ISO: Good Tex-Mex in NoVa
I recently moved to the area (Loudon County to be exact) and in my typical fashion, I set out to find good places to eat. So far, I have found some really great Italian, Indian and Thai places, but the Mexican, specifically Tex-Mex, has been lackluster at best.
Anita's was recommended to me, but that was barely passable. Their website said they were transplants from New Mexico, but I spent an awful lot of time in and around Albuquerque and Santa Fe and what I had at Anita's would have been laughed out of town.
I was surprised to find an outpost of the Dallas based Uncle Julio's in Fairfax. I went in expecting to get the same food that I would have had in Dallas or Ft. Worth, but was disappointed to say the least.
There have to be some taco carts and taquerias around, I've just had a hard time finding them. If any of you know where I can find some carts, hole-on-the-walls and joints that serve San Antonio/Austin style Tex-Mex Enchiladas, real Carnitas and REAL chili con carne, help a brother out!
Good luck. I moved from San Antonio about a year and a half ago and haven't found decent tex-mex yet.
Its not tex-mex, but the best place I've found is probably La Sandia in the Tyson's Corner Center. I was wary at first because its in a mall and is more upscale ($10-15 entrees), but it does an ok enchiladas verdes and has passable chips and salsa. Its a straight Mexican place so you get black beans instead of refried pintos and you don't get all the greasy goodness of a Jalesco style tex-mex taqueria. But still, its probably probably the closest thing to tex mex around.
Also, I'd recommend against Taqueria Poblano. I've found it even worse than other places in the area.
Here's a bit of a different answere; Hank's Tuesday night special is 3 fish tacos for $14, and they are delicious.
Also in Del Ray, Taqueria Poblano and Los Tios. The latter is probably more "authentic" and it's truly a terrific, family owned and run restaurant.
Also, Cafe Salsa on King St. in Old Town.
Austin Grill could be a contender. I'm not a huge fan myself, but your tastes may be different from mine -- I'm always pleased by the fajitas and such at Rio Grande Cafe (Uncle Julio's). That's the trick there: Keep in mind that it's Tex-Mex, not Mexican, and get the fajitas. It's also possible that the Fairfax outpost isn't as good as the Arlington and Bethesda ones.
Your best bets are the goat tacos at Taqueria El Charrito Caminante in Arlington (2710 N. Washington Blvd.) Chorizo is also quite good.
Huarache con birria (can you tell I'm a goat fan?) at Guadalejara Tacos y Tortas off Rte 1 way south of Alexandria, and Gaujillo in N. Arlington, which is a pretty good place overall.
For delicious tongue tacos, check out El Sabor de mi Tierra [46839 Maple Leaf Pl
Sterling, VA 20164] or Taqueria El Michoacan [7422 Old Centreville Road, Manassas, VA]
I'm looking forward to trying to Rosa Mexican in National Harbor this weekend. They also have one in Penn Quarter.
Ok...try a New Mexico style place called Santa Fe Cafe in Rosslyn. This is me covering the place for local TV:
For Mexican tacos: Taqueria el charrito caminante in arlington, or Taqueria distrito federal,or Taqueria National (lunch only i think) in DC.
A frequent question here. The short answer is either no, or very little. The advice is to explore what is here, which is other parts of Mexico, Central and South America (esp. Central America).
A couple of recent threads.
In Arlington, near Rosslyn, is Guajillo. (It may be a little more Mex than Tex, but still American-ified) I would give it a better than average for the area. You will not find great Mexican or TexMex around here, at least I have not.
If you have a hankering for more authentic Mexican, there is a small Mexican community in Bladensburg. The one restaurant/taqueria I recall is La Sirenita. It is the real deal. It is not the most outstanding taqueria I have ever been to, but it is the only authentic one in the area.
Good luck. And if you find something really noteworthy, please share.