Dear PoPville – What/Where is Rosa’s Secret Mexican Food?

Photo by PoPville flickr user r_bowley

Dear PoPville,

I have been looking everywhere for the number of the so called “best kept Mexican food in DC” and I have had no luck. It’s called Rosa’s, its in Columbia Heights and the only access is by finding her phone number. I thought maybe you might know more about it or how I can find the number. Anyway below is a article talking about it.

“What’s the best kept food secret in Washington?

It’s Rosa’s, said chef Spike Mendelsohn, owner of the Good Stuff Eatery and We, The Pizza restaurants on Capitol Hill, during a panel Wednesday. He explained that to eat at Rosa’s, you must find and call a secret phone number. The mysterious Rosa, a resident of Columbia Heights, answers and makes sure you’re downstairs before throwing a set of keys out her window. Once you let yourself into her apartment on the second floor of a residential building, you can feast on what Mendelsohn says are the best tacos he’s had.”

45 Comment

  • If you post the phone number or address here the DC Gov will probably attempt to shut this place down, as it’s technically an unlicensed restaurant. DCRA has trolled this blog before in attempt to find/fine violators.

  • So it’s an unlicensed restaurant, accessible (only?) to in-the-know foodie types?

  • So it’s just a lady named Rosa who cooks good Mexican food at her house?

  • Hrm…Sounds like my neighbor.

  • LOL. I didn’t know it was a big secret as there is a yelp page for it. That is if its the same one I am thinking of anyway. Yeah, you call, they throw down the key, and you sit down to awesome tacos in a apt. I’ll stay mum on the phone number though since its apparently controversial.

  • There also used to be a number of underground brothels in the neighborhood as welll. There was one on the 3500 block of 14th street but it has since moved. I never visited mind you, I prefer relationships not based on human trafficking but I guess I am just old fashioned.

  • A while back, I met a nice lady named Rosa and she gave me her number. I called her up, went to her place, and sampled her taco two days later. Worth the money.

  • It’s so good!

  • Please take this pot down. It probably will get the nice taco-lady in trouble. And although it is technically illegal (or seems like it anyway), I don’t think we want to get anyone in trouble. Especially when they aren’t shooting/stealing/firebombing cars/etc. The DC gov is all to good at stopping the mundane/quirky/interesting. Not so much on the actually dangerous.

  • They have already been written up in the City Paper and they have a Facebook page. How secret can it be?

  • it’s amazing and i hope it’s never stopped – FYI their business card definitely has a different name than “Rosa’s”…

  • “…you can feast on what Mendelsohn says are the best tacos he’s had.”

    I do hope Rosa is fixing something other than tacos for her “guests”. Tacos ain’t the ‘be all and end all” of Mexican food–not even close.

    Now…if what we’re talking about here are chili rellenos or mole, then maybe this would be worth the search.

  • i bet the author of this question also only read cliff notes and paid someone to take the SATs for him.

    …seriously do not post the number even if DCRA would not shut it down. PoP should’ve been offended about this question yet alone actually posted it.

  • The first rule of Rosa’s is you do not talk about Rosa’s.

  • To the OP, if you can’t find this place, try Taqueria Distrito Federal. Great mexican food in Columbia Heights and Living Social has a special for them today.

  • yeah….don’t think they actually are happy with the publicity. First the comments in the City Paper stated that they were told they were concerned with the attention and the article. Second the Facebook page could have been made by anyone, and at least to this point isn’t very popular. Don’t know actually if Yelp has to be started by the business, but the more it’s advertised in news papers and blogs as unlicensed, the more likely the Gov’t will catch on. Just cause you can find it by Googling doesn’t mean it isn’t a secret from inspectors. Lots of time people don’t look for something unless they know what they look for. These links should likely be removed.

  • Glad there are all of these PoP readers that think an unregulated dining establishment should be allowed to continue to operate. There are multitudes of reasons why places that serve food need to be regulated, the most important being protecting the safety and health of the diners.

    Waiting for a follow-up “Props to the Cops” posting about busting this illegal enterprise.

    • yes because its people like Rosa – probably a lonely older woman who barely speaks English and have to do this to make ends meet – are the real criminals in DC. Why bother busting drug rings or arresting murders when rodents like Rosa roam the streets.

      i could be wrong but would cops even be involved in illegal taco making?

  • Plus, their food really isn’t that great. You can make carnitas and tostadas that are just as good quite easily, with fewer chunks of fat in the carnitas, I might add. And they are way overpriced, even if it were a licensed institution.

  • Is it really any better than Chilango in Arlington for tacos? Or is the appeal the fact it is so hard to actually do it?

  • How good can tacos really be for one things? There’s pretty much bad/nasty/skimpy/generic or good/like mom made/like I had that one night with that girl and a lot of tequila on the beach in Mexico. . .

    Number two – what is wrong with inviting people to my house for dinner, and if they happen to leave some money behind when they leave, well – great.

  • that sounds like major food poisoning waiting to happen or an episode of “Unsolved Mysteries”. Not sure I’d head over to a random residential building, have keys thrown at me, then sit in a random woman’s apartment while she cooked for me.

  • i hate places that are all secretive n shit. to have to be in-the-know just to eat somewhere? that’s just for powertrippers. lame.

  • The best Mexican food in the area is outside of DC. Go out to Bladensburg, Hyattsville or Langley Park some time and eat some amazing, authentic tacos.

    • Any places specifically to check out?

      • Only place that comes close to having decent, authentic tacos in the metro area is La Placita in Hyatsville on Edmonston road. I’ve tried at least fifty taco places in Maryland, DC and Virginia over the past 15 years. This is the only one I go to now.

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