If you’re looking for one of the most authentic taquerias in the Washington metropolitan area, look no further than Taqueria La Placita. This small restaurant, nested in an area of Hyattsville aptly dubbed “Little Mexico”, is as genuine as it gets.
Just minutes away from the DC border, Taqueria La Placita has been recognized by the Washingtonian in their Cheap Eats column two years in a row (their tacos graced this year’s Cheap Eats cover). Given that my friend Betsy and I have been working in Prince George’s County for well, awhile, a visit was long overdue.
The location is a little peculiar as it is situated on more of a residential road as opposed to the major thoroughfare of Kenilworth Avenue, but that helps give it its charm. The setup is rather simple: you order your tacos from the counter, pay for your meal, then take a seat as you wait for the kitchen to prepare them.
There are 20 tacos to choose from, and while some of the ingredients might intimidate some newcomers, bear in mind that you’re not stepping inside Taco Bell. This is the real deal, folks.
A menu of tacos, each with its own picture, hangs above the fridge that houses juices and sodas, including glass bottles of Mexican Coca-Cola. Selections range from traditional meats, such as chicken and pork, to the more adventurous – from tripe to pork ear to even cabeza (we’ll let you figure that one out).
I went with the pastor (spiced pork), carne asada (grilled steak), and barbacoa (lamb BBQ). The meats were stuffed inside piping hot two-ply corn tortillas right from the griddle and accompanied with onion, cilantro, lime, radishes, and cucumbers.
The pastor, which features marinated pork shaved off a spit with strips of pineapple and some onion, was my favorite of the three. That’s not to say the other two weren’t good, because I certainly cleaned my plate by the time we were finished. Each table also has three jars of condiments: red and green salsas, and chiles and onions. If you’re a fan of spice, the latter is your friend.
Between six tacos and two sodas, our lunch came out to less than $20. You can’t do much better than that, especially in this area. I can’t wait to go back and try the cecina (salted beef) and lengua (beef tongue). And to think, I couldn’t even eat a hot dog with mustard on it back when I was a kid. Look at me now, Mom!