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Old, err...New Faithful

Café Olé

It seems lately, that every other new restaurant that opens in The District serves tapas. I'm so sick of them. Places like Jaleo, I Matti, Cities, etc, etc, that charge $8-10 for a quarter serving of a real meal are just starting to get on my nerves. Usually the food is good, but the amount they are charging for a serving that would barely feed my cat is just plain robbery.

There is one exception in the D.C - Café Olé.

This neighborhood Mediterranean restaurant is everything you could ask for in a tapas restaurant - Excellent food, prices that are half what you would pay at other tapas restaurants, and friendly service. No, it is not hip and trendy like Zaytinya and Tom Sietsema is not writing about it in his dining chat. Honestly though, who needs all that?

Café Olé has not once disappointed us. Though we sometimes get varied service here, the restaurant continually serves quality food at an extremely reasonable price. Our favorite thing about Café Olé is the outdoor seating area. In the spring, we often go for a glass of wine and some hummus. It is a very quaint setting (yeah, I know I sound like a girl, but Amy edits my writing here so if she embellishes a bit, I canot 'help that). Olé is often frequented by locals who find the short walk to Ole well worth it. One fun fact for dog lovers, Olé provides a water dish and treats for your furry friend.

At Café Olé, Amy and I usually order about 2 or 3 tapas each which is more than enough for us. Amy's favorite is the Shepard's Pie Olé. Mine is the Lebanese celebration which consists of marinated chicken, hummus, onions and bulgur wheat. I know it does not sound like a great combination...just trust me, I probably order it every time (self admitted bore). Others I recommend are the Chicken and Macaroni Italiano, Polenta Tartufo, Shawarma...Eh, just about anything they serve. Like I said, we are rarely disappointed. The wine and beer list is reasonable and adventurous. You won't find any Gallo Sonoma or Kendall Jackson here. Most of the wines are from the Mediterranean.

Desserts are probably one of the best things about Café Olé. Although we rarely get them, they are utterly sinful. I am drawing a blank as to the term for them right now, but the desserts are those individual cakes that you usually can get at French bakeries. Just ask your waiter to bring out the dessert menu, and they bring out the daily selection of personal cakes for you to choose from. Once they bring out the dish, it is hard not to order one.

Café Olé
4000 Wisconsin Ave NW
Washington, DC 20016
(202) 244-1330

Smoking not allowed


Toan T. Nguyen

Cafe Ole is everything you described. I tried it the other day, and I loved the decor. Kinda hip, but not overly done. A small space, but it's a fun place to go with friends.

I tried the Paella, the Polenta, and the Barbecue salad? Best dish was the salad. The meat and the crisp salad with cucumbers go well together.

The Polenta is disappointing. Pretty bland.

The Paella was so-so.

For a first time, the food was ok, but the decor made up for it. I have the feeling if you hit the right dishes, you can find some great combinations.

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