The Capitol Hill restaurant scene has come a long way in the many, many years that I’ve lived here. Back in the day, the dining options left a lot to be desired. Now, the neighborhood boasts a pretty great selection of places to eat out, including one that has even received a “best in the country” designation.
It’s one of the newest on the scene, though, that has become my favorite of them all: Joselito Casa de Comidas. If it sounds familiar, that may be because I just recommended it among the Mother’s Day activities. But it’s a superb pick for a meal out anytime — with the family or KidFree. I was there the first week it opened and have been back several times since. I guess you could say it’s become my go-to for a great meal out.
Joselito specializes in Spanish cuisine and serves up more than just scrumptious food. The whole vibe of the restaurant is inviting and warm; you feel like you’re having a special meal without being fancy and formal. The decor is beautiful, but still comfortable with a lot of white Spanish tile, black seating, and old black and white photographs of owner Javier Candon’s family in Spain adorning the walls — all of it together creates a lively yet cozy ambiance.
It’s a perfect space to feast on the food that includes traditional Spanish dishes and some with modern, creative updates. There’s the simple and delicious Iberico ham and Manchego cheese on the menu alongside gazpacho with smoked, salt cured cod. A tuna carpaccio comes with avocado mousse, and deep fried anchovies are seasoned with cumin and served with yuzu aioli. Meat dishes include Iberian pork tenderloin and Wagyu beef with chimmichurri. There’s a white chocolate soup (!) for dessert. And these are just some of many great choices on the main menu.
I also had the opportunity to join a tasting of their new brunch menu recently, which featured several yummy egg dishes, including an out-of-this-world crab benedict, and more fare perfect for a leisurely late morning/early afternoon meal. Oh, and I have to mention the cocktails and wine…all top notch. The white sangria is chilled with a white sangria ice cube, a simple but lovely detail. And the original cocktails and selection of wine are perfect complements to the food. (Non-alcoholic beverages available, too, of course.)
Something really great about Joselito is that almost everything on the menu is available in three sizes — tapa (appetizer size), media ración (entree) and ración (family-style) — so you can order according to the size of your party, or choose whether or not to share. (If you ask me, this is food best enjoyed communally, plus you get to try more dishes that way!) No matter what you opt for, you’re in for a fantastic meal.
And before you think this all sounds sophisticated for kids, let me assure you there are plenty of options that will appeal to patrons of all ages. (And a heads-up: A kids’ menu is about to be introduced!) Javier and his wife Christiana have two children themselves and don’t just welcome, but encourage families to enjoy their restaurant. I’ve had the pleasure of meeting and dining with them, and they are as gracious as they are genuine when it comes to Joselito. They truly want to bring people together to savor good food and good company.
And I think they’ve nailed it.
Joselito Casa de Comidas is located at 660 Pennsylvania Avenue SE on Capitol Hill, across from the Eastern Market Metro. Hours are Sunday – Thursday 11:30am – 10pm, and Fridays & Saturday 11:30am – 12am.