WASHINGTON — When The Georgetown Metropolitan reported that Baco Juice and Taco Bar recently filed a zoning application for the space at 1614 Wisconsin Ave., NW, we couldn’t help but notice a neighborhood trend: Georgetown is becoming a hot hub for taco joints.
When Baco opens, it will join newbie Chaia — the popular veggie taco stand, which is set to open its first restaurant this summer at 3207 Grace St. — and more seasoned taco spots such as El Centro D.F., Bandolero, Los Cuates, Don Lobos and Surfside, just up the street.
And while Georgetown is in the midst of a taco revolution, it isn’t quite at the forefront of D.C. neighborhood taco spots.
Here’s a look at D.C.’s neighborhoods and the number of taco-serving restaurants each contains. Hint: Columbia Heights and the U Street Corridor are the best places to be when a craving hits.
Please note: As much as we would love to spend days on the taco beat, this list is not exhaustive and does not include larger chain restaurants. (Sorry, Chipotle. Your tacos are still fantastic.)
Dupont Circle is an ideal neighborhood for taco lovers. Case-in-point: Surfside’s Taco Stand on N Street is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
There’s also Mission, for those who prefer a taco-centric happy hour scene — complete with pitchers of margaritas on the patio — and District Taco, a local business that serves breakfast tacos all day.
Smoke and Barrel is perhaps best known for its barbecue and bourbon, but on Tuesday nights, it’s all about tacos ($5 for three) at this Adams Morgan spot. The taco trays at Johnny Pistolas also attract diners to the neighborhood, and so does the extensive list of no-frills tacos at Super Tacos & Bakery.
Mount Pleasant/Columbia Heights/Petworth
Smells of freshly-made tortillas, pupusas and specialty Salvadoran baked goods flood the streets of Mount Pleasant and Columbia Heights. Even on the shortest jaunt, it’s hard to avoid a hankering for a platter of spicy stacked tortillas topped with fresh avocado and lime. Luckily, there are a number of places around to satisfy the craving.
Taqueria Distrito Federal, 3463 14th St., NW and 805 Kennedy St., NW
Pica Taco, 1629 Columbia Rd., NW
El Chucho, 3313 11th St., NW
Mama Chuy, 2620 Georgia Ave., NW
Taqueria Habanero, 3710 14th St., NW
El Rinconcito Cafe II, 1326 Park Rd., NW
3 Salsas, 3439 14th St., NW
Dulcinea Bar & Grill, 2618 Georgia Ave., NW
Gloria’s Pupuseria, 3411 14th St., NW
Ercilia’s Restaurant, 3070 Mt. Pleasant St., NW
Pupuseria San Miguel, 3110 Mt. Pleasant St., NW
El Don Restaurant, 4401 14th St., NW
Mi Casita Bakery and Deli, 3429 14th St., NW
U Street Corridor/Logan Circle/Shaw
Want a more upscale taco experience (we’re talking duck tacos at Tico)? A beer garden taco experience? Or a quick and casual meal? Whatever mood you’re in, you’re sure to find the perfect bite in D.C.’s U Street Corridor area.
Pica Taco, 1406 Florida Ave., NW
El Rey, 919 U St., NW
El Centro D.F., 1819 14th St., NW
Tico, 1926 14th St., NW
Taqueria Nacional, 1409 T St., NW
Tortilla Coast, 1460 P St., NW
Alero Restaurant, 1301 U St., NW
Judy Restaurant, 2212 14th St., NW
Tacos El Chilango, 1119 V St., NW
Downtown D.C./Metro Center
There’s not as high of a taco concentration in downtown D.C., but then again, the area (Metro Center, Chinatown, McPherson Square, K Street and Farragut Square) attracts all of the food trucks. Undoubtedly, residents and businessmen are getting their lunchtime taco fix routinely — either truck-side on 13th Street or at a power lunch.
Capitol Hill/Eastern Market/H Street
From traditional to Korean, the east side of town is populated with taco options.
District Taco, 656 Pennsylvania Ave., SE
Far East Taco Grille, 409 15th St., NE
TaKorean, 1309 5th St., NE
Impala Cantina y Taqueria, 1358 H St., NE
Chupacabra, 822 H St., NE
Sol Mexican Grill, 1251 H St., NE
Tortilla Cafe, 210 7th St., NE
In upper Northwest, tacos are a little harder to come by, which is probably why neighborhood staples, such as Cactus Cantina and Guapos, are always packed.