What's more of a crowd-pleaser than a menu filled with burritos, tacos, nachos, enchiladas, margaritas, and mole? These 10 restaurants are hits with both locals in D.C. and tourists in the mood for Mexican cuisine. The list spans eateries across the city, including in popular tourist neighborhoods like Georgetown, Logan Circle, and Dupont Circle.
The must-orders at this friendly Columbia Heights Mexican spot are swirl margaritas and elote, or Mexican street corn on the cob drizzled with cheese. Hang out on the hip 11th Street restaurant's breezy rooftop and indulge in pork belly burritos, chimichangas, tacos, or churros with chocolate. Brunch is also very popular here.
This family-owned local chain opened up Mexican restaurants across D.C. proper, Maryland, and Virginia. There are locations in Arlington, Bethesda, Fair Lakes, Gaithersburg, Tenleytown, and now Georgetown, with the opening this August of a shiny new location at the waterfront. That restaurant is located 3050 K St. NW and offers waterfront views to go along with your cerveza. Head to any Guapo's for margaritas, fajitas, enchiladas, and all your favorite dishes.
This sprawling restaurant near Dupont Circle has long been one of D.C.'s most popular destinations for Mexican and Latin American dishes. It spans multiple levels and includes a patio for people-watching and al fresco dining. Nachos al carbon, frozen swirl margaritas, and enchiladas all make the menu here, along with lomo saltado and tortilla soup.
Famed D.C. chef José Andrés's fleet of restaurants in the District includes Oyamel in Penn Quarter. Inspired by the dining scene in Mexico City, this stylish, upscale spot whips up "Salt Air" margaritas, ceviche, and small plates like potato fries with mole Poblano sauce. Try an array of tacos priced at $4 to $4.50, like grilled marinated chicken thigh with guacamole and grilled green onion or pork belly in a sauce of tomatoes and guajillo chiles, served with pineapple, onions, and cilantro.
The owners of Taqueria Habanero, a small and beloved taqueria on 14th Street, try to replicate all the ingredients here that are traditionally found in their hometown of Puebla, Mexico. Come here for tacos dressed with your choice of filling and cilantro, diced onions, radish, and cucumbers. The restaurant is also known for its huarache, or a dish that consists of a masa tortilla filled with pureed black beans, a choice of meat, sauteed jalapenos, and nopales or cactus slices, topped with grated cheese and cilantro.
This trendy restaurant near the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in Shaw is the spot for mezcal—you have 100 different options of this Mexican spirit at the bar, or go for a cocktail from the award-winning mixologists. Espita Mezcaleria serves up inventive Oaxacan-inspired fare here, using local ingredients from the Mid-Atlantic. Think coconut braised beef short rib with maitake, smoked cashew and pepita crema, served with squash.
Chef Richard Sandoval's 14th Street Mexican restaurant El Centro D.F. has expanded to new neighborhoods. Find locations of El Centro D.F. in Georgetown near M Street and at the Ronald Reagan National Airport. The restaurant is popular for its bottomless brunch stocked with Mexican Benedicts and breakfast enchiladas and micheladas. Find chicken tinga tamales and mahi mahi tacos on the dinner menu.
Newly opened in 2018 is chef Victor Albisu's upscale downtown restaurant Poca Madre, located near Chinatown and Penn Quarter. The gorgeous restaurant serves pato al pastor (or slow roasted duck with pineapple, onions, cilantro, corn tortillas) for the entire table to share along with small plates like crispy octopus dressed up in mole blanco, ink pepper jam, and artichoke.
Indulge in Mi Vida's queso fundidio or broiled Chihuahua and Oaxaca cheeses, chorizo, and salsa verde served with fresh hand-pressed tortillas. This Mexican restaurant is located in The Wharf, D.C.'s newly redeveloped waterfront neighborhood that stretches along one mile of the historic Washington Channel. Mi Vida is from chef Roberto Santibañez, and the gorgeous restaurant serves seafood entrees to fit the waterfront views.
Baseball fans had a new Mexican spot to try this season. Mission, a popular Dupont Circle restaurant, expanded to open a restaurant near Nationals Park. The massive Mission Navy Yard offers a bottomless brunch, tacos, margaritas, and plenty of draft beer. The restaurant takes taco Tuesday seriously and opens two hours before Nationals home games.