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


Get Our “Brunches This Weekend” Newsletter

The best breakfasts and brunches to try every weekend, plus our most popular food stories of the week.

Or, see all of our newsletters. By signing up, you agree to our terms.
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.