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  • I’ve been there a couple times. Good tacos, but wasn’t blown away by the tortas or burritos. Friendly but inconsistent service too.

  • Best Mexican in the city. Hands down.

  • I am one of those people that a certain segment of POP readers hates: the Californian/Texan/Arizonan/etc that insists there is no good Mexican food in DC. In general, we are right and the proud defenders of all things DC are wrong. Mexican food in the District stinks.

    BUT, Taqueria Mexicana is the exception (with respect to Distrito Federal, which tries). Quality is still up and down a bit, but these guys are doing it right. Taqueria Mexicana is a taste of home in this barren Eastern spice desert.

    Please go. If Taqueria Mexican doesn’t make it, I may have a breakdown.

    • Native Texan here, you have piqued my interest. I will make a point to try the place…

    • Agree with your assessment of the state of Mexican food in DC. I will have to check this place out.

    • I have the same low expectations of the Mexican food here, but I’ll give this place a try. What do you recommend off the menu?

    • What about Casa Oaxaca in Adams Morgan?

    • Arizona grad…will be trying as well.

    • Yeah, you’re right, I do hate that attitude. mostly because i’ve had texmex in many of the places you find to be the benchmark, and its no different.

      The fact that you have some nostalgic and emotional bond to something doesnt make it better. We live in the age of planes, interstate trucking, and transience. There’s nothing that texas has or can get that we dont have. We even have our own newly immigrated mexicans.

      All of the “there just isnt good _____ in ____ like there was back home in ____” is dumb. I get it, youre homesick, but you’re not making the rest of us long to be back in your hometown by artificially inflating the quality of the food there.

      This is especially true of New York. New York and Texas are the worst offenders. They’re more alike than either population would ever want to admit.

      • You couldn’t be more wrong. First of all, there are not a lot of Mexicans in DC – far more immigrants are from Centeal America and are, unsurprisingly, skilled at making foods with different favors and ingredients. As a former San Diegan, I can attest that the Mexican food is far superior there. It should be, considering the fact that SD is on the border. My problem is always with the term “Mexican food.”. Obviously, different regions of Mexico have different foods. Because of my familiarity with the food coming from Baja, I prefer that style. The commenter above was right on when he/she said that the carne asada here is generally flavorless and the tortillas are pretty bad. It’s no different than the foods that are done well in other places. I mean would you have a crabcake in San Diego? Not if you like crabcakes.

        • +1. Perfectly stated.

          Good luck finding carne asada fries or a california burrito here in the DC area. (Yes, I know those are not legit Mexican foods but they dispel your claim that “There’s nothing that texas [or California in this case] has or can get that we dont have.”). If you have any carne asada suggestions, I’m all ears. If you know where to get a decent Camarones a la Diabla, I’d love to hear it. Thanks in advance!

          • Well, based on the logic, you can finda good carne assada in DC in the same place you can find good crabcakes in San Diego: you can’t.

            That’s the point of regional cuisine. It is regional for a reason.

            Ask an MN/Iowa native about sweet corn (on the cob). The worst sweet corn in MN/IA is far better than any of the cowfeed you get on the east coast. And shipping it over the 3-7 days it takes to get from farm to table.. just makes it worse.

      • blah blah blah blah blah. Say something relevant to keep out of it.

    • Nevermind DC, it’s extremely hard to get decent Mexican food anywhere in this country outside the southwest.

      Out of all the ethnic foods readily available across the US, there’s more really horrible Mexican food than any other type. Truly good Mexican food seems to be very rare.

  • Anyone know their hours (ie whether they serve lunch)?

    • Don’t know their exact hours, but I’ve been there for lunch on a weekday and pretty sure they’re open Saturday and Sunday afternoons too.

  • Absolutely love this place! The tacos rock and they have really uniquely delicious salsas.

  • This restaurant is up the street from me, but I can barely bring myself it look at it as I’m still mourning Vegetate. It’s just sad that this space went from being slick and stylish to…well, the unpainted board on the window and the Christmas penguins say it all I think.

    That said, Shaw has piqued my interest indeed. Will report back.

    • Oh boy, I knew someone was going to go there. Mourning Vegetate? Are you serious? Wondering if there was another Vegetate because the one I went to was consistently God-awful? Their food was awful, drinks were awful, and service was awful. Vegetate was bad by ANY type of restaurant standard, not just vegetarian places. Good riddance.

      • Consistently awful? How many times did you eat there? We had great food, good drinks, and great service every time we went (maybe >5 times). I wish they would reopen somewhere else.

        • Several times. Awful – always. And if they were so great why are they not still open (either there or another location)? Just something to ponder…..

  • I’m from the rust belt so no idea what good Tex Mex-whatever food is. However, I’d like to hear what folks thinks makes it good versus bad. Just saying that DC’s food stinks doesn’t mean anything.

    • Native Texan here, I will try to explain my perspective. I like what is called TexMex – which is an “Americanized” version of Mexican. It’s hard to put your finger on it, but the “Tex-Mex” places in town (Lauriol Plaza, Cactus Cantina, etc) all miss their mark. Why? One of two things: 1. I think they try too hard to bridge the gap to “real” Mexican cuisine or 2. Their food just isn’t good by any standards. Also, you must get the salsa and tortillas right as they are the foundation to a good TexMex meal. Most places here buy store-bought tortillas and have nasty/bland salsa. At the end of it all, it’s a regional thing that is rarely done right outside the South and West. But people try to replicate it – see Texas Embassy in London or Tomatillo in Amsterdam.

      In my humble opinion, Los Cuates and, to a lesser extent, Tortilla Coast come closest to hitting the TexMex mark. God, I cannot wait to get home for Christmas. All this talk is making me hungry.

    • Native Texan and long-time New Mexico resident here. Agree with Anon in general, and would add that many of the Mexican places in town try to be something they can’t, i.e. a Salvadorean joint holding itself out as Mexican (not that Salvadorean isn’t good, it is).

      I think more than anything (and it’s just my humble opinion) that good Tex-Mex, New Mexican, or Mexican food is just really hard to do well on a large scale. Which may explain why places like Lauriol and Cactus fall a bit short (although I don’t mind the food there…just find it off the mark a bit).

    • Agree with Anon about the salsa plus a lot of Mexican places get the marinades and sauces wrong here. They’re either too bland or their flavors are a little off (or both). For instance, al pastor. I’ve had it at Pica Taco and it just tastes awful. It isn’t spicy whatsoever and doesn’t taste anything like the al pastor I’ve had anywhere in california. And carne asada here generally is really nothing beyond the meat (if any places here are using a marinade, I can’t taste it).

      Basically DC mexican plcaes are overpriced and too Americanized IMO. I haven’t been to Casa Oaxaca though, been meaning to try it.

      All that being said, this place is legit and the apartment restaurant on Park Road in Columbia Heights is also great (with a limited menu, but can’t complain since it is an apartment after all).

  • There are no good, authentic mexican places in DC.

    Now, in Hyattsville, MD, completely different story.

  • Back to the topic at hand. The owners are super nice. This is clearly not exactly a slick, professional operation. Sometimes it’s unclear whether they’re open…the lights aren’t always on, there’s not always someone there to take your order right away, and they don’t have a traditional counter and menu setup (unless it’s been build out since last time I stopped by). Also, I’ve noticed their pricing seems a bit random…prices aren’t listed on the board and they seem to be different each time I go.

    All that said, I find it charming and the food is legitimately good and very reasonably priced (even when their variable pricing is on the higher side of the range).

    It sometimes takes a while to get lunch, so don’t go if you’re in a bit hurry…but it’s always entertaining. I wish them luck!

  • How about specifics on pricing. You want a seriously good taco, check out El Chellango out in Arlington. Taco food truck and outstanding. This from a guy who believes Mexican food is basically the same thing, just wrapped and presented in about 10 different ways.

  • I wanted to like this place sooo badly. But it did nothing but disappoint. The chips are greasy fried flour tortillas, and the fish I ordered was bloody and under-cooked in the center.

  • El Chilango taco truck is hands down the best taco establishment I’ve found in DC, I’ve eaten at Distrito Federal but I was not very impressed. Though I’m very intrigued by the apartment taqueria I read about. And as a Mexican person and fanatic of Mexican food, I can certainly say that DC still has much catching up to do when it comes to good Mexican. Even Charlotte had much better tacos than DC, I’ve been here four months and I miss North Carolina more because I miss good tacos and Mexican food.

  • I went to this place based on this discussion… and found an empty restaurant! An Ethiopian man in the place said it’s going to become an Ethiopian restaurant.

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