Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Washington DC & Baltimore >
Nov 17, 2013 08:24 AM

Upscale Mexican in Baltimore or DC???

Are there any upscale, great Mexican restaurants in the area (preferably Baltimore, but DC would be ok)? Since my husband LOVES Mexican, he wants to celebrate his upcoming b-day at a Mexican restaurant. However, he also wants to eat somewhere relatively nice, with solid service and where we could even dress up. Does such a place exist??? All our favorite spots are pretty much holes in the wall...

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. In DC, Oyamel (small plates) and Casa Oaxaca are as 'fancy' as it gets. Both place are fine in casual clothing, but nobody would feel out of place in nice slacks and a button-down shirt.

    At Casa Oaxaca I would focus on the mole sauces, the enmoladas with mole negro, the pork ribs with a mole verde, and the skirt steak with a mole colorado.

    At Oyamel, go for the albondigas, the chile en nogado (seasonal), and the ono ceviche with passionfruit.

    2 Replies
    1. re: Steve

      Steve's suggestions are both good ones.

      Depending on your interest in being somewhere that is a bit more of a younger scene, I've always quite enjoyed El Centro DF. It's on the 14th St strip of restaurants, so median age is probably 33-ish. If you get a reservation in the main dining room, I think it's really quite enjoyable. Good food, and nice ambiance.

      I'd also potentially add to the list Rosa Mexicana. It likely get less than favorable press around here as it is a chain, so certainly less interesting. But I've always found the food reasonably solid and it is a bit more towards the "formal" end. If your husband would like a high-end chain spot, I'd consider this too. Plus, there are lots of other nice places in the area if you want to add drinks on to the night (barmini, perhaps??). Given that I like more interesting local restaurants as a personal preference, though, I'd choose Oyamel over here for myself.

      (Not at all responsive, but for cheap taqueria, you can't beat Mama Chuy. I love that place.)

      1. re: shawington

        Do you prefer Mama Chuy to Chilango and Taqeria (on T) and Super Tacos?

    2. Thanks so much for your detailed replies! Anyone closer to Baltimore have any insight? We live in Baltimore, so I was hoping to find a place here, but it looks like we may need to come down to DC (less ideal, but ok).

      4 Replies
      1. re: stephanieg

        Blue Agave in Federal Hill is quite good and would fill the bill of "upscale". Seeing as how you're in baltimore, you should definitely try it.

        1. re: lawhound

          We LOVED Blue Agave years ago (and when I say years, probably about 15 years ago). However, the last couple times we went back (which probably was 2ish years ago), we had terrible service and just so so food. Has it changed?

          1. re: stephanieg

            Their website reports new ownership about a year ago.

            1. re: lawhound

              Intriguing! Have you been there recently? Would love to hear a recent review!

      2. Not exactly fancy, but not a hole in the wall, but quite good
        try Papa Joe's in Westminster

        1. Can't speak to Mexican in Baltimore, but Azul 17 in Howard County is nice. Not overly upscale, but not a hole-in-the-wall. Ditto for Xitomate off of Route 108.

          1. Baltimorean here. My husband and I have enjoyed Miguel's:
            although it's been a while. Great view!