Cheap Eats 2009: Taqueria Nacional

Great food, low prices, lots of fun

Why go: There’s always a lunch crush for the two-ply tacos and tall bottles of Mexican Coke at this taqueria next to Johnny’s Half Shell, but the counter girls usually get you in and out in minutes. Don’t forget to swing by the self-serve stand of fabulous salsas.

What to get: Chunky guacamole (ask for extra chips); the porkiest, most flavorful refried beans around; onion-and-cilantro-sprinkled tacos with chorizo or citrus-scented braised pork; aguas frescas in flavors such as watermelon and pineapple.

Best for: Taking Texans or Californians who think “DC” and “real Mexican food” are as compatible as Democrats and Republicans.

Insider tip: Mornings you’ll find freshly baked pastries plus breakfast tacos, which are easy to grab on the way to Union Station. But don’t plan on sticking around—there’s but a single table outside.

Open Monday through Friday for breakfast and lunch.

>> See all 2009 Cheap Eats restaurants here  

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 Logan Circle.