Samantha's Restaurant melds a variety of Latin American culinary traditions into a single menu rife with fresh seafood, sizzling fajitas, and stuffed poblano peppers. Washingtonian magazine highlighted the masitas de puerco, a traditional Havana dish of bitter orange-marinated pork, as well as the "peppy mariachi soundtrack" that fosters a lively atmosphere. As appetizers of citrus-and-ginger-infused ceviche disappear like a repossessed magic kit, diners can turn their focus to mesquite-grilled fish or a refreshing cocktail from the fully stocked bar.
The chefs at La Casita Pupuseria pull their recipes from El Salvador, a country where fresh shrimp and savory meats are in no short supply. To craft their signature pupusa—a traditional Salvadoran snack that enticed the palate of reporters from the Washington Post—they sculpt masa into perfectly round balls before packing it with cheese, meats, and veggies. They carefully pinch off excess dough so they can procure an ideal balance of masa and filling, as well as secretly help the Pillsbury Doughboy gather enough material to eventually build himself a wife, finally. The skilled cooks sizzle the plump discs on a griddle before plating them with fresh pickled cabbage and tomato salsa.
Once plates of warm pupusas have been delivered to hungry diners, chefs turn their attention to orders of crisp enchiladas and fresh seafood ceviches. They also whip up a variety of natural juices and fresh licuados, favoring juicy slices of mango, papaya, and mamey.
The Jerk Pit’s white wood siding and covered porch might lead folks to think they’re stepping into owner Lisa Waddell Rose’s own house—and that’s likely what she intended. The chefs apply spicy blends of seasonings to transform morsels of chicken, pork, fish, and tofu into traditional Jamaican jerk dishes, served alongside other staples such as curried goat and ackee with saltfish. While sipping on Jamaican soda or sweet iced tea, patrons can utilize the Pit’s free WiFi to download sounds of crashing waves or pictures of the Caribbean's blueberry-flavored waters.
From Old Saigon to Bangalore and everywhere in between, Southeast Asian cuisine embraces distinct foods that overlap in ingredients and cooking methods. Pho D’Lite culls the healthiest all-stars from each region, starting with pho from Vietnam. Swimming with noodles and a variety of toppings and a choice of meat such as chicken, beef, or meatballs, the eatery’s namesake soup shares space on the menu with loaded vermicelli and rice bowls topped with authentic curry and spices. Only the highest quality ingredients infiltrate each dish, including organic tofu, antibiotic- and hormone-free meat, and fresh produce.
The fragrance of sizzling spiced meats waft through the brightly hued dining room of Azteca Restaurant and Cantina, enticing diners as they sit at cozy tables and pull cornflower-blue napkins into their laps. Helmed by owners James Burick and Mario Orellana, Azteca Restaurant and Cantina titillates taste buds with generous portions of unusual yet authentic Tex-Mex eats. Diners can rev up their eating engines with the tamales de elote filled with creamy sweet corn before moving on to a beef chimichanga, a roundup of beef, beans, guacamole, and cheese in a tortilla big enough to blanket a replica of the Aztec pyramids. A sizzling plate of lobster-tail fajitas comes with chicken and beef, whereas the enchiladas monterrey provide a meat-free option resplendent with cheese and ranchero sauce.