Nov 7, 2023 - Food and Drink

Ex-Minibar chef opens Spanish restaurant Casa Teresa in downtown D.C.

A plate of Spanish tapas (left) and sherry cocktail

Casa Teresa opens with Spanish share plates and sherry cocktails. Photo courtesy of Scott Suchman

Ex-Minibar chef Rubén García just opened his hotly anticipated live-fire Spanish restaurant, Casa Teresa, in downtown D.C.

Why it matters: The Catalan native worked closely with José Andrés for 16-plus years and opened over 30 of his restaurants, but this will be García's first solo venture.

Context: The 95-seat spot adjoins The Square, K Street's massive new food hall from García and business partner Richie Brandenburg.

  • It's a full-service anchor for the culinary complex, and is open all day for lunch and dinner.
The dining room of Casta Teresa with terra cotta finishes and floor-to-ceiling windows
Catalan farmhouse-chic. Photo courtesy of Scott Suchman

The must-order dish: Pa amb tomàquet (Catalan tomato bread).

  • "It's a staple back home, always in the middle of a table," García tells Axios. "It's the beginning of a conversation, the beginning of a memory."

The super-specialty item: Jamón Ibérico de Bellota. The prized acorn-fed ham from The Dehesas is sliced by expert jamón carvers from Spain (yes, it's a career there).

  • García tells Axios: "100% of their income comes from carving ham — it's an art attached to our Spanish culture, and it's almost impossible to find in the States."
  • The "cortadora de jamón" will work at the restaurant for at least a year, teach carving skills, and lead a jamón and Sherry program.

Yes, but: Don't overlook more humble, homey stews — a family specialty — charcoal-grilled meats and seafood, and ember-roasted vegetables.

  • Besides his mom's creamy chicken fritters, García says he's most excited about local produce from longstanding farm connections — especially roasted vegetables with mojo verde and nice Spanish olive oil.
  • "Even though people say winter is not an exciting season, they're wrong."
Grilled artichoke with romesco and fish over potatoes with spicy garlic oil
Roasted romesco artichoke (left) and grilled fish over potatoes with spicy garlic oil. Photo courtesy of Scott Suchman

The design inspo: The restaurant pays homage to García family matriarchs in spirit and cuisine, with a warm Catalán farmhouse feel courtesy of Barcelona-based El Equipo Creativo. There's also a patio in nice weather and private dining.

  • The name and inspiration come from García's great-great-grandmother Teresa Espinosa Moreno, a human rights activist who was persecuted under Spanish dictator Francisco Franco.

Eat like grandma's house: A family-style "Teresa's Menu" looks like a feast with over a dozen dishes and a porrón of cava ($105 per person).

In your glass: Spanish wines from somm Sarah Vanags — with an emphasis on women producers — and lots of sherry and/or gin cocktails from fellow Andrés alum, Owen Thompson.

What's next: A connecting tapas and pinxtos bar will open soon and join the food hall and restaurant. García wants it to be a fun stop for Sherry, jamón, and tapas before a meal. "In Spain, we like to eat before we eat."

Check out the opening menu:

Menu courtesy of Cara Teresa
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