Good Mexican Food in DC?

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Apparently my way to fill the void of not traveling every weekend is to eat. The last two weeks I’ve found myself dining out more than I usually do in two months! Fortunately ( I guess) it’s all catching up on recommendations from friends and foodies I trust.

Today was “the best tacos in Washington, DC.” Having spent many years in the South and a bit of time in Texas and California, I have yet to find good Mexican food in DC. I’ve eaten at plenty mediocre places, but nothing “good.” The city is awash in excellent South American, El Salvadorean, etc options, but not Mexican.

However, my friend heard rave reviews about Taco El Chilango, a food truck near my office in Arlington, so we headed there today for lunch.

Tacos El Chilango food truck location (600x269)

On 14th St between N Rhodes St and N Quinn St, it’s a little off the beaten path, but clearly well known — as we pulled into a parking space across from the truck I saw several other business professionals getting into their cars, take out in hand.

Tacos El Chilango food truck

Ordering was simple — they only do tacos and you have your choice of 7 fillings — beef, tongue, chorizo, pork, chicken, beef & pork, and an unadvertised vegetarian option.

Tacos El Chilango menu options

I decided to try the chorizo and the pork, my friend did the same but added the tongue as well. While we were waiting for the food to be prepared, the owner/chef, Jesus introduced himself and gave us a free Al Pastor (pork) taco to munch.

El Chillango food truck freebie

It was topped with spicy pickled onions and peppers, radish and cucumbers (all optional) and I went with the hot salsa instead of the mild. Spicy but delicious.

Tacos El Chilango Al Pastor Taco

Both were great, but I liked the chorizo best. Apparently the tongue taco was fine but less flavorful than the other two.

I’ve haven’t had many tacos in DC, but these were some of the best. And Jesus’s friendliness added to the great ambiance. The best part was the price — I was picking up the tab because I lost a bet and each taco was only $2.50!

Definitely worth a stop if you’re in the area.

Tacos El Chilango card

This experience may finally motivate me to make a trek to the gas station place in Elk Ridge, Maryland recommended by Tyler Cowen as the best Mexican food in the region.


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  1. Gene

    June 25, 2014 at 10:19 pm

    Clearly, you’ve been hanging around Gary too much if you are now spending your non-travel time in DC searching for the best ethnic food!

    • Keri Anderson

      June 25, 2014 at 10:34 pm

      It’s more affordable than the fancy steakhouses I used to like 🙂

  2. Blake

    June 25, 2014 at 10:34 pm

    My rule for Mexican food is only in states that touch Mexico, and then no more than 50 miles north of I-10. Living in Texas, you become quite picky about Mexican and Tex-Mex. I’ve never had the desire to try any elsewhere when it’s so good at home.

    • pete

      June 26, 2014 at 12:27 am

      youd be missing a bunch of good food in chicago then!

  3. Paul

    June 25, 2014 at 10:35 pm

    My favorite DC Mexican place is Lorial Plaza

    • Keri Anderson

      June 25, 2014 at 10:50 pm

      I haven’t been there in ages but I used to love sitting on their outdoor roof deck with a pitcher of swirl margaritas!

  4. SSM

    June 26, 2014 at 3:03 pm

    My favorite Mex in the city is Taqueria Districto Federal (CHeights, hole in the wall but amazing Horchata), El Chilango (U St – and apparently a food truck too!), and El Rey (U St, amazing back patio with retractable roof). I’ve heard good things from El Centro (14th st and Gtown) but only have been for happy hour.

  5. Rachel

    June 26, 2014 at 3:39 pm

    Have you found a good Chinese place?

    • Keri Anderson

      June 26, 2014 at 3:41 pm

      Yes! China Star in Fairfax is amazing — as long as you don’t order off the American Chinese menu. My favorites are the scallion-fried fish, and lamb in sizzling pot.

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