There’s a generosity of spirit at this festive, diner-like spot, where heaping plates of homey fare are the rule. Soups and starters could easily double as a full meal, and entrées will feed two, three, sometimes even four—probably why the place is so popular with families and groups. This more-is-more philosophy reaches its pinnacle with planchita, a platter heaped with grilled beef ribs, blood sausage, hot dogs, pork chops, peppers and onions, and hard-boiled eggs atop a carb-load of fried potatoes, rice, and plantains. More-modest plates come in the guise of salteñas—beef and chicken stews baked into turnovers of sweet-savory dough—peanut soup brimming with beef and potatoes, and chajchu, a plate of crispy shreds of beef paired with potatoes and curry.
Where you can find it: 4111 Columbia Pike, Arlington; 703-521-3010
Also good: Slow-cooked tripe (weekends only); pork stew with hominy; lomo, steak with rice and fried potatoes draped with fried eggs; pork-sausage sandwich with jalapeños, onions, and tomatoes.