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Tavira?

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I have a $25 off $50 coupon for Tavira; is it worth the time and money? There's almost no information that I could find on the board. Any recommended dishes?

I have zero experience with Portugese cuisine, so it doesn't need to measure up to anything.

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Tavira
8401 Connecticut Ave Ste Ll, Chevy Chase, MD 20815

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  1. My husband and I began going to Tavira because it was across the street from my aging parents' retirement residence, but we continued eating there because of the food. The approach to the restaurant is not reassuring. It is located in the basement of a mid-rise office building and, if you're dining in the restaurant after office hours, you'll enter the building directly from the parking lot, the floor on which the restaurant is located. In the early dining hours, the clientele skews very elderly, an entirely expected fact given the location across the street from a retirement residence. The diners get younger as the evening wears on, but, given the totally isolated location of the restaurant, the ambiance will never be fun or happening.

    These negatives aside, we always had tasty meals there. If you have some experience with Mediterranean food, you'll find Portuguese cuisine to be reasonably familiar. There's a heavy emphasis on seafood along with some interestering African accents from the long-ago days of exploration and colonization. The flavors tend to be assertive; characteristic dishes include dried cod prepared in a variety of ways, seafood in white wine and garlic, and spicy sausage accents (chorizo/chourico in Portuguese).

    While I can recommend the Portuguese food with confidence, I wouldn't bother eating there for the American food. It's well-prepared and perfectly tasty. I just don't think there's enough that is special about dining at Tavira unless you eat the Portuguese specialties.

    You've asked about the value. That's a somewhat harder question to answer because there's a nightly three-course prix fixe menu for $30. I can't reconstruct the circumstances of why my husband and I were eating there without my parents (perhaps we had just left after an afternoon visit) but that was the only time we ordered the "Taste of Portugal" prix fixe menu. We enjoyed those choices. When we dined there more regularly with my parents, we ordered a la carte including a couple of appetizers for the table, entrees for all, and, again, shared desserts.

    You'll have to look at the menus and decide the economics of the coupon. Could the coupon be applied to wine? The restaurant stocks a lot of unfamiliar Portuguese wine. We tended to tell the server we wanted a Portuguese wine and let him make the decision. We were never taken advantage of price-wise and the wine was always pleasant.

    As my parents aged, we moved them away from that retirement residence so my information is two years old, but I have the feeling that Tavira is a restaurant that -- for better or worse -- remains constant.

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    Tavira
    8401 Connecticut Ave Ste Ll, Chevy Chase, MD 20815

    1. I eat there a couple times a year. As previous posters have noted, it's not much to look at. And the wine list stinks. But it's pretty easy to walk in and get a table, the service is great, the food is fine, and the indoor free parking is awesome. Sometimes that is an appealing combination, especially considering the Bethesda Triangle Jungle.

      You will hear a long list of specials from the waiter, usually with a very thick accent. We have found it is much, much, much better to order the specials rather than order off the menu. Especially the seafood entrees. Especially the fish. It is always fresh, cooked just right, and judicially sauced. They aren't very "Portugese-y" dishes, but they are done very well by a chef who clearly knows what he is doing and is clearly preparing that dish one at a time.

      Because the specials are usually a few bucks more, I don't find Tavira to be cheap. But I find it to be fair given the quality of the ingredients and the care of the cooking.

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      Tavira
      8401 Connecticut Ave Ste Ll, Chevy Chase, MD 20815

      2 Replies
      1. re: Pappy

        Thanks to both of you! If the food is good, then I'm sure it's worth the money (especially with $25 off). Their website says that have Casa de Santar on the wine list, which is about as good as you can expect in MoCo.

        1. re: reiflame

          We go to Tavira a couple of times a year. I find that you are better off sticking with the specials than the regular menu. You should also make sure to end the meal with a glass of port if you are inclined that direction.

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          Tavira
          8401 Connecticut Ave Ste Ll, Chevy Chase, MD 20815