Jul 12, 2023 - Food and Drink

Ex-Minibar chef to open fiery Spanish restaurant in D.C.

Chef Ruben Garcia

Chef Rubén García. Photo courtesy of Casa Teresa

Ex-Minibar chef Rubén García will open a live-fire Spanish restaurant and tapas bar in downtown D.C.'s adjoining forthcoming food hall, The Square.

Why it matters: Casa Teresa is the first solo venture for the Catalán talent, who was José Andrés' right-hand chef for 16 years and spent five at Ferran Adrià's Michelin three-star El Bulli.

What's happening: The indoor/outdoor space, set to open by early fall, splits personality between a lively tapas bar and a rustic family-style restaurant with oak-charcoal grilled meats, seasonal veggies, and whole fish.

Casa Teresa in downtown D.C.
Family-style dining room. Rendering courtesy of El Equipo Creativo

Context: The standalone restaurant is part of the massive food hall planned by García and Union Market culinary mastermind Richie Brandenburg. After hitting delays, it’s slated to soft-open in September with 15 vendors — many locally famous names — opening in phases.

Zoom out: Named for García's great-great-grandmother, a human rights activist who was persecuted under Spanish dictator Francisco Franco, Casa Teresa pays homage to family matriarchs in spirit and cuisine, and a warm Catalán farmhouse in design.

A private wine room at Casa Teresa
Room for wine dinners. Rendering courtesy of El Equipo Creativo

Zoom in: García played with family recipes at Minibar, topping spherified bean stew with caviar, but here the dishes are homey — like his grandmother's actual stew, or porra antequerana, a thick gazpacho.

What they're saying: After decades of fine dining, "I really need to go back to my origins, start from zero," says García, who learned from his family matriarchs. "I was surrounded by the best chefs in the world. Before you learn to cook, you need to learn to eat."


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