ANXO Cidery & Pintxos Bar – 300 Florida Avenue NW
The ANXO Cidery & Pintxos Bar has been a long time coming. For any of you who follow food news in DC, this place has been talked about for ages, and then it took me ages to get over there and check it out. So glad that I did. This first in the District cidery actually makes their own cider from apples collected all over the city! They are still working on a much bigger production facility (stay tuned) but have already started making some delicious collaborations with other local cider makers that are featured on their menu. Cider is a big deal in the Basque region of Spain and the menu here, both beverage and food, reflect those sensibilities.
First lets start with the liquid. You are at a cidery so order a cider! The terrific bartenders and servers are cider nerds and will walk you through the menu and point you in the right direction. Hands down the favorite among my friends was the Snowdrift Red, a rose cider. They also carry several varieties from my favorite cidery in Richmond (featured in this post), Blue Bee.
They do flights of ciders so you can try your hand at several and see what style you like. I decided to go with the Gaztanaga from Spain which is a traditional Basque style cider. It was great but honestly a little stressful! It comes in a 12 ounce bottle that you are meant to pour from a height so that the cider is aerated. However, you are also only supposed to pour as much as you are going to drink immediately, basically one gulp, because the flavor profile changes once its sat for a while. I took one for the team and let it sit a while just to test it out, maybe my cider palette isn’t sophisticated enough – tasted ok to me – though it wasn’t as good as just poured. Anyway it was fun to try but drinking shouldn’t require this much work! Watch me try to not get cider everywhere while I pour some.
ANXO also has a nice selection of Spanish wines, a good craft beer selection and a full bar with cocktails. Next time I go I definitely want to try some of their vermouth. The bar downstairs is really beautiful – apologies I didn’t take that many pictures because I didn’t want to be that girl but it really is a very instagramable space. I loved the black and white concrete tile on the wall, the fun chalkboard menus and platters of food perched atop large graphic tins.
The second floor has another bar and dining tables but I think the best spot is their great front patio – try and sit out there before it gets too cold. Patrick and I went with our friends Jon and Kitty who are adventurous eaters so we basically tried one of everything. The menu changes regularly and is split up between the pintxos menu, which are one or two bite dishes, with a larger more tapas style menu, that has dishes to share. One of our favorite dishes of the night was the roasted quail – perfectly cooked and nice and garlicky.
The cider poached octopus was also incredible. I was sad to share this because the saffron mashed potatoes are totally addictive.
If there are croquetas on the pinxos menu – order them all! We got chicken and ham ones, they come 3 to an order, and are hot, salty and AMAZING. A really great snack to pair with the ciders. Also don’t sleep on the cauliflower stuffed piquillo pepper – even our two meat loving men raved about this veggie dish.
ANXO is a really fun place to drink and snack – don’t go for a true dinner as the small plates and then very small pinxos means a lot of little bites of things that never really feels like a meal. I am really eager to try some of the new menu items. Also I feel like I just scratched the surface of my cider education! Head over with a bunch of friends, explore the cider list and snack on croquetas – Florida Avenue never felt so close to Spain!