In 1988, Haydee and Mario Vanegas realized their lifelong dream of owning and running their own restaurant. With Mario running the kitchen and Haydee manning the bar, the entrepreneurial duo share the flavors of Mexico through a menu that puts traditional fare, such as sizzling shrimp and steak fajitas, alongside American classics, such as buffalo wings. Live music plays throughout the week, a dance floor hosts leg-shakers, and Sunday karaoke sessions let crooners exhibit their golden pipes as they sing through a medley of all national anthems.
Jumbo shrimp sautéed with garlic-cream sauce. Pan-seared pork in a white-wine sauce. New york strip steak and quail. Many of the menu items at El Paraiso Tex-Mex Restaurant expand on the restaurant’s designation as a spicy, south-of-the-border-inspired eatery. There are plenty of staples, too, such as burritos, chimichangas, quesadillas, and enchiladas. Most come stuffed with vegetables, ground beef, shrimp, or chicken, and all feature a dollop of guacamole, a scoop of pico de gallo, or a troll’s spoonful of sour cream.
At the 1990 World Cup, soccer striker Roger Miller, also known as Roger Milla, earned international renown for scoring four goals, helping the Cameroonian team reach the quarterfinals. His accomplishment was particularly impressive because he achieved it at the age of 38, when most players have already retired their famed feet to the deep freezer.
Named for this legendary player, the small but vibrant Roger Miler Restaurant honors the flavors of the athlete's homeland with traditional Cameroonian dishes as well as other West African staples. Bright-orange walls and vivid art prints surround patrons as they enjoy dishes such as goat pepper soup and steamed catfish. Side orders of spinach, steamed rice, and Nigerian-style yam fufu accompany the seafood, grill, and vegetarian offerings.
Part of a growing community of Ethiopian eateries in Silver Spring, according to the Gazette, Abyssinia Ethiopian Restaurant has served up generous portions of authentic east African fare since 2009. Goblets of traditional honey wine accompany plates of cubed lamb marinated in red-wine sauce or vegetarian dishes with lentils, cabbage, and collard greens. Guests can sop up buttery sauces with spongy sourdough injera bread, or use them to finger-paint admiring portraits of the live musicians who occasionally perform in the dining room.
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.
At Bombay Gaylord, the specialty kabobs are first marinated in a blend of Indian spices before being baked in the tandoor oven, giving them a nice charred flavor. The kitchen also simmers chicken and seafood in fragrant sauces before ladling them into bronzed dishes with gilded spoons. Stacks of fluffy naan bread await to soak up these sauces, so guests can reserve their napkins to wipe tears from the eyes of a friend who chose a different restaurant that night.