Cheap Eats 2015: Taqueria el Mexicano

Where we go for our favorite mole sauce.


Smoky guajillo peppers, fried nuts and raisins, and toasted spices go into the mole poblano sauce. Photograph by Scott Suchman

About Taqueria el Mexicano


7811 Riggs Rd
Hyattsville, MD 20783

The best, most authentic Mexican cooking in the area—nothing else comes close. Owners Bernardo and Clara Vargas hail from Puebla, reputed birthplace of mole, and their rendition of the renowned chocolate-laced, chili-based sauce is stunning—so rich, smoky, and complex you could write a dissertation on it. All the saucing is excellent. The pork adobo brings a thick cut of rib meat under a rojo, or red sauce, that will imprint itself not only on your fingers but also on your brain—likely for days. Each entrée comes with a textbook preparation of rice, beans, and house-made tortillas of such enviable artisanal roughness that no sauce can slip out. Don’t ignore the three salsas, all made from scratch each morning.

Cuisine: Mexican

Where you can find it: 7811 Riggs Rd., Hyattsville; 301-434-0104

Also good: Tamales; grilled beef ribs; posole, a pork-and-hominy soup; sopes (corn cakes) with braised beef tongue.

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.

Food Editor

Anna Spiegel covers the dining and drinking scene in her native DC. Prior to joining Washingtonian in 2010, she attended the French Culinary Institute and Columbia University’s MFA program in New York, and held various cooking and writing positions in NYC and in St. John, US Virgin Islands.