Ever heard of a chiringuito? “They’re kind of like extensions of trailers with outside seating—restaurants out on the sand,” explains Dave Nicholas, managing partner at Alexandria Restaurant Partners. He and his team enjoyed eating from the casual spots while on a research-and-development trip to Spain.
On Wednesday, March 31, they’ll bring the concept to Alexandria with the opening of Barca Pier & Wine Bar, neighboring the group’s Ada’s on the River. But Barca isn’t a trailer. Its interior spaces are constructed from industrial shipping containers. Al fresco seating at the pier can accommodate 210 people, while the indoor wine bar is more intimate, with just 65 spots.
Potomac views are on the menu, but what else? That jaunt to Spain also spurred ARP corporate chef/partner Brandon Whitestone and executive chef Bryan Haren to create a menu of what Whitestone says is a menu of tapas that are “Spain-forward, but there’s inspiration from all over the Mediterranean.”
He’s quick to admit that hummus and tzatziki don’t have any heritage in Spain, but many dishes on the menu not only boast that pedigree, they are also prepared with ingredients imported from the motherland. Sixteen varied small plates range from traditional boquerones (anchovies) and calamari with chorizo to crispy papas bravas and smoked tomatoes.
Montaditos, petite sandwiches that Whitestone enjoyed in Seville, include tuna confit with piquillo peppers, shaved red onion, parsley, and lemon-guindilla pepper aioli. These will be available only on the pier. Both outside and indoor dining will include cheese and charcuterie plates, and sought-after jamon Iberico de bellota is one of the options.
And the wine? There’s an emphasis on tipples from Catalonia and elsewhere in the Mediterranean, but there are both Old and New World bottles on offer. Of course, there’s sangria, too. The house blend combines rosé, cherry, peach, and orange-blossom water. // 2 Pioneer Mill Way, Alexandria
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