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“Not your typical Mexican!” 5 of 5 bubbles
Review of Oyamel

Oyamel
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Ranked #58 of 3,189 Restaurants in Washington DC
Certificate of Excellence
Price range: $30 - $30
Cuisines: Mexican, Latin, Spanish, Central American
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Good for: Large groups, Families with children, Special occasions, Bar scene
Dining options: Dinner, Late Night, Brunch, Lunch, Full Bar, Highchairs Available, Reservations, Seating, Serves Alcohol, Takeout, Waitstaff, Wheelchair Accessible
Dining style: Casual Elegant
Neighborhood: Downtown / Chinatown
Cross street: D Street
Transit: Archives/Navy Memorial/Penn Quarter on the yellow and green lines; Gallery Place/Chinatown on the red, yellow and green lines.
Description: Oyamel combines Mexico's rich regional diversity with the modern urban atmosphere of Mexico City. The liveliness of the dining room is matched by the creativity of the menu and cocktail list, featuring antojitos-Mexican small plates-ceviches and tacos, plus unique margaritas, and an impressive array of wines and tequilas. Originally opened in 2004 in the Crystal City neighborhood of Arlington, Oyamel moved to its current home in the Penn Quarter in March of 2007.
Secaucus, New Jersey
Level Contributor
167 reviews
102 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 68 helpful votes
“Not your typical Mexican!”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed December 23, 2013

Growing up in the NY metro area most of the Mexican places I've been to are of the chain variety - even Rosa Mexicano has become a chain albeit a very good one. Anyway, I was intrigued by the idea of Mexican tapas and was very happy with selecting Oyamel for one of the 5 restaurants we tried for dinner in DC. Everything we ordered was well prepared and very flavorful. I can highly recommend each of the following: ceviche traditional, crispy Brussels sprouts ( believe it or not but Brussels sprouts to die for!), huevos enfrijolados, the gourd it's de pato and the grilled hanger steak. The service was friendly and efficient plus the place has a really cool vibe and decor. Try it!

  • Visited November 2013
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Food
Helpful?
Thank hanleydouglas
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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1,559 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
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Rating summary
    Food
    Service
    Value
    Atmosphere
Date | Rating
  • Chinese (Traditional) first
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English first
Melbourne, Australia
Level Contributor
214 reviews
128 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 70 helpful votes
“Just Okay”
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed December 21, 2013

Went to Oyamel on a Friday night. The restaurant was busy and was way too noisy to be pleasant, hard to have a conversation with the person across from me. Food was OK, but not great. Pricey for the size of the portions.

  • Visited December 2013
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Food
Helpful?
Thank teachexpat
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Washington, D.C.
Level Contributor
283 reviews
106 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 162 helpful votes
“Great food and service, but very noisy”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed December 18, 2013

For those for whom Mexican food means Tex-Mex, Oyamel will be a revelation. The menu is filled with fascinating and unique items. It is a perfect place for several people to order a selection of small plates (2-3 per person), share, and discover. They have a range of spectacular tacos, totally unlike the Taco Bell variety. I especially liked the wild mushrooms with shallots and cream taco. (But I did pass on the sauteed grasshopper taco.) As you settle in you will be asked if you like the guacamole. Say yes! It will be made at your table with chile, cheese, and species and will be unlike any guacamole you have had. We also particularly enjoyed the ceviche--they have several varieties--and the pork cheeks. I will grumble a bit that they only offer bottled and not draft beer.
The service was great: friendly, informative, efficient.
So why only four stars for a place with great food and excellent service? Oyamel is very noisy, even on the Monday night when we visited. If the purpose of your evening is to have a relaxed time with friends and not have to shout, this is not the place.

  • Visited December 2013
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Food
Helpful?
Thank sptravelers5
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Washington DC, District of Columbia
Level Contributor
381 reviews
139 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 316 helpful votes
“Very nice tasting menu”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed December 18, 2013

We held our end of year/christmas party there. It was really nice. They serve an special with many different types of mexican/spanish cousine, all with an special and very nice taste. I will probably will come back to try their regular menu, which should be very good.

  • Visited December 2013
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Atmosphere
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Service
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Food
Helpful?
Thank darwinsail
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Paris, France
Level Contributor
16 reviews
15 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 13 helpful votes
“Very good experience”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed December 18, 2013

Oyamel is a Mexican restaurant and I don’t usually like Mexican food because I think it’s messy, spicy and that I am not a big fan of tacos, nachos, wraps, etc. But this was probably due to the fact that I had never experienced sophisticated Mexican food before! Oyamel is a perfect example of Mexican gastronomy.
Oyamel has a very warm and exotic atmosphere, the walls are orange and the furniture has blue mosaic and this results in making you feel like you are truly in Mexico! The staff was great and very professional. The food was great overall: best guacamole I have ever eaten! The staff prepares it in front of you and mixes avocado, garlic, spices and parmesan for the best taste ever!
You also have a wide range of margaritas available, they are a bit too expensive in my opinion but the classic one we took (as a pitcher) was really good! They create margaritas with a combination of fruits and alcohols and I am definitely excited to try more when I come back!
So at Oyamel, you basically order tapas whether you decide to share them or not. I took a cocoa chicken and scallops in orange sauce which were very good.

  • Visited December 2013
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Food
Helpful?
Thank Frenchie101
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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