Restaurants

DC "DCocktail" Series: Little Havana

It’s well known that there are only a handful of restaurants in the District that make authentic Cuban fare such as ropa vieja and vaca frita. Little Havana (3704 14th St. NW 20010), which just opened its doors in Columbia Heights, is the latest addition to that select number. The restaurant boasts tropical neon murals, some including notable Cuban icons like Celia Cruz, Che Guevara, and Washington Nationals player Gio Gonzalez, and can seat up to 60 people comfortably. The artwork was completed by Erenesto Zelaya whose murals can be found on buildings around the city.

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Staying true to traditional Cuban fare, you can expect appetizers like yucca fries, empanadas, and chicharron de pollo. Main dishes will include pollo a la plancha, vaca frita, pargo frito, and of course the cubano sandwich. Desserts will also be available for those with a sweet tooth, such as flan and arroz con leche, just to name a few.

The restaurant, which is headed by chef Joseph Osorio and chef/restaurateur Alfredo Solis, is a cozy nod to the Caribbean island. The cocktails, curated by Heriberto Casasanero, also make sure to transport you to Cuba, with an emphasis on fruit-based cocktails laced with rum. If you’re lucky you’ll be able to sip your piña colada out of a hollowed pineapple and forget city life altogether during your stay. Little Havana is a great add-on to the district, offering a taste of authentic dishes paired with a fresh and festive ambience.

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If you're into truly Cuban food, stop by Little Havana and be sure to tell them we sent you!

- Nyasha Chikowore

Photo Credit: Little Havana

DC "DCocktail" Series: Etete Restaurant

The DC “DCocktail” Series highlights the food, ambiance, and most especially the cocktails at restaurants in and around the District of Columbia.  We find out how the restaurant uses its menu to make a mark on the nation’s capital.  

Here at Will Drink For Travel, we strive to keep our readers up to date on eateries and bars offering worthwhile experiences. So I was looking forward to sampling the revamped menu at Etete (1942 9th Street NW 20001) in the heart of U Street.

The restaurant has been a mainstay on the 9th & U street strip for as long as I’ve been in the area (10 years). I even made a stop there during my food tour with Carpe DC Food Tours a while ago. As an Ethiopian food fanatic, I can attest to the fact that Etete does not disappoint.

Chef Christopher Roberson has kept true to the restaurant namesake’s traditional spices and flavors with the addition of his small plates. With influences from across the globe, he provides options for patrons with varying pallets. His injera tacos were definitely the stand out for me, packing all of the Ethiopian flavors I adore into a colorful taco filled with berebere chicken, pickled peppers, greens and ayib farmers cheese.

For those a little undecided about injera, a spongy flatbread made of teff flour, they also provide crispy lentil rolls, sweet chili wings, and fish & chips. Etete wows patrons with a crispy whole fish that looks too good to eat and a prawn gumbo, which you will most likely can’t find in any other Ethiopian establishment.

Along with the amazing food are the creative cocktails. The Fire & Spice was a standout with the chili gin and cayenne guaranteed to give you the energy to fill your belly. If the food and drinks don’t inspire you, the décor alone will encourage you to become a happy hour regular, and is open for private events.

If you check out this D.C. mainstay, be sure to tell them we sent you! For more information on Etete, visit Eteterestaurant.com.

- Nyasha Chikowore