José Andrés’ The Bazaar debuts downtown with a parade of avant-garde treats

Superstar chef and global humanitarian José Andrés is finally fulfilling his decades-long dream of opening a restaurant in downtown’s historic Old Post Office Pavilion. ThinkFoodGroup, now known as José Andrés Group (JAG), is unveiling an outpost of José Andrés’ luxury Bazaar in the newly minted Waldorf Astoria on Wednesday, February 8 (1100 Pennsylvania Avenue NW).

The 263-room hotel with a clock tower was originally slated to house another restaurant owned by Andrés, who pulled out after inflammatory remarks about immigrants from then-presidential candidate Donald Trump. Six years later, the 150-seat Bazaar joins Michelin-rated omakase gem Sushi Nakazawa in the lavish hotel that was stripped of its controversial Trump International Hotel flag last spring. Two-story bazaar slides into the lobby-level space formerly occupied by David Burke’s steakhouse BLT Prime.

Born in Beverly Hills in 2008, José Andrés’ Spanish-style bazaar debuts in DC with some nods to Penn Quarter’s groundbreaking Cafe Atlantico, where Andrés’ two-Michelin-starred Minibar was born. See: “Café Atlántico” shell fritters, modernized with onion jam and a liquid core.

Conch fritters with bonito flakes.


Crab salad (Maryland blue crab, potatoes, foam mayo) appears in the “traditional” seafood tapas section.

Other longstanding Bazaar entrees making their way to DC include “Jose” tacos topped with Iberian ham, gold leaf, and caviar; tortilla de papatas “new way” topped with potato foam; and bao con lechon (Chinese pork belly steamed bun). “Cotton candy foie gras” – the Instagrammable one-biter made famous in LA – is also on the menu. Maryland blue crab, Virginia Rappahannock oysters and Chesapeake Bay delicacies appear in an artful array of a la carte and tapas dishes.

Manuel Echeverri, culinary director of Bazaar, recently returned to the company after a four-year hiatus in a major role: helping acclaimed chef Thomas Keller earn a Michelin star for The Surf Club Restaurant at the Four Seasons in Surfside, Florida.

“The hope is to bring that iconic feel of the original Bazaar LA back home,” Echeverri tells Eater. “Being in this building, he wants to tap into the history of Americana and the US.”

In addition, a “Peek Into the Archives” section of entrees includes an “Eisenhower Stew” with beef cheeks as a tribute to President Eisenhower’s go-to order while in office. A crab Louie cone honors San Francisco’s 1940s favorite, here filled with local blue crab and a topping of small tweezer veggies.

“It’s the hardest ‘salad’ you can make, but here we are,” says Echeverri.

“Crab Louie Cone” with Marie Rose sauce, avocado and garden pickles.
Louis Victa

“Cotton Candy Foie Gras” with crispy amaranth.
Louis Victa

Puffy airbread – a Bazaar badge – is the building block for a “Philly Cheesesteak” stuffed with cheddar and wagyu beef (Miami has a Cubano version). Seared Norway lobster “Newberg” in brioche is also an homage to an American classic.

When one Bazaar opens, another closes; the oceanfront location at the SLS hotel in Miami closes for good on March 31. Another hotel is on its way to the Ritz-Carlton New York, NoMad, in a few months. Bazaar Meat offshoots are located in Las Vegas, Chicago and the upcoming Grand LA complex downtown. Jimmy Pumarol, Bazaar senior director of operations who has been with Andrés for 23 years, is now stationed in D.C.

Every Bazaar has a Jamón and tapas bar, and this one is no different. A dramatic carving station upon entry puts the prized pig on full display, with pieces of Jamón ibérico de bellota of acorn-fed acorns—the highest quality Spanish ham—served in one- or two-ounce tastings. Swirling burgundy tiles that cover the bar resemble marbled pieces of jamon.

The station is located under a huge mirrored sphere so striking that the gleaming beacon for ham can be seen from afar in the Waldorf Astoria lobby. (“We joke Jose has a camera inside to check in,” says Pumarol.) Nearby, smoked fish and poultry get the dry-aged treatment behind glass doors in fancy steel refrigerators made in Germany.

Diners are invited to saddle up to an intimate bar framed with mustard fringed chairs before heading upstairs to the main event. “In Spain, where tapas are big, you have a small cocktail and a snack before dinner,” says Pumarol.

A bar backsplash made up of rows of metal mailboxes salvaged from the old post office ties in with the look of José Andrés’ é—his tiny Vegas tasting room surrounded by tiny wooden cabinets of curiosities.

“We always say José has a lot of ideas, and every box is an idea,” says Pumarol.

The “Continental Sour” with Old Forester rye, lemon, sugar and tempranillo red wine.
Rey Lopez for Bazaar

Other whimsical touches around the bar include glass porrones, oversized apple centerpieces on tables, abstract Spanish artwork, and a 10-seat nook swathed in thick curtains. Breakfast and lunch menus represent a compilation of dishes influenced by other Andrés establishments. The downstairs bar is open from 11:30am to 11:30pm

A smoked lox waffle at Bazaar.
Louis Victa

From 5pm, dinner awaits upstairs on a lavish level decorated with hanging lanterns, soft emerald green benches made even cosier with plush cushions, and floral fabrics and wall hangings that speak to Spanish surrealist Salvador Dalí. Leafy foliage and trees from around the world contribute to a botanical atmosphere, with glittering chandeliers in the towering lobby adding to the starry sky. A long marble bar at the back is charged with preparing vegetarian, seafood and meat tapas, presented on the menu in two mirrored sections: modern and traditional. A roving serving trolley adds table accents such as steak tartare mixed with yolk and baked salt cod. The cart also brings a coffee component to the table.

Lacquered wood tables can be reconfigured to accommodate both small and large groups of up to 14 people, and the entire back corner overlooking the expansive restaurant can be transformed into a private dining room for 40 people. The world famous Spanish company Lázaro Rosa-Violán has put together a stylish look that is meant to reflect the avant-garde menu.

The upstairs, immersed in leafy elements and flowers, feels like dining in an indoor botanical garden.
Rey Lopez for Bazaar

Another upstairs corner is devoted to a seatless bar that flaunts the cocktail magic of mixologists, a la Barmini, with billowing nitrogen and fragrant elements emitted throughout the dining room. An ‘Around the World in 80 Days’ cocktail celebrates five countries in one glass, with mezcal distilled with Jamón ibérico, gin, manzanilla, Junmai Sparking Sake and cachaça. An opening cocktail list of 11 revamped Beverly Hills Bazaar favorites will eventually grow to 25 liquor and alcohol-free options.

Nitro Caipirinha with Avuá Prata cachaça, lime, sugar and liquid nitrogen.
Rey Lopez for Bazaar

There are over 20 wines by the glass and sherries to start, with a glass cellar dedicated to reds in the marble stairwell. The general list shows a love for Spanish, Old World and Virginia wines.

“It’s been thirty years since I first came to DC [with Jaleo]and to open The Bazaar in this beautiful, historic building that has always held a special place for me is an American dream come true,” Andrés said in a statement.

The award-winning Spanish chef isn’t here for the opening as he’s currently donning his humanitarian hat with his World Central Kitchen as he delivers meals to earthquake-hit areas in Türkiye. He plans to return to DC in March.

“Rossejat” Negra (paella style pasta, squid ink, uni, sepia sofrito and shrimp).
Louis Victa

Salad “José’s Favorite Waldorf” with endive, celery, walnuts and yogurt.
Louis Victa