Puerto Rican Gem : La Famosa
I feel like I say this every year, but this winter in the DMV was unbelievably cold, so when I found out about La Famosa, which is pretty much a tropical oasis, I knew I needed to visit. La Famosa is a new Puerto Rican restaurant in the Navy Yard area that brings a little slice of the island to the city. The restaurant has a unique niche in the DC restaurant scene since Puerto Rican restaurants are few and far between within the city. The restaurant doubles as a café that serves tasty coffee and pastries, making the space the perfect one-stop-shop for all of your foodie needs. I checked out the restaurant last week with a friend of mine, who’s a fan of Puerto Rican food, and neither less to say we were not disappointed.
Parking & Location: As mentioned, La Famosa is located in Navy Yard, and the exact address is 1300 4th Street SE, Washington, DC. I am a fan of dining in the Navy Yard area because there is always ample parking available. You should be able to find street parking easily. There is also a parking lot a block away from the restaurant that offers parking at a reasonable price.
Ambiance: Immediately upon entering La Famosa, my first thought was that they did a great job of translating the tropical elements of the island within the space without being too literal with the design. Color is tastefully used in the space by utilizing various colored chairs and transplanting plants throughout the restaurant, which creates a bright and fun atmosphere. They even have booths that have swings for indoor seating, which adds to the playful element. Rattan light fixtures are a common theme within the space that creates a relaxed and bohemian-inspired space, which also ties into the tropical theme. Outdoor seating is available with outdoor heaters for customers who feel more comfortable dining outside due to COVID.
Food & Drinks: To make the whole dining experience as touchless as possible, each table has a QR barcode that, once scanned, takes you to the menu online, where you’re able to order and pay directly. The menu offers various light options, sandwiches, and some heavier plates, without overwhelming you with too many options.
We got the Ensalada De Mariscos ($12), a seafood salad ( octopus, shrimp, and scallop ) served with tostones. It was very flavorful with a citrus flavor, making it the perfect dish to start with if you’re looking for something light to eat. I am a fan of garlic, so I loved the fact that you could smell the garlic on the tostones. The other appetizer we tried was the beef($7) and crab ($10) Pastelillos, which was served with crema verde and aji Amarillo sauces, which elevated the dish. The dough was crispy and had just the right amount of flakiness, which made the texture enjoyable, along with the fact that the beef was very flavorful. Just an insider tip, I would highly suggest getting the beef pastelillos if you cannot decide between the beef and the crab. The appetizers are quite filling, so ensure that you leave room for the man dishes.
While I thought the appetizers were delicious the main dishes stole the show. We ordered the Chillo Frito ($28), a whole snapper served with coconut rice and spicy slaw, and Bistec Encebollado ($25), steak served with beans and rice.I love a good snapper, and I am happy to report that the Chilo Frito did not disappoint. The snapper tasted very similar to escovitch fish, which made the Jamaican in me very happy, and the coconut rice was not heavy, which provided the right balance for the meal.
The Bistec Encebollado flavorful, but it is on the heavier side, so order if you’re really hungry. If you’re a fan of cocktails, then you will be happy with La Famosa cocktails selection. I would suggest trying the Guava Smash, which is strong but doesn’t have an overpowering alcohol taste, which tends to be my favorite type of cocktails. Overall, I was impressed with the food, drinks, and experience at La Famosa and plan to visit again soon for brunch.
Cost – 8/10