Cheap Eats 2008: Taqueria Nacional
Comments () | Published June 24, 2008
Cheap Eats (2009)

Taqueria Nacional
Address: 400 N. Capitol St., NW, Washington, DC 20001
Phone: 202-737-7070
Neighborhood: Capitol Hill, Capitol Hill
Cuisines: Tex-Mex, South American, Mexican, Breakfast, Deli/Quick Bites
Opening Hours: Open for lunch Monday through Friday from 7 AM to 3 PM.
Nearby Metro Stops: Union Station, Federal Center SW
Price Range: Inexpensive
Dress: Informal
Noise Level: Chatty
Reservations: Not Needed
Best Dishes Tacos filled with beef or carnitas, each topped with chopped onion and cilantro; fish tacos with cabbage slaw; aguas frescas in such flavors as mango-orange or watermelon.

Why go: James Beard Award–winning chef Ann Cashion—the woman behind the fancier Johnny’s Half Shell next door—has joined the upscale downscale trend, putting well-sourced meats and veggies in the service of humble taqueria fare. Hit the salsa bar, which offers three ways to punch up the flavor of your tacos.

What to get: Tacos filled with chunks of beef or smoky, shredded-pork carnitas, each topped with chopped onion and cilantro; batter-fried fish tacos with crunchy cabbage slaw and a slightly sweet crema salsa fresca; aguas frescas, cool and refreshing drinks that come in such flavors as sweet mango-orange or summery watermelon.

Best for: Takeout—there are no seats inside and only eight outdoors. Pick up a couple of tacos for a picnic in a nearby park or before hopping a train at Union Station.

Insider tip: Lovers of horchata, the almondy milk drink that’s a staple of most taquerias, will appreciate the version here made in the Spanish style with chufa nuts instead of ground rice and light on the cinnamon.

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Posted at 12:00 AM/ET, 06/24/2008 RSS | Print | Permalink | Restaurant Reviews