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  • Tico

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Tico Details

  • Dining Style: Casual Dining
  • Website: http://www.ticorestaurant.com
  • Phone: (202) 319-1400
  • Hours of Operation: Opening daily at 5pm.
  • Payment Options: AMEX, MasterCard, Visa
  • Cuisine: American, Latin / Spanish, Tapas / Small Plates
  • Executive Chef: Michael Schlow/George Rodrigues
  • Dress Code: Casual Dress
  • Accepts Walk-Ins: Yes
  • Additional Details: Banquet/Private Rooms, Bar Dining, Bar/Lounge, Beer, Counter Seating, Dancing, Full Bar, Gluten-free Menu, Happy Hour, Private Room, Takeout, Weekend Brunch, Wine

Getting there

  • Cross Street: U Street
  • Public Transit: We are one block from the 13th street exit of the Green/Yellow line"s U-Street/Cardoza stop.
  • Parking: Street Parking
  • Parking Details: There is a lot across the street next to Black and Orange and we hope to add Valet Parking in the near future.
A word from Tico
TICO, an affectionate name for a local in Costa Rica, is gently influenced by chef/owner Michael Schlow’s travels to Spain, Mexico and Latin America, and was named one of the “Best New Restaurants in America” by Esquire magazine. The rustic space evokes a sense of communal dining with smaller, tapas-style options to share, offering whimsical dishes that creatively blend flavors from all over the world. TICO has a playful, inviting vibe as it boasts an open kitchen with six stools at the ceviche bar to observe the behind-the-scenes action. TICO offers an extensive beverage program including draft and craft cocktails, local breweries and wines from Central and South American, Spain and the US.Continued
Foodspotting photos
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Awards voted by OpenTable diners
  • Diners' Choice WinnerHot Spot
Diner Reviews
  • "Great food - great service. We had a reservations at 9 for a party of 8 and we were seated right on time. This is a good restaurant.. I will go back."
    Dined on 7/25/2014
  • "Tico is doing some of the most inventive and delicious Latin influenced cooking in DC. The service is great, the ambiance is terrific, the drinks are wonderful and it is reasonable to boot."
    Dined on 7/25/2014
  • "The food was amazing. Everything we tried was incredible - lb meatballs, duck tacos, octopus, grilled cauliflower, Serrano ham. Service was also very good."
    Dined on 7/24/2014
  • "Excellent food in a vibrant setting that still allows for conversation. Sharing small plates gives a sense of the chef's range, but does add up to a pricey evening."
    Dined on 7/22/2014
  • "I live on 14 Street & have been to all the new restaurants. Tico is one of my new favorites! I cannot say enough positive things about it. Go, you will love it!"
    Dined on 7/19/2014
  • "Good food, lots of energy but noise level too high at times for serious conversation. Would return without hesitation."
    Dined on 7/19/2014
  • "We chose Tico for a small birthday party celebration for 5. Great Hibiscus Margarita's. Glad we took the waiter's advice and got the pitcher. The food was served quickly and tasted great. Our favorites: the edamame tacos and roasted cauliflower dishes. The corn dish is deliciously spicy so some mixed it with the risotto. One of the cheese morsels was empty of cheese, but the waiter quickly replaced the dish with no questions. Our only suggestion for improvement: change the cleaning solution or towels used to clean the tables. We noticed a funky sour smell as soon as we sat down and was happy when the food showed up to mask the odor."
    Dined on 7/19/2014
  • "I wasn't expecting much, as a lot of small plate kind of places seem to be a let down. But I was pleasantly surprised! The food was great - I tried several items with a friend. The staff was also very attentive!"
    Dined on 7/19/2014
  • "Went here on a date night. Was really excited about a new restaurant. But frankly, tapas are starting to get a bit tiresome. Two of us spent $150 and we left a bit hungry. Some of the side dishes were a bit boring. We had a fancy sounding corn dish and it was corn with some bacon in it. I might consider going back for a drink, but they are going to have to work on their menu a bit. I should have known it was strange to walk in at dinner time and get a seat without a wait on 14th St."
    Dined on 7/17/2014
  • "The food is fine; however, the service was very rushed. I got the sense that they wanted us to move along so they could turn over the table. Lacks the wonderful, friendly, lively atmosphere that Barcelona excels at. Go there instead. I know that's where I'll be next time."
    Dined on 7/16/2014
  • "more "small plates" in a sea of small plate restaurants up and down 14th street. Doesn't anyone offer a decent serving size for a decent price anymore? I'm tired to being charged the price of an entree for a few small bites on a "small plate". The $13 ceviche consisted of 4 tiny bites and $12 was charged for two miniscule tacos. Four small plates and one beer cost $80. Ridiculous and outrageous. I will not be back."
    Dined on 7/15/2014
  • "Maybe it's because we so fondly remember El Paraiso, the hole in the wall that used to be in this space, but despite really enjoying the food (esp. the corn, peas, and softshells) we ended up feeling like the check was a bit steep for the overall experience. But now that we know how to order, we'll be back. And it's hard to resist that hibiscus margarita..."
    Dined on 7/13/2014
  • "We went here with a large group of girls as a last night out before two of our best friends left DC. The food was amazing and our waiter brought us complimentary cookies and milk at the end. He knew when we needed something, but also left us alone to enjoy each other's company. I will definitely be coming back."
    Dined on 7/13/2014
  • "A friend told me that I just "had" to go to Tico. Enough said - 1 week later my husband and I made reservations and boy were we pleased. The atmosphere was energetic, the cocktails (especially the Hibiscus Margarita ON DRAFT), the fresh fare - were all simply amazing. My husband had the Prime Skirt Steak with veggies and I had the spicy fish tacos and cabbage salad. Both were tasty, fresh and we'd definitely order them again. With regard to ambiance: What's not to love about being able to people watch while sitting in a window seat on busy 14th St eating delicious food. Next time we're going to be a little more adverturous and try something on the "Can't Decide" section of the menu."
    Dined on 7/12/2014
  • "We shared significant parts of the menu and EVERYTHING was excellent! The watermelon salad was fantastic as was the soft shell crab preparation specifically. Lots of great buzz in this restaurant coupled with seriously well prepared food makes it worthy of many more visits. Great addition to 14th St and an excellent alternative to Estadio (that we also love)."
    Dined on 7/12/2014
  • "Great addition to the neighborhood. Food was terrific and service was great."
    Dined on 7/11/2014
  • "The food was delish. Must get the sweet corn and the fried chicken taco. Don't forget about the cauliflower! But our server Stevie was my favorite part of the meal. She made us very happy."
    Dined on 7/11/2014
  • "We chose the 55.per person option for two. This was 5 small plates (chef's choice), 2 tacos (chef"s choice) entree to share and dessert. Food was fantastic!! This is not a Spanish tapa place but more an America place with a great twist. Great service! I drove in to meet a friend at 5 on a weekday. You cannot park in Reeves until 6. Website should state this."
    Dined on 7/10/2014
  • "The lamb entrée is fabulous. Servers are very friendly and helpful. Very happy it's in my neighborhood."
    Dined on 7/9/2014
  • "Should have just done the small plates. They were wonderful but because of a review decided to order the famous lamb dish. It was good but the small plates we shared were faboulous. Great location, very relaxed atmosphere"
    Dined on 7/9/2014
  • "TICO is a large space that was well constructed to try and manage sound; it has a food bar, regular bar and two dining spaces--and an open kitchen--all very nice. I thought the food was good but not at the level of other new 14th street places. Pitcher of margaritas was a pitcher of ice with some margarita! Overall management of the dining room needs improvement--many employees rushing around almost at random--walking distances but not checking tables on the way back. Coordination between bar, waiter and table drink delivery poor. Some food came very quickly--like 2 minutes, well before drinks. Waiters are trained to obviously push-push-push. In the end, needs team bonding/training/staff peripheral vision and attention to timing and tempo."
    Dined on 7/8/2014
  • "I've been to Tico twice in the last month and have had great experiences. I love that the tables are not on top of one another (though I've heard they'll be adding more seats soon), which makes for an intimate dining experience. Having tried a number of the menu items I've only been disappointed once (with the fried manchengo cheese that on the first visit tasted like there wasn't much cheese). The menu is creative and the portions are pretty good for tapas. I usually don't order mac and cheese and it's out of this world. Love how the windows open when the weather cooperates. Also love the décor, it's very inviting. All around Tico is a very welcome addition to the neighborhood."
    Dined on 7/5/2014
  • "Great atmosphere with the front windows open feels like an open air restaurant. We sampled small plates, recommend shrimp, spinach salad, asparagus, and calamari. Food comes out very quickly from the kitchen. Can get a little noisy if you are near the big table that buffers the bar. Unfortunately, one patron was wasted and very loud within a large group, otherwise music and energy of the place is great."
    Dined on 7/5/2014
  • "After the chef finds his footing on spices for lamb and for fish, this will be a great place for a fun evening. While there are entrees, priced a bit on the high side, the format is small plates, which our adept server described as "small'. They were tasty, and she was right. I hope the small plates fad passes. Wine is pricey, as are desserts, even for this neighborhood. Tico has a great buzz, and has been ingeniously designed so that the hard surfaces absorb the sound. You can hear your dining companion, and aren't party to your neighbors' conversations. Like its competitors, Tico seems to restrict online reservations to around 6 and after 9, however far ahead you book. It's a fun space, but I'm not sure I'd stand at the bar to wait."
    Dined on 7/5/2014
  • "The restaurant has a really cool dining space in which an entire wall of windows can be opened so that the dining room is completely exposed to the street outside. It is perfect for cooler summer or spring nights and a great effect. The service was exceptional and the food was quite good."
    Dined on 7/4/2014
  • "The food was very good and the service was impeccable."
    Dined on 7/4/2014
  • "Interesting menu...different from the usual, great drinks and enjoyed everything that we ordered."
    Dined on 7/3/2014
  • "14th st is getting a bit crowded with tapas style restaurants. There are a few notable dishes that other places do not have. Tico's mac and cheese was one of them - it had a bit of kick to it. Also good was the chicharones. For those of you that are not familiar with this dish, think home made pork rinds. The lamb meatballs, chorizo, and octopus was nothing spectacular."
    Dined on 7/2/2014
  • "Get the tasting! All the food is great and you get a lot of value and bang for ur buck when you get the tasting. Everything is wonderful from the peas, cauliflower to the ceviches and the octopus. The service was friendly and attentive but most importantly it was fun! The restaurant does a great job to make the experience fun. Don't loose that!"
    Dined on 6/30/2014
  • "Sitting in front of the Ceviche prep area was simply amazing. While talking, my partner and I looked in amazement at the dishes being sent out and the skills employed by the Chefs. Throughout the night, we were able to trade a few words with Chef Aleksander Canales, who was charged with pretty much the entire station by himself, and then some. The speed and impressive quality of his work was accompanied by clever wit and hearty demeanor, and we were not let down when our dishes arrived. We would recommend Tico again, specifically at the Ceviche bar area where Chef Aleksander will simply amaze, and add some fun laughter into your conversations!"
    Dined on 6/29/2014
  • "The quality of food was really really great. I completely understand that it is a new establishment but my only complaint would be the waiting we had to do for drinks and then food. It was awesome food and the ambience was lovely and open. definitely a fun atmosphere of you like it musically inclined andlively!"
    Dined on 6/28/2014
  • "We went to Tico the other night and while we enjoyed some delicious food, the restaurant was loud and crowded and our server was down right rude. As a bartender I am aware of what on tap is but when I asked about the Margaritas on Tap she looked at me like I had two heads and said it's like on draft. When I inquired as to from where, like is it made in house or purchased somewhere, I was told it was made in house before she sulked off. I understand that it was busy and she probably had a lot going on but a smile goes a long way. The food was really good but the poor service ruined it. It will be some time before I return to try it again if I do at all."
    Dined on 6/27/2014
  • "We decided to give TiCO a try after seeing lots on buzz about its opening. Oftentimes food and drink does not measure up to hype, here it exceeded it. Delicious roasted beats, gambas, asparagus with hazelnuts, and many more very good small plates. Service was cordial and efficient. Great place to unwind with friends on a Friday night."
    Dined on 6/27/2014
  • "restaurant is new, still have some issues with their reservation system. had to wait a significant amount of time before being seated."
    Dined on 6/26/2014
  • "Altogether a very great evening. Everything was memorable in all of the best ways, reception, food, service, and cost. A wonderful attraction to get folks down to the U. Street / 14th Street corridors."
    Dined on 6/26/2014
  • "The duck taco was excellent, but the lamb meatballs were disappointing."
    Dined on 6/25/2014
  • "I've already been to Tico twice since it opened two weeks ago and I will be back soon I'm sure. Everything I've tried so far has been delicious. Love all the tacos, the sweet corn is amazing, and the desserts are even good. The service so far has been very friendly and attentive. Tico is a great addition to an already food-strong neighborhood!"
    Dined on 6/24/2014
  • "Initially I was coming by myself but at the last minute I changed the reservation for 2 people. As I arrived at the restaurant, another friend showed up. The hostess was very accommodating and found another table for me. The food and drinks were great. The server gave us tidbits about the chef, drink lists, and menu. They even made dietary changes to an item due to a food allergy. I had a great birthday dinner and I'll definitely be coming back again!"
    Dined on 6/23/2014
  • "Seemed like this place popped up overnight, but it was PACKED when I walked by. So I tried it out on a Monday evening for dinner around 8p. The server was over almost immediately, and literally...she was one of the highlights of the experience. Her name is Stevie and she couldn't have been more friendly and helpful when suggesting choices of the menu. We started off with the crispy manchego cheese, calamari, and the serrano ham. All were really flavorful and actually pretty filling. We then ordered two types of tacos...the spicy fish and the crunchy fried chicken. Both were fantastic! All in all, great flavor and food options, and the breeze coming through the entire wall of windows was refreshing."
    Dined on 6/23/2014
  • "Even though this restaurant has been open a short time the servers and the kitchen handle the choreography of bringing dishes on time and at the right temperature flawlessly. Incredible flavors in all the dishes that we tried: sweet corn with a hint of hot spice, octopus 'a la plancha', chorizo risotto, blood sausage with peppers and a delicious banana split with chocolate ice cream and caramel. Completing the picture is a wonderful space with great artwork and fun music. Keep up the good work and thank you Stevie for making the evening fun!"
    Dined on 6/21/2014