Espita

4.5
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433 reviews
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$30 and under
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Mexican
Driven by a quest to surface authentic flavors and techniques, Chef Rob Aikens and Beverage Director James Simpson are constantly pushing their teams to research and create. They fuel their creativity with inspiration from their many travels to Mexico, bringing home memories and people they want to honor with their food and drink.

We specialize in Oaxacan cuisine seen through the lens of the Mid-Atlantic. You will not find traditional Oaxacan dishes here. Instead you will find authentic Oaxacan flavors and techniques applied to the beautiful seasonal bounty of our region, creating a unique experience only available here.

Join us in our dining room, bar, or terrace!

Our lunch concept, Espita Loncheria, is open Monday through Friday with no reservations required.

Special Offers

Happy Hour!

Half price Mayahuels & Margaritas, made the right way, $6.50 Highballs, and discounted Tacos. Come join us in the bar, our dining room, or relax on our heated patio and have an afternoon snack. See our website for our full happy hour offerings.

Terms and Conditions:

Valid For: 1 - 20 people

Starts: 11 April 2019

Ends: 12 April 2118

Availability: Sun 14:30-18:00
Mon-Fri 16:00-18:00
Sat 14:30-18:00

$3 Taco Tuesday!

DC's best tacos for only $3 each all night long! Come taste the difference that authentic corn tortillas make.

Terms and Conditions:

Valid For: 1 - 20 people

Starts: 4 November 2018

Ends: 5 November 2117

Availability: Tue 16:00-23:00

Mezcal Mondays!

Enjoy DC's best Mezcal list at half price. Rare pours, flights, or even just our house Espadin, the whole list is available for you to explore and enjoy!

Terms and Conditions:

Valid For: 1 - 20 people

Starts: 4 November 2018

Ends: 5 November 2117

Availability: Mon 16:00-23:00

New Year's Eve Special Menus & Offers

Looking for a good time without a ticketed dinner? Go ahead and skip the tasting menu. Bring in your New Year with our famous selection of mezcal cocktails, bubbles, and DC's best tacos.

Tuesday, 31 December, 2019

What 433 People Are Saying
Overall ratings and reviews
Reviews can only be made by diners who have eaten at this restaurant
4.5based on recent ratings
4.5
food
4.4
service
4.4
ambience
4.1
value
Noise · Moderate
87% of people would recommend it to a friend
5
4
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NZ
1 review
Dined 4 days ago
Overall 2food 2service 3ambience 4

I appreciate the waitress replacing my meal after I found a hair in the food, I understand that that happens sometime. However, my guest and I were celebrating his birthday which I indicated in the reservation - that was not acted on which was extremely disappointing. We will not be going again unfortunately.

SL
New York Area
1 review
Dined on 6 October 2019
Overall 5food 5service 4ambience 4

Great food and friendly service. Glad we chose to have dinner at Espita during our stay in DC.

SW
Washington DC
5 reviews
Dined on 5 October 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

The shrimp tacos were delicious! Wish that more sides were offered other than the frijoles.

TA
New York Area
1 review
Dined on 5 October 2019
Overall 4food 3service 5ambience 5

This was an amazing restaurant. I had to avoid a few options, because of the nuts that may have been present in the meal. I honestly wanted chicken, but they could not make something alternative for me. I wish they were able to omit the nuts in some of the dishes, but I will stay clear next time.

Overall great spot, and amazing prices. Our server was amazing.

Espita
Responded on 7 October 2019

Hi TaiwoA Thank you for leaving a review! If you would like to try our chicken tamal, with a day's notice, we can absolutely prepare one without the mole manchamanteles (which includes nuts) for you. Unfortunately the tamales take about 2 hours to make from scratch so it isn't possible to make a nut free one on the fly. If there are any other allergies or dietary restrictions you have, but a dish you have your heart set on, just give us a heads up and we will make it happen for you! Cheers

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JW
Denver
39 reviews
Dined on 5 October 2019
Overall 4food 5service 5ambience 3

Very loud. We were seated next to a group of 8 that were having a great time. Unfortunately they were so loud that it was difficult to hear. The restaurant is designed to be loud but a large loud group on top of the design made it difficult to carry on a conversation. Food was excellent as was the service.

D
Washington DC
32 reviews
Dined on 27 September 2019
Overall 2food 2service 5ambience 5

The good - had the cashew salsa and the civeche...both excellent. Then we had the shrimp Diablo...it was terrible, it left a horrible taste in our mouths and was overcooked. I was quite disappointed, I really thought it was going to be great. We will prob try again, hoping the main dish was just a bad night.

OT
New York Area
6 reviews
Dined on 22 September 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Enjoyed my time here. The service is great and the food is fresh. Definitely going back.

OT
Washington DC
1 review
Dined on 21 September 2019
Overall 1food 2service 4ambience 2

Better off somewhere else. Food was meh and drinks were small.

r
Chicago
6 reviews
Dined on 18 September 2019
Overall 5food 5service 3ambience 4

Really good food. Waitress wasn’t very attentive

SA
Chicago
3 reviews
Dined on 17 September 2019
Overall 5food 5service 3ambience 4

The margaritas are amazing!! The food is really good and perfect to share. We did the taco Tuesday deal which was perfect for a quick dinner since we all had work the next day and didnt want to go nuts. Would definitely be fun to go all out and do the prix fix menu. I'll be back for that

CC
Baltimore
3 reviews
Dined on 15 September 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

The service and food were fantastic.

OT
1 review
Dined on 14 September 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

We were on a double date with friends, it was a bit hard to hear each other and have a conversation but either than that everything was great: the hostess, server, drinks, food, ambiance, etc.

J
New York Area
5 reviews
Dined on 14 September 2019
Overall 4food 4service 3ambience 4

Recommend the guacamole and chips. Vegan options - eggplant tacos and mole - were good. Enjoyed the outdoor patio.

r
Raleigh
241 reviews
Dined on 31 August 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

I’ve been to Espita before, a few times. I thought it was okay. Tonight was different. Tonight it was superb. They’ve added a 3 course prix fixe menu, and it works well. The ceviche is excellent - *very* highly recommended. Both the Camarones and the Tamale were delicious entrees. My wife and I had one or the other. The next time we come, we’re flipping. And the churros are different (black?) but very tasty. Love the cocktails based on mescal. Eat outdoors if at all possible. And enjoy. Espita is a delight. Excellent service, too, I might add.

a
New England
3 reviews
Dined on 30 August 2019
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 4

Great service and affordable option on menu to choose a three course meal. Great to pick and share.

b
Washington DC
1 review
Dined on 27 August 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

5-star service. Great for catching up with friends or dinner after work. The staff was excellent and knowledgeable and the food was amazing. Great DC spot.

JG
1 review
Dined on 26 August 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

I love this place, and the knowledgeable service staff! Always a nice experience. Also excited to see they've added a prix fixe menu option that I'll definitely be taking advantage of at some point so I can eat that incredible churros dessert again, like on my birthday. Highly recommend.

B
Washington DC
15 reviews
Dined on 25 August 2019
Overall 3food 3service 4ambience 3

Went for Sunday brunch. We arrived as they opened and were fortunate to be able to sit on the patio. The music inside the restaurant was way too loud. Our server was great and provided the right mix of attention without being intrusive. We split the guacamole which was excellent. My friend had huevos rancheros which he enjoyed. I had the chicken and waffles which was overpowered by chipotles. The syrup was chipotle, the butter had chipolte and the breading on the chicken had chipolte. It was just too much. Thank goodness our water glasses were never empty.

SM
1 review
Dined on 24 August 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Had a super great meal during restaurant week, so it was also a good deal. The options for vegetarian/vegan are somewhat limited but what I had was delicious. Only complaint is there wasn’t any sort of protein - they would benefit from adding another veg option with beans or soy chorizo. Otherwise super tasty and the house margarita had a smoky spice on the rim! I would go back.

SG
Washington DC
2 reviews
Dined on 23 August 2019
Overall 3food 3service 5ambience 4

It has always been one of my favorite paces. But, no longer. The quality has decreased and the menu is tired. The passion seems to have decreased. I hope it finds itself again.

DL
Houston
63 reviews
Dined on 22 August 2019
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 4

It was pretty good. Our server could have been more attentive. The lamb roast was good but utterly flavorless, whereas the chicken tamale was quite well seasoned. The churros were odd. Not at all what we expected.

OT
Philadelphia
1 review
Dined on 21 August 2019
Overall 3food 2service 5ambience 4

Very nice interior and great service. The food however was a real disappointment. The price point for what you actually get was way off. The Carnitas tacos were very good. The lamb and the eggplant tacos were bland and a bit of a let down. Great cocktails were what made the meal and the subsequent bill palatable.

OT
Washington DC
1 review
Dined on 19 August 2019
Overall 2food 4service 1ambience 2

The server, if we even had one, was totally absent. A different person greeted us initially, many minutes later a whole different person took our order, then never came back again.

MA
Washington DC
25 reviews
Dined on 18 August 2019
Overall 2food 4service 4ambience 1

I have excellent hearing but the noise level at brunch on Sunday was completely off the rails. It totally ruined my dining experience. The pounding music only exacerbated the situation. I will not be back.

JG
Tallahassee
11 reviews
Dined on 17 August 2019
Overall 5food 5service 4ambience 4

We love this place - the food and drinks are excellent. It is loud though - we were happy that the hostess managed to re-seat us in the back, where we could hear each other talk without vocal distress!

KM
1 review
Dined on 17 August 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Espita not only has great food but also has amazing staff. I had a very special request for them and they came through in the best way! Definitely recommend the boozy brunch!

JZ
Washington DC
2 reviews
Dined on 16 August 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Excellent food, unique drinks, and nice atmosphere

PT
Washington DC
1 review
Dined on 16 August 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Lovely evening to sit outside and had great service & conversation with waiter, Michael! A great girls’ night out!!!

LK
1 review
Dined on 13 August 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

I had a blast I will come back always want more chips!

OT
Chicago
1 review
Dined on 10 August 2019
Overall 5food 5service 4ambience 5

Delicious food and take on Mexican cuisine

LM
New England
11 reviews
Dined on 10 August 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Fantastic food that manages to be comforting and sophisticated AND beautiful. Astonishing complexity and inventiveness in every bite. Excellent cocktail program, designed by someone who clearly knows agave spirits well. Barbacoa was the star of this meal, though the Tamal was nothing to sneeze at. Beautiful food and drink!

S
San Antonio
3 reviews
Dined on 5 August 2019
Overall 4food 5service 5ambience 4

Not a huge selection of entrees but excellent flavor combinations in appetizers and entrees. I live in San Antonio, so I eat at a lot of Mexican restaurants. I would call this one upscale Mexican.

BN
Washington DC
40 reviews
Dined on 2 August 2019
Overall 3food 4service 4ambience 4

Place is trendy and has a buzz. Service was good though you have to constantly ask for water refill. Overall food quality was interesting not the standard Mexican fare. But portions are small and most are overpriced. FYI example small plate ceviche at $16 was spicy with only a few morsels of seafood. Fish tacos was ok. Chicken tamal (big plate at $19) was more like a taster menu. Disappointing!

OT
Charlotte
2 reviews
Dined on 2 August 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Authentic, very yummy! Service was amazing!

RR
Tahoe
3 reviews
Dined on 2 August 2019
Overall 4food 4service 5ambience 4

Food and drink were good but not outstanding. Nothing special about the space and the Friday night crowd was a bit noisy. Staff was excellent from hostesses to servers, bartenders, and bus.

L
1 review
Dined on 1 August 2019
Overall 3food 3service 3ambience 3

I think the noise level was the main problem for me. Quite a bar scene and had to yell to have a conversation over dinner. That distracted me from my food, which was good - just would have been a lot better if we had been able to converse easily.

CA
Washington DC
2 reviews
Dined on 1 August 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

Date night

D
Minneapolis
19 reviews
Dined on 30 July 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

A friend and I sat at the bar for dinner. The bar tenders are knowledgeable about the drinks, of course, but also about the food. We asked them what to order, and they steered us well. I’m a big fan of this place. Fun atmosphere too.

s
Chicago
31 reviews
Dined on 30 July 2019
Overall 5food 5service 4ambience 5

The tacos we had for Taco Tuesday were delicious and great value at $3 a piece. Get the carnitas taco! Happy hour margaritas at half price were in smaller cups, about half the volume so you get what you pay for. Though they were still good margaritas. Decor is cool, and there are misters outside for those hot and humid days. Definitely recommend!

D
Washington DC
5 reviews
Dined on 28 July 2019
Overall 2food 5service 2ambience 2

I requested a table for an anniversary, despite it being a Sunday, and put in a note on the reservation. No reference was made to the anniversary by staff and we were sat in the middle of a busy section when other areas were empty and much quieter. Our table wasnt level, and even after asking the waitress she couldn't get it perfect. Within 10 minutes of arriving we saw another couple get seated in the quiet area and were a bit disappointed. The food itself was delicious, but expensive. An entree with one tamale is hardly an entree, and I think portion sizes could be bigger (thats coming from a 155lb male). All in all, I'd go back for drinks and appetizers, but never for a serious meal.

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