Joselito: A Spanish Gem in Capitol Hill, DC

I just returned from Madrid, but I still can’t stop thinking about the meal I had before I left for Spain in DC at Joselito.

I’ve been to a few Spanish restaurants in DC but most of them have felt like the theme-park version of Spanish cuisine.  (I’m very specifically thinking of a certain tapas restaurant here).

But Joselito in Capitol Hill was a surprise and a delight and will be making it into my rotation of places I recommend.  Especially if someone is looking for a restaurant in Eastern Market (but it’s worth traveling for!)

According to their website, here is the whole thinking behind Joselito:l

Joselito is an intimate Spanish restaurant located on Capitol Hill, but reminiscent of the timeless establishments my father adored during his lifetime in Spain. These are also the cafes where luminaries such as Neruda, Hemingway, and Garcia Lorca spent countless hours eating, drinking, and enjoying the beauty of life. I invite you to do the same at Joselito.

Because we were feeling hungy fancy, we went for the tasting menu.

There are two options for the tasting menu–with pairings or without pairings.  Of course, we went for the tasting with the pairings.

But first, we wanted to glass of sangria to recover from the DC heat.  Sangria is generally pretty standard, so we were extremely surprised (in a good way) by our glass.

First of all, it was a gorgeous drink.  The ice cube was made out of sangria fruit.

a glass cup with a fruit and a straw

The presentation of the sangria was nice overall too.

a table with glasses and a plate with a person holding a phone

Bonus picture of my hands tweeting.

The sangria was refreshing without being overly sweet.

They also brought out a pairing of shrimp, mussels, octopus, pepper, and onion salad.

close-up of a bowl of food

The seafood was incredibly tender.  I’m not usually a fan of cold mussels but they were delicious.

After that, we moved onto the tasting menu.  Please note that the tasting menu changes on the preference of the chef, so please don’t be surprised if the menu is different if you go there.

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First Course

Jason lberico sobre salmorejo y polvo de aceite

Jabugo hand cut black foot Iberian ham, thick gazpacho, EVOO dust

a bowl of soup with cheese and meat

The texture of this was incredible.  I downed it.  Which I don’t regret one bit.  But as the meal came to a close, I started running out of room for food!

Queso manchego viejo

1 year old Manchego cheese, spicy tomato marmalade, rosemary picatos-tes

a plate of food with a slice of bread and sauce

I became addicted to tomato marmalade thanks to this dish.  On my trip to Spain, I kept getting the marmalade spread on bread as my breakfast.  But this specific pairing with the Manchego was fantastic.  I could have done a meal of just the bread, tomato, and cheese.

Second Course

Pate de higaditos de pollo y perlas de Jeréz

Chicken liver terrine, sherry pearls

a plate of food on a white surface

I’m a pate person and this didn’t disappoint.  At this point, I realized I could be happy just showing up to Joselito’s bar and ordering the manchego and pate.  But I still hadn’t tasted the rest of the menu yet.  And I can tell you, I’ll order way too much food the next time I am here.

Crudo de atún y aguacate con cebolletas y almendras

Tuna crudo, avocado mousse, pineapple-ginger sorbet, almonds.


a plate of food on a table

This dish was incredibly fresh. And of course, tuna goes amazing well with avocado.

Third Course

Bacalo confitado con consomé de setas y algas

Fresh cod, mushrooms consome, seaweed

a bowl of soup with vegetables

This was my least favorite of the dishes but because I’m not a huge cod fan.  I found it a bit salty, but I found every cod dish I had in Spain to be excessively salty.  It’s just a matter of my personal taste.


Habas con chocos

Lima beans, baby cuttlefish, squid ink

a spoon in a bowl of soup

This was the point at which I realized I should be conserving space in my belly.  I enjoyed this dish.  I’m usually a little squeamish about cuttlefish but the combination was on point.  But I only did a small tasting (due to there being two more courses and my slight squeamishness).

Fourth Course
Bavette de Wagyu a la plancha

Wagyu bavette, roasted potato, chimichurri

a plate of food on a table

This was when I wished I had ALL THE ROOM in the world for more food.  The beef was tender and delicious.  The chimichurri was spicy without being overwhelming.  And I just loved the texture of the potatoes.  And oh dear lord, there was still more food coming.

a plate of food with a fork

a plate of food on a table


Fifth Course

Sopa de chocolate blanco con fresas al vinagre de Jerez y helado de miel y lavanda

Warm white chocolate soup, strawberries marinated on Sherry vinegar, honey-lavender ice cream


a close up of a dessert

I would never have ordered this if I saw it on a menu.  I’m not a fan of white chocolate and both the vinegar and the lavender ice cream gave me pause.

But I ate very last bit of this.

I was so full and I ate it anyway.  If I were less couth, I would have licked the plate.  I beyond recommend this dessert.  The white chocolate soup tasted like a melted ice cream (in a good way) draped over another ice cream.

Writing this review is reminding me that I need to head back–even if just for a glass of sangria and an order of the Manchego.

But it wasn’t just the food that was great.  The General Manager, Gustavo, was on staff that day and made us feel as if we were at home.  The ambiance helped with that as well.  The pictures on the wall of the owner, Javier’s, family remind you that you are being welcomed into his house, and the hospitality (food and service) is what you’d expect from visiting a close family member or friend.

Our server was Daniella who was incredibly sweet and patient (since we went through the dishes and wine pairings quite slowly).

If I could change anything about the experience, I wouldn’t have eaten lunch that day.

About Jeanne Marie Hoffman

Former bartender, still a geek. One equal part each cookies, liberty, football, music, travel, libations. Stir vigorously. +Jeanne Marie Hoffman Jeanne on Twitter

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One comment

  1. Spanish themed DC restaurants (read Guapos).

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