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Taco Bamba brings its long lineup of Mexican street foods with cheffed-up touches back to D.C. 
Greg Powers

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Taco Bamba Makes a Triumphant Return to D.C. Today

After a 3-year citywide hiatus, chef Victor Albisu swings open his anticipated City Ridge taqueria

Homegrown taqueria Taco Bamba returns to D.C. proper on Thursday, December 21, bringing its distinctively bold brand of Mexican street foods and classic rock playlists to upper Northwest’s burgeoning City Ridge development. The location is one of Taco Bamba’s largest, with a full bar and 1,500-square-foot patio. It’s also the first in the city since 2020, when chef and founder Victor Albisu closed down in Chinatown.

“For a chef like myself that made his career in this city, it’s extraordinarily important for me to share this iteration of Taco Bamba with the city,” Albisu says. “It’s fun — it’s all about growth and coming back bigger, better, and stronger than ever.”

A bowl of Lalo’s fried rice.
Greg Powers
Non-taco options include Cactus Bambina empanadas.
Greg Powers

In this case, bigger and better means rethinking what a fast-casual restaurant looks and feels like. The interior is rich with natural light and decked out in the brand’s loud black, white, and red artwork, including a signature backlit installation by artist Alexa Indriolo. The menu has everything needed to build a quick lunch or a leisurely meal. And the bar has a deep selection of mezcal available that rivals any restaurant in the area. That includes Taco Bamba’s recently released mezcal collaboration with Oaxacan distiller Rey Campero.

“It’s fun, it’s irreverent. It’s kind of an antidote to what’s everywhere,” Albisu says.

Prestige Worldwide (spiced lobster, chipotle butter, sweet corn, slaw, crispy pickled jalapenos, flour tortilla).
Greg Powers

The menu is anchored by classic proteins like chicken tinga and pork al pastor alongside “non taco” options like tortas, quesadillas, and other street-style snacks. In keeping with Taco Bamba tradition, City Ridge carves out room for a few exclusive creations found nowhere else. Highlights include the grilled Chicken Caesar Chavez, built with labne Caesar dressing and tomato chili spread, and chicharron-topped Hey Zeus with mumbo bacon as a nod to the iconic D.C. condiment.

“We challenge ourselves to have a broad offering with great ingredients, with a nod to the traditional — and we also crumple up the traditional and throw it away sometimes,” Albisu says.

Behind the bar, beverage director Amin Seddiq’s cocktails put tequila and mezcal at the forefront. The Pyschedelic Corn Star is made with elote mezcal, elote liqueur, rum and saffron honey, while the Down Under Thunder swings tropical with mezcal, gin, velvet falernum, pineapple liqueur, passion fruit tea, vanilla, and lemon.

Taco Bamba’s colorful assortment of cocktails play with lots of agave spirits.
Greg Powers

Taco Bamba serves breakfast items all day long, and one big perk is the fact coffee is always free. Twice-a-day weekday happy hour (3 p.m. to 6 p.m. and 9 p.m. to 10 p.m.) featuring $5 house margaritas, sangrias, draft beers, and micheladas, plus the kitchen’s twist on a crispy beef spring roll. The latest Taco Bamba joins a growing collection of dining options at the buzzy development where Fannie Mae’s campus once stood. King Street Oyster Bar and Tatte Bakery were among the first to arrive, and Bourbon Steak’s superstar chef Michael Mina is working on an Italian restaurant and rooftop lounge.

City Ridge marks the latest opening for the aggressively expanding taqueria that got its start in a Falls Church strip mall back in 2013. Newly added storefronts in North Carolina will join others in Richmond and Nashville, plus an anticipated comeback to D.C.’s Chinatown neighborhood in 2024.

“We’ve gone from a 1,000-square-foot taqueria hidden from the street, and we drew a ton of energy and creativity and memorable flavors and generosity. And we’ve done that now 12 times over,” Albisu says.

Hours are Sunday to Thursday from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. and Friday and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 11 p.m.

—Tierney Plumb contributed to this report

The City Ridge-exclusive Aliens Have Landed taco is topped with brisket suadero and green sauce.
Greg Powers

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