Cheap Eats 2008: Guajillo

Why go: For generous plates of robust regional Mexican cooking—no piles of shredded iceberg or gooey Monterey Jack at this loud, funky dining room.

What to get: Crustily caramelized maduros, or sweet plantains, dunked in sour cream; one of the best ceviches—an all-shrimp version in a margarita glass; green-chili-flecked tamales filled with shredded chicken; carnitas, hunks of braised, garlic-marinated pork by turns crispy and tender; soft corn tacos filled with ground lamb spiced with guajillo peppers, or fried fish with slaw; chicken mole with a rich mole sauce.

Best for: Area condo dwellers and other young professionals looking to unwind over cocktails and snacks; group celebrations around the back bar; parents with kids who will enjoy sharable potato-filled flautas and pillowy sopapillas.

Insider tip: The margaritas are the real deal, so it’s worth paying a few extra bucks for good tequila; we like Patrón Plata or Herradura Plata.

Open Monday through Friday for lunch and dinner, Saturday for dinner.

See all 2008 Cheap Eats restaurants 

Ann Limpert
Executive Food Editor/Critic

Ann Limpert joined Washingtonian in late 2003. She was previously an editorial assistant at Entertainment Weekly and a cook in New York restaurant kitchens, and she is a graduate of the Institute of Culinary Education. She lives in Petworth.