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100 Best Restaurants 2009: Oyamel
Comments () | Published February 1, 2009
Happy Hour
Oyamel
Address: 401 Seventh St., NW, Washington, DC 20004
Phone: 202-628-1005
Neighborhood: Penn Quarter/Chinatown, Downtown
Cuisines: South American, Tapas/Small Plates, Mexican
Opening Hours: Open Sunday and Monday 11:30 AM to 10 PM, Tuesday through Thursday 11:30 AM to 11:30 PM, Friday and Saturday 11:30 AM to midnight.
Nearby Metro Stops: Gallery Place-Chinatown, Archives-Navy Memorial
Price Range: Moderate
Dress: Upscale Casual
Noise Level: Chatty
Reservations: Recommended
Best Dishes House-made guacamole; short ribs with chili-tomatillo-cilantro mole; tacos of pit-barbecue pork with pickled red onions; grilled skirt steak with green chili sauce.

Cuisine: Mexican regional cooking gets the José Andrés treatment. Translation: playful little plates known as antojitos, full of fire and crunch. House-made salsas and tortillas elevate the experience but not the prices.

Mood: The bar is a favored spot for the in-a-hurry Shakespeare Theatre– and Verizon Center–bound, while the dining room, with its orange nooks and metal butterfly mobiles, draws an eclectic, young crowd.

Best for: Diners who appreciate the differences between regional Mexican cooking and Tex-Mex as well as the before- and after-theater/sports event/concert crowd.

Best dishes: House-made guacamole; short ribs with chili-tomatillo-cilantro mole; tacos of pit-barbecue pork with pickled red onions; grilled skirt steak with green chili sauce; shrimp with a spicy/nutty sauce of pumpkin seeds and serranos; fried potatoes with almond-and-chocolate-spiked mole; warm chocolate cake with Mexican-hot-chocolate froth.

Insider tips: Happy-hour specials—drinks and food—make an ideal repast for diners on the run. Classic margaritas by the pitcher are better and cheaper than top-shelf takes. The novelty grasshopper tacos are just that—you won’t pine for them after the first time.

Service: ••

Open Monday through Friday for lunch and dinner, Saturday and Sunday for brunch and dinner. Inexpensive to moderate.

See all of 2009's 100 Best Restaurant 

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Posted at 12:00 AM/ET, 02/01/2009 RSS | Print | Permalink | Washingtonian.com Restaurant Reviews