Mala Tang

4.3
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483 Reviews
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$30 and under
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Asian

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About

The inspiration behind Mala Tang is the street food of Chengdu.. Here you'll find the streets filled with diners sitting at tables gathering around bubbling hot pots, in which dozens of dried chilies bob up and down in an oily red broth.

The hot pot itself is a pan that sits on a portable burner, surrounded by an array of small plates piled high with fresh ingredients. Guests select pieces of food and drop them into the broth to cook, and then dip them into delicious sauces.

For the main hot pot course, Mala Tang serves a variety of proteins including chicken, lamb, all-natural beef, and fresh seafood; starches such as sweet potato noodles, and a plethora of vegetables ranging from bok choy to lotus roots. Those who are "afraid of the chili heat," as the Chengdu locals jokingly warn incoming travelers, can tone down the mala flavor with a mild version of the cooking broth.
What 483 People Are Saying
Overall ratings and reviews
Reviews can only be made by diners who have eaten at this restaurant
4.3based on recent ratings
4.4
food
4.2
service
3.9
ambience
4.0
value
Noise · Moderate
67% of people would recommend it to a friend
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LD
Washington DC
48 reviews
Dined on February 9, 2020
Overall3food2service3ambience2

I have dined here before and been much happier with the food. This time, as soon as we were seated, our waitress advised they could only take cash as they did not have 'good internet' and could not use their credit card machine. Our choices: to leave or go to an ATM to get cash. I walked to Giant and got cash. The food was less than desirable. We all did the Dry Pot option and perhaps should have chosen the Hot Pot instead. The food was just lackluster. Of the 5 of us, 3 of us left more food than we ate and we did not take our leftovers. Our server, even though she was very nice, really didn't seem to be as well versed with the menu items as she should/could have been. I'm not sure what has happened but since I don't really care for 'Resy', which they are switching to and the overall experience we had, I won't be back.

AB
Washington DC
31 reviews
Dined on February 8, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Always fantastic!!!

TG
Washington DC
5 reviews
Dined on February 1, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience3

Love the hot pot selection. Good food. Very friendly staff.

m
Washington DC
4 reviews
Dined on January 25, 2020
Overall5food5service4ambience4

Chinese New Year. Dry pot was outstanding.

MK
Washington DC
31 reviews
Dined on January 19, 2020
Overall3food2service3ambience5

Food and service were OK. I had the vegetable lo mein, which was tasty after adding condiments, oils & spices from the sauce bar. I also had the vegetable buns that were tasteless so I ended up asking that it be taken off the check.

OT
Washington DC
4 reviews
Dined on January 12, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience4

Birthday dinner for my 16 year old. She brought two friends and we have a family of 5. Lots of food allergies and requirements. Everyone ate and had fun. In the end, even with the tip was $182 for seven who had a delicious and memorable meal. We ordered all we wanted and left only a few crumbs! Waitress (from Russia) was fantastic!

J
Washington DC
2 reviews
Dined on January 8, 2020
Overall3food4service2ambience4

We've always had prompt and friendly service but this night was off.

OT
1 review
Dined on December 25, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience4

Our first time with hot pot

L
Washington DC
9 reviews
Dined on December 25, 2019
Overall1food1service1ambience1

This was the worst meal I've had in a restaurant. Food was terrible. Spring roll appetizer came to the table with a frozen core. Really? Hot pot was flavorless. Sauce table was disgustingly dirty. All around a terrible dinner.

RT
Washington DC
9 reviews
Dined on December 5, 2019
Overall3food3service2ambience3

While we didn't try the hot pot, the meals we did try were edible, but not notable. Similarly, service was slow and just below the line of friendly. And, the restaurant was cold inside. My guess though is we arrived on the wrong day and ordered the wrong items, because there were a fair number of people in the restaurant. Still, not sure I'd go back.

CM
Washington DC
4 reviews
Dined on June 3, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience4

Excellent food

WF
Washington DC
4 reviews
Dined on May 18, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Mala tang has delicious food, great service, a fun atmosphere and everything we love in a restaurant. It is our go to place for family visiting and special moments. Our obvious recommendation is the hot pot. I really appreciate the vegetarian options.

We love the team there especially Margaret. She is warm and welcoming every time!

OT
Washington DC
4 reviews
Dined on April 13, 2019
Overall3food3service5ambience3

The menu is rather limited, so be sure to check it on line before reserving. You can choose hot pot (cook your own raw ingredients in hot broth) or dry pot (chef cooks same selection of ingredients for you - but with only one flavor profile offered). It was an interesting experience, but pretty hot in the restaurant. So, it was fun as a group, but we don’t need to go again soon. The waitstaff was very nice and helpful.

MY
Washington DC
8 reviews
Dined on April 5, 2019
Overall5food5service4ambience5

Mala Tang is the most authentic Szechuan food in the DMV area. Great hot pot, great dry pot, you NEED to try the twice cooked pork!

ZM
Washington DC
22 reviews
Dined on March 27, 2019
Overall4food5service2ambience3

Food was amazing, service was not that great. They only had two waitresses for the large restaurant and got pretty busy while we were there. We ordered hot pot and it took almost an hour to bring us the ingredients to do this.

OT
Cancun
1 review
Dined on March 22, 2019
Overall5food5service4ambience4

The food is amazing and the waitress was very nice.

EO
Washington DC
1 review
Dined on March 17, 2019
Overall4food5service2ambience2

The food was great here. The downside came with the service we received. It was our first time and we didn’t know you offered free parking across the street. When I asked for parking validation, I was turned down until I heard the host honor someone else and my husband had to tell her we overheard her validating parking for another group. Everyone should receive the same service no matter what. Also we had to go grab a waitress to order food, I was left waiting for over 20 minutes while a group who came after us, were served first. It can be perceived as discriminatory, so be very careful of this. Not everyone will be as nice and understanding. Food was great and drinks were delicious.

S
1 review
Dined on March 6, 2019
Overall5food5service4ambience5

The menu was confusing having never been to hot pot before, but we took cues from other tables and will definitely be back as everything was amazing!!

J
Baltimore
167 reviews
Dined on February 25, 2019
Overall4food4service5ambience3

This is our second visit to Mala Tang and will not be our last! In our opinion this is some of the best Asian food we have ever had! It was hot and very tasty. My husband had chicken with green beans which was flavorful and the green beans were thick and tender. It came with hot and sour soup with the fried noodles on the side. They were delicious! We have not seen house made fried noodles in years in our area. They used to give a big bowl with the soups and were a real treat alongside the soup. I had a big bowl of three treasures noodle soup. Perfect comfort food! Since I like Asian food on the spicy side, I asked her for the chili sauce. She directed me to the covered cart which held any accent sauce you might want. Not knowing what to select, I mixed random hot and sweet together. It tasted good on a side sample of the soup so I mixed it in. The soup was even better.

Our waitress was very pleasant and helpful. We talked about how much we liked the lunch and she seemed very pleased.

Their specialty is a cooked bowl and a raw bowl which is somewhat like a Mongolian Hot Pot or Asian fondue...a fun dish when you are not in a hurry. (The names are probably wrong.) We had the cooked bowl in our last visit. The meat was well trimmed and tender.

We will definitely return even though it is around 38 miles from our home. We thought it was that good.

OT
Washington DC
2 reviews
Dined on February 23, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience4

Never disappointed at this hot pot favorite! We really like the new menu.

OT
Columbus
1 review
Dined on February 14, 2019
Overall5food5service4ambience5

We went for Valentine’s Day. The food was amazing!! They were a little understaffed but the restaurant was packed for the holiday so that was understandable. Park across the street in order for them to validate your parking.

N
Washington DC
3 reviews
Dined on February 14, 2019
Overall3food5service1ambience2

It was a very busy night since it was Valentine's Day and the decorations were sweet. The food was delicious as usual. However, the wait staff was very inattentive after they realized we weren't drinking alcohol and were frequently speaking loudly and rushing around. That changed the ambiance quite a bit. One main course order arrived almost 15 minutes before the other order and then, on top of that, no one was there to light the burner. The waitress seemed annoyed there was no room on the table for the next course, but no one came to bus the table.

OT
Washington DC
2 reviews
Dined on February 14, 2019
Overall5food5service3ambience5

Always a good time

WF
Washington DC
4 reviews
Dined on February 1, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Mala Tang is our favorite restaurant. It has delicious food and friendly staff. Every visit we feel welcome and fulfilled.

HK
San Francisco
9 reviews
Dined on January 25, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Mala Tang is great for hot pot. They have tons of options and a fun atmosphere.

A
Hawaii
24 reviews
Dined on January 20, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience4

Hot Pot experience was a blast!

o
Washington DC
330 reviews
Dined on January 5, 2019
Overall4food4service4ambience3

Mala Tang offers two basic options for diners: hot pot or dry pot. My spouse is a fan of the hot pot; I am not. This is not for culinary reasons, but that I'm not a believer in paying money to dine to end up cooking my own food in vats of boiling broth. (FYI, my spouse is the cook in the household.) For those not wanting to prepare their own food, the dry pot provides a good option to eat highly seasoned, and fairly spicy, preparations. Nevertheless, while I admire the food at Mala Teng, I find dining there less fun than a conventional Chinese restaurant.

OT
Washington DC
5 reviews
Dined on December 31, 2018
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Fantastic food. Definitely a cut above

JT
Washington DC
1 review
Dined on December 25, 2018
Overall5food5service5ambience4

My family and I had the hot pot, with a mix of vegetables and meats, and we loved it! Will be back, since dishes at other tables looked great also. Service was very polite and professional, Jen did a great job explaining the hot pot system, made us feel right at home.

D
Richmond
13 reviews
Dined on December 15, 2018
Overall5food5service4ambience4

Amazing food!

MP
Washington DC
8 reviews
Dined on December 9, 2018
Overall4food5service3ambience4

Zhong dumplings and dry pot were amazing!

OT
Washington DC
1 review
Dined on December 1, 2018
Overall5food5service5ambience5

I’m quite impressed overall. I went here with my friends and it’s all our first time. We will be back with our respective families. We will be back very soon.

OT
1 review
Dined on November 12, 2018
Overall5food5service5ambience4

Good service and food was very tasty. Noise level was quiet so it was great for a business lunch.

MY
Washington DC
8 reviews
Dined on November 3, 2018
Overall5food5service4ambience5

Mala Tang has been one of my favorite Chinese in the DMV area!

T
Orlando
30 reviews
Dined on October 14, 2018
Overall3food5service1ambience4

Decided to try something different while visiting daughter in DC area. Went on a Sunday night, place was packed, had to wait about 20 minutes for our reservation. There were a lot of Asians in the restaurant- good sign. Sadly, the restaurant was grossly understaffed and service was abysmal. We had never experienced the hot pot style of cooking. No one asked if it was our “first time”. We did our best to order. Food came out, there was no explanation of how to proceed. We placed the meat, noodles, and vegetables in the pot. There was a sauce bar in the middle of the dining area that no one told us about. We watched as other patrons helped themselves to the sauces and did the same. Food was delicious but challenging to maneuver the cooking with minimal utensils and no instruction. The broth was boiling, the flame under the pot was huge. My napkin caught on fire, the broth splattered all over my shirt, and, still, no offer of assistance whatsoever. I threw my flaming napkin on the floor and stomped on it to put the fire out. Not one employee came by to ask if we were ok, or to offer assistance. I don’t think we’ll go back there due to the lack of service. It’s too bad because the place is cute and the food was pleasant. The experience was awful. I can not recommend.

JL
Tampa
2 reviews
Dined on October 13, 2018
Overall4food5service2ambience4

Food was amazing and my 6 year old loved cooking her own food! The hot pots made for a fun activity. We liked the hot pot more than the dry pot and sharing one hot pot was plenty for us. Very large main servings!

OT
Washington DC
3 reviews
Dined on September 1, 2018
Overall4food4service4ambience4

Love this place! Hot pot is such a fun group activity. The broth here is so flavorful, the foods are fresh and delicious (the flounder is AMAZING) and the sauce bar makes it easy to create your own flavors. Awesome place for a group of family or friends.

P
Washington DC
1 review
Dined on June 24, 2018
Overall4food4service3ambience3

As a foodie, I recommend this place simply due to its authentic Chinese cooking and the convenience location. The grill fish with pickle flavor tastes good, but it would've been better if the restaurant uses live fish. The hot pot is popular in this place, and the ingredients are creative (e.g. beef with milk or wine). I tried some authentic chinese dishes in this restaurant and they were quite tasty comparing to the other SiChuan restaurants in DMV area. Though the cost is a bit higher than the average, I will come back.

j
New York Area
17 reviews
Dined on June 18, 2018
Overall2food2service3ambience2

so-so food, relatively high prices. The decor is functional, the wait staff okay, but overall, you can get better Chinese food elsewhere at more reasonable prices.

AG
Philadelphia
6 reviews
Dined on June 14, 2018
Overall5food5service4ambience4

Had a great dining experience, would definitely go back for the Hot Pot

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