For all its hype as an international city, D.C. has never been labeled as a bastion of traditional Mexican food. The District is better known for its robust Salvadoran population, which has produced a legacy of Sal-Mex spots. Many immigrant communities have flocked to more affordable rents in areas such as Falls Church, Virginia, or Prince George’s County, Maryland, where places like Taqueria La Placita and Taqueria El Mexicano have become pillars of the community. In the past 15 years or so, though, the Mexican food scene in D.C. has undergone a major come-up. Just look to the stretch of 14th Street NW between Columbia Heights and Petworth, where Taqueria Habanero, Mezcalero, and Anafre offer destination-worthy tacos, enchiladas, and campechana on the same block, and mole-ladling newcomer DC Corazon is just a few steps away. High-end venues like Oyamel, Espita, Mi Vida, and (now-closed) Poca Madre have showcased fine dining that’s a worth a splurge, too.
This map focuses on Mexican restaurants that showcase a well-rounded variety of staples, including tortas, tostadas, tlayudas, molletes, chilaquiles, chile relleno, tres leches cake, and more. With a few exceptions, it’s not a group that includes Sal-Mex, Tex-Mex, or counters and trucks that specialize solely in tacos.
Restaurants on this map may temporarily close due to the novel coronavirus pandemic, so check with a business before showing up. D.C. allows indoor dining at 25 percent capacity. Many restaurants offer outdoor seating, but this should not be taken as endorsement for dining out, as there are still safety concerns. The Washington Post is tracking coronavirus cases and deaths in D.C., Maryland, and Virginia. More information can be found at coronavirus.dc.gov. Studies indicate that there is a lower exposure risk when outdoors, but the level of risk involved with patio dining is contingent on restaurants following strict social distancing and other safety guidelines.Read More