One of the most important things to plan for a trip, at least according to me, is where you are going to be eating. Sure, you can default to fast food or chain restaurants but you don’t really get the essence of a city that way. Instead, try seeking out smaller spots that are recommended to you by locals. They’ll point you to places you may have otherwise missed. That’s what I did for a recent trip to Washington D.C. and I was not disappointed. Here are some of the local-recommended restaurants I visited that are worth putting on your to-do list when you visit the nation’s capital.
1. Los Hermanos: Dominican
Everyone in Washington D.C. will tell you the same thing: if you want good Latino food you have to go to Los Hermanos. It is no lie. The restaurant feels like being in mami’s kitchen and the food is just as great. I recommend the carne guisada with arroz con gandules and platanos maduros. You won’t be disappointed.
Good arroz con gandules can drive someone crazy, and these did.
2. Arepa Zone: Venezuelan
The Venezuelan staple is alive and well in D.C. thanks to Arepa Zone. The restaurant has three locations. They have a permanent spot in Union Market but you can also find them posted up at the Georgetown University Farmers Market over the summer on Wednesdays, which is where we caught up with them. They also have a food truck to make their delicious food more accessible. I recommend the arepa pabellón. The mix of the shredded beef and platanos maduros is a delicious and worthwhile ride for your tastebuds.
Every bite is going to be a mouthful, guaranteed.
3. Mi Cuba Cafe: Cuban
Mi Cuba Cafe is located next door to Los Hermanos if you are looking to mix the two Caribbean cuisines. The Cuban eatery boasts some of Cuba’s more recognizable dishes including lechon asado (pictured above). Pairing that up with some congri and tostones is really the only way to do the meal justice. As a Cuban-American from Florida, I will admit that it was better than I was expecting. Definitely on the recommendation list if you’re in D.C.
The tostones tho. ??
4. El Rinconcito: Mexican/Salvadoran
El Rinconcito is a little slice of Central American heaven. The menu has several options. from Salvadoran tamales to chimichangas. There’s one dish all the employees recommend: the milanesa de pollo. The lightly breaded chicken filet is delicious as it is, no need to sauce or fuss. Just cut into that meat and enjoy. Topped with some platanos and a side of homemade tortillas, how can you say no?
Don’t be shy about digging right in.
5. Tortilla Cafe: Mexican/Salvadoran
If you are visiting Capitol Hill and get a hankering for some Salvadoran food, make your way to Tortilla Cafe. The restaurant, which was recommended several times, is known for its pupusas. Get them with cheese or cheese and pork. Either way, you can’t go wrong. The food here is exceptional.
These pupusas are absolutely mouthwatering.
What did we miss? What is your favorite Latino food spot in Washington D.C.?