2011 Fall Dining Guide By Tom Sietsema
Sunday, October 16, 2011
My young waiter suggests I might enjoy tonight's appetizer special of grilled baby squid with lime. "If you don't like it," he says earnestly, "I'll eat it and bring you something else." I can always count on engaging service at Tavira. But another lure of this basement restaurant in Chevy Chase is something more rare: the chance to feast on the rustic food of Portugal. I'm talking golden, fluffy-centered cod fritters; spicy roast chicken with a field of hot potato chips; fish staged with chorizo and chickpeas; and the justly famous soup of shredded kale, potatoes and sausage known as caldo verde. The low-ceilinged dining room is showing its dozen years, but there's no denying Tavira's sense of hospitality. As a companion and I are making short work of a sumptuous poached pear and a jiggling flan, we receive another treat: shots of port, on the house, just because.
What a very pleasant surprise! We live a couple of miles from this restaurant and never knew about it - note to restaurant about better signage! Tavira is located in the lower level of an office building which I only knew for the cycle shop on the ground floor by the Georgetown Branch trail! Thanks to Opentable we gave it a try and loved the dinner. The waiter recommended a bottle of Rioja which turned out to be great and reasonably priced. One of our group asked about sardines which were not on the menu - and we had the pleasure of eating them marinated in something tasty! The grilled calamari starter was also delicious and tender. And the same for the main courses - empty plates all round
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