El Tapatio, 4309 Kenilworth Avenue, Bladensburg, MD, 301-403-8882, open 10 to 10 every day, don’t you love those hours? (Metro Trip Planner – opens in new window) [Washingtonian | WaPo | City Paper | openlist | Citysearch | Gayot]
This is a real Mexican place, treasure the thought. In LA or Houston this restaurant would be only average, but that is still great in absolute terms. Get the goat (“birria del chivo”). The best chile relleno around. Very good tacos. A lifesaver, the first Mexican place I can recommend, despite its inconvenient location. It’s right where the old “Cielito Lindo” used to be.
Let me know what places
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- Tyler Cowen's home page
- Marginal Revolution
- The Complete TCED Guide (June 2019) (127-page PDF)
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Forty years in California and I still rate El Tapatio as one of the best Mexican places anywhere. The chicken Enchiladas Poblanos were sweet and spicy, the chile rellenos very good, and the tacos make a tasty tapa. Everything was made fresh. The place started to fill just before 1pm on Saturday and a lot of huge delicious-looking bowls of various caldos kept coming out of the kitchen. Well worth the 45 minutes drive (each way), but next time we eat and get another meal to go.
I hit this place with some friends last night. The food alone was worth the trip, but it’s the ambiance that makes this place special. I don’t want to give away too much, but suffice it to say that being in this place on a Friday evening when the vans arrive is a special experience.
We went on a Friday night as well (10/2012). The dining area was virtually empty until about 9:30 when a couple of other tables filled, but the jukebox and video games were both turned up so loud we stopped trying to talk. And the margarita was the single worst margarita I’ve had in my life. (Really. I think it was Gatorade and tequila, and the paper insert from inside the bottle cap floated up from under the ice after I’d had a sip.) It was only out of stubbornness and disbelief that we hung on for twenty minutes until the food arrived.
However…when the food finally arrived it was extremely good. Inexpensive, simple, tasty. Amazingly, it was good enough that we’ll go back – though when we do it will be early in the day on a weekday, for lunch.
I submitted a comment several days ago about our recent trip to El Tapatio, but it hasn’t shown up yet. I swear it’s 100% accurate – down to the cardboard cap insert floating in my margarita.