100 Very Best Restaurants: #65 – El Sapo Cuban Social Club

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About El Sapo Cuban Social Club

Cost:

cuisines
Cuban
Location(s)
8455 Fenton St
Silver Spring, MD 20910

The party at this boisterous Cuban restaurant starts at the host stand, which doubles as a stage for live music almost every night. (We spotted chef/owner Raynold Mendizabal, who also runs Urban Butcher, helping out on the maracas.) The show continues at the table, where tropical cocktails, juicy beef empanadas, and tuna-and-jícama ceviche with ponzu sauce warm up for headliner platters such as vaca frita—crispy beef with caramelized onions, lemon slices, and jalapeños—that’s shredded tableside. Also a hit: coconut ice cream sinking into a warm chocolate-coffee soufflé. Moderate.

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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.

Jessica Sidman
Food Editor

Jessica Sidman covers the people and trends behind D.C.’s food and drink scene. Before joining Washingtonian in July 2016, she was Food Editor and Young & Hungry columnist at Washington City Paper. She is a Colorado native and University of Pennsylvania grad.