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Pupusas overflowing with cheese and beans from Comedor y Pupuseria San Alejo
Pupusas overflowing with cheese and beans from Comedor y Pupuseria San Alejo
Deb Lindsey/For The Washington Post via Getty Images

13 Essential Pupusa Places Around D.C.

The Salvadoran snack is one of D.C.'s signature foods

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Pupusas overflowing with cheese and beans from Comedor y Pupuseria San Alejo
| Deb Lindsey/For The Washington Post via Getty Images

For the uninitiated, a pupusa looks like an unassuming tortilla, but it takes just one bite to see that the Salvadoran masa pockets are a unique delicacy. Popular fillings include pork, cheese, beans, loroco flowers, or a combination of these items. A tangy cabbage and carrrot slaw called curtido is traditionally served as a condiment.

Salvadorans make up the largest immigrant group in Washington. Accordingly, plenty of pupuserias have popped up to serve them. From mom-and-pop operations on Maryland’s pupusa highway, to longstanding favorites in the Mt. Pleasant, U Street, and Shaw neighborhoods, options abound for a dish that’s perfect for breakfast, lunch, or dinner.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

Los Chorros

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This independently owned Sal-Mex restaurant in the side of the Wheaton Shopping Center has been a fixture for more than 30 years. Pupusas offered in nearly a dozen varieties make up the most popular order for customers whether they’re dining in or buying takeout.

Pupuseria La Familiar (Multiple locations)

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Maritza Hernandez and her three sisters own and operate Pupuseria La Familiar, which has locations in Wheaton and College Park. There are traditional pupusas, like pork and cheese, as well as nontraditional options, like a variety with jalapeno, avocado, and cheese.

Samantha's Resturant

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Good luck finding parking here. With ample acclaim, this Silver Spring staple typically has devotees lined up out the door. Some come for the sweet and satisfying tres leches cake, but the pupusas, served with a spicy and zesty vinegar slaw, are the savory highlight of the menu.

La Casita Pupuseria & Market (Multiple locations)

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La Casita serves pupusas around the clock at locations in Silver Spring, Germantown, Gaithersburg, and even at Nationals Park. It’s also planning to arrive at La Cosecha, the new Latin America market in the Union Market neighborhood.

Comedor y Pupuseria San Alejo

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Taqueria Habanero matriarch Mirna Alvarado and her brother, Carlos Alvarado, co-own this suburban Maryland spot with menu sections for classic pupusas and more modern riffs — like mushrooms and cheese, or ham, bacon, and jalapeno — that are served with guacamole and pico de gallo. — Gabe Hiatt

Pupusas overflowing with cheese and beans from Comedor y Pupuseria San Alejo
Pupusas overflowing with beans from Comedor y Pupuseria San Alejo
Deb Lindsey/For The Washington Post via Getty Images

El Comalito (Multiple locations)

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The Riverdale Park outpost of a local chain of Salvadoran eateries is housed in a former McDonald’s. Instead of fast food, customers will find warm pupusas stuffed with all kinds of combinations — including spinach or leafy chipilin greens — and grilled entrees.

A squash pupusa from El Comalito
A squash pupusa from El Comalito
Dixie D. Vereen/For The Washington Post via Getty Images

Gloria Pupuseria

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This map wouldn't be complete without this tiny spot that provides Columbia Heights with its pupusa fix.

Don Juan Restaurant

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There are plenty of pupusa options in Mt. Pleasant, but the best varieties might be found here. Pupusas come with a choice of cheese, pork and cheese, or bean and cheese for $2.50.

Slug: ME-Mtplesnt Date: 1.16.2008 Kevin Clark/TWP Neg #: 197 Kevin Clark/The The Washington Post via Getty Images

Judy Restaurant

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The $2 pupusas at this 14th Street watering hole have been a constant for two decades while the block has changed all around it.

El Tamarindo

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Forget Jumbo slice. This is the Adams Morgan drunk food of choice for many people. Open until 5 a.m. on Fridays and Saturdays and 2 a.m. the rest of the week, El Tamarindo is known for late-night pupusas. Established in 1982, it’s one of the longest running Salvadoran-Mexican restaurants in D.C.

El Rinconcito Cafe

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While most everywhere else in Shaw is trendy and expensive, El Rinconcito Cafe remains pretty much unchanged. It’s a traditional Sal-Mex restaurant that frequently fills up from breakfast to dinner.

Pupusas and curtido at El Rinconcito Cafe
Pupusas and curtido at El Rinconcito Cafe
Bill O’Leary/The Washington Post via Getty Images

Las Placitas (Multiple locations)

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With locations in Capitol Hill and northern 14th Street NW, Las Placitas has been serving up pupusas ($1.95 each) for several years alongside pitchers of margaritas, lomo saltado, and carne asada.

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Dinner time! #springbreakdc19 #lasplacitas #dcfood

A post shared by maccscott (@maccscott) on

Pupuseria Doña Azucena

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This Arlington pupuseria is tucked away from the college crowd in Clarendon. For pork lovers, the chicharron pupusa is a must.

Los Chorros

This independently owned Sal-Mex restaurant in the side of the Wheaton Shopping Center has been a fixture for more than 30 years. Pupusas offered in nearly a dozen varieties make up the most popular order for customers whether they’re dining in or buying takeout.

Pupuseria La Familiar (Multiple locations)

Maritza Hernandez and her three sisters own and operate Pupuseria La Familiar, which has locations in Wheaton and College Park. There are traditional pupusas, like pork and cheese, as well as nontraditional options, like a variety with jalapeno, avocado, and cheese.

Samantha's Resturant

Good luck finding parking here. With ample acclaim, this Silver Spring staple typically has devotees lined up out the door. Some come for the sweet and satisfying tres leches cake, but the pupusas, served with a spicy and zesty vinegar slaw, are the savory highlight of the menu.

La Casita Pupuseria & Market (Multiple locations)

La Casita serves pupusas around the clock at locations in Silver Spring, Germantown, Gaithersburg, and even at Nationals Park. It’s also planning to arrive at La Cosecha, the new Latin America market in the Union Market neighborhood.

Comedor y Pupuseria San Alejo

Pupusas overflowing with cheese and beans from Comedor y Pupuseria San Alejo
Pupusas overflowing with beans from Comedor y Pupuseria San Alejo
Deb Lindsey/For The Washington Post via Getty Images

Taqueria Habanero matriarch Mirna Alvarado and her brother, Carlos Alvarado, co-own this suburban Maryland spot with menu sections for classic pupusas and more modern riffs — like mushrooms and cheese, or ham, bacon, and jalapeno — that are served with guacamole and pico de gallo. — Gabe Hiatt

Pupusas overflowing with cheese and beans from Comedor y Pupuseria San Alejo
Pupusas overflowing with beans from Comedor y Pupuseria San Alejo
Deb Lindsey/For The Washington Post via Getty Images

El Comalito (Multiple locations)

A squash pupusa from El Comalito
A squash pupusa from El Comalito
Dixie D. Vereen/For The Washington Post via Getty Images

The Riverdale Park outpost of a local chain of Salvadoran eateries is housed in a former McDonald’s. Instead of fast food, customers will find warm pupusas stuffed with all kinds of combinations — including spinach or leafy chipilin greens — and grilled entrees.

A squash pupusa from El Comalito
A squash pupusa from El Comalito
Dixie D. Vereen/For The Washington Post via Getty Images

Gloria Pupuseria

This map wouldn't be complete without this tiny spot that provides Columbia Heights with its pupusa fix.

Don Juan Restaurant

Slug: ME-Mtplesnt Date: 1.16.2008 Kevin Clark/TWP Neg #: 197 Kevin Clark/The The Washington Post via Getty Images

There are plenty of pupusa options in Mt. Pleasant, but the best varieties might be found here. Pupusas come with a choice of cheese, pork and cheese, or bean and cheese for $2.50.

Slug: ME-Mtplesnt Date: 1.16.2008 Kevin Clark/TWP Neg #: 197 Kevin Clark/The The Washington Post via Getty Images

Judy Restaurant

The $2 pupusas at this 14th Street watering hole have been a constant for two decades while the block has changed all around it.

El Tamarindo

Forget Jumbo slice. This is the Adams Morgan drunk food of choice for many people. Open until 5 a.m. on Fridays and Saturdays and 2 a.m. the rest of the week, El Tamarindo is known for late-night pupusas. Established in 1982, it’s one of the longest running Salvadoran-Mexican restaurants in D.C.

El Rinconcito Cafe

Pupusas and curtido at El Rinconcito Cafe
Pupusas and curtido at El Rinconcito Cafe
Bill O’Leary/The Washington Post via Getty Images

While most everywhere else in Shaw is trendy and expensive, El Rinconcito Cafe remains pretty much unchanged. It’s a traditional Sal-Mex restaurant that frequently fills up from breakfast to dinner.

Pupusas and curtido at El Rinconcito Cafe
Pupusas and curtido at El Rinconcito Cafe
Bill O’Leary/The Washington Post via Getty Images

Las Placitas (Multiple locations)

With locations in Capitol Hill and northern 14th Street NW, Las Placitas has been serving up pupusas ($1.95 each) for several years alongside pitchers of margaritas, lomo saltado, and carne asada.

View this post on Instagram

Dinner time! #springbreakdc19 #lasplacitas #dcfood

A post shared by maccscott (@maccscott) on

Pupuseria Doña Azucena

This Arlington pupuseria is tucked away from the college crowd in Clarendon. For pork lovers, the chicharron pupusa is a must.

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