Espita Mezcaleria

4.5
157 reviews
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$31 to $50
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Mexican
Top Tags:
  • Handcrafted Cocktails
  • Fun
  • Creative Cuisine
Welcome to Espita. We’re about to take you on a journey through our experiences in southern Mexico. We are inspired by how innovative the culinary scene in Oaxaca is, attracting world class chefs to explore regional flavors and techniques while pushing the concept of what Mexican food is beyond tradition.

One of the first things you notice eating in Oaxaca and the surrounding states is the difference in the tortillas. At Espita, our masa program is at the heart of our kitchen. We use a traditional style molino to grind our nixtamal fresh every day to make the best tortillas available outside of Oaxaca. Beyond our masa, our menu explores several lesser known dishes that are native to the region like our Wagyu Apache or Tlayuda. We are excited to share with you how wonderful authentic southern Mexican food can be.

Additionally, we have additional walk in availability on our beautiful enclosed and heated patio if you are unable to secure a reservation.
Dining Style
Casual Elegant
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Cuisines
Mexican, Regional Mexican, Latin American
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Hours of operation
Brunch
Sat, Sun 10:30 am–2:30 pm
Lunch
Mon–Fri 11:30 am–2:30 pm
Happy Hour
Daily 2:30 pm–6:00 pm
Dinner
Daily 5:00 pm–10:00 pm
Bar
Mon–Thu 10:00 pm–12:00 am
Fri, Sat 10:00 pm–2:00 am
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Phone number
(202) 621-9695
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Payment options
AMEX, Discover, MasterCard, Visa
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Dress code
Casual Dress
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Executive chef
Robert Aikens
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Private party facilities
Does your office party need more mezcal? Book your next event at Espita! With three distinct areas of the restaurant, we have just the right capacity and venue to make your event special. We can offer semi private events inside by renting out our front or back dining room based on party size, or if you want something more intimate and private, we have a beautiful enclosed and heated patio that is perfect for an evening cocktail party, year round! Please contact us at kelly@espitadc.com to get a quote and design the menus for your perfect event.
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Private party contact
Kelly Phillips: (877) 206-7111
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Neighborhood
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Cross street
N st. NW
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Parking details
There is street parking in the neighborhood or a paid parking lot at City Market at O, on 9th Street between O & P.
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Public transit
Espita is located conveniently in the Shaw neighborhood of Washington, DC, across from the Convention Center. We are a short walk from the Mount Vernon Metro stop, and a quick walk from either Penn Quarter or Logan Circle, or a quick Uber/Lyft from anywhere in the city. Looking forward to seeing you!
Additional
Banquet, Bar/Lounge, Beer, Cocktails, Corkage Fee, Counter Seating, Full Bar, Gluten-free Menu, Happy Hour, Late Night, Non-Smoking, Outdoor dining, Patio/Outdoor Dining, View, Weekend Brunch, Wheelchair Access, Wine
What 157 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
4.4
food
4.3
service
4.4
ambience
4.0
value
Noise · Moderate
85% of people would recommend it to a friend
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4.0Dined 2 days ago

As a lover of mezcal, I was disappointed with the drinks. The food was better than average but not great. Service and ambiance, however, was great. I’ll go back and give it one more try.

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5.0Dined on June 17, 2018

We have been here for dinner a few times, but this was our first brunch. The Avocado Tostada and Churro French Toast were amazing. The fixed price menu was a good value. The waitress was very thoughtful. We will definitely return.

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4.0Dined on June 16, 2018

After a successful birthday dinner with friends, I had two main impressions of Espita Mezcaleria.

The first is that the establishment puts great care in the sourcing and preparation of food and drink. The mezcal list, if one is into that spirit, is quite impressive. (I found that while my mezcal margarita was quite well made, I really prefer my margaritas be made with tequila.) All the food -- down to tortillas and chips, as well as my seafood items and veggie accompaniments -- is first rate. And our server did an excellent job of explaining the menu -- and the restaurant's sourcing practices.

All of which brings up my my second overriding impression -- the pretension level of the establishment, if not through the roof, is quite formidable. Mexican cooking can involve elaborate presentations. But that's not what is served here. Much of the menu is essentially devoted to artisanal tacos. And while the tacos are excellent -- and worth the premium prices -- a good deal of what is served here is essentially street food with a healthy dose of attitude.

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4.0Dined on June 16, 2018

Food was flavorful; service and staff were courteous and attentive.

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4.0Dined on June 5, 2018

Innovative contemporary Mexican with tantalizing textural and flavor profiles🌺Roasted cauliflower with hazelnuts and pomegranate seeds was Amazing ‼️

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5.0Dined on May 26, 2018

The food was not run of the Mexican food. Instead, it was authentic Mexican-Oaxaca dishes and cocktails with Mezcal were excellent. Our server, Hannah did a fantastic job and was friendly.

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2.0Dined on May 26, 2018

I felt the price was too high for the quality and quantity of the food. It was good food yes, but not good enough to merit the price.

The chips served with the guacamole felt as if they came straight out of a bag, and the bowl the guacamole was served in was cold, which lead me to believe that it was batched, and they just pull one out from the refrigerator when a table orders guac. You do not get the table side-made guacamole we have all come to expect at "fancy" Mexican style restaurants.

The chiliaquiles used the same bagged tortilla chips as they serve with the guacamole, making the dish feel more like a dip than an entree. It would have been nice for them to at least heat up with chips and make them a little softer and easier to eat the entree with a fork. The red onions in the dish were served completely raw, which could have been on purpose, and if that is the case I recommend the restaurant and chef reevaluate that decision.

The house made margarita was delicious. If you are looking for a good margarita this is a good place.

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4.0Dined on May 26, 2018

Amazing food and service, sat on the covered patio, it was very loud!

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4.0Dined on May 20, 2018

The food was great, the server(s) knowledgeable, and the service prompt. My only slight is to the noise level. With concrete floors, hard ceilings, and hard walls, the full restaurant during brunch made conversation between friends a chore without screaming to each other.

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3.0Dined on May 20, 2018

The huevos rancheros were AMAZING (and on a previous occasion I've had the churro french toast, also A+), but I am always less pleased when you can't get a side of fries (or at least papas al mole!) with brunch. Would recommend that you add an option for sides. I was not impressed with the bloody mary either - maybe it's the chile salt rim, but it tasted weird to me.

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3.0Dined on May 19, 2018

I have been there before for brunch - which i loved. I went this past weekend for dinner and was not very impressed. The service was average, the sizes were too small. 10$ for a guac that me and husband could finish in like 3 mins :O Not sure if i would go again. There were some creative cocktails though :)

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5.0Dined on May 13, 2018

It was great

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5.0Dined on May 12, 2018

Best brunch I’ve had in DC! The churros French toast was to die for!

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5.0Dined on May 12, 2018

Excellent food. Great signature cocktails. Very friendly

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5.0Dined on May 12, 2018

The food is unbelievable. This plan will introduce you to authentic Oxacan cuisine. Loved the patio dining.

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2.0Dined on May 10, 2018

Little bit pretentious obviously appealing to young upwardly mobile professionals who think they should be seen eating there. Portions were small though well presented. I expect more for that sort of money.

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5.0Dined on May 6, 2018

Our waitress was rather green but pleasant. She spilled on us, the table but did get the order correct fir my friend who has Celiac Disease. We appreciate that very much. Overall, the experience was very good.

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4.0Dined on May 6, 2018

I’ll definitely return

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5.0Dined on May 5, 2018

Fantastic authentic Oaxacan food. We ordered the Ceviche for an appetizer. Hamachi and pomegranate tasted great. My wife ordered the Tlayuda and the pork was flavorful. I ordered the Tacos de Pescado and the fish was lightly fried and crispy. Cocktails were expertly handcrafted. I highly suggest visiting Espita Mezcaleria.

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3.0Dined on May 5, 2018

Limited menu, sets itself up as authentic Oaxacan style food and drinks, but nothing on the menu related to the food would be anything I tend to think of as Oaxacan. No salty string like cheese, no mole, no elote, no squash blossom chocolate tinged specialties... I was kind of let down, but I tried the fish tacos knowing I generally do like fish tacos. For $35 you get two breaded and fried fillets, 6 corn tortillas, half an avocado, a small bit of shredded cabbage some green leaves, and half a small lime (key lime style). It was ok, not really good, but just ok. For $35 it was not at all worth it. I've had much better fish tacos for under $10 in little hole in the wall places that would blow these out of the water.

The person who ordered the pork tacos liked their food, as well as the person who ordered squid ink something or another (also not very Oaxacan).

Go if you want, it's a pretty looking venue, very hipster, and very loud during our visit, but the food is mediocre, so don't get super excited. I won't be back, but I do hope to find an authentic Mexican restaurant soon, and if it's Oaxacan, all the better!

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4.0Dined on May 5, 2018

Came with friends for cinco de mayo brunch and was happy with our choices overall. We all chose the pre fix brunch and bottomless cocktails (which were amazing). The food however was nothing exciting. Very small portions and pricey. Great for a special occasion or ordering off the regular menu for a better deal.

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5.0Dined on April 28, 2018

I can not wait to go back!!! The hibiscus margarita is served on tap and sneaks up on you. The chips, guacamole and salsas were amazing. My favorite was the marañón salsa. It is cashew-based; sweet and a tiny bit spicy. I definitely reccomend buying all three salsas for 3 bucks each. It is totally worth it! My entree was the Tlayuda. It is a blue corn tortilla with Adobo pork, quesillo, and fermented salsa fresco. It's pretty big, especially after snacking on chips and salsa. The flavors were out of this world and the texture ranged from crunchy, firm, to soft. I absolutely can not wait to go back and try other entree's. What a great experience overall!

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4.0Dined on April 22, 2018

Great place, great food. It was a bit loud to have a conversation but that’s not the restaurant fault.

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5.0Dined on April 21, 2018

Came here for brunch to celebrate my birthday. The service was excellent, food and drinks were delicious. Thank you!

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4.0Dined on April 15, 2018

Great service. Staff was very accommodating. Sunday’s get busy, be sure to book a reservation.

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3.0Dined on April 15, 2018

Went to brunch here with a friend. I did the prixfixe and she ordered ala carte. They were a little stingy with the drinks, and they weren't even strong, which I thought was weird. They also never brought my dessert, so I thought that was a bit rude. I had forgotten about it since I was getting full, but after I paid the full bill, I realized it was never given, much less offered.
My friend ordered the churro french toast, which she assumed would be french toast made from Churros. It was not, it was regular french toast with 2-3 bites of churro on the same plate. Quite disappointing. I wouldn't go back here by preference...

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2.0Dined on April 15, 2018

The service undid our experience - we were very polite to each wait person, and asked for a group photo at the start as we had several guests visiting from Australia, and we were rebuffed. When we asked later, the server did everything else but take our photo even after saying "sure, just give me a sec" - he never came back. The food was VERY slow to arrive - about 1 hour after placing our order, it finally arrived -- at 10:45pm. The kitchen can't have been slammed as there was barely anyone ordering food at that time. Will not return.

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5.0Dined on April 13, 2018

Great find! We were out of towners and in the neighborhood . Great food! Great, knowledgeable servers!

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4.0Dined on April 12, 2018

Great food, friendly service. I loved the fish tacos. Quesodidnot live up to my expectations but it was still enjoyed. I would like to see them expand their beer list too. Looking forward to trying some other dishes.

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4.0Dined on April 8, 2018

Though the dining menu is limited, the kitchen shines for a place where drinks are the star, and the drinks are really good.

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2.0Dined on April 8, 2018

We had a reservation for brunch; however, we missed brunch because parking was very hard to find. The area is extremely busy. We had what was considered happy hour service and was very disappointed. The food was not good nor were the drinks...Very dissatisfied.

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4.0Dined on April 8, 2018

It was Delicious beautiful setting, huge drink selection. The best authentic Orchata! Very savory you should not walk away stuffed.

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5.0Dined on April 7, 2018

Great atmosphere & unique, DELICIOUS menu!! Can’t wait to return!!

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5.0Dined on April 7, 2018

As the menu states, this place is authentic, not traditional. Amazing flavors from southern mexico presented in fresh and imaginative ways

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5.0Dined on April 7, 2018

Our server was working her first solo shift, and she did a great job!

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5.0Dined on April 5, 2018

This was the best meal I have had in DC in along time. We ate strictly vegetarian, cauliflor tacos, roasted pepper tamale, a wonderful nut salsa, guacamole and the most divine potatoes. Shared between two with a flight of mescal. The chef is very creative and put together some beautiful and delicious food. This was not your usual meal, it was special but not out of reach for good authentic mexican food., with tip about $100 for two. I would definitely visit again with my vegan/vegetarian friends.

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3.0Dined on April 3, 2018

They have changed their menu and no longer focus on moles, which were their strongest dishes. Now it is just a Mexican restaurant with some Oaxacan dishes. In reality, it just costs too much money for what it is. Just go around to El Sol for a great Mexican meal for a good price.

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3.0Dined on April 2, 2018

They were informed of the special occasion, but did not acknowledge or bother!

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4.0Dined on April 1, 2018

Creative spin on Mexican Cuisine. Fresh, tasty... colorful presentations. Top notch wait staff! They make sure to accommodate and get it right!

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5.0Dined on March 29, 2018

The ambience seems to be more towards drinking although their food was very good. My favorite was the adobo pork for entree and cauliflower for vegetable. I tried their mezcale flights. They reminded me of single malt scotch. Not bad.

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