Credit: Photo courtesy of El Mercat Bar de Tapas

El Mercat Bar de Tapas, a restaurant specializing in Spanish tapas, has opened at 101 Gibbs St. in Rockville Town Square.

The restaurant is serving guests who purchased tickets to a “Friends and Family” dinner Friday and Saturday. Regular dinner service is set to start on Monday, co-owner Wanessa Alves told Bethesda Beat.

El Mercat Bar de Tapas is the brainchild of chef George Rodrigues, who previously worked at the D.C. tapas restaurant Boqueria, as well as other restaurants in Boston and Chicago, Eater DC reported on Thursday.

Rodrigues told Bethesda Beat on Friday that he’s excited about opening his own restaurant.

“This is a long dream that I had to open my own restaurant and now I have the opportunity for it to happen, and it starts today,” he said.

Rodrigues said the restaurant’s menu includes a variety of Spanish tapas, including several that are vegetarian. On the heavier side, it offers three types of paella, including a seafood paella with clams and mussels.


Items range from $5 for the cheapest tapas to $38 for the seafood paella, Rodrigues said.

Alves said “there’s a little bit of everything for everyone” on the menu.

Regular service is scheduled to begin Monday starting at 5 p.m., Alves said.


Initially, the restaurant will serve dinner only. Alves said the restaurant expects to add lunch and brunch hours starting in early February.

Dan Schere can be reached at