Date Night: Oyamel Cocina Mexicana

If you have lived in DC for any length of time, José Andrés is a household name. With the name comes a hefty reputation for great food and killer atmosphere.  Though we have been to Oyamel Cocina Mexicana several times in the past for guacamole and cocktails, we finally had dinner for Date Night.


Oyamel boasts some of the finest Mexican cuisine in the city, but deviates slightly by offering a small plates style menu. Al and I are big fans of the small plate concept, as we love to share (and then order more).  It should come as no surprise that our evening started off with an order of tableside guacamole. Last summer we began our search for DC’s best guac, and Oyamel has remained on our list of top 3. This experience was no different, but we caution that when you order “hot” – it is. We find that ordering hot elsewhere results in a medium experience, but Oyamel delivers on the spicy front. It’s a typical amount for $12, though we feel $12 in this city should get you a little more bang for your buck.

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Guac Makers at Work
AFTER – we generally lick it clean.

It’s easy to overeat when it comes to good food, so we’ve started to favor taco plates at Mexican restaurants, and we are glad we did at Oyamel. Al ordered the Taco de hongos con crema, whch consisted of sauteed wild mushrooms, which is the only food from which I steer clear (fungi??), and I ordered the chicken tacos.  In addition to our tacos we decided to try the frijoles refritos con queso, which in short are refried beans stuffed with cheese. The appearance of the plate brought smiles to both of our faces, but the taste was worth the slightly suggestive appearance. We have had the french fries(we highly recommend), but this time we also tried the meatballs – delicious and consumed too quickly.

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Oyamel-11 Oyamel-12The service was good, but the atmosphere in Oyamel is always top notch. There is not your stereotypical Mexican decor, but rather the bright, loud colors are employed in a more creative way with the inclusion of butterflies throughout the restaurant. There is a ceviche bar  (next time…) and  several small dining spaces located off the main room.

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We appreciate the modern twist and small plates, and though dinner was good, we find that we’ve enjoyed the experience of cocktails, guacamole, and appetizers at the bar even more. There is no doubt we’ll be returning soon for what is bound to be another wonderful experience.


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