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jonstewart

Taqueria Habanero, Excellent Taquerias in Columbia Heights and College Park

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I grabbed lunch here for the first time today, think it's been open for a little over a month. I haven't been to every taco joint in the district yet, but the first visit here beat every visit I've made to Taqueria Distrito Federal. I had the lengua, the carnitas, and the fish taco (daily special; tilapia). The lengua had a nice crust on it, which I've not had on lengua in the past and made for more of a roast pork belly mouthfeel, and the carnitas were properly fried and chunky, not pulled pork. The fish was not overcooked, although the fish taco as a whole had more of an earthy chili funk to it than the brightness of a Baja-style fish taco.

The spiciness of the base tacos was fairly mild. They have a nice selection of salsas on the table to fix that, though. I believe the tortillas were homemade, just off the griddle. A bit apt to crack but still flexible enough to do the job, great flavor, and with the correct number of two per taco.

My wife's al pastor huarache was also delicious.

Taqueria Habanero on Yelp

Jon

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I have been here twice and agree that it beats TDF. I had the lengua, carnitas, and barbacoa. My wife has the torta pollo Milenesa. All were great. The torta was a good size. The tortillas were fresh.

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I saw Tim Carman's great review for this place and so checked it out yesterday for lunch.  A pretty big, very clean/new-ish space with friendly servers. I wholeheartedly agree with the Post review and posters above, great tacos here on fresh made tortillas ($2.50 each). I had the chicken tinga, bistec, and lengua and all 3 were very good.  I also liked the green tomatillo/avocado salsa, smoky red poblano (medium heat), and pickled onion condiments. I've eaten my fair share of DC tacos, but never having been to Mexico and since most other places use store-bought tortillas, I thought I needed to compare.  So after Habernero, I headed several blocks down the street to Taqueria Distrito Federal for comparison. I had a chicken and barbacoa (my original order at TH, but they said they were out) ($3 each).  You could taste and see the difference right away.  The meats were more flavorful, but smaller quantity at TH and the tortillas were much much better with fresh corn accent to them at TH.  My vote is definitely for the new kid, TH over TDF.  Not to say that TDF wasn't ok, but TH was great.

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Yup, it's great.  Try the huaraches next time -- addictive.

I saw Tim Carman's great review for this place and so checked it out yesterday for lunch.  A pretty big, very clean/new-ish space with friendly servers. I wholeheartedly agree with the Post review and posters above, great tacos here on fresh made tortillas ($2.50 each). I had the chicken tinga, bistec, and lengua and all 3 were very good.  I also liked the green tomatillo/avocado salsa, smoky red poblano (medium heat), and pickled onion condiments. I've eaten my fair share of DC tacos, but never having been to Mexico and since most other places use store-bought tortillas, I thought I needed to compare.  So after Habernero, I headed several blocks down the street to Taqueria Distrito Federal for comparison. I had a chicken and barbacoa (my original order at TH, but they said they were out) ($3 each).  You could taste and see the difference right away.  The meats were more flavorful, but smaller quantity at TH and the tortillas were much much better with fresh corn accent to them at TH.  My vote is definitely for the new kid, TH over TDF.  Not to say that TDF wasn't ok, but TH was great.

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Like seeing them get love, everything held up on a second visit before Thanksgiving. The tacos are small. Three is the correct number to order to feel full. This is as it should be.

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This rates as "very Mexican" on my scale. Excellent tacos with unique for the neighborhood rustic corn tortillas. Their weekend-only Menudo has a handful of chickpeas (instead of my grandmother's hominy). This large, steaming bowl is still what a cold, wet afternoon needs ($9).

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We got caught in the Taqueria Habanero tractor beam last weekend and found ourselves right back for more yesterday.  Having now had all of the meats in either taco or huarache form, I feel pretty comfortable calling this place the best taqueria in the area (overtaking Taqueria La Placita in my ranking).

Stand-outs are the al pastor, lengua, and barbacoa. Lengua is my go-to, and the version here is kind of the Platonic ideal...crispy on the outside and meltingly tender in the center.  I can't decide if I like it more with the fresh green salsa or the smoky red.  Either way, a small sprinkling of the habanero on top adds a perfect amount of heat.

Don't overlook a side of nopales...cactus strips blistered with onions and served with lime.

They've had chicken in mole poblano on both visits, but I couldn't talk myself out of tacos...maybe next week.

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Had the mole last night -- it was delicious.  They had run out of posole and menudo, alas.  Good news is that the place was packed on a Sunday at 7:30 -- it's been discovered, and thus should survive.

We got caught in the Taqueria Habanero tractor beam last weekend and found ourselves right back for more yesterday.  Having now had all of the meats in either taco or huarache form, I feel pretty comfortable calling this place the best taqueria in the area (overtaking Taqueria La Placita in my ranking).

Stand-outs are the al pastor, lengua, and barbacoa. Lengua is my go-to, and the version here is kind of the Platonic ideal...crispy on the outside and meltingly tender in the center.  I can't decide if I like it more with the fresh green salsa or the smoky red.  Either way, a small sprinkling of the habanero on top adds a perfect amount of heat.

Don't overlook a side of nopales...cactus strips blistered with onions and served with lime.

They've had chicken in mole poblano on both visits, but I couldn't talk myself out of tacos...maybe next week.

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I had carry-out from there earlier this week,and while i agree it's a welcome addition, i think i still prefer la sirenita.

admittedly, i only had the vegetarian versions of things, so the relative lack of flavor might be due to the fact that the dishes are supposed to have meat. and the green salsa did help a lot, but overall, i just wished there was more flavor, and i wasnt overwhelmed by the tortillas. If i have  craving for huaraches and don't want to go to riverdale i'll stop by, but i dont see myself visiting too much otherwise.

As people have noted, the huaraches are very good--lots of nice toppings (though i didn't notice any cactus), and made even better by the very tasty green cilantro-lime salsa they have. the quesadilla was surprising, it was more like a block of cheese in a taco shell than what i had expected. instead of the usual tortillas, it's made with a hard corn shell with a thick slab of cheese in it. i wished the cheese had a bit more flavor.

the lentil soup was surprisingly good. at first it tasted like a standard lentil soup, good if a bit salty. but there was something else in there that made it more interesting than the standard version, maybe a hint of tomato or something we never figured out.

at the last minute i asked for a side of 3-4 tortillas and a side of beans. at first i was displeased because each was $4, which i thought a bit steep, particularly for 4 small tortillas. but the taco i made with the tortillas, crema, beans, and green salsa was really delicious.

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This place in my mind is serving the best mexican food in DC right now.    Have been back three times--ate in once and carryout twice:

The good:

1) Tortillas--made in house, soft pliable, slightly thicker with a great masa flavor.  Don't fall apart easily

2) Tacos--have had the mushroom, shrimp, fish, nopales, carnitas, al pastor, chicken tinga, chorizo.  Standouts have been the mushroom, carnitas and al pastor, but all of them have been good.

3) Salsas--their table salsa that they serve with chips is excellent, they also have a tomatillo, red chile and habanero salsa that are all excellent

Sometimes good:

The quesadillas--as stated by Sandynva these are essentially like masa empanadas stuffed with cheese plus a protein.  The first time I had it, they were awesome--crisp crust and they made us a bean and cheese version that tasted great.  The second time it seemed more like a traditional quesadilla that had been griddled and was not as good, and they gave us a hard time about making a bean and cheese quesadilla.

The bad:

1) The location--- the place gets slammed and the line grows quickly and people are hovering around your table.  they turnover fast but its feels rushed--you are better off with takeout even though the food suffers a little for it.

Note:  they revamped their menu in the last month and have sig more vegetarian options now

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Surprised that no one including me has posted on this place in years. Now is the time to go - now endorsed by the Post as #1 for Tacos.

Despite the good press, it wasn't too crowded today for lunch and the tacos were excellent and service was good. I went last summer and a few other times over the years and service was always slow. Last summer it was so slow and the food was only ok that I hadn't been back in a while. lately I opted instead for a few doors over Mezcalero which had good tortas and tacos but not as good as TH. My buddy wanted to go today so I figured time to try again. Very glad we did. The barbacoa and lengua and hongos were really really good. Tortillas very thin and light perfect for the delicious meats. Barbacoa was especially good and different than when I've had it elsewhere. It was more like shredded steak that was crisped up on a grill and not very saucy. In the past, I've really enjoyed the memela and it was good this time but the tacos outshone it. We also got some beans and rice which were fine but forgettable. I'll have to add this back into the regular rotation and stick to the tacos. Oh the chips and creamy avocado salsa verde and slightly spicy salsa roja are still consistently good. 

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Just got back from the College Park one.  Really delicious.  Go for lunch now before the kids are back; so much easier with route 1 and in-restaurant traffic.

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