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Fearless Critic restaurant review
Casual restaurant

Sun–Wed 8:00am–9:00pm
Thu–Sat 8:00am–11:00pm

Features Delivery, live music, outdoor dining
Bar None
Credit cards Visa, MC, AmEx
Reservations Not accepted


Columbia Heights
3463 14 St. NW
Washington, DC
(202) 276-7331

805 Kennedy St. NW
Washington, DC
(202) 421-8240
Taquería Distrito Federal
Marvelous meats for modest prices, just like in Mexico’s great capital city

Taquería D. F. is run by two smiling Salvadorans who seems to feel no particular compunction about serving food from a country other than their own. In fact, unlike most of Washington’s Mexican-Salvadoran hybrids, D.F. is without a doubt a big-city kid (that’s Distrito Federal, Mexico City’s greater metropolitan area). Although a few things are off, the taquería gets so much right that it’s hard to believe the little shop is actually situated within the bounds of our very own District.

You enter D.F. down a set of three stairs. The slightly buried room is nevertheless brightly lit, and small, with a dozen small tables and undersized chairs. Even during slow times, the taquería seems busier than it is, with some lively telenovela action on the tube, and two or three people intersecting to bring your order. With large groups, the line-order nature of D.F. becomes transparent: dishes are brought to the table, one by one, in the precise order they were taken and written down by the waitress (she’s almost always female).

D.F. offers tacos, burritos, and tostadas with any of over ten types of meat, including carnitas, lengua (tongue), chorizo, tripa, and chivo (goat). The packaging is almost immaterial—because the meat is so exceptional—but a few things do bear mention. First, the burritos are small and squat. They fall apart easily, and are clearly not the taquería’s strong suit.

The tacos, by contrast, are the trump cards. Made with six-inch doubled-up corn tortillas (rather than with the three-or-four-inch tortillas sometimes found in taquerías in the Mexican capital), they’re big enough that three tacos will usually suffice for one person. Each is garnished with fresh cilantro and a thin slice of avocado: an attractive presentation in a restaurant whose last concern—in terms of décor, at least—seems to be with appearances.

The meats of D.F. are outstanding: the chorizo is superbly spicy, the beef al pastor tastes warm and earthy, the chicharrón is served in a tangy salsa verde, and D.F. has done the best it can do with the chicken, although carne asada can be dirt dry. Vegetarians will be unhappy here, but the staff is accommodating (if perplexed) and will whip up a meatless burrito with small cubed white cheese and plenty of beans.

Be sure to order the “Coca-Cola Mexicana”—small glass bottles sweetened not with high fructose corn syrup but with the real deal—sugar cane. Maybe D. F. stands for Delighted Foodie.

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