Cheap Eats 2009: El Tapatio

Great food, low prices, lots of fun.

Why go: The rough, grainy surface of the corn tortillas at this Little Mexico taqueria tells you they’re house-made. So does the taste of corn and lime—something you won’t find in mass-produced wrappers. This attention to detail extends throughout the family operation, from the guacamole to the soups to the slow-simmered meats.

What to get: The torta, an airy torpedo roll layered with breaded cutlets of meat (we’re partial to the beer-braised beef) and topped with stewed beans, avocado, and mayo; chilaquiles with crumbles of salty queso fresco and salsa rojo or salsa verde; chiles rellenos; mole-drenched enchiladas; pork and chorizo tacos.

Best for: Anyone who thinks Mexican food in Washington is limited to gooey, cheese-blanketed enchiladas and greasy fajitas.

Insider tip: Get an order of tortillas, six for $1.50, to go. They can be cut and fried into homemade chips—a great snack.

Open daily for lunch and dinner.

>> 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.