Salvadoran restaurants used to be a mainstay in Columbia Heights, which has been DC’s main Hispanic neighborhood for decades. But the area has gentrified. You can still find some in the area. One of the best is Gloria’s Pupuseria, which has been serving Salvadoran food for more than a dozen years.
Because of the large Hispanic population living in the DC metro area , I have had plenty of opportunities to eat Salvardoran cuisine. Over the years, I have settled on my favorite dishes: Sopa De Res; Yuca con chicharron; Tamales; and, of course, Pupusas. Here is my opinion of these dishes at Gloria’s. All are served with a side of soft corn tortillas.
Yuca is a root vegetable similar to a potato. I have also heard it referred to as cassava, but on a Salvadoran menu it is listed as yuca. When you get it as a standalone dish, it is served fried. When it is served con chicharron, it is accompanied by pieces of fried pork. It is a heavy dish and is considered an appetizer, so it is best shared. The chicharron is crispy and Gloria’s is no exception. It can be very dry, but Gloria’s is not. Still, the red hot sauce it comes with is needed to balance out the dryness. Gloria’s take on the recipe is good.
Sopa De Res is a beef soup. The broth is rich and flavorful and the main ingredients are corned beef, cabbage and yuca, along with some other vegetables. At other places, I’ve the soup includes a small ear of corn (a type of corn called choclo), but this was not the case at Gloria’s. Nevertheless, Gloria’s Sopa De Res is filling meal as it is packed with huge chunks meat and vegetables. A perfect meal on a cold winter day.
No Salvadoran dinner is complete without a pupusa. Pupusas are soft corn tortillas,filled with either cheese or beans or both combined, and grilled. Accompanied by shredded cabbage covered with hot sauce, I find it irresistible. Gloria’s take on the pupusa is my favorite. The tortillas are thick and soft tortillas and have plenty of filling. Delicious! Finally, there is the tamales. Tamales are common in Hispanic countries, but each one makes them a little bit differently. They consist of a cornmeal patty, in the shape of a small ear of corn, steamed and often has a filling. Gloria has two types: corn, which is fried, and chicken. I got the one stuffed with chicken, which is the style a prefer. The meal had a nice consistency and it had plenty of filling, with just enough red sauce to provide moisture and flavor without being overpowering. I liked it very much.
Gloria’s Pupuseria has a full menu of Salvadoran dishes. It includes beef dishes such as the classic Carne Asada and several chicken dishes. In general, I am not a big fan of Carne Asada so I don’t normally order it. I have not tried any of the chicken dishes, either. In addition to Salvadoran food, Additionally, Gloria’s has all the American style Tex-Mex items dishes: Tacos, Fajitas, Burritos, and Quesadillas. On a recent trip, my companion ordered the Steak Quesadilla. It was fabulous. Thick with cheese and stuffed with plenty of steak, it made quite the meal. More than one meal, in fact. We saved half of it for another day.
Gloria’s Pupuseria is a small place and caters to the local Hispanic residents. I’m not sure I have ever seen another gringo in there, but Gloria’s is so well known I expect many frequent the place. Rest assured, the place is very friendly and welcoming and the wait staff speaks English. There is a jukebox in the restaurant so Hispanic music is always playing. The food is inexpensive and the service is quick. Overall, Gloria’s is great place to go for some authentic Hispanic food.
Do you have a favorite Salvadoran restaurant in your area? If so, please share here.