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Bambule, Tapas in Friendship Heights - Closed

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My boyfriend and I were killing time before an afternoon movie at Mazza Gallerie. Hunger struck so we considered our options. We ruled out Panera, Cheesecake Factory and Maggiano's leaving, more or less, Chadwick's or Bambule

Although Digital City describes Chadwick's as a "see and be scene for the thirtysomething crowd" (!!!!) we opted to try Bambule. I've had a few OK lunches at Chadwick's in summer, but I don't like the dark, smoky interior very much.

I entered Bambule with more than a little trepidation. All I knew of the place was that it is the venue for Euro-singles-themed happy hours (a friend attends them, not me!). And at first glance, it's hard to know what to make of the space: the space seems huge. The bar area to the left says "Pub-Anywhere, USA" and yet there's a loungy area up front. To the right is a more formal looking dining area with more dining space to the rear. Then there are the tent-like swaths of fabric draped from the ceiling. Hmm. Adding to this odd first impression presently are oodles of Halloween decorations including a lifesized Freddy Krueger that "talks" when you touch the scissorhands. Creepy.

But the food's alright. While we reviewed the large menus, we were given warm, fresh bread with not-bad olive oil. We laughed about being two of less than ten customers and then got on with ordering.

From the lunch menu, we sampled sauteed shrimp, fried potatoes with aioli and empanadas (one chicken, one beef). Everything arrived so quickly that the empanadas had to come from a box, I assume, but the pastry was flaky and the fillings were flavorful. No complaints.

The total damage before tip was about $16. Based on this one meal and given the scarcity of options in this neighborhood, I would certainly give Bambule another try.

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I had dinner there once. The food was good. Not great, but good. I don't remember specifically what we had, but I do remember that we had about ten or fifteen plates for about 7 or 8 people.

I do remember the restaurant was basically empty. Our table was the only table in the back in use and there were less than a dozen people in the bar and front tables.

Not memorable enough to go running back, but not memorable enough to say never again. If I was in the area and hungry, sure but probably not a destination spot.

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Very interesting guys. We live a few blocks from there and have always bemoaned the serious lack of dining options up in Friendship Heights. Usually we end up getting in the car and going to Colorado Kitchen, 2 Amys, or Cleveland Park. I guess you guys are saying that Bambule is not in this league, but could be worth going to since it's close. (But, I hate spending money on just OK food--I'd rather just cook at home or GO someplace decent, even if we have to drive. )

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I stopped into Bambulé last night for a tapa, and was warmly greeted by a manager in an empty restaurant, hampered by scaffolding and construction outside the front door.

Gambas al Pil-Pil ($10) was a ceramic plate of six small shrimp, fresh off the heat, and bathing in a pool of oil, garlic, and a spicy mix of chili peppers and cayenne. "Pil-Pil" refers to the sound of splattering oil, and this dish is traditionally served in a clay vessel. Regardless, this was a decent rendition, and went beautifully with a huge pour of Albariño ($9) by the friendly bartender Alena, who informed me that she has worked at Bambulé for five years, and Chef Escobar has been running the kitchen even longer than that.

I could nitpick, but I really have nothing but good things to say about my brief, thirty-minute visit to Bambulé.



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Nothing terribly wrong with this place. The staff has always been pleasant, on occasion the live guitar music has been spectacular and the food average to better than average. Prices, if my memory serves were in line with service & food. I haven't been by in about a year but it was kind of my go to place when Waitman wanted to shop and I would rather not.

I'd go back again. They seem to have a weekend brunch but I have not tried that.

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