Kate’s Food Finds: New restaurant adds tango to Congressional Plaza


Photo by Kate Hawley

Taco Bamba’s industrial atmosphere provides a clean and modern feel.

From the moment you walk into Taco Bamba, you know that you are about to be treated to an astounding dining experience. When you open the doors, an explosion of sweet and smoky aromas floods your nose, and the sounds of chopping, sizzling and music fill your ears. These smells and sounds only offer a tiny taste of what is to come from Taco Bamba.

Located in Congressional Plaza, Taco Bamba sells tacos, nachos, tortas, churros and enchiladas, plus a variety of other chef creations. The tacos have numerous filling options, including chicken, beef, pork, shrimp, fish, steak, egg, mushroom, crab and chorizo. A normal taco has a corn tortilla plus onions and cilantro, but a “dirty style” taco has a flour tortilla, grilled onions, crispy and melted cheese, sweet chili sauce and cilantro.

One of the best things about Taco Bamba is its low prices. Each taco is sold individually, allowing you to modify your order based on your appetite and mix and match different types of tacos. Each taco is between $3.50 and $4.50, making them very affordable, high-quality tacos.

Taco Bamba tacos are served on a slightly crispy tortilla, with extremely flavorful and juicy fillings. The “dirty style” tacos have an enormous amount of cheese melted onto the inside of the tortilla, which makes them highly recommended for cheese lovers. The restaurant also sells chips and queso, which I would highly recommend as an appetizer.

The restaurant’s interior is industrial, with sparsely-decorated dark gray walls, wood and metal furniture, ribbed metal accents and an open ceiling that exposes the restaurant’s air ducts, pipes and wiring. Taco Bamba can seat about 55 guests inside and about 25 guests in their outdoor eating area. The restaurant’s factory-like atmosphere is complete with loud music, which may make an indoor conversation hard.

Customers can either order their food at the counter, to pick it up when it’s ready, or they can order directly from the bar. The bar is clean, modern, and faces a large, beautifully designed wood accent wall. The restaurant is also open for take-out, curbside pick-up and delivery.

Taco Bamba was founded in Northern Virginia by Victor Albisu, who opened his first restaurant in 2013. Since then, he has opened six locations, including the new restaurant in Rockville. However, each location is unique and has a different menu.

Albisu has three other restaurant chains besides Taco Bamba, all of which reflect his Latin American roots. Albisu graduated from Le Cordon Bleu, a culinary school in France before going on to win awards and competitions for his cooking.

Taco Bamba is located at 1627 Rockville Pike, just a 12-minute drive from the school. The restaurant is open from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday through Thursday, and 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Friday and Saturday. If you do go, I would highly recommend the Tinga or MoCo crab tacos.