Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Washington DC & Baltimore >
Mar 21, 2007 09:58 AM

Help with Tex-Mex please!

Hi All,

I usually frequent Rio Grande in Bethesda (best steak fajitas I know of in DC/MD) and Cactus Cantina for my Tex-Mex cravings, but I'm in the need of something new. Do you guys have any suggestions?

Guapos is decent but I prefer Rio. Lauriol Plaza is identical to Cactus Cantina imo and Cactus is closer to me. Ive only been to Austin Grill once and I thought it was terrible. Ive been to El Mariachi on rockville pike (it was ok), Tia Queta in Bethesda (more Mex-Mex, not bad nothing great, it's a crime they serve chips from a bag rather than homemade though), and that's really it...

Any Tex-Mex (great fajitas, chips, chile con queso) places you guys recommend? There has to be something I havent tried yet.


P.S. I plan on trying that place in Layhill, El Napolita (sp?) soon, even though it is more mex-mex seafood focused (I love seafood).

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. curious, what didn't you like about Austin Grill. I haven't been in a couple years, but have always held it in high esteem. Wish there was one closer to me.

    I agree that Rio has the best steak fajitas around, and am also jonesing for a new mexican find (particularly in Northern VA).

    On the Border has really impressed me recently, especially for a chain. I always tend to get the same thing, carnitas fajitas, because I like them so much, but they also have good chips and salsa, queso, and yummy beef brisket tacos.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Meg

      you know, i dont even remember what I had there, and Im not sure I even ordered fajitas... all I know is that I distinctly remember leaving austin grill and saying, "that place sucks, im never going back." maybe ill have to give it a second shot...

      On the Border is good, but I consider Rio to be better.

    2. If you go to El Napalito do not expect the fajitas to be great, they are ok, but only ok. On the other hand, they make the best chili relleno in town. I always order fish when I go there (well a chili relleno to start, then fish) because they do it so well.

      3 Replies
      1. re: dinwiddie

        yes, i wasnt planning on getting standard tex-mex dishes there. good to know about the chili relleno. im excited to try it out.

        any other reco's for when I got to El Napalito?

        1. re: MarcDC

          Actually, the carne asada is pretty good. But I always ask about their specials. We went last night and the sea bass was excellent.

        2. re: dinwiddie

          fans of chile relleno should try the superb mex-mex version at La Sirenita in Hyattsville's Little Mexico area, Edmonston Rd.

        3. This is not my reccomendation, but this is secondhand. How about Guajillo?

          4 Replies
          1. re: jpschust

            hmmm... never heard of it, do you know where it is? (ill google it in the mean time)

            1. re: MarcDC

              Guajillo is in Arlington, on Wilson Blvd. between Rosslyn and Courthouse (right next to Ray's the Steaks). Good to very good Mexican food.

              1. re: jaydreb

                thanks, ill have to check that one out.

            2. re: jpschust

              Guajillo is good. I wouldn't call it Tex Mex, but it's a great change up from the usual Mexican, with great ambience to boot (i.e., it's not a dive) if that's what you're looking for. Beware of long lines on weekends for a table.

            3. In my opinion, Chipotle on US1 College Park is better than any of the more classic restaurants I've tried in the area.

              2 Replies
              1. re: pmfurdyn

                Chipotle is burritos basically, not what I would consider a sit down tex-mex place where you go to have chips, salsa, chile con queso, margaritas, fajitas, tacos, etc

                that being said, they have good burritos.

                1. re: pmfurdyn

                  Less than a mile from the CP Chipotle (and across the street from the Greenbelt outpost) you can get very good, authentic Mexican cooking at Costa Alegre. It's more Mex-Mex than Tex-Mex, though.

                2. I have had some fun times and good food at El Paso Cafe off Glebe Rd in Arlington (reminds me a lot of Rio Grande actually but more 'mom and pop'). In addition, they make good margaritas and have a live mariachi band on weekends sometimes. FYI - it doesn't look like much from the outside so don't be scared off.

                  Also, I think lots of Tex-Mex places can have 'off nights' because of crowdsand kitchen turnover, so I would encourage you at least to give 'South Austin Grill' a try (maybe rather than the original Austin Grill). There is one in Burke and one in Old Town and I have enjoyed both - the Old Town one more so. The pork carnitas are one of my favorite Tex-Mex entrees in the area.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: baconjen

                    thanks for the suggestions baconjen!

                    1. re: baconjen

                      I'd pass-o on El Paso. ROACH crawled up on the wall behind me, as next table diners looked on in horror. Staff did not seem surprised AT ALL. Not too quick to act either. That was it. Never will go back -- esp. as the food was just mediocre.