Espita Mezcaleria

4.5
265 reviews
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$30 and under
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Mexican
Driven by a quest to surface authentic flavors and techniques, Chef Rob Aikens and Beverage Director Megan Barnes are constantly pushing their teams to research and create. They fuel their creativity with inspiration from their many travels to Mexico, bringing home memories and people they want to honor with their food and drink.

We specialize in Oaxacan cuisine seen through the lens of the Mid-Atlantic. You will not find traditional Oaxacan dishes here. Instead you will find authentic Oaxacan flavors and techniques applied to the beautiful seasonal bounty of our region, creating a unique experience only available here.

Food is the story of people. Espita is our story about the people we've had the honor to meet on our journeys and how they've impacted us.
Dining Style
Casual Dining
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Cuisines
Mexican, Latin American, Tapas / Small Plates
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Hours of operation
Brunch
Sat, Sun 10:30 am–2:30 pm
Bar
Mon–Thu 4:00 pm–12:00 am
Fri 4:00 pm–2:00 am
Sat 10:30 am–2:00 am
Sun 10:30 am–10:00 pm
Happy Hour
Mon–Fri 4:00 pm–6:00 pm
Sat, Sun 2:30 pm–6:00 pm
Dinner
Mon–Thu, Sun 5:00 pm–10:00 pm
Fri, Sat 5:00 pm–11:00 pm
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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, Delivery, Full Bar, Gender Neutral Restroom, Gluten-free Menu, Happy Hour, Late Night, Non-Smoking, Outdoor dining, Patio/Outdoor Dining, Takeout, View, Weekend Brunch, Wheelchair Access, Wine

Specials

New Year's Eve Special Menus & Offers

A Night with Frida & Diego: Join us for a tropical New Year’s Eve party! We’re celebrating with flower tiaras, unibrows, & music served by DJ Kim later in the evening. We’ll have specialty cocktails all night & a bubbly toast at midnight! No tickets. No overpriced fixed menu. Just come as you are!

Monday, December 31, 2018

What 265 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
4.5
food
4.3
service
4.4
ambience
4.0
value
Noise · Moderate
89% of people would recommend it to a friend
5
4
3
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OT
Washington DC
15 reviews
Dined 5 days ago
Overall 4food 5service 4ambience 5

The food was delicious and the choices were creative. The brunch special was a good option and worth the price if you chose the couple of the most expensive items. Unfortunately, the bottomless drinks option can only be purchased in conjunction with the pre-fixe brunch (not with a la carte selections), and the server didn't come by very often to refill drinks.

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R
1 review
Dined on December 6, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

A little expensive but it was great! We had a business meeting and I our client was very happy. We enjoy our mezcales too. We had tacos al pastor, ceviche, guacamole and pumpkin ice cream dessert. We were able to share everything.

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CH
Washington DC
120 reviews
Dined on December 3, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

I love Espita. The pescador, pork, brussels tacos are amazing delicious with layers of flavor. the ceviche is in this sauce that has a zingy flavor and a wonderful tender fish. Great mezcal varieties to try. Magnificent margaritas.

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RB
Washington DC
26 reviews
Dined on December 3, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Excellent food. Fun environment. Enjoyed everything.

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OT
Washington DC
1 review
Dined on December 2, 2018
Overall 3food 3service 4ambience 3

Portions were small and trap music at a Mexican restaurant doesn't work for me.

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d
Washington DC
4 reviews
Dined on December 2, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Great food and service!

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JC
Atlanta
1 review
Dined on November 30, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

amazing food! came during happy hour and it was FANTASTIC!

THANKS!

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k
Washington DC
118 reviews
Dined on November 30, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Delicious guacamole and salsa and tacos.

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TM
1 review
Dined on November 30, 2018
Overall 2food 2service 4ambience 4

Ceviche tasted bad-fishy, not delicious-fishy and included sliced grapes (an ingredient that was not noted on the menu). Salsa is not spicy. Chips taste like fritos. Tortillas aren't homemade. Food was too costly to be this poor.

Ambiance was nice and the service was good, however, if this place wants to be anything more than a mezcal bar, they really need to work on the menu.

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OT
New York Area
3 reviews
Dined on November 28, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 2ambience 4

Service war enorm aufdringlich und konnte sich leider die Bestellungen nicht richtig notieren.
Aber das Essen machte den schlechten Service wieder gut.
Die Kellnerin und die Wasserflasche führten eine innige Beziehung, wie mir nach einiger Zeit aufgefallen war.
Sie teste mit dem Wasser das ich neben einem Bier zu meinen Tacos genoss die Gesetze der Physik soweit ich erkennen konnte.

Alle zwei Minuten wurde das unberührte Wasser nachgeschenkt. Und die Oberflächenspannung dieser chlorhaltigen Flüssigkeit bis zum zerreißen auf die Probe gestellt.

Aber was soll ich sagen, ich war ja nicht hier um die Gesetze der Physik zu erkunden sondern um den Taco-Tuesday zu gebiesen, welcher wirklich sehr gelungen war.

Wir probierten Alle Tacos, die anstatt für 4,50$ für 3,00$ angeboten wurden und kamen zu dem Entschluss:

SHER GUT

Wir kommen wieder!

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a
Washington DC
26 reviews
Dined on November 27, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

The people who run this restaurant are warm and welcoming, the chefs have it going on--combining quality ingredients and fresh spices with Mexico-City-level imagination--and the buzz is not some trick of acoustics. People are happy to be there, and it shows.

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F
San Francisco
13 reviews
Dined on November 22, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

Wonderful restaurant. Brussels sprout taco is best.

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OT
Philadelphia
5 reviews
Dined on November 19, 2018
Overall 4food 3service 5ambience 5

We had a group dinner there. The overall experience was great, but we really wish the selection of food is larger, sharable, and less salty. Other than the tortilla underneath the dishes, there's practically nothing to go with the mole dishes. Besides, we all felt it was a bit overpriced for all menu items, not really worth of the money...

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KJ
1 review
Dined on November 18, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Food was awesome. Service was outstanding. Environmental was incredible. I had a blast. The first time I came and definitely be back again.

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DI
Washington DC
1 review
Dined on November 18, 2018
Overall 3food 3service 4ambience 4

The food was all right, but I found the menu very limited. It was odd that they had neither rice nor beans.

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t
Western NC
6 reviews
Dined on November 18, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 3ambience 5

We all had small plates (tacos) and the ceviche. All were delicious. Didn't try any of the larger dinner plates but one of the guys next to us had the lamb ribs with mole and they looked amazing! The house Margarita is also very good. Service was rather slow, but we enjoyed ourselves catching up and sipping the Margaritas.

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w
Washington DC
1 review
Dined on November 17, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Food was fabulous. Mezcal was delicious. Ambiance was perfect.

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KM
1 review
Dined on November 17, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

The food was AMAZING!! It was a fantastic experience!

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S
Washington DC
8 reviews
Dined on November 13, 2018
Overall 4food 4service 5ambience 4

We went for Taco Tuesday and our server was fantastic!! Was sad they didn't have one of the cocktails we ordered, but thats ok. We got a great wine recommendation and ended up having 2 bottles. The fish tacs were delicious but the surprise winner of the night was the brussel sprout tacos.

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p
Washington DC
8 reviews
Dined on November 11, 2018
Overall 5food 4service 5ambience 4

Lovely, creative food with fabulous cocktails including surprising ingredients.

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OT
Washington DC
4 reviews
Dined on November 11, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Great service! Staff went above and beyond

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JG
San Francisco
4 reviews
Dined on November 7, 2018
Overall 5food 4service 5ambience 4

The food here is excellent!! The blend of flavors are satisfying to the most discriminate palate. Their margaritas are also a flavorful experience with the blend of a Smokey taste mixed with a spicy salt rim. There are options for vegetarians or veggie lovers too, yum!! Service was fantastic!! I appreciate the authenticity of their food and cocktails, I hope this little gem stays true to maintaining that.

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OT
Richmond
1 review
Dined on November 7, 2018
Overall 3food 5service 3ambience 5

Good food but waitress tried to charge us full price for tacos even though it was $3 tacos all night

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H
Washington DC
17 reviews
Dined on November 6, 2018
Overall 3food 4service 2ambience 4

The food, and esp. the spicings, are great and very genuine. Mezcal selection is a good addition to DC dining world. I would definitely go back. But on a recent visit service was a problem-- not the server, who was very nice and unusually knowledgeable, but the simple process of getting food to the table. It seemed there was a large private party at the same time I was there, and while the restaurant proper was nowhere near full, it took at least 30 min. to get three small plates, and an added 20 to get two large ones. That, and one round of drinks, was all we required. Honestly I think the kitchen was slammed and simply did not know how to catch up. But because I really liked the food, esp. the al pastor, and the mole sauces, I will be back.

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RS
1 review
Dined on November 6, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Amazing mezcal selection with great food and great service

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GB
London
4 reviews
Dined on November 5, 2018
Overall 4food 3service 5ambience 3

The cocktails are excellent, the service outstanding. The food was good, not great on this one visit, but we would be willing to go back and try more.

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EJ
1 review
Dined on November 3, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Had a wonderful time with my friends, the drinks were really tasty and the food was creative and extremely very delicious!

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EG
Washington DC
5 reviews
Dined on November 3, 2018
Overall 4food 5service 5ambience 5

Some of the yummiest food I've ever had!! The col rizada was an incredibly flavorful and refreshing salad, and every type of taco was satisfying and unique. The peanut and cacao dessert was rich and heavenly. But, the alcohol here was a bit less successful. I appreciate how unique and experimental the cocktails are, but they were almost too weird to drink an entire glass-full. My date's wine also came out warm instead of chilled. You have to be feeling a bit adventurous to fully appreciate this place, but I will absolutely come back!

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SP
London
7 reviews
Dined on November 2, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

My husband and I sat in the patio area for dinner Friday night. The food and cocktails are always great, creative and very different. I usually sit inside but found the outside space relaxing and very special. I can't think of another outdoor space in D.C. I like better. Looking forward to another meal out there.

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S
Washington DC
80 reviews
Dined on November 1, 2018
Overall 3food 4service 2ambience 4

Service wasn't great. They never came back to ask us for a second drink. Food service was slow. Food is good but a bit pricy for the portion size.

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WM
Baltimore
7 reviews
Dined on October 29, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 4ambience 5

Great find in DC. Great drinks and creative menu. They definitely take "tapas" to the definition in regard to size. The portions were tiny but so delicious!

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RF
Washington DC
9 reviews
Dined on October 28, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

I've visited Espita Mezcaleria multiple times. This time I came with two friends who had not been there before for their brunch. This is a true hidden gem. The food is great, and I'm amazed there isn't much of a crowd yet. I'm enjoying going often now as each time I go it's getting busier.
I typically would turn my nose up at "avocado toast". But, its my favorite thing on their brunch menu for the pre-fix. I followed it up with the Huevos Rancheros (delicious) and my friend got the french toast (very sweet but so good!) The dessert was a chocolate hazelnut mouse and sorbet. It was delightful, especially when we paired it with the coffee mezcal drink. I'll be back for sure!

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OT
Washington DC
64 reviews
Dined on October 28, 2018
Overall 4food 5service 4ambience 4

What a birthday treat! Came for brunch and enjoyed the variety of meat and vegetarian options. The fish tacos were AMAZING and we could not get enough of the churros. Really enjoyed my spicy cocktail, with just enough heat to remind you there were chilis in the drink.

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OT
Atlantic City
2 reviews
Dined on October 27, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Everything was great! Cool atmosphere, great service and the food was top notch! We would love to come back again!

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SP
London
7 reviews
Dined on October 24, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Had dinner at Espita last night with my husband. I have been back many times as the food and cocktails are unique and delicious. We sat on the patio which was very comfortable in spite of the outside temperatures being in the 40's. My new favorite taco is the fish taco which you can now order individually. Very inexpensive! Espita is one of our go-to places for consistently great food, drink and service. Mezcal cocktails are the best we have ever had. Feels like you are in Oaxaca.

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BB
1 review
Dined on October 21, 2018
Overall 4food 5service 4ambience 5

Great experience overall. Will go back for the drinks and tacos! The entrees for two are small and over priced.

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JW
Washington DC
5 reviews
Dined on October 20, 2018
Overall 3food 3service 3ambience 1

Very noisy. Confusing layout of menu. Very small portions.

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KB
Washington DC
12 reviews
Dined on October 20, 2018
Overall 1food 1service 1ambience 1

The food wasn't pleasant and service was bad. Overpriced for mediocre food. Will not return

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CM
1 review
Dined on October 19, 2018
Overall 2food 5service 1ambience 4

Service was terrible. Had to wait 15 mns for our reservation. We sat down at 8, and by 10 pm had only had 2 plates come when we had ordered 6-7 small plates. Ended up having to cancel and find dinner elsewhere. The food we had tasted great.

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G
Los Angeles
2 reviews
Dined on October 19, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

This restaurant & bar is a gem. We loved every minute we spent here. The food was terrific, and the drinks were outstanding. The servers and bartenders know their stuff, and are happy to share their knowledge with you. We overindulged, but didn't regret it the next day, it was that good. We tried a lot of the menu, and it was all very tasty. Great service, great food and drink, and great value. Highly recommended!

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