La Malinche

4.5
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356 Reviews
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$30 and under
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Tapas / Small Plates
Three brothers and a brother-in-law from El Salvador realized their long-held dream of opening a restaurant together in November of last year. Jaime Sorto, his brothers Hugo and Jose Bonilla, and his brother-in-law Jose Zelaya looked for a name that symbolizes their concept of two cultures coming together.
They chose La Malinche, the name given to a historical figure who has been at the center of controversy for centuries. The noble Mexican woman was enslaved and given to Hernán Cortés, a Spanish conquistador. She became his interpreter and confidante. Their son was viewed as the first mestizo, a child of mixed blood.
Many Mexicans consider La Malinche or Doña Marina to have been a traitor, but today, she is also honored as the symbolic mother of the country’s mixed-race people.
At La Malinche, all of the starters, vegetables, meats and seafood are served as Spanish tapas, called botanas in Mexico.
What 356 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
4.6
food
4.5
service
4.2
ambience
4.4
value
Noise · Quiet
89% of people would recommend it to a friend
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OT
Washington DC
1 review
Dined a day ago
Overall1food3service1ambience2

Waiter had a major attitude and started throwing down our plates. Brought this to the attention of the manager. Instead of apologizing for the employee, the manager made excuses about them being busy and basically told us that if we were in a hurry, we should eat somewhere else.

P
Baltimore
1 review
Dined on November 8, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience3

Very tasty dishes with an attentive staff interested in your enjoying yourself vs rushing you out to seat another customer.

K
Washington DC
30 reviews
Dined on November 3, 2019
Overall4food4service4ambience3

My group and I liked La Malinche! Great location!! We had brunch (the a la carte menu) and throughly enjoyed many of the items. Standouts were the garlic shrimp, salmon, sweet potato pancakes, and steak tapas. Staff was attentive and service good. My real disappointment for me was the coffee. I’ll definitely return for lunch or dinner.

JW
Baltimore
1 review
Dined on November 2, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

One of the best small plates restaurants I have tried! Everything was perfect!

MS
Baltimore
1 review
Dined on October 27, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience4

I had never been to a tapas restaurant before and I was looking for a brunch place to go to with my cousin. La Malinche came up in the top 10 best brunches in Silver Spring and the menu looked really interesting. I really like Latin food. We did the $35 brunch which allowed us to try many, many different tapas and all the Sangrias. All the food we tried was absolutely delicious and my favorite sangria was the Sangria cava. Definitely will return. Plan to go back with my husband.

BM
Washington DC
12 reviews
Dined on October 19, 2019
Overall4food4service4ambience4

Four of us enjoyed tapas here as part of a birthday celebration. We stuck with the seafood dishes and really enjoyed them all! We had shrimp, scallops, salmon, mussels, ceviche, and boquerones, followed by the dessert combo. Noise level was minimal, so we could actually talk and easily understand one another even though the restaurants was full. Going to try the all-you-can-eat brunch next time!

OT
Washington DC
1 review
Dined on October 14, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience4

Had a first date here and neither of us had been to La Malinche before. The atmosphere was good for the occasion. Not very flashy or decorative but cozy and welcoming for a date. The wait staff was very helpful and attentive. The food, all served tapas style, was delicious and served reasonably quickly. We ordered a round of drinks too that also came out well (their sangria is delicious!) As the only serious date-worthy Latin restaurant in Silver Spring, they hit it out of the park.

FQ
Washington DC
2 reviews
Dined on October 13, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Everything about our experience was great. The staff had great service, the food was amazing and the ambiance was nice. I would love to dine here again.

OT
Washington DC
26 reviews
Dined on September 22, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Food was outstanding. Brunch is worth going and don’t forget the dessert.

OT
1 review
Dined on September 21, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Love this place. Excellent every time I come.

B
Denver
3 reviews
Dined on September 19, 2019
Overall4food4service4ambience3

Good food and service—sangria was only so-so

OT
Baltimore
3 reviews
Dined on September 13, 2019
Overall3food3service5ambience3

Great and fast service. Food was good. We ordered margaritas and they were overpowered by sour mix. We ordered another shot to mix in with the drinks.

VD
Washington DC
2 reviews
Dined on September 10, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience4

Love this place and my friends loved it

P
Baltimore
20 reviews
Dined on August 31, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

We always have a great experience here! Everyone is amazing! Food it great and they make amazing cocktails!!

Love love love!!!

OT
8 reviews
Dined on August 28, 2019
Overall4food4service5ambience3

Food is good but some of the portions are ridiculously small for the price, even for tapas ( such as the guacamole, the ceviche and especially the two skewers with 3 small pieces each with nothing else for a meat tapas).

The 3 of us had 6 tapas, 2 alcoholic drinks (jalapeno margarita was excellent) and an iced tea for $81. Not extravagant but we felt like with larger portions, it would be worth the price.

S
Oklahoma City
5 reviews
Dined on August 22, 2019
Overall4food4service5ambience5

Excellent food and service in this interesting, quiet spot in the bustling downtown area of Silver Springa. All but one plate (caulifliwer) was amazing and even then there was nothing wrong it - it just wasn't as exceptional as the rest of the plates. Seriously wonderful place we'll visit again when we're in the area.

GS
Washington DC
9 reviews
Dined on August 16, 2019
Overall4food4service5ambience4

The weekday lunch option allows you to try a lot of different tapas.

P
Baltimore
20 reviews
Dined on August 12, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

So great!!!!!!!!

DC
Washington DC
8 reviews
Dined on August 6, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience4

The quality of the Tapas at LaMalunche is extraordinary. The selection is diverse and the price makes the food a good value. Everyone associated with this restaurant is intent on making the dining experience great!!!

e
Washington DC
2 reviews
Dined on August 4, 2019
Overall4food4service5ambience4

The food tries to be more than it is. It's pretty good, but not quite high end. The prices are a little higher than I'd expect, given that it's small plates and you have to order multiple. Also, I found the plates to have small portions, except the strip steak and the paella, which were bigger. The kale salad was a big hit with our group. The ceviche was not great. The guac was good but tiny and high price. My Moscow Mule tasted like artificial lime juice. The paella was also good and our group was happy with it.

OT
Washington DC
67 reviews
Dined on August 2, 2019
Overall4food5service5ambience4

Best tapas combined with great service and attention keep us coming back time and again...
Our family loves coming here, usually early with our small grandkids and the staff is always aware and prepared for the lack of patience of the little ones. Drinks and their choices hit the table quickly.
We all share our tapas and love the grazing aspect of trying a myriad of flavors at one meal.
The restaurant is always busy at dinner and reservations are recommended

EG
1 review
Dined on July 26, 2019
Overall4food4service5ambience3

We got the unlimited tapas for $20 and it was a great deal. You have a shorter menu to chose from but it's all the best things from the main menu. There is construction happening in the street so outdoor seating was dusty but inside there is seating by the windows that makes you feel like you're outside. I think our server was the owner and he was wonderfully polite and attentive.

P
Baltimore
20 reviews
Dined on July 22, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Always amazing!! We love it there and have dinner a few days a week there.

Love it!!!!

MS
Washington DC
35 reviews
Dined on July 21, 2019
Overall3food4service2ambience2

This was my first time going to La Malinche for their AYCE tapas brunch and it was fairly disappointing. The food was good, the drinks were average to poor. The speed of service for the food was very bad. We would order a couple tapas plates, and they'd come out 20-30 mins after ordering and this is no exaggeration. We arrived around 11:30am and didn't leave until after 3pm, which is just too long. I won't be back and would not recommend their brunch to a friend. There are better AYCE brunch options out there.

JW
1 review
Dined on July 19, 2019
Overall5food5service4ambience5

Absolutely delicious food and a very nice atmosphere

I
Washington DC
1 review
Dined on July 14, 2019
Overall4food5service4ambience4

Excellent tapas! Many interesting combos and none disappointed! Always love the sangria (but not crazy about the white one)

k
Washington DC
10 reviews
Dined on July 14, 2019
Overall4food5service5ambience4

Wonderful tapas- especially love the salmon. Service attentive, fast, helpful. We were all struggling to hear one another because of the noise level. We were a party of five quiet ladies and there was a large happy family party just behind us. Just not able to make conversation so retired for coffee at Panera across the street. Wouldn’t choose this time of day next time- brunch on a Sunday with more than a couple of guests. We were at the back of the restaurant. Might be quieter at small tables nearer the door. Great food though!

EP
New York Area
3 reviews
Dined on July 10, 2019
Overall4food4service4ambience4

A great tapas restaurant in downtown Silver Spring! Every dish we tried was delicious and they did a great job spacing out different dishes so we wouldn’t have too much food at once. The wait staff was attentive and helpful when we needed them. A nice small restaurant to get great tapas!

PT
1 review
Dined on July 7, 2019
Overall1food3service1ambience2

I had a reservation for 8 people for brunch. I set up my reservation on open table and spoke to someone on the phone. When we arrived we were told that brunch was only available until 2:01. This was never told to me when I spoke to someone over the phone even though my reservation was for 1:30. It also took them a long time to serve us drinks and one person never got their drink order. I've gone here several times and enjoyed their food in the past but this was a terrible experience since their policies and pricing has changed. Luckily we found a great brunch place down the street with excellent food and service.

P
Baltimore
20 reviews
Dined on June 24, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Love this place!! Love, love, love!!!!

P
Washington DC
9 reviews
Dined on June 21, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Wonderful food, excellent service. Looking forward to a return visit.

b
1 review
Dined on June 19, 2019
Overall4food4service5ambience5

The prices were a bit high for food that was good, but not outstanding.

OT
Washington DC
1 review
Dined on June 16, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

My favorite Silver Spring restaurant.

E
Washington DC
5 reviews
Dined on June 7, 2019
Overall3food3service3ambience3

Meh. Service was slow and it was not crowded. Food was just ok have had much better tapas at Jaleo or Zaytinia.

AC
Washington DC
30 reviews
Dined on May 25, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience4

My husband and I ordered a variety of five tapas. They arrived perfectly spaced out so that each one could be comfortably enjoyed. They all were delicious! The lamb chops were medium rare and very juicy. The fish dishes were also perfectly prepared. The staff was friendly and attentive. We plan to return often.

ET
1 review
Dined on May 19, 2019
Overall1food4service1ambience1

I had gone to this establishment once before and I was in a group of 18 so when the food was taking long i thought maybe they are just having trouble keeping up with the amount of people in our group. But this Sunday I only had a party of 4. I was very disappointed with the service. I ordered one item that from my previous experience was the item that they had trouble getting to us last time. This is why it was the first thing I ordered. When I brought it to the attention of one of the servers he said it will be out shortly. It had already been 45mins since I had ordered. Which really got me mad when I saw a table that got there after us get 5 of them delivered to their table. When we had only ordered one. I brought it up again to another server. We asked him what was taking so long and that we had ordered it 45mins ago. He said ok. Not the response I expected. If they forgot to order it just say so and bring it to us as soon as you can. Maybe an apology? We had to wait empty plated a few times which kind of takes the unlimited brunch experience away. I hope that this can change, the food is pretty good but their service needs to get better big time.

AP
Washington DC
1 review
Dined on May 17, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Always a great poace to meet up with friends. Great food and service, noise level manageable.

OT
Washington DC
1 review
Dined on May 12, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

It was a lovely place to celebrate Mother’s Day!

OT
Washington DC
2 reviews
Dined on May 11, 2019
Overall5food5service4ambience5

The restaurant looked nice and the food was delicious. The service was a tad slow but it didn’t bother us on a Saturday afternoon. A business lunch on a week day would be another matter. Great place for a weekend family meal. We’ll definitely go back.

SH
Chicago
2 reviews
Dined on May 11, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

The best place to go for brunch! All you can eat food and sangria for $35! You can’t beat it. Definitely one of my favorite places to go.