The Ten: Top Taquerias

Photo courtesy of Far East Taco Grille

Photo courtesy of Far East Taco Grille

So many choices, so little time. The Ten is your guide to the best of the best that D.C. has to offer.

This Sunday is Cinco de Mayo, which can mean only one thing. Well, two things, actually. First, if you celebrate correctly, you will be suffering from a massive tequila-induced hangover come Monday morning. And secondly, it’s the perfect weekend to taste test the area’s top taquerias. Ándale, ándale!

R&R Taqueria
Originally situated in an Elkridge, Md. gas station, this family-run taqueria recently opened a second location nearby in the Honeygo Village Center in Perry Hall. There are a wide variety of tacos here, including offal-centric options like cabeza (head), lengua (beef tongue) and cueritos (fried pork rinds).

District Taco
Just four years ago, two good friends decided to open a taco cart. Now they own two brick and mortar locations, one in D.C. and another in Arlington. Tacos fold in fillings like carnitas (slow cooked pulled pork), barbacoa (slow cooked shredded beef), and pollo asada (grilled chicken).

South meets East at this Korean-Mexican mash-up that boasts a food truck and a stall at Union Market. Opt for the sweet and spicy bulgogi beef with kimchi slaw and a squirt of sriracha.

La Tingeria
A former Rustico sous chef mans the burners at this Arlington food truck. Corn tortillas are doubled up and served with your choice of protein, including a winning chipotle amped beef brisket tinga.

Tacos El Chilango
Two brothers from Mexico City own this topnotch taqueria perched just above U Street. There are half a dozen meat options, plus three vegetarian tacos stuffed with cheese and your choice of mushrooms, green peppers or avocado. 

Taqueria Juquilita
This taco speakeasy is hidden away in a private apartment in Columbia Heights. If you’re lucky enough to find it and score a reservation, make sure to try the pineapple pepped tacos al pastor.   

Far East Taco Grille
Design your own tacos at this food truck; choose from four proteins (rib-eye, pork, chicken, and soybean), four sauces (including a peppery salsa roja) and four slaws (our fave: kimchi lime).

Pica Taco
With outposts in AdMo and the U Street Corridor, this much-loved local favorite is good at any time of day. Try the tilapia shunted into a crunchy shell or a soft tortilla rounded out with spicy chorizo.

Impala Cantina y Taqueria
A recent pop-up at Toki Underground and The Pug gave diners a taste of what’s to come from this long-in-the-making H Street taqueria. Join them on Sunday for a pig roast, live music, and beer from 3 Stars Brewing.

Taqueria el Poblano 

Duck carnitas and Baja fish tacos should be your order of business at this taqueria chainlet, which has two locations in Arlington and another in Alexandria. Both pair well with a zingy, fresh-squeezed lime cooler.

Is your favorite missing? Disagree with one (or more) of my choices? Leave a comment below or hit me up on Twitter @nevinmartell.

  • EP Sato

    I gotta disagree on District Taco. IMHO, District Taco is yuppie food disguised as legit Mexican. Why do I feel this way? Two reasons: First, they use them thick tortillas instead of the thin ones most taquerias use. Second, they don’t fill them. Normally at a taqueria, you get two of them thin tortillas for a reason. the filling that slips out makes for a second taco on the 2nd tortilla. District Taco’s tacos are anemic! I ended up with nothing extra! Three tacos led to three empty “extra” tortillas. Third, what’s up with the store bought ingredients? They use the same frozen guacamole for their guac and chips that you can buy at costco. From the consistency of their guac, you can tell an actual avocado’s never stepped inside that place. Same thing with their nachos con queso, which instead of using the real deal Mexican cheese give you velveeta.

    Most legit taquerias (like El DF on 14th, the original for DC, which as a testament to the author’s ignorance and taste, failed to make this list BTW) are owned by proud Mexicans. I’d argue District Taco’s run by a bunch of Mexi-Cant’s!

    • surph

      Agreed. Can’t beat DF, the original.