                dzherbst Apr 2, 2008 01:49 PM

                The perfect place for what you seek is Cork (see other DC Chow threads on it). Unfortunately, the location might be an issue since the closest metro stop is U Street on the Green line. Still, it may be worth taking a cab as long as you call ahead or go early enough to get a spot at the bar.

                1. k
                  katiesir Apr 3, 2008 07:01 AM

                  Me Jana on Arlington Blvd near the courthouse metro has good small plates and an interesting wine list. http://www.me-jana.com/

                  1. a
                    alexfoodie Apr 3, 2008 01:47 PM

                    I went in to check out the Westin for a glass of wine and was definitely NOT impressed. The decor is nice and the bar looks as though it has potention however, the bartender the evening I was there lacked both any knowledge on wine and professionalism.

                    Since your in Alexandria and though I would recommend a cab, please check out the bar at Restaurant Eve on S. Piit Street in the heart of Old Town. It is a lovely spot to enjoy some very nice wine, chat with bartenders who certainly are both professional and know their beverages and you may meet some nice locals. The food is wonderful and you can order the bistro menu at the bar.

                    If you venture into the city, though it can be busy, check out Proof in the Penn Quarter. It can be busy but the food is good and the wine selection ample. Mendocino Grill in Georgetown (lower M) has a nice selection of wines (all CA/west coast so maybe not fittng your OWW request) and the food is also very good. The bar is small and can get crowded. Sonoma, on Capitol Hill, is owned by the same folks though the scene is a bit different. I have not personally been to Cork yet but it's on my list.

                    I have to disagree with the post on recommending Rustico in the north end of Old Town. It's my 'hood and I rarely go. It offers beer lovers a wonderful array of options but for wine, it is mediocre at best and please do not get me started on the food. Outside of the pizza, I would rather stay home. And I so want to like it because its walkable.

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