Click to View Latest IssueClick to View Latest Issue

El Tamarindo

By  0 Comments

What’s a meal without a few festive summer drinks? Up first was the light and refreshing Peach Punch, a Salvadoran drink served on special occasions such as weddings and quinceañeras.

In honor of Hispanic Heritage Month and El Salvador Independence Day, this edition of Cravings explores the fascinating history of El Tamarindo, a restaurant that offers home-style Mexican and Salvadoran cuisine. Located in Dupont Circle, this “Mom and Pop” establishment has provided superior service to its customers since 1982. The restaurant is named after a beach in El Salvador where owner Jose Reyes was raised.

More than 30 years ago, husband and wife team Jose and Betty Reyes came to the United States with the dream of owning and operating a successful restaurant. Betty grew up working in a small village store in El Salvador. It was there that she developed a keen business sense. Jose, who also came from humble beginnings, worked in a Mexican restaurant in Washington, D.C., and learned the ins and outs of the restaurant industry. Many years later, El Tamarindo was born!

Anna Reyes, daughter of Jose and Betty and part owner of El Tamarindo, provides this advice for aspiring restaurant owners. “Roll with the punches. Be really good at what you do. Change and grow with the environment. Change is good. Growth is good.”

El Tamarindo offers one tasty menu, day or night, and they are open until 5:00 a.m. on weekends. Their clientele includes young professionals, families and anyone who enjoys Central American cuisine. During the spring and summer months, locals can enjoy music, dancing and the sounds of family-friendly performers.

El Tamarindo also serves as a unique event venue for private parties, weddings, birthdays and anniversaries. In addition, they offer catering for intimate or large-scale events.

The restaurant décor presents a unique opportunity for customers to support their community. Inside, the walls are decorated with artwork from up-and-coming local artists such as David Amaroso, Ralph Blessings and Linda Moreno. All artwork is for sale. This is just one of the many ways that the Reyes family is dedicated to uplifting and supporting their community.

Our food tasting began with El Tamarindo’s signature Pupusas, also known as Salvadoran street food. These thick, handmade corn tortillas are prepared three ways: with bean and cheese, pork and cheese and cheese and loroco. The most popular Pupusa is Revuelta, pork and cheese served with a side of salsa.

What’s a meal without a few festive summer drinks? Up first was the light and refreshing Peach Punch, a Salvadoran drink served on special occasions such as weddings and quinceañeras. Next we tried the Corona Rita Sangria, their most popular signature drink, prepared with red wine, brandy, citrus juices, a secret ingredient and freshly chopped apples, oranges, lemons and limes. The rich, bold flavors of this drink are ideal for those customers who want to relax and unwind after a long day.

The next dish served was Enchilada Poblanas, with roasted chilies, nuts, sweet plantains, raisins and cocoa beans. It was bursting with flavor, and all the ingredients in this dish blend together nicely! We then sampled the Chile Con Queso, made with creamy ranchera sauce and jalapenos combined with melted Monterey jack cheese and served with warm homemade tortilla chips.

Who says salads have to be boring? If you’re watching your weight, El Tamarindo offers a lively, mouth-watering Chicken Avocado Salad. Trust us, you won’t even know it’s good for you! In addition, they offer a special menu with gluten-free, vegetarian, vegan and dairy-free options.

For dessert, we sampled Flan a la Kahlua, a delicious caramel custard with a hint of Kahlua and coconut flavors. It was the perfect end to a delicious, hearty meal.

Your visit to Dupont Circle is not complete without stopping by El Tamarindo! When you eat there, you become part of the family!

El Tamarindo is located at 1785 Florida Avenue NW, Washington, D.C. Call 202-328-3660 or visit for hours, menu previews and to make reservations.