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Party Size
For 2
Date
Today
Time
7:00 PM
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You must make reservations at least 5 minutes in advance of the time at Pepita Cantina.
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Booked 7 times today
Special offers available. See details

Pepita Cantina

4.2
112 reviews
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$30 and under
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Mexican
Top Tags:
  • Bar Seating
  • Quick Bite
  • Casual
Pepita is the brainchild of Chef Mike Isabella and Taha Ismail, partner and beverage director for Mike Isabella Concepts. True to its name, this Mexican cantina features a small menu of casual Mexican favorites along side a robust 35-drink cocktail program of classic Mexican and contemporary American cocktails with an extensive list of tequila, mezcal, and fruit juices that are squeezed in-house daily.
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Private dining
Dining Style
Casual Dining
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Cuisines
Mexican
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Hours of operation
Sunday & Monday: 11:30am-9pm (bar until 10pm)
Tuesday-Saturday: 11:30am-10pm (bar until 11pm)


Happy Hour everyday from 3pm-7pm.
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Phone number
(703) 312-0200
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Payment options
AMEX, Discover, MasterCard, Pay with OpenTable, Visa
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Dress code
Casual Dress
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Catering
Whether you’re feeding a handful of coworkers at the office or a few hundred guests at a wedding reception, let our expert culinary team make it an event to remember. Bring a taste of Mike Isabella’s restaurants to your event. Our expansive catering menus offer an array of dining options in a number of cuisines, including Italian, Greek, Mexican and Contemporary American.

Visit us at mikeisabella.com/catering/
Contact us at events@mikeisabella.com.
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Neighborhood
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Cross street
Entrance on North Quincy St.
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Parking details
In addition to street and metered parking, garage parking is available at 4075 Wilson Blvd, in Two Liberty Center across the street. Entrance is next to HSBC on Randolph St. $3 from 5pm-midnight during the week and all day on the weekends.
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Public transit
Virginia Square, Ballston
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Entertainment
We have three TV's to show all sports events year round. Specials are paired with sports every day.
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Special events & promotions
Pepita offers private and semi-private dining along with multiple chefs’ tasting menu options for you and your guests. Our small plate concept provides a taste of Mexican cuisine for everyone in your party. We also offer full-restaurant buyouts.

Please email events@mikeisabella.com for more information.
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Gift Card
Additional
Bar Dining, Bar/Lounge, Beer, Cocktails, Full Bar, Happy Hour, Non-Smoking, Outdoor dining, Wheelchair Access, Wine

Private Dining

Pepita Cantina offers private and semi-private dining along with multiple chefs tasting menu options for you and your guests. Our small plate concept provides a taste of Mexican cuisine for everyone in your party. We also offer full-restaurant buyouts.

View Private Dining Details

Specials

Father's Day Special Menus & Reservations

Come celebrate Father's Day with us!

Sunday, June 17, 2018

Instantly increase your points with dining rewards

See availability for bonus point tables

Daily 12:00PM - 1:00PM 5:00PM - 9:45PM

What Insiders Are Saying

The Infatuation
7.6

A no-fuss Mexican joint where you can wash down great food with impressive drinks.

Ratings 7.5-8.0:These are restaurants that are reliable, tasty, and particularly good for whatever we have deemed them “Perfect For.” Hit up a 7.7 for Date Night with confidence, as long as you don’t need the restaurant to be the most interesting thing that happens that night.
What 112 People Are Saying
Overall ratings and reviews
Reviews can only be made by diners who have eaten at this restaurant
4.2based on recent ratings
4.1
food
3.8
service
4.0
ambience
3.8
value
Noise · Moderate
60% of people would recommend it to a friend
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3.0Dined 5 days ago

Decent food, ordered the burritos, nothing special. Drinks were decent as well. Good for a lively place for a low key more laid back dining experience.

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4.0Dined on April 30, 2018

Food was great and service was quick. Water was never refilled by waiter but he was nice and it was an overall good experience.

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1.0Dined on April 27, 2018

I'm the guy who never leaves a review with a good experience or bad experience but im hopeful management will look into our experience. Serving staff was fairly horrible. Took too long to order drinks (which when finally served were incorrect) and didn't receive silverware for 10mins post food making it's way to our table, etc... just overall not what I expect from a Mike Isabella establishment. I understand it's a casual fast food spot but have higher expectations I guess.

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5.0Dined on April 27, 2018

Made a reservation at the last minute on a Friday night when my mom came into town. It was a fantastic choice! The place itself is small, but comfortable. Both my mom and my wife enjoyed their drinks, which were tasty and strong. The guacamole and queso were delicious, generous portions served with warm chips. We ordered several tacos - shrimp, chicken & brisket - and enjoyed every one. Everything was hot & clearly fresh right from the kitchen. Our only complaint was the service - at first it was prompt and responsive, but once we had food our server seemed to disappear. We had to ask for boxes and the check a few times and ended up getting both from a food runner/busser. We’ll definitely go back because the food more than made up for any downsides.

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4.0Dined on April 14, 2018

Great experience on covered patio for an 80 deg day. Margarita, chips, and salsa were great. It was a regular frozen margarita. The salsa was smokey flavored ...but consistency was perfect. Chips were right thickness. Nacho was a little overcooked and wouldn't recommend but overall was very good. I will return but won't order nacho again. Patio was nice and there was a separate seating area with couch. Great setup for group of friends outside.

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4.0Dined on April 14, 2018

The mai tai was more like margarita. The food had flavor, and was good, but they forgot to bring part of the order. The indoor seating was frigid cold and loud. I liked the outside area much better. It was a busy night I guess, because we kept getting offered other people’s food.

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4.0Dined on April 6, 2018

Pepitos is great, although I think they could refine their reservation system. At least 4 groups arrived at the same time for their 7:15pm, and they couldn’t seat any of us for at least 15 minutes. Otherwise, wonderful staff and amazing tacos and tequila!

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3.0Dined on March 29, 2018

Our group decided to have a Happy Hour here for their Thursday "Tiki Night" promotion. The drinks were overpriced for the quality and their food selection was lacking in options. We've tried this place several times and have yet to find something to like about it.

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3.0Dined on March 24, 2018

The food was OK, nothing amazing. Good drink selection.

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1.0Dined on January 27, 2018

Really subpar for a Mike Isabella restaurant. We were disappointed in the food selection, taste & quality of the food we ordered.

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4.0Dined on January 27, 2018

Delicious tacos. Great food. Awesome flavour. Good drinks. A really great place in Arlington.
Service was bit sloppy. When delivering and removing the plates, serve kept dripping juices from the food. It was very careless and obnoxious. These greasy juices almost ruined our clothes. Servers should definitely get some training on how to deliver food and clear the table.

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2.0Dined on January 20, 2018

I thought the food was good and I hate to leave a bad review of this place because I really wanted to like it. I had people visiting me from out of town and they enjoy Mexican food so I found Pepita Cantina. Our reservation was at 7:15 and we arrived exactly on time. The host, who also said he was the manager, said that they were running a bit behind since they overbooked and the wait would be 20-30 min after our reservation time. He offered to give us complimentary drinks at the bar while we waited, since the time delay was the restaurant's fault, so we said okay. We sat at the bar and we each ordered a standard classic house margarita. Once they table was ready we moved from the bar, with our drinks, and sat at the table to have our meal. However, when the bill came, they had charged us for the so called "complimentary" drinks we had ordered at the bar while waiting for our table!!!!! I have never given a bad review in my entire life for a restaurant, but that is also because I have never been LIED to at a restaurant. We didn't say anything because we didn't want to cause a scene. But I am truly appalled. I thought it was extremely hurtful the restaurant would say the drinks would be complimentary, and then charge us for it, (we also tipped the bartender in cash for making the drinks), and then PURPOSELY take our money under false impressions. Never will I come back there or to any other Mike Isabella restaurant, and I will be sure to tell all my friends how untruthful and deceiving the restaurant was.

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5.0Dined on January 13, 2018

Very small restaurant with very few tables so could be difficult to find a table without a reservation glad we did that. Since so small service from beginning to main meal move really too fast for us we did not have time to really enjoy drinks before.

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5.0Dined on January 11, 2018

Great food m, huge portions!

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4.0Dined on December 9, 2017

This is a great spot for a drink -- but both the restaurant AND the menu are very small.

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4.0Dined on November 4, 2017

The all-you-can-eat tacos is a misnomer because 1/3 of the tacos aren’t available, making it not that great of a deal unless you know you will eat more than 4 tacos and you don’t want beef or fish (which, by the way, are the exact same price as the tacos that are included in the deal).

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3.0Dined on October 7, 2017

Food was good, ad usual. However, had to ask the server for a glass for my beer snd a glass with ice for a coke. Just not up to snuff.

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1.0Dined on September 15, 2017

Terrible food

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4.0Dined on September 12, 2017

Very good lunch specials. Tacos had nice balance of flavor and heat. Very fresh tasting salsa. Attentive and patient service. My coworkers were asking lots of questions amd making special demands.

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5.0Dined on September 9, 2017

Another great Mike Isabella restaurant. Please bring back the chicken enchilada!

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3.0Dined on September 8, 2017

Pepita Cantina was good, but it could be great with a few small tweaks. Let start with the good - the guacamole and smokey house salsa were very good. And presentation of the tacos also very good.

Unfortunately, some of the taco didn't live up to their looks, at least when we dined there. The lamb and shrimp tacos were very good. The veggie taco was a little too crunchy. And the carnitas had way too much untrimmed fat for me, and the chicken was just bland. All of this could be easily fixed in the kitchen with a little more attention and a little more spice.

The sides of black beans and rice were good. An order of each was fine to split between two people.

Finally, our server was a little hard to find. It seemed to take a long time between drinks and ordering dinner.

So, in summary, Pepita was fun. We'd go back again, especially if they paid just a little more attention to details....

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2.0Dined on August 14, 2017

Wow, from Mike Isabella?? So disappointing. I ordered the guacamole, which was excellent. However, the tuna "ceviche" was horrendous -- tuna and avocado in a BLAZING HOT chili pepper-flaked sauce. I'm a ceviche afficionado and I've NEVER seen THIS kind of "ceviche." Here's how it was described on the menu: "coconut-curry lime, avocado, corn nuts." There was zero coconut or curry taste; just straight up HOT peppers. It was so hot it was pretty much inedible (and I LIKE spicy food). The other item on the Restaurant Week menu was a "taco salad," which my waiter said would also be very spicy. It was described as "romaine, corn, fresnos, queso, chili-lime vinaigrette. He suggested the spinach and mushroom quesadilla, which I took him up on. I will say, it wasn't spicy.......but it also didn't taste like anything; totally bland. The coconut flan was delicious. If it weren't for the waiter, Fabian, the lunch would have been a total disaster. But he was professional, helpful and offered a solution. Although I wont' return, I'd suggest keeping Fabian on staff...........but get a new cook (when Isabella isn't there).

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2.0Dined on August 14, 2017

Extremely disappointing Restaurant Week menu. If the point is to encourage diners to return, they totally fell short. The appetizer choices were three dips for tortilla chips. There were only two entree choices, one was a salad that had no meat in it. And tho two choices were listed for desserts, only one was available as they cookies had not been baked yet.

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3.0Dined on August 12, 2017

Our party of four made an early (5:45) reservation on a Saturday to take full advantage of their daily (3-7) happy hour. We enjoyed several different kinds of margaritas and a wide selection of their tacos made with very fresh ingredients. We sat on the patio, which was perfect except for the dish nudging station, which unfortunately included an odor from a garbage can. Some other arrangement should be pursued. Our service was fine given that we were in no hurry, but our waiter was covering tables both inside and outside, which led to a bit more waiting than would have been optimal. All in all, this is not the crown jewell of Mike Isabella's empire, but it is a cut above most taquerias. The bar is the chief asset with a list of creative cocktails.

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2.0Dined on August 10, 2017

Paid $42 without tip for 1 Marg, a taco salad, 2 small tacos, and vegetarian nachos. So over priced for a "eh meal"

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4.0Dined on July 22, 2017

Food: The food and drinks were great. Boozy margs and mimosas, great chips with a roasted tomato salsa, and the flavors of the tacos were excellent. The vegetarian in our group loved the veggie tacos although she did mention the corn not being as flavorful as expected, and wondered about the possibility of avocado tacos to expand the veggie-friendly dishes.

Service/Pricing: Several of us went to Pepita for the bottomless tacos brunch and after being seated, quickly launched into ordering drinks and a large number bottomless tacos for the first 'course'.

When we went to order the second round of tacos and inquired about the chips and salsa that should have been included with the bottomless deal, we were told the waiter hadn't heard us say 'bottomless' and was charging us per taco. We asked if he could void that, since it would be much more expensive for each of us to pay for individual tacos and we'd asked for the bottomless taco deal from the beginning. Our waiter said he could add the $19 bottomless deal for each of us to our existing bill and it would cover any other tacos we ordered going forward. (He then brought the bottomless chips and salsa we should have gotten 20 minutes earlier.) We expressed our frustration about being charged per taco when all of us had said while ordering that the table was here for bottomless tacos, but he left our table saying he'd let us reconsider whether we wanted to order additional tacos.

We did order one more taco each, although we would have ordered more if we'd been charged for the bottomless deal.

Long story short: we were ripped off when trying to get the bottomless tacos brunch today. Seemed like the waiter just wanted to rack up as many individual taco orders as possible. Would have been helpful if he'd at least modified our bill once we'd called him on it. His service and our resulting more-expensive bill was a huge turnoff despite the great food.

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3.0Dined on July 16, 2017

Nothing too spectacular about this place. It's out of the way (don't be fooled by the Arlington address). The margaritas were worth it, but the food was blah. Just your average (American) Mexican food. I wish I had found some place different in dc to eat after our Arlington cemetery tour. Oh well.

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4.0Dined on July 14, 2017

Good happy hour

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3.0Dined on June 17, 2017

The food was good. It didn't taste authentic, but it was delicious nonetheless.

What bothered me was the fact that on a Saturday evening, they were out of most cocktails, including tiki and pisco drinks. They didn't have the dessert that they are really famous for, and they didn't have much remorse for not having what we came in for.

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3.0Dined on June 17, 2017

Food was very good, service was friendly but uneven, the benches were nice but chairs not very comfortable, and the waiters brought one entree ten minutes before the others were served. My friend politely waited to eat until everyone was served, but by then her dish was cold. But I'd still recommend this place. The margaritas were awesome.

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5.0Dined on June 12, 2017

Excellent food, service, and strong drinks!

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5.0Dined on June 11, 2017

Great tacos and great service. They even brought my dog a water bowl with ice because it was so hot out. Will be back

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3.0Dined on May 26, 2017

It was okay ... entrees didn't come any sides ... good thing I had the chips. Underwhelmed. I probably won't go back.

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2.0Dined on May 19, 2017

Inside was extremely loud and seemed like a bar crowd. We wouldn't have stayed had patio seating not been available. Our sever was terrible. He took forever to greet us and never checked on us - not even once - after we got our food. I had to flag him down to get another drink and later ask for the check. The food was fine, but not what I was hoping for in a Mike Isabella place. The queso was gelatinous, like the texture of French onion dip. And the chips aren't complimentary. You have to order them. My husband got tacos, which were okay, but they were missing something ... salsa! He didn't even realize it until later. They were too dry. No salsa with the queso either. To had a burrito that was nothing special. I'd go back for drinks on the patio, but not for dinner. The patio is large and most of it is covered, which is nice, especially when it looks like it's going to rain (which it did on the night we visited).

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4.0Dined on May 19, 2017

Great time - fun with friends at ourdoor patio ..........,,

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2.0Dined on May 16, 2017

The food was okay. The margarita was not the best. Service was awfully slow and disjointed.

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5.0Dined on May 14, 2017

Tasty margaritas and tacos! Very interesting twists on typical taco fare. Casual dining.

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2.0Dined on May 5, 2017

We went for a friend's birthday. It was Cinco de Mayo so we expected it to be loud and busy which was fine, but it looked like a frat party. So dirty. Our waiter wouldn't bring us water and acted like he didn't have time for that. We had lots of food and alcohol and finally asked the really nice bus staff for water. Food was delicious but there's better service at too many other restaurants to go back here.

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5.0Dined on May 5, 2017

Great Cinco de Mayo and wedding anniversary spot

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4.0Dined on May 5, 2017

Amazing guacamole, the best I've ever had. The cocktails were so unique and equally delicious. It was a extremely loud and crowded, granted, my visit was on cinco de mayo. I would love to go back on a weeknight.

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