Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Is Columbia Heights the taco-iest neighborhood in the city?

Columbia Heights seems to really like tacos -- in fact, I'd argue that it's the taco-iest neighborhood in the city. The place with the most taquerias. The taco capital, if you will.

This isn't a new trend -- Taqueria Distrito Federal at 14th and Oak opened in 2006 and was popular even before the neighborhood was popular, and since then we have at least a half dozen more, with the last bunch coming in the past few weeks.

Of course, part of this might be due to the area's large Hispanic population combined with people's love of everything in taco form. 

So here's my list and my argument that we have the most good tacos. If I left anything off, let everybody know in the comments.
  • Taqueria Distrito Federal -- the granddaddy of them all. You could argue that without this place, there wouldn't be El Centro DF, El Chucho, and a lot of the city's hipper taco spots. They have a big selection and are still going strong 8 years after opening.
  • Mama Chuy -- run by a brother and sister using family recipes, this spot at Georgia and Fairmont has great tacos and sopes (flat tacos) plus a lot more. Relaxed vibe and good margaritas, too. Check them out if you haven't been.
  • El Chucho -- not technically a taqueria but more of a Mexican street food spot, this is a hip spot with good, traditional Mexican grub with an interesting kick, like the huitlacoche chicken flautas (that is, chicken with a smoky-tasting fungus) and the sandwiches you have to use gloves to eat. The tacos are good too though.
  • Milk Cult -- the pop-up shop located in Park View Patio has fantastic breakfast tacos and good coffee. A clever use of an unused space (the bar is closed during the daytime), let's hope they stay forever.
  • Pica Taco -- on the south side Florida Ave at 14th, Yelpers like this local chain's barbacoa (goat) and fish tacos.
  • Three Salsas -- a new place at 14th and Oak (just down from Taqueria DF) has gotten good comments on this blog.
  • Taqueria Habanero -- coming at some point to 14th and Spring.
  • Alero -- another local chain, I've actually never been to this one, but the patio is popular on warm days.
  • Lime Fresh Mex (RIP) -- I liked this DCUSA spot, which had great fish tacos and surprisingly good margaritas for a fast casual spot. It closed abruptly a few weeks ago.
  • And then there are the Salvadoran places that also have tacos -- El Rinconcito II, Pollomio, and on and on.
So what do you think, are we the biggest taco fans? Not counting Lime Fresh (or Chipotle) and sort of counting Alero, that's still a whole lot of great taco places in our area. And did I miss any? Which is your favorite?

(And there's also the April Fool's post I did one year, where Wonderland is getting replaced by a Taco Bell.)


  1. "Capitol" refers to the building downtown. To refer to a place as the seat of something, it's "capital."

  2. "Capitol" refers to the building downtown. To refer to a place as the seat of something, it's "capital."

  3. Yeah, I debated that one. Fixing now.


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