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, with mole-ladling DC Corazon is just a few steps away. Higher-end venues like Maiz64, DLeña, Chicatana, Destino, and newcomer Cinco Soles showcase superior Mexican fare with all sorts of modern interpretations in the mix.
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. D.C. welcomes a pair of contemporary Mexican restaurants this fall, with anticipated arrivals from chef Christian Irabién’s Amapro Fondita in Dupont and Pascual on Capitol Hill from Lutèce chefs Matt Conroy and Isabel Coss.Read More