After the culinary world’s top inspectors came to D.C. and awarded 12 restaurants a handful of highly coveted Michelin stars last fall, Washington has proved that it has a food scene to be reckoned with. It may be a while before you can get a reservation at some of the newly crowned dining rooms, but that doesn’t mean you can’t take a bite out of the other flavors the nation’s capital has to offer.
With its sprawling Hispanic population, the city has an impressive list of restaurants from all over Latin America and Spain; and we’ve rounded a few of them up for you (and your taste buds). From a Mexican hotspot known for grasshopper tacos to an unexpected gas station beloved for Uruguayan sandwiches, here some of the places you shouldn’t miss on your next visit.
Tico (above right)
With its paint-splattered walls and graffiti-style murals, Tico exudes coolness. But it’s not only about looks here: The kitchen, helmed by James Beard-winner Michael Schlow, churns out Latin staples that are complex and full of contrasts, such as the duck tacos with mango salsa and charred serranos, and the yellowtail ceviche dotted with wasabi cream and watermelon.