5 Best Authentic Mexican Restaurants in Washington, DC

Washington, DC, is a city with many different cultures represented, and one of the most popular is Mexican culture. There are several great Mexican restaurants in Washington, DC, but we have narrowed it down to the five best.

Whether you are looking for authentic tacos or burritos or simply crave some delicious enchiladas or quesadillas, these restaurants will not disappoint. So put on your sombrero and chile con carne (sorry, we couldn’t help), and check out our list of the best Mexican restaurants in Washington, DC!


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Destino is the place to be if you value culinary artistry, with meticulously arranged meals to showcase their delicious contents. This eatery, which opened at the height of the pandemic and serves a limited menu of creative and tasty meals, is a welcome exception. Try the 42-ingredient mole negro at the tamal, or the pork belly, cilantro mole, and egg noodles in the mole verde. Treat yourself to the “Sundae” with black sesame ice cream, peanut sorbet, and pomegranate ice for dessert.

Destino continues to amaze with its blend of traditional flavors and modern culinary techniques. Revel in the chef’s specialties like the mouth-watering chicken tamales and pork belly with cilantro mole. Located in the heart of Adams Morgan, Destino’s dining room walls are adorned with captivating artwork, mirroring the creativity infused in every dish. Don’t miss their famous “Sundae” with black sesame ice cream for a sweet finale.

No matter what you’re in the mood for, you’re sure to find something to your liking at Destino. Start with one of their appetizers, like the hamachi crudo or the grilled octopus. For your main course, try the paella or one of their delicious entrees like the pork chop with sweet potato purée and apple chutney. And don’t forget to save room for dessert!

Bandit Taco

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Bandit Taco, a gem in Takoma Park, is renowned for its straightforward yet delicious menu. Chef Mauricio Flores Trujos brings passion to every bite, especially with specialties like spit-grilled pork and beef tongue tacos. The ambiance is casual yet lively, making it a local favorite for those seeking authentic tastes without the frills.

The tacos at these counter-order shops are some of the best in town, and they’re not about to change anytime soon. With a simple menu that features only Mexican sodas or Topo Chico sparkling water for drinks (no fruity cocktails here), it’s easy to see why this spot has been around since 1986! What stands out most, though?

Tostadas are made by warming corn or flour tortillas on a griddle and stuffing them with savory fillings such as braised carnitas, shredded lettuce, and braised al pastor pork with charred pineapple. Minced cilantro, chopped onion, or julienned radish are sprinkled over each bundle. (For 14 years, Turcios worked with restaurateur Richard Sandoval, honing his knife skills). The excellent crispy shrimp taco isn’t the only food that receives a twist from the togarashi spice blend.


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Vegetarian tacos, let alone vegan ones, aren’t always the most appetizing. Not so at Chaia, a taqueria that started in a Georgetown farmers market and just expanded to Chinatown. Nestled in the bustling food hall of College Park, Chaia offers a unique twist on Mexican cuisine with its vegetarian-friendly menu. From Moroccan carrots to chipotle yogurt, each dish is a celebration of seasonal flavors, crafted with care and creativity. Their signature house-made corn tortillas are a must-try for anyone visiting College Park.

The house-made corn tortillas loaded with seasonal flavors such as Moroccan carrots, chipotle yogurt, and mint are a signature of both vegetarian restaurants. The newer site is larger, airier, and offers more food options (tlayudas, quesadillas, ancient-grain bowls). Try the house-made shrub, or a Paloma created using draft ingredients.

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Oyamel is a traditional Mexican restaurant in the Washington, D.C. area that specializes in authentic dishes from across Mexico. The name “Oyamel” comes from the Nahuatl word for “rainforest,” and the restaurant’s decor and menu reflect this theme.

Oyamel stands out for its authentic dishes and vibrant atmosphere, reminiscent of a Mexican rainforest. The menu, featuring Mexican pork and an array of creative cocktails, is a testament to Mexico’s rich culinary heritage. Located near Baltimore Ave College Park, Oyamel offers a truly immersive dining experience with its carefully crafted dishes and themed decor.

The extensive menu at Oyamel includes starters, soups and salads, main dishes, sides, and desserts – all designed to showcase Mexico’s rich flavors and culinary traditions. Highlights include the queso fundido ( melted cheese with chorizo), the esquites (corn salad), and the carne asada (grilled steak).

Oyamel, owned by celebrity chef Jose Andres, serves authentic Mexican fare in a casually stylish setting decorated with butterflies. Mexican street food such as antojitos, ceviches, and tacos take center stage on the restaurant’s menu. Indulge in the Tequila and Mezcal Festival through March 20th by ordering from the festival’s special menu, which has delicacies like torta ahogada and birria tatemada, as well as beverages like the mezcal mule and specialized flights of agave.

Mi Casa

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Mi Casa, a Chicano-run restaurant specializing in traditional Mexican cuisine, is a cozy spot in the heart of DC, offering a homely ambiance and an array of traditional Mexican dishes. The restaurant was started by three friends who wanted to bring authentic Mexican fare to the city, and it has been open for business since 2013.

The restaurant is known for its refried beans, mole poblano, and other favorite dishes, each prepared with fresh, locally-sourced ingredients. The friendly service and warm atmosphere make it an ideal destination for those seeking a taste of home in the city.

The menu at Mi Casa Washington DC includes all of your favorite Mexican dishes, like mole poblano, chilaquiles, enchiladas suizas, and tamales de pollo. The ingredients are all fresh and locally sourced, so you can be sure that you’re getting the best possible flavor when you dine here. And if you’re looking for something to wash all of that delicious food down with, Mi Casa Washington, DC, is the place to go.


Washington, DC is home to a thriving Mexican culinary scene that offers an authentic taste of Mexico right in the heart of the nation’s capital. From traditional family-run establishments to contemporary interpretations of Mexican cuisine, these restaurants showcase the rich and diverse flavors of Mexico. Whether you’re craving street tacos, mole enchiladas, or fresh ceviche, these Mexican restaurants have something to satisfy every palate. So, the next time you’re in Washington, DC, venture out to explore these gems of Mexican gastronomy, and you’ll embark on a flavorful journey that transports you south of the border without ever leaving the city. It’s a culinary experience that celebrates the vibrant culture and culinary traditions of Mexico.