DCReview

photo credit: Chris Prosser

Oyamel Cocina Mexicana review image

Oyamel Cocina Mexicana

$$$$

401 7th St NW, Washington
View WebsiteEarn 3X Points

You know what sucks? When a place promises “upscale” versions of classic street food but ends up being terrible and overpriced. You know what’s awesome? When that same premise delivers. Oyamel fits the second description perfectly, and takes it a step further by placing that food in a fun space that makes you excited to just be there.

Oyamel Cocina Mexicana review image

Whatever you think of when you think Mexican food, you can find it here, and you won’t be let down. Tacos, moles, margaritas are all great. Come with a group so you can sample some of everything.

Oyamel has the Jose Andres’ Anti-Stuffiness Check Mark thing down, and is perhaps the best example of it. Think of Oyamel any time you want to have fun. Catching up with some old friends? Grab a pitcher of the salt-air margaritas and laugh about the time you all got trashed on low-grade tequila in college. Want to show your date that you know how to eat well and have fun? Order the tasting menu if you’re willing to spend north of $50 a person and let the kitchen bring out plate after plate. Where else can you down some top-notch tacos and try to guess what the hell is happening in the black and white 1950s Mexican B-movie that plays on a loop?

Sign up for our newsletter.

Be the first to get expert restaurant recommendations for every situation right in your inbox.


By signing up, I agree to the Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policy.

Food Rundown

Chips

The fact that these are free and are still on here are a testament to how good they are. Seasoned with a mixture that we assume has at least a sprinkling of some highly addictive narcotic and served hot, right out of the fryer. Scoop up some excellent guacamole or salsa with these.

Oyamel Cocina Mexicana review image

Papas al Mole

The only downside to ordering these is that they’ll ruin all french fries for you afterwards. Why isn’t mole a standard dipping sauce in this country, dammnit?

Oyamel Cocina Mexicana review image

Frijoles Fefritos con Queso

Not your traditional beans with cheese on top, that would be too easy. Here, they wrap the beans around the cheese, keeping everything nice and melty. Not that this is a problem, it’ll disappear from the plate quickly.

Oyamel Cocina Mexicana review image

Tacos

If you did nothing but order off this section of the menu you’d be A-OK. Pork belly, mahi mahi, and carnitas are all strong choices.

Short Rib in Mole Sauce

If you want to eat something with a fork and not your hands, go with this. So tender that it’ll fall apart if you stare at it too long. Lick the plate to get every last drop of the mole sauce.

Salt Air Margarita

Jose Andres was one of the first to get into the foam game, and this may be the best use of it. No need to constantly rotate your glass to get some salt in every sip, the salt comes on top here. Genius.

Featured in

Where To Eat Near Capital One Arena guide image
Guide
Where To Eat Near Capital One Arena

Where to eat before or after a game or show.

The Washington DC Greatest Hits List guide image
Guide
The Washington DC Greatest Hits List

Our guide to the quintessential places that make eating in DC what it is.

The Best DC Restaurants For Group Dinners guide image
Guide
The Best DC Restaurants For Group Dinners

Organizing group dinners is hard. This guide is here to help.

The Best Bars On The 14th Street / U Street Corridor guide image
Guide
The Best Bars On The 14th Street / U Street Corridor

A guide to the best drinking establishments along U Street and 14th Street.

Suggested Reading

Maketto review image
Review
Maketto

Part trendy clothing store, part Cambodian/Thai restaurant, Maketto might just be the coolest spot in DC right now.

Le Diplomate review image
Review
Le Diplomate

This French bistro is the place to see anyone who’s ever been on “Meet the Press". The food is also delicious.

Little Serow review image
Review
Little Serow

Little Serow’s Northern Thai tasting menu is not only one of the best deals in DC - it’s one of the best meals in DC. Just prepare for some heat.

Rasika review image
Review
Rasika

One of the best options for both Indian and a fine dining experience in the city.