Craving Tacos? Right here Are the Finest Taquerias in Arlington Virginia

Craving Tacos? Right here Are the Finest Taquerias in Arlington Virginia

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Leo Villalobos, normal supervisor of Tortas Y Tacos La Chiquita on Columbia Pike, serves up an order of carnitas tacos. (Picture by Dixie Vereen)

What’s to not love about tacos? They’re filling, comforting, wallet-friendly and versatile—as many stressed cooks have proved, stuffing tortillas with the flavors of Memphis, India, Jamaica and the Jap Shore. That’s to not say there aren’t loads of locations turning out time-tested originals like carnitas, lengua and carne asada, too. Whether or not your hankering skews conventional or nuevo, we’ve received a taqueria for you.

Brightly hued partitions, trailing crops and smiling faces behind the counter add to the homey really feel of this small and conventional Columbia Pike taqueria that received its begin as a meals truck. Moreover tacos, you’ll additionally discover open-faced huaraches and sopes with their masa-dough bases; tortas (sandwiches), because the identify of the place suggests; and alambres—your alternative of protein topped with sautéed bell peppers, grilled onions, melted cheese and a splash of chipotle sauce. However we’re right here for the tacos, that are generously crammed with tender lengua (chopped beef tongue), wealthy pork carnitas and the taco that’s positively having a second—birria, a specialty of Jalisco usually made with goat and served with a aspect of consommé (broth) for dunking. Right here, it’s made with beef, and you must pay just a little additional for consommé. Order forward on-line for fast pickup or for supply from one of many apps since parking is scarce. // 2911 Columbia Pike, Arlington

The King Goes Taco4 1722

Grilled birria tacos with consommé at El Rey (Picture by Mykl Wu)

When restaurateur brothers Ian and Eric Hilton open a brand new place, diners can depend on excellent cocktails, a enjoyable vibe and spot-on flavors. At El Rey, a derivative of their widespread U Avenue taqueria that opened in Ballston simply earlier than the New 12 months, the grilled birria tacos have been an instantaneous buyer favourite. (The stylish filling, made right here with beef, additionally lands in quesadillas, tortas and nachos.) Al pastor, carne asada and carnitas tacos share menu area with a “D.C. taco” crammed with fried rooster strips, crispy potatoes and mambo sauce; a Thai shrimp taco; and one that includes Unattainable meat. A patio is on faucet when the climate turns nicer, in keeping with the homeowners, who additionally run Café Colline in Arlington and Parc de Ville within the Mosaic District. Inside, get pleasure from vibrant murals by native artist Mike Pacheco and a color-popped industrial area, whether or not you’re knocking again a couple of frozen margaritas or selecting up take-out. // 4201 Wilson Blvd., Arlington (Ballston)

Taco Trays Dick Patrick

At Bartaco, select fillings, wrappers (tortillas or lettuce) and sides from a sushi-style menu. (Picture by Dick Patrick)

Your first clue that this isn’t a mom-and-pop is the fashionable, chef-y menu, which unabashedly options Hawaiian poke and a sesame rib-eye taco topped with kimchi. Standouts at this chain present in practically a dozen different states (and D.C.) embrace a fried oyster taco accented with remoulade; roasted duck with a tamarind glaze; and that beef quantity topped with kimchi. The rooster taco, typically thought to be a throwaway menu possibility for much less adventurous eaters, good points welcome punches of taste from a chili-herb marinade and avocado salsa. The Mosaic District location of Bartaco opened in 2018 and the Ballston outpost has been slinging tacos since January 2021. Each provide outside eating, on-line ordering, cocktails and a rotating secret taco that may be discovered utilizing the hashtag #bartacosecret. // 4238 Wilson Blvd., Arlington (Ballston); 2920 District Ave., Fairfax (Mosaic District)

Wedged right into a tiny plaza close to Ballston, La Jarochita #2 could also be a welcome antidote for anybody looking for a break from newfangled tacos. Right here, as in Mexico, you’ll discover all components of the animal represented on the record of proteins, whether or not it’s tongue, head, brains, abdomen or pores and skin. A crowd favourite at this no-frills little sister to the Manassas unique is the spit-roasted al pastor—a wealthy, candy mix of pork, spices and pineapple that may be ordered in a taco, a gordita, or atop a sope, a tostada or a huarache. Experiment with the habanero, arbol and guacamole salsas to see which pairs finest with every taco, or ask the employees for steerage. The menu additionally presents up soups, sandwiches, burritos, entrées and some sides. // 85 N. Glebe Highway, Arlington (Buckingham)

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The Jeneral, a Ballston particular at Taco Bamba. (Picture by Main DC)

When the craving strikes for conventional carnitas or tinga, you can not go mistaken at Taco Bamba, due to the watchful eye of chef-owner Victor Albisu, who opened the unique Falls Church location along with his mom in 2013. However there are “tacos nuestros” too, such because the Spicy ’Shroom made with chipotle portabellas, and the namesake Taco Bamba—a whopper crammed with skirt steak, chorizo, grilled guacamole, pickled crimson onion, pickled fresno chilies, cotija cheese, cilantro and chicharrones. Every of the seven areas additionally includes a couple tacos particular to that spot, such because the La Poutina (unique to Falls Church) full of fries absorbing barbacoa jus and topped with spicy mayo, pickled crimson onion, cotija cheese and bacon; or The Jeneral (in Ballston), which tucks seared ahi tuna, sesame salsa macha, pickled ginger slaw, guacamole and furikake right into a cabbage cup. As a testomony to its success, the homegrown taqueria just lately penned a cope with Traders Administration Corp. to develop the model on a nationwide degree. // 4000 Wilson Blvd. (Ballston), Arlington; 2190 Pimmit Drive, Falls Church

This beloved native mini chain has grown to 3 areas—two in Arlington and one in Del Ray—since govt chef Glen Adams opened the primary one in 1999. It’s now a DMV favourite (and Better of Arlington 2021 winner) for margaritas, its Southern California tackle Mexican dishes, and for being the form of place the place everybody seems like an everyday. Along with the tacos al carbon on the Platos part of the menu and the tacos al pastor, accessible solely after 5 p.m. among the many appetizers, people flock right here for the favored duck carnitas, the Baja fish and the shrimp tacos, in addition to the house-made salsas. There’s additionally an L.A.-style crispy taco stuffed together with your alternative of rooster, beef, pork or blended veggies, and each day specials. The bar pours a couple of dozen kinds of margaritas made with freshly squeezed limes, and brunch turns up breakfast tacos and Mexican hash. The homeowners just lately introduced that their Columbia Pike location will likely be closing on the finish of Could 2022, so pay that spot a go to whilst you can. // 2503-A N. Harrison St. and 2401 Columbia Pike, Arlington; 2400-B Mount Vernon Ave., Alexandria (Del Ray)

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A breakfast burrito at District Taco (Courtesy picture)

Is it even doable to be an Arlington resident in the event you haven’t tried District Taco? The booming chainlet that now operates 15 eateries in Virginia, Maryland, the District and Pennsylvania began as a meals truck in Rosslyn in 2009, and people clearly love its all-day breakfast tacos and its fast-casual ordering setup that enables for personalisation. You received’t discover any fusion tacos right here (co-founder Osiris Hoil is from the Mexican state of Yucatan), however the menu offers nods to American tastes by letting prospects select garnishes which can be historically Mexican (cilantro and chopped onion), American (lettuce, pico and shredded cheese), or the granddaddy of topping decisions, “el jefe” (American toppings, plus grilled veggies and bitter cream). Burritos, quesadillas, nachos and rice bowls spherical out the tight however crowd-pleasing menu, and two vegan choices—with a guacamole or a “past carne” base—are additionally accessible. // 1500 Wilson Blvd.(Rosslyn) and 5723 Langston Blvd., Arlington; 5275-C Leesburg Pike, Falls Church; 2676-O Avenir Place, Vienna (Dunn Loring); 1500-C Cornerside Blvd., Tysons

David Peña’s beloved meals truck, which has been making the rounds in Arlington since 2012, now has a small storefront in Falls Church, that includes artwork by native muralist MasPaz. It’s proving to take care of its popularity as a cult-status favourite for tacos, tostadas, elote, churros and extra, with the strains to show it. Attempt the birria (goat or beef) tacos with consomme for dipping, and an agua fresca. // 626 S. Washington St., Falls Church

Tuna Taco

Seared tuna taco at Taco Rock (Picture by Danny Kim @dannygrubs)

With so many taquerias popping up over the previous few years, how is a taco slinger to tell apart itself? Taco Rock appears to do exactly that by providing diners “tacos with perspective”—which is maybe one other means of claiming: “Purists, beware.” Certain, there’s a roster of classics served on house-made blue corn tortillas, however the record of riffs is no less than double the scale. Subsequent to carne asada, barbacoa and al pastor, you’ll discover tortillas cradling balsamic mushrooms, a play on the membership sandwich, and one named for Colonel Sanders appropriately full of fried rooster, slaw, pickles and comeback sauce. Chef-owner Mike Cordero may be merely flirting with authenticity whereas catering to American palates, but it surely’s clearly working since his model (which has eateries in Arlington and Alexandria) is about to broaden with a 3rd location in Falls Church. // 1501 Wilson Blvd., Arlington (Rosslyn)

This strip-mall taqueria exhibits off its Mexican pleasure with partitions cheerfully painted within the daring colours of that nation’s flag, plus a couple of artifacts that hail from the homeland like sombreros, statuettes and textiles. That pleasure additionally makes its means into the tacos, which comply with the standard layering of two griddled corn tortillas full of the usuals, from chorizo to cabeza (head), and from rooster to tripe. However conventional doesn’t should imply boring, so long as you’re doing it proper, and it didn’t take lengthy for this humble gem to land on the radar of some native critics after it opened in 2018. Like many taquerias, this one ultimately added the wildly widespread birria (goat) tacos to its lineup, and in 2021 it scored a license to serve beer. If cerveza isn’t your jam, drink your means by means of the rainbow of Jarritos sodas within the cooler. On-line ordering is on the market for a speedy pickup. // 7810-G Lee Freeway, Falls Church

Dining Room

Taco + Pina in Shirlington (Courtesy picture)

This Shirlington Village spot channels the colourful, beachy vibe of coastal Mexico whereas providing playful spins on conventional flavors—such because the pork carnitas marinated in orange Fanta and topped with dragon’s breath habanero, pineapple and pickled onion. In fact, any trendy taqueria price its salt can’t resist tossing in some Korean flavors, which admittedly do lend themselves properly to tacos. Right here, they seem in a fried rooster taco laced with “Ok-pop salsa” (a Korean sizzling sauce), chili-garlic mayo, cotija cheese and curtido, the marginally funky cabbage slaw usually served with pupusas. Don’t miss the crunchy-spicy shrimp tacos that includes sriracha mayo, shaved coconut and pineapple salsa; the Baja Bahia made with beer-battered, wild-caught Chesapeake catfish, avocado verde, lemon mayo and purple cabbage; or the recent mess nacho fries, that are each bit as decadent as they sound. Open since Cinco de Mayo 2020, chef Graham Bartlett’s pleasant cantina additionally presents cocktails, catering and curbside pickup. // 4041 Campbell Ave., Arlington (Shirlington)

Baja Crispy Fish Taco

Crispy fish tacos at Tacombi (Courtesy picture)

The chain that started as a taco-serving bus on the seashores of the Yucatan peninsula (and went on to launch 11 taquerias in New York Metropolis) has arrived at Nationwide Touchdown. Faux you’re surfside in Mexico with an order of beer-battered fish tacos and an agua fresca. // 1550 Crystal Drive, Arlington (Nationwide Touchdown)

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