Tag Archives: Taberna del Alabardero

Taberna del Alabardero — Lunch on 13 January 2020

Taberna del Alabardero

Taberna del Alabardero

I really, really like Taberna del Alabardero.

The restaurant is High Spanish. The original Taberna del Alabardero, which is near the Royal Palace in Madrid, opened in 1974, and continues to thrive. This American outpost has been around for 31 years, which in restaurant years is the equivalent of somewhere between two and three centuries.

The food here combines traditional Spanish cooking with some modern twists. Taberna does not fear innovation.

Crema de Bogavante con Mejillones, Queso Fresco y Picatostes

Crema de Bogavante con Mejillones, Queso Fresco y Picatostes

My server started the meal by pouring a rich lobster cream into a shallow soup bowl that held five little islands made of mussels, croutons, and microgreens. So good!

Solomillo al Whisky con Patatas Asadas y Ajo Confitado

Solomillo al Whisky con Patatas Asadas y Ajo Confitado

The main was a very generous serving of Whiskey Pork Tenderloin with tiny roasted potatoes and garlic cloves. Excellent as well.

Tarta de Calabaza con Queso Crema y Helado de Calabaza

Tarta de Calabaza con Queso Crema y Helado de Calabaza

Pumpkin is the new kale—it seems to be everywhere this season. Dessert was a pumpkin-flavored cake with cream cheese and a serving of pumpkin spice ice cream.


I’ve dined here half a dozen times, and I’m eager for more. The food is always both delicious and surprising, while the service is consistently top-notch.

Taberna del Alabardero — Lunch on 12 August 2019

Taberna del Alabardero

Taberna del Alabardero

It’s a True Fact© that Taberna del Alabardero, a couple of blocks from the White House, is Washington’s best Spanish restaurant. As its website notes it’s “the most authentic Spanish restaurant outside Spain since 1989”.

The restaurant is part of Grupo Lezama, which has operated in Spain since 1974, when it opened the original Taberna del Alabardero next to the Royal Palace in Madrid. The Madrid restaurant continues to thrive.

My meal at the Washington outpost was a delight, from start to finish.

Ensaladilla de Cangrejo con Espuma de Mahonesa de Zanahoria y Brotes de Guisantes

Ensaladilla de Cangrejo con Espuma de Mahonesa de Zanahoria y Brotes de Guisantes

I didn’t even try to approximate the pronunciation of the names of the dishes on the menu. This starter was described as a crab and potato salad with carrot mayonnaise foam and pea shoots. Interesting dish, but I tasted only a hint of crab.

Chipirones a la Parrila con Cebolla Confitada al Oporto, Alioli de Tintade Calamar y Patas Crujientes

Chipirones a la Parrila con Cebolla Confitada al Oporto, Alioli de Tintade Calamar y Patas Crujientes

This was a brilliantly-plated work of art. It was so beautifully done that I was reluctant to disturb its symmetry, but, somehow, I managed to cut into the grilled squid and take a bite. And another. And another….

The menu described it as grilled baby squids with oporto caramelized onion, squid ink allioli (the Spanish version of the French garlic sauce aioli), and crisp potatoes. Before my waiter served the dish, the “grilled baby squids” part of the description had me expecting tiny pieces, but the squid sections were huge—the largest I’ve ever seen.

Tierras de Chocolate con Yogurt, Frutos Rojos, Pistachos y Sorbete de Mango

Tierras de Chocolate con Yogurt, Frutos Rojos, Pistachos y Sorbete de Mango

Loved the dessert, too. Chocolate crumbs with yogurt, berries, pistachios, and a mango sorbet. The berries were a mix with one or two berries of each type, which made eating this dessert something of a happy treasure hunt.

Service throughout was impeccable and friendly.


About Those Grilled “Baby” Squids

As I noted above, what the menu described as “grilled baby squids” were, in fact,  gigantic. I thought the meaning of the Spanish phrase had been incorrectly translated until something happened shortly after I left Taberna del Alabardero.

I was walking home, past the branch of the Potomac River that flows down the middle of 17th Street, when I saw this:


It was the enraged mother squid (technically, the “Queen Squid”) attacking one of the restaurant’s supply ships. I’d always thought the “The Giant Squid of the Potomac” was a myth or an urban legend, but here I was, seeing it with my own eyes. As the Giant Squid dragged the vessel beneath the waves, I quickly snapped the above photograph. There was no time for a second shot, as the squid, the ship, and the unfortunate crew were swept over the 17th Street Falls and deeper into the river, which flows under the White House and out to the Atlantic Ocean.

Thank goodness I was able to get a clear photograph as proof of what I saw!

(I’m available for media interviews, with reasonable compensation.)

Lunch at Taberna del Alabardero — 17 August 2018

Taberna del Alabardero

Taberna del Alabardero

Traditional Spanish, this time. The original Taberna Del Alabardero opened in front of the Royal Palace of Madrid in 1974, and still flourishes. This Washington offshoot will celebrate its 30th anniversary next year.

Taberna del Alabardero is near Farragut Square and the White House. The colourful and eclectic interior, heavy on the reds, gives it a look unlike any other restaurant in town.

Butifarra Encebollada con Patata

Butifarra Encebollada con Patata

One of the more pleasing features of life in the 21st century is how easy it is to find answers to even the most esoteric questions. Before I go to a new-to-me restaurant, I routinely check out its menu on the Web, using a search engine to look up any words I don’t understand. What on earth, fr’instance is “Butifarra”?

Botifarra, Wikipedia tells me, is “a type of sausage and one of the most important dishes of the Catalan cuisine…based on ancient recipes… made of raw pork and spices”.

What Wikipedia doesn’t mention is how sensational this Butifarra Encebollada con Patata tasted. The sautéed butifarra were served with carmelized onion atop a potato purée.

Parrillada de Cerdo con Verduras y Salsa de Maracuyá

Parrillada de Cerdo con Verduras y Salsa de Maracuyá

The main, a grilled pork platter with vegetables and passion fruit sauce, was even more impressive. It featured variations on a theme, the theme being the savouriness of pork. It was a sampler of pork loin, pork rib, pork sausage, and pork on the bone, all perfectly cooked.

Crema Catalana

Crema Catalana

I’m just not a fan of Spanish desserts. I opted for this caramelized custard cream by default, because nothing else on the menu was more appealing. It was fine, but my heart belongs to cheesecake or dark chocolate treats.

Another superb meal!