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Take a bite out of a torta at La Mexicana in Alexandria
Take a bite out of a torta at La Mexicana in Alexandria
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Tracking Down Tortas In D.C.

Here's a map for finding the filling Mexican treat around town

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Take a bite out of a torta at La Mexicana in Alexandria
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The meal-in-a-sandwich known as a torta is gaining ground in D.C.

Tortas can be made a variety of ways: hot or cold, dry, or "drowned" with sauce (ahogada), depending on what part of Mexico from which the traditional dish is sourced. Typically, the bread, or bolillo, meets avocado, beans, mayo, and a starring ingredient like carnitas, carne asada, or chorizo. A sprinkling of tomatoes, onions, salsa, lettuce, and chiles can round out the sandwich.

The origin of the torta is difficult to pinpoint. Roberto Ayala's "Big Book of Tortas and Sandwiches" offers a popular explanation, tracing the history of the sandwich way back to Leonardo Da Vinci. Today one can find the culinary classic throughout the area in various settings. From a sit-down brunch torta at El Camino in Bloomingdale to a grab-and-go option from Super Tacos and Bakery in Adams Morgan, D.C. delivers on the sandwich. Here are twelve spots to satisfy a tortas craving.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. Agua 301

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301 Water St SE
Washington, D.C. 20003
(202) 484-0301
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The modern Mexican eatery doesn't skimp on tortas options on brunch and lunch menus. Try the Torta Hamburguesa (grilled ground sirloin and chorizo, fried egg, tomato, avocado, shredded lettuce, refried beans, chipotle mayo) or the pan fried breaded chicken breast or grilled shrimp varieties, served with fried yucca, french fries or mixed greens. Lunch is Monday through Friday, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. and brunch is Saturdays and Sundays from 10:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.

2. El Camino

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108 Rhode Island Ave NW
Washington, D.C. 20001
(202) 847-0419
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This trendy Bloomingdale restaurant serves tortas during its Friday lunch hours from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., as well as weekend brunch times. The brunch torta, described as a “Mexican breakfast sandwich,” has just about every breakfast item imaginable inside, from eggs to queso fresco and chorizo, stuffed between two pieces of bread. Brunch is served from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays, when you can wash the torta down with a margaritas.

3. El Centro D.F. 14th Street

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1819 14th St NW
Washington, D.C. 20009
(202) 328-3131
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Richard Sandoval's Mexican restaurant has tortas buried on its lunch and weekend brunch menus. Grouped in with burritos and more in a section of the menu, the sandwiches might be easy to miss. Stop in 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday and from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday.

4. El Chucho Cocina Superior

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3313 11th St NW
Washington, D.C. 20010
(202) 290-3313
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Find tortas in such variety as ahogada (with adobo-marinated pork), ham and black beans, and a vegetarian version with potatoes, carrots, beans, and peppers.

5. El Sol

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1227 11th St NW
Washington, D.C. 20001
(202) 815-4789
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The Shaw staple serves up a healthy selection of tortas at its Logan Circle location. Try the Pambazos, stuffed with mashed potatoes and chorizo, dipped in guajillo chile sauce, queso fresco and sour cream. A couple of tortas options are also available on the taqueria's brunch menu.

6. Espita Mezcaleria

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1250 9th St NW
Washington, D.C. 20001
(202) 621-9695
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Find several tortas on this Shaw restaurant's lunch menu, including a fried fish and a hamburguesa version.

7. Gringos & Mariachis

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4928 Cordell Ave
Bethesda, MD 20814
(240) 800-4266
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The milanese torta at this Bethesda restaurant is known for its epic size.

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8. La Mexicana

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2907 Arlington Dr
Alexandria, VA 22306
(703) 717-0807
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La Mexicana serves tortas ahogada, or dipped in sauce — the same kind that is traditionally found in Guadalajara. Pro tip: tortas ahogada are available on the weekends, or by calling in advance. This spot also stands out by serving its tortas on homemade bread. La Mexicana is open Monday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. and on Sunday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

9. Super Tacos & Bakery

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1762 Columbia Rd NW
Washington, D.C. 20009
(202) 232-7121
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This tiny Adams Morgan spot serves no-frills tortas of just about every flavor profile under the sun. The tortas come in two sizes: $7 for medium and $9 for large. Come for the carne asada, stay for the cochinita pibil.

10. Taco Bamba

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2190 Pimmit Dr
Falls Church, VA 22043
(703) 639-0505
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Looking for a tortas fix in Northern Virginia? Taco Bamba in Falls Church (and forthcoming locations in Vienna and Springfield) serves ingredient-packed “super tortas.” Go early or late; the restaurant is open daily from 8:30 a.m. to 10 p.m.

11. Taqueria Habanero

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3710 14th St. NW
Washington, D.C. 20010
(301) 789-7407

Five different tortas are on the menu at this favorite destination for tacos, including a milanesa (fried chicken cutlet) version and a take on a Cubana. There are also sometimes tortas specials, such as a recent fish version.

12. Tortas Y Tacos La Chiquita

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950 S George Mason Dr
Arlington, VA 22204
(202) 431-1072

This Arlington-based taco truck delivers tortas on wheels. Hours kick off at 11 a.m. all week long. Fillings range from chicken cutlet to carne asada.

1. Agua 301

301 Water St SE, Washington, D.C. 20003

The modern Mexican eatery doesn't skimp on tortas options on brunch and lunch menus. Try the Torta Hamburguesa (grilled ground sirloin and chorizo, fried egg, tomato, avocado, shredded lettuce, refried beans, chipotle mayo) or the pan fried breaded chicken breast or grilled shrimp varieties, served with fried yucca, french fries or mixed greens. Lunch is Monday through Friday, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. and brunch is Saturdays and Sundays from 10:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.

301 Water St SE
Washington, D.C. 20003

2. El Camino

108 Rhode Island Ave NW, Washington, D.C. 20001

This trendy Bloomingdale restaurant serves tortas during its Friday lunch hours from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., as well as weekend brunch times. The brunch torta, described as a “Mexican breakfast sandwich,” has just about every breakfast item imaginable inside, from eggs to queso fresco and chorizo, stuffed between two pieces of bread. Brunch is served from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays, when you can wash the torta down with a margaritas.

108 Rhode Island Ave NW
Washington, D.C. 20001

3. El Centro D.F. 14th Street

1819 14th St NW, Washington, D.C. 20009

Richard Sandoval's Mexican restaurant has tortas buried on its lunch and weekend brunch menus. Grouped in with burritos and more in a section of the menu, the sandwiches might be easy to miss. Stop in 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday and from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday.

1819 14th St NW
Washington, D.C. 20009

4. El Chucho Cocina Superior

3313 11th St NW, Washington, D.C. 20010

Find tortas in such variety as ahogada (with adobo-marinated pork), ham and black beans, and a vegetarian version with potatoes, carrots, beans, and peppers.

3313 11th St NW
Washington, D.C. 20010

5. El Sol

1227 11th St NW, Washington, D.C. 20001

The Shaw staple serves up a healthy selection of tortas at its Logan Circle location. Try the Pambazos, stuffed with mashed potatoes and chorizo, dipped in guajillo chile sauce, queso fresco and sour cream. A couple of tortas options are also available on the taqueria's brunch menu.

1227 11th St NW
Washington, D.C. 20001

6. Espita Mezcaleria

1250 9th St NW, Washington, D.C. 20001

Find several tortas on this Shaw restaurant's lunch menu, including a fried fish and a hamburguesa version.

1250 9th St NW
Washington, D.C. 20001

7. Gringos & Mariachis

4928 Cordell Ave, Bethesda, MD 20814
Official

The milanese torta at this Bethesda restaurant is known for its epic size.

4928 Cordell Ave
Bethesda, MD 20814

8. La Mexicana

2907 Arlington Dr, Alexandria, VA 22306

La Mexicana serves tortas ahogada, or dipped in sauce — the same kind that is traditionally found in Guadalajara. Pro tip: tortas ahogada are available on the weekends, or by calling in advance. This spot also stands out by serving its tortas on homemade bread. La Mexicana is open Monday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. and on Sunday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

2907 Arlington Dr
Alexandria, VA 22306

9. Super Tacos & Bakery

1762 Columbia Rd NW, Washington, D.C. 20009

This tiny Adams Morgan spot serves no-frills tortas of just about every flavor profile under the sun. The tortas come in two sizes: $7 for medium and $9 for large. Come for the carne asada, stay for the cochinita pibil.

1762 Columbia Rd NW
Washington, D.C. 20009

10. Taco Bamba

2190 Pimmit Dr, Falls Church, VA 22043

Looking for a tortas fix in Northern Virginia? Taco Bamba in Falls Church (and forthcoming locations in Vienna and Springfield) serves ingredient-packed “super tortas.” Go early or late; the restaurant is open daily from 8:30 a.m. to 10 p.m.

2190 Pimmit Dr
Falls Church, VA 22043

11. Taqueria Habanero

3710 14th St. NW, Washington, D.C. 20010

Five different tortas are on the menu at this favorite destination for tacos, including a milanesa (fried chicken cutlet) version and a take on a Cubana. There are also sometimes tortas specials, such as a recent fish version.

3710 14th St. NW
Washington, D.C. 20010

12. Tortas Y Tacos La Chiquita

950 S George Mason Dr, Arlington, VA 22204

This Arlington-based taco truck delivers tortas on wheels. Hours kick off at 11 a.m. all week long. Fillings range from chicken cutlet to carne asada.

950 S George Mason Dr
Arlington, VA 22204

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