I went to Taberna Alabardero during Winter 2008 Restaurant Week with three other friends.  After looking at their RW offering (only 2 options for each course), we decided to order off the regular menu. 

  • Food: We ordered Serrano ham and cheese plate.  We also ordered Pencas con Alcachofas Salteadas con Jamon Serrano, which is chard greens and artichokes sauteed with Jamon Serrano.  Both of the appetizers were truly outstanding.  Then one friend and I ordered the seafood paella while the other two ordered the chicken and Chorizo paella.  No one was exactly wow’ed by their paella and in fact, our mussels had a very pungent seafood taste (and smell).  Of course, I ate mine first and what did I do?  I told my friend, “No, you have to try it.  It’s fine…but see if you think it has that weird seafood taste.”  Ha ha.  She didn’t try it, but I didn’t end up getting sick.  I just thought the mussels had a bad flavor.  Oh, and the seafood that was on the plate, beyond the 2 mussels and 2 clams that were in their shell, reminded me of Trader Joe’s Seafood Medley.  I’m not saying it was though!
  • Service: The servers were incredibly polite and attentive without being overly annoying.   I really thought they were great!
  • Atmosphere: As soon as you walk through their doors (which are on 18th Street), you’ll run into their 10-14 stool wooden bar.  On one end of the bar, you’ll see a leg of Serrano ham, which was as good as it looks.   
  • Attire: Business casual
  • Price: $$$
  • Overall: I’d definitely go back for their appetizers and to try out their tapas, but I’d skip the paella and try some of their other main courses.  Their desserts looked really good too!  I’m looking forward to going back and trying new dishes.


  • Reservations required.
  • Hours: Mon-Fri lunch from 11:30 AM-2:30 PM; Mon-Sat 5:30-10:30; closed on Sun
  • Address: 1776 I Street NW; Washington, DC 20006
  • Ph: 202-429-2200

Recently, I went to Panache with a few business associates for lunch. 

  • Food:I usually only go for a quick happy hour and an order of the fried calamari.  The calamari is good, but it’s the aioli that makes it really good.  When I went for lunch, I ordered the rockfish special which was tasty.  It’s been a couple of months since I went so I forgot what the sides were.  I also ordered the Tiramisu for dessert.  I thought it was really good because it was incredibly light. 
  • Service: Good — even for happy hour.
  • Atmosphere: The restaurant is borderline casual and business casual.  They have these huge half-circular booths on the side and then their bar is on the right — just hope you don’t sit immediately by the door on a cold or wet day.  Their bar gets packed for happy hour though.  
  • Price: $$$
  • Overall:I like their happy hours.  The lunch was good, but it wasn’t $$$ good.  Their HH isn’t super upscale, but it’s comfortable (without being like a college happy hour).  It’s a nice middle ground location. I’ve never been at night, but apparently, the atmosphere changes with live music on Thursdays and DJs on Fridays through Sundays.

Happy Hour: Their weekday happy hour is from 4-7 PM and their HH menu has Panache shots for $6 and signature cocktails for $9.  I go for their $4 glasses of wine and calamari appetizer. 


  • Reservations accepted.
  • Hours: M-F lunch 11 AM-4 PM; M-F Dinner 4 PM-10:30 PM; Saturday 5:30 PM-10:30 PM.
  • Address:1725 Desales St. NW, Washington, DC 20036
  • Ph: 202-293-7760