The following review appears in The Washington Post’s 2019 Fall Dining Guide.
Chef Duarte Rebolo concedes that a restaurant in the basement of a bank building isn’t the most alluring spot for a meal. “It’s a challenge these days,” he says. A restaurateur has to have a good product and good service, “or forget it.”
There’s no forgetting my last dinner at this rare source for Portuguese food, where a faux fire in the bar, a mural of the restaurant’s namesake town and solicitous waiters make everyone feel like honored guests. You’re here for the flavors of the Old World, so spring for the Portuguese experience, three courses for $20 (lunch) or $33 (dinner). A good game plan features potato-thickened, kale-green, chorizo-strewn caldo verde; grilled Cornish hen ignited with piri piri sauce and flanked with tiny potato chips; and flan sauced with caramel.
Did I mention conversation is easy, parking is free, and my most recent server told me he has been with 20-year-old Tavira for 15 years? “The secret of my business,” says Rebolo, is “I take care of my people” — customers clearly included.
Tavira: 8401 Connecticut Ave., Chevy Chase. 301-652-8684. tavirarestaurant.com .
Open: Dinner daily, lunch weekdays.
Price: Dinner mains $19-$27.
Sound check: 68 decibels / Conversation is easy.