If I were to make a list of the places I’ve eaten at most in DC, Tortilla Cafe would easily be in the top three. The Mexican-Salvadoran restaurant, located in Capitol Hill just across from Eastern Market, may have the most reasonable menu in the District. With nothing above $9, most things below $7, and pretty much everything good to eat, Tortilla Cafe should be in everyone’s regular rotation.
Let’s start with breakfast. A stack of pancakes and egg? Only $4.25, and perfectly tasty, if nothing spectacular. Want something with a little more substance and a side of well-seasoned homefries? Two eggs, bacon, sausage, home fries, and a tortilla are only a dollar more. For some reason do you only have $3.25 and still want a filling breakfast? Well you’re in luck; that’s what they charge for a breakfast burrito! You won’t find a cheaper breakfast in DC.
The real bargains, though, come for lunch and dinner. A delicious chicken tamale, the chicken moist and well-complimented by the olive tucked inside, is only $2.25; add two sides for a platter and it’s $5.45. A good cheese pupusa will cost you less than two dollars. With all of these, I’d recommend the plantains, which are nice and sweet if sometimes a bit greasy. Skip the rice, which is just so-so, and go with a side of beans instead.
Finally, need to feed a small group on short notice? A whole rotisserie chicken, with jalapeno sauce on the side, is only $7.50. Add sides of rice and plantains and you’ve got dinner for four on the cheap.
Tortilla Cafe is the exact sort of restaurant you want in your neighborhood: steady, reliable, tasty, and affordable. Perfect for a lazy Saturday morning or a quick weekday dinner, Tortilla Cafe can always be counted on for something tasty, if not for something remarkable. Check this place out next time you’re in Eastern Market, and I’d be willing to bet you’ll be back fairly soon.