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The Early Word on Arroz

“Looks like D.C. finally got a real Moroccan restaurant.”

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Rey Lopez
Tierney Plumb is the editor of Eater DC, covering all things food and drink around the nation's capital.

Mike Isabella’s Arroz brings flavors of southern Spain and Morocco to the Marriott Marquis.

Arroz — which is Spanish for rice — enters new territory for the Top Chef contestant, whose existing D.C. food empire largely celebrates Greece and Italy.

The Arroz menu, splashed across just one page, covers a lot of ground: meats and cheeses, bomba rice, bigeye tuna crudo, and a 28-oz. bone-in ribeye, to name a few.

Designed by Natalie Park Design Studio, the bright blue space includes Arabesque and keyhole archways, coffered ceilings, tiled floors, brass accents, and exotic patterns and tapestries.

Read on to hear what readers are saying about the 138-seat space, just two weeks in:

The Real Deal News: Facebooker Adam Rigaa had a “great experience” and says the “food is prepared with excellence. Looks like D.C. finally got a real Moroccan restaurant.” Yelper Karla C. has “been to Spain and Mike Isabella's interpretation is very fresh!” [Facebook, Yelp]

The Booze News: Facebooker Cindy Graves “dropped in for a drink and ended up canceling our other other coveted reservations and stayed for dinner! Beyond the excellent and unique food menu is the libation menu: Cocktails made with sherry - try the Daisy - and sherry flights!” [Facebook]

The Happy Endings News: Instagrammer @junkfoodguy called his stack of fried vanilla milk custards with fresh orange jam “absurdly good.” and the white chocolate, Moroccan mint and strawberry ice cream sundae was “amazingness.” Yelper Ri T. says “rum baba cake is the one to order” for dessert, and Susie D. notes it has “a nice, light rum flavor.” [Instagram, Yelp]

The Starters News: Yelper Susie D. thought “the burnt eggplant and gem lettuce were INCREDIBLE. The puree on the eggplant dish was on another level, and the gem lettuce was such an inventive take on a salad.” [Yelp]

The Decor News: Yelper Erika P. thought “the ambiance is wonderful and definitely doesn't feel like a hotel restaurant. The decor does its best to transport you to Southern Spain. There are adorably intimate booths nestled in nooks — I think I'd request one of those next time!” [Yelp]

The Best of News: Instagrammer @claudiadsalinas thought “everything was delicious! My favorite was the Fideo and the duck! #foodcoma.” Graves thought a plate of red shrimp “were the best I have ever had! The foie gras was fabulous!” Erika P. thought “the smoked tuna app was a standout: presented in an anchovy tin with the most delicious bread.” [Instagram, Facebook, Yelp]