Arts & Entertainment

Restaurant Spotlight: Blanca’s Restaurant

Neatly tucked away on the side of South Washington Street, Blanca’s Restaurant, open since 1989, puts all tacos to shame. The gravel parking lot, though miniscule, is curiously full. The barren atmosphere outside is constantly interrupted by exuberant Central American music that occasionally leaks out as customers come in and out of Blanca’s doors.RS-blanca

Neatly tucked away on the side of South Washington Street, Blanca’s Restaurant, open since 1989, puts all tacos to shame. The gravel parking lot, though miniscule, is curiously full. The barren atmosphere outside is constantly interrupted by exuberant Central American music that occasionally leaks out as customers come in and out of Blanca’s doors.

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Blanca’s Restaurant (Photo: News-Press)

Inside, pleasant surprises await. In lieu of the commonly bland glass, the expansive window is trimmed with festive streamers through which the daylight streams. Just to the right of the entrance sits a jukebox, booming with soulful sound that one could only imagine hearing in the streets of San Salvador. Needless to say, the ambiance alone should be enough to convince you that Blanca’s carries the heart of genuine Hispanic cuisine. However, the real persuasion begins once you open up the menu, beautifully illustrated with mouth-watering photographs of the dishes. Surprisingly enough, the pictures don’t do the food justice.

For one, the appetizer Nacho Supremo ($6.95) is nothing short of Supremo or nachos, for that matter. Prepared with tender beef, shredded chicken, refried beans, hot, melted cheese, fresh sour cream and zesty jalapeño peppers, the plate offers almost too much taste for the petite tables. The crunchy nachos droop with the weight of the hefty flavors. And with layers of buried crackers, the Nacho Supremo might as well pass for a main dish. The sole caution is to never underestimate the size of these culinary delights. Other appetizers such as the Quesadilla ($6.95), prepared with your choice of beef and cheese, plain cheese, chicken and cheese or refried beans and cheese, is nothing like the wimpy and tasteless flour stacks you’ve tasted at some no-name food court.

Straying from the norm, the especialidades mexicanas (Mexican specialties) gives you something else to talk about. Never mind the Red Lobster special or Chipotle burritos, get the Fajitas de Camarones ($15.95). It’s a Spanish variation on the fajitas, loaded up with shrimp, served with the staples rice, refried beans and tortillas. More traditional among the menu is the Enchiladas Coloradas ($9.50), a sort of burrito, stuffed with chicken and topped with ranchera sauce, rice and refried beans. For more Salvadorian tastes, try the Pupusa Platter ($6.95) or Carne Asada ($14.95) – broiled steak, marinated in an exquisite Salvadorian style sauce.

After having sampled all these gargantuan flavors, it’s then up to you to decide whether you’ll be able to stomach the delectable postres (desserts) that also grace the menu. If anything, go for the Nuegados de Yuca con Miel ($3.25); you’ll be happy you risked the pot belly for this plate of sweet goodness. The yuccas, vegetables found in many traditional Latin American dishes, come drenched in syrup.

Quite simply, Blanca’s Restaurant serves up the most authentic, hearty Hispanic Salvadorian and Mexican foods at prices that are too good to be true. If you decide to visit, take a friend with you. After all, a fiesta is only good when there’s a crowd.

Blanca’s Restaurant

418 S. Washington St., Falls Church

703-538-2466

7 days a week: 11 a.m. – 11 p.m.

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