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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.

1. Los Chorros

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2420 Blueridge Ave
Wheaton, MD 20902
(301) 933-1066
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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.

2. Pupuseria La Familiar (Multiple locations)

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11324 Fern St
Wheaton, MD 20902
(240) 669-4280
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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.

3. Samantha's Resturant

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631 University Blvd E
Silver Spring, MD
(301) 445-7300
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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.

4. La Casita Pupuseria & Market (Multiple locations)

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8214 Piney Branch Rd
Silver Spring, MD 20910
(301) 588-6656
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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.

5. Comedor y Pupuseria San Alejo

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1819 East-West Hwy
Adelphi, MD 20783
(240) 714-3342
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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

6. El Comalito (Multiple locations)

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6100 Baltimore Ave
Riverdale Park, MD 20737
(301) 864-4600
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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

7. Gloria Pupuseria

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3411 14th St Nw
Washington, DC 20009
(202) 884-0105

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

8. Don Juan Restaurant

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1660 Lamont St NW
Washington, DC 20010
(202) 667-0010

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

9. Judy Restaurant

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2212 14th St NW
Washington, DC 20009
(202) 265-2519

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

10. El Tamarindo

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1785 Florida Ave NW
Washington, DC 20009
(202) 328-3660
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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.

11. El Rinconcito Cafe

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1129 11th St NW
Washington, DC 20001
(202) 789-4110

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

12. Las Placitas (Multiple locations)

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1100 8th St SE
Washington, DC 20003
(202) 543-3700
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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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13. Pupuseria Doña Azucena

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71 N Glebe Rd
Arlington, VA 22203
(703) 248-0332

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

1. Los Chorros

2420 Blueridge Ave, Wheaton, MD 20902

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.

2420 Blueridge Ave
Wheaton, MD 20902

2. Pupuseria La Familiar (Multiple locations)

11324 Fern St, Wheaton, MD 20902

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.

11324 Fern St
Wheaton, MD 20902

3. Samantha's Resturant

631 University Blvd E, Silver Spring, MD

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.

631 University Blvd E
Silver Spring, MD

4. La Casita Pupuseria & Market (Multiple locations)

8214 Piney Branch Rd, Silver Spring, MD 20910

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.

8214 Piney Branch Rd
Silver Spring, MD 20910

5. Comedor y Pupuseria San Alejo

1819 East-West Hwy, Adelphi, MD 20783
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

1819 East-West Hwy
Adelphi, MD 20783

6. El Comalito (Multiple locations)

6100 Baltimore Ave, Riverdale Park, MD 20737
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.

6100 Baltimore Ave
Riverdale Park, MD 20737

7. Gloria Pupuseria

3411 14th St Nw, Washington, DC 20009

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

3411 14th St Nw
Washington, DC 20009

8. Don Juan Restaurant

1660 Lamont St NW, Washington, DC 20010
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.

1660 Lamont St NW
Washington, DC 20010

9. Judy Restaurant

2212 14th St NW, Washington, DC 20009

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

2212 14th St NW
Washington, DC 20009

10. El Tamarindo

1785 Florida Ave NW, Washington, DC 20009

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.

1785 Florida Ave NW
Washington, DC 20009

11. El Rinconcito Cafe

1129 11th St NW, Washington, DC 20001
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.

1129 11th St NW
Washington, DC 20001

12. Las Placitas (Multiple locations)

1100 8th St SE, Washington, DC 20003

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.

1100 8th St SE
Washington, DC 20003

13. Pupuseria Doña Azucena

71 N Glebe Rd, Arlington, VA 22203

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

71 N Glebe Rd
Arlington, VA 22203

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