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Rosa Mexicano, National Harbor MD

With tableside guacamole, delicious food and fabulous views, you’ll definitely want to visit Rosa Mexicano at National Harbor MD. 

Rosa Mexicano, National Harbor MD - Karyl's Kulinary Krusade

Last month I went back to Maryland for Thanksgiving, and stayed for a week. It’s very rare that I get to do that in the fall, but since OSU’s home football season ended early I took advantage of the opportunity. Maryland’s last home football game of the season was that Saturday. I love going back to games, as I get to see so many friends. This trip was one of my favorites, because I saw friends I hadn’t seen in 15 years.

I knew my dad hadn’t been to downtown DC in ages, so that’s what we did on Sunday. We took George Washington Parkway, which is a longer drive, but much prettier than our normal route. We walked around Georgetown University, found the stairs from the movie The Exorcist, and visited both the Martin Luther King, Jr. and Vietnam Memorials. Then we tried to drive by the White House, but Trump protests had shut down several nearby streets. That, and all the traffic, killed my plan to eat downtown. Instead, I decided to head to National Harbor since it is on the way home.

National Harbor is a 350-acre development on the Potomac River, between Washington DC and Maryland. The area includes shopping, dining, hotels, an outlet mall, and an MGM Casino and Hotel. It truly is a destination, with events and activities year-round, including movies, concerts, festivals, and fitness classes. I’ve only visited one other time, when my mom and I had a great lunch at Fiorella Italian Kitchen.

After a lot of back and forth, we finally decided on Rosa Mexicano. There are 14 locations in the US, plus 2 in Dubai and one in Puerto Rico. I had seen the downtown DC location in the past, but never knew about the others. Rosa Mexicano first opened its doors in New York in 1984, and features regional Mexican cuisine.

Rosa Mexicano is one of the most central restaurants of National Harbor, at the top of the stairs leading to the Waterfront. There is a large patio on 2 sides of the building, and I’m sure in beautiful weather those tables are the most prime seats. The restaurant is quite spacious; there is a large bar area to the right immediately as you enter the building, and the large main dining room is separated into 2 sections. The seating is a combination of tables and booths. There are large windows along the back wall, and they provide an awesome view of the waterfront.

Rosa Mexicano is open for lunch and dinner daily, and also offers weekend brunch and weekday happy hour. They also have 2 spaces available for private rental, including a patio space on the second floor.

The Rosa Mexicano menus are large, and they also offer vegetarian and gluten free menus. During the holidays they have menus for Christmas and New Year’s. They print menus daily, so featured items and specials are subject to change based on location.

I was tempted to jump straight into a margarita, but decided to stick with water. I love the presentation

Rosa Mexicano, National Harbor MD - Karyl's Kulinary Krusade

Of course, chips and salsa come first

Rosa Mexicano, National Harbor MD - Karyl's Kulinary Krusade

The chips are thin and crisp, and lightly salted. My dad and I are really good at mindlessly eating chips, and today was no different. The salsa is mild and very flavorful.

My dad and I both love guacamole, and Rosa Mexicano does it tableside.

Rosa Mexicano, National Harbor MD - Karyl's Kulinary Krusade

I love restaurants that offer this presentation. They make it right in front of you, and you can choose ingredients and degree of spice. It doesn’t get any more fresh than that.

Rosa Mexicano, National Harbor MD - Karyl's Kulinary Krusade

The guacamole is fabulous, and there are still chunks of avocado throughout. I requested mild/medium on the spice meter. I should have gone mild, because it had a serious kick, and my dad doesn’t do spicy. He was sweating from the first bite, but he didn’t let that stop him…he mixed the guacamole with salsa, and said it was a delicious combination.

My dad had the Tacos de Hongos

Rosa Mexicano, National Harbor MD - Karyl's Kulinary Krusade

Grilled portobello mushrooms, black bean, roasted red and yellow peppers, grilled corn, cabbage and chile de árbol salsa

I didn’t try any of the tacos, but he said they were very good. The sweet corn is delicious, and the cheese adds a wonderful flavor.

I got the carnitas

Rosa Mexicano, National Harbor MD - Karyl's Kulinary Krusade

Slow-braised pork with cilantro, white onion and grilled pineapple. Served in a cast iron skillet with handmade corn tortillas

The carnitas are excellent, and have so much flavor. The only negative to carnitas is that the meat tends to be dry, but the outstanding flavor makes up for that. The spicy red and green sauces, as well as the cool crema, came together to add delicious flavor and the perfect amount of moisture to tenderize the meat. I love the addition of grilled pineapple, as it works so well with pork.

Rosa Mexicano, National Harbor MD - Karyl's Kulinary Krusade

Rosa Mexicano hand-makes their corn tortillas all day long. The tortillas are light and delicious, but I still only ate one because they are quite filling.

All entrees come with rice and beans.

Rosa Mexicano, National Harbor MD - Karyl's Kulinary Krusade

I like that they do these sides family style, rather than on the individual plates. I usually don’t eat the rice at Mexican restaurants, because it just takes up space. However, I’m glad that I tried this rice because it is delicious. The rice is extremely flavorful, and has a hint of tomato. The black beans are excellent.

Will I go back to Rosa Mexicano? No question. I love this location because of the great views. The food is delicious, and I could eat that guacamole all day long.

Rosa Mexicano, National Harbor MD - Karyl's Kulinary Krusade

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Corey Roberts

Monday 9th of January 2017

I eat here at least once every time I'm in National Harbor, which is at least every other year! Love this place!!


Tuesday 10th of January 2017

I could eat the guacamole as a meal! Will definitely go back next time I'm in town

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