There are some restaurants that just have a special juju. You know: good vibes, good energy, the types of spots with a contagious spirit you want to be a part of. Esperanto is one of them. This Latin-inspired restaurant has been keeping the Ave. C crowd hydrated on Caipirinhas since before Ave. C was a hot place to hang out.
We’ve been coming to Esperanto for over a decade, and have been impressed with how it has held up over time. The Esperanto experience hasn’t changed much since we first reviewed it way back in 2009. While it has never really been about the food here, the food has always been really damn satisfying. Consistent, too. The ceviches are tremendous, as are the Brazilian stews and the mango salsa they put on pretty much everything. The price is right too: most of the entrees are under twenty dollars. You can come to Esperanto and eat a hearty meal, and throw down multiple drinks for under $40 or $50 a head, which is not easy to do in this town anymore.
It’s important to always keep Esperanto top of mind because it’s Perfect For lots of things. Have a big group in need of a fun spot for dinner on Friday or Saturday night? Check. Want to sit outside and enjoy some fine Ave. C air? There’s a table waiting for you. Or maybe you just want to grab some snacks and drinks before bar hopping on Ave. C for the night? This is where you start. Esperanto, it’s always there when you need it, waiting with some juju.
Chips, Pico, Guacamole
Absolutely must be on the table. Their guacamole is creamy and pretty much perfect, and they make their chips in house, which is why they are so good.
Our absolute favorite thing to order on the Esperanto menu. It’s heavy on the lime, heavy on the citrus, heavy on the mango, and heavy on the flavor. The red snapper is particularly good.
A refreshing mixture of avocado, orange segments, onions and mint in a light lime, citrus dressing. Do it.
Always a favorite. You can get them in either beef, shrimp or vegetable, we suggest all three.
Solid fried squid with salsa verde. An easy appetizer to share.
The burger is fine - it tastes like a burger you might make at your house if your house had a grill and a backyard. We wouldn’t suggest ordering it though. Too many other things to order here, and we’re pretty spoiled on Pat Lafrieda blends these days. If you’re going to eat a burger around here, it should be a couple doors down at Royale.
Our go-to fish entree here, always. We discussed the mango salsa above and will continue to discuss it here. They put it on pretty much everything, and everything they put it on is good, especially the salmon. Pay attention to the fish of the day too, that’s also often a good route.
If you’re down to get a little adventurous, try the Brazilian stew. The base is coconut milk with ginger, cashews, rice and your your choice of snapper, shrimp, or if you’re lucky, crab. The crab moqueca is the best moqueca. Really savory, and lighter than any other stew you’ll ever eat.
Straightforward and incredibly satisfying. Hanger steak slices covered in chimichurri with garlic mashed potatoes and sauteed spinach that delivers every time.
When you come to Esperanto, you drink. That’s how it works. Caipirinha, Margaritas, Mezcalitas - they’ve got all kinds of sweet alcoholic beverages which tend to be consumed rapidly.