Whether you're a south-of-the-border purist or prefer a little Tex with your Mex, it's hard to resist the spicy, saucy allure of a Mexican dinner — especially when there's an ice-cold margarita involved. If you've got a major craving for enchiladas, tamales, and plenty of queso, we've got the solution: a cheat sheet of the DMV's best spots for Mexican fare. Now, slip into your stretchy pants and get ready for a mouthwatering master class.
A hidden gem in Silver Spring, Azucar gets high marks for their chimichangas and pan-fried trout, as well as a killer happy hour and live music at night.
Azucar, 14418 Layhill Road, Silver Spring; 301-438-3293.
Chef Mike Isabella's Georgetown outpost specializes in modern Mexican — think enchiladas, empanadas, and quesadillas, as well as dips, a raw bar, and a cocktail list that focuses on tequila and mezcal. Bonus: The range of margarita flavors is worth the trip alone.
Bandolero, 3241 M Street NW; 202-625-4488.
Located off Wisconsin Avenue near Cathedral Heights, this is a staple spot for Upper Northwest'ers. Head there early to grab a table outside and order a heaping plate of fajitas.
Cactus Cantina, 3300 Wisconsin Avenue NW; 202-686-7222.
We're more than a little excited about how quickly this startup biz is expanding across the DMV. The tacos al pastor are sublime, and don't overlook the daily specials. If you can't make it to a brick-and-mortar outpost, the resto has food trucks roaming the city, too.
District Taco, various locations; see a complete list here.
Photo: Courtesy of El Centro D.F./R. Lopez/Under a Bushel Photography
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