Acajutla Mexican Restaurant - Gaithersburg

Latin American, Mexican, Salvadoran
$$$$ ($14 and under)

Editorial Review

Situated on an out-of-the-way road, this Salvadoran Mexican restaurant welcomes passersby throughout the afternoon for a drink or a snack. After the office crowd departs, young Latino couples wander in for whipped-cream topped virgin pina coladas and late-lunching workers crowd the booths for the combination specials ($5.95 to $8).

The more interesting dishes -- chuleta de puerco entomatadas, a thin pork chop suffused with a vinegary sauce and smothered in tomatoes and onions -- are Salvadoran, reflecting the owners' heritage. But if a fajita sizzles its fragrant way past your table and you are tempted to order one, you won't be sorry.

Note the Salvadoran national seal hanging on the back wall, including swords, a volcano and a small red heart. Your waiter can explain the emblem's significance.

On Sundays, the restaurant is packed with families enjoying an amiable get-together. Bring your own family and join the fun.

Take a seat that faces the uncurtained windows to get a good view of the pretty countryside.

-- Joanne Leonard