Tonight I tried out fairly new Bodega Spanish Tapas & Lounge in Georgetown. Located on the main drag (M Street), Bodega replaced Manhattan restaurant several months ago. I had seen it several times, spotted it when it first opened, but never had the chance to try it out.
In any case, my good friend AC was visiting DC this weekend, so I suggested this new place for our dining adventures. I was curious about it -I've peered in from the outside, noting the sleek looking bar and the general darkness of the restaurant. And really, I am a fan of tapas, so how could one go wrong?
My first impression wasn't excellent. The hostess said perhaps two words (ok, perhaps only one word to me) when I came in and she seated me. Not exactly the way I was hoping to be greeted... The waitstaff mainly made up for it thought; although our waiter may have been a bit TOO eager, he was quite friendly and checked in on us throughout our meal.
The restaurant itself was a bit of tight quarters, but more cozy than crowded. Everything was as I thought rather dark -- brick walls painted black with occasion splashes of red in places. But generally I liked the atmosphere - everyone there seemed like they were having a good time and were thoroughly enjoying the food. The back of the restaurant seemed to have a "lounge type" area, one where perhaps you could rent out for larger parties.
The menu is comprised mainly of tapas (as apparent from the name of the restaurant!), but they also offer several paellas and entree sized portions. We were tempted by many of the tapas, but decided for the two of us to try: Pan Con Tomate (Tomato Bread), Gambas al Ajillo (Sauteed Shrimp in Garlic & Crismona Virgin Olive Oil), Lamb Chops with "potato chips", Espinacas a la Catalana (Sauteed Spinach with Pine nuts, Apples & Raisins), and Pimentos del Piquillo Relleno con Vieras Y Champinones (Stuffed Piquillo Peppers with Scallops and Mushrooms, Topped with Lobster Bisque). My favorite were the garlic shrimp (although perhaps cooked a little bit too much, but very flavorful and savory) and the spinach (YUM). Also, I used to have an aversion to tomato bread (I ate way too much of it when in Barcelona paired with seafood and had food poisoning so was unable to eat tomato bread for nearly two years after), but the tomato bread here was delicious. The portions are just right -- not too large, but not tiny either -- five dishes was perfect for the two of us.
The menu has a wide selection of options, mainly consisting of hot/warm tapas. We took a peek at the dessert menu - flan, sorbet (spicy lemon or blood orange), molten chocolate cake etc..., but felt quite full from our meal.
We also sampled a few drinks. I'm a sucker for a caipirinha (how can you not be?), especially because this one was combined with strawberries (mmmm, like what Zengo used to have!), so I tried the strawberry caipirinha (quite tasty). We also tried glasses of the red wine (ranging from $8-$11). We were eyeing the sangria (offered in red and cava) but decided to pass on this round.
I'm curious to come back and try more. The tables are a BIT too close together, but not so much that I felt like my neighbors were listening into my conversation. There are certainly plenty of options and the atmosphere is one that is cozy, yet modern, trendy, yet fun and comfortable.
3116 M St. NW
Washington, DC 20007