When I tell people where I live, their quizzical response is, 99.9% of the time, “Where is Poolesville?” The answer: it is in northern Montgomery County, isolated by the Potomac River and the Montgomery County Agricultural Reserve. We’ve got a lot to offer nature enthusiasts, cyclists, and history buffs but in the food department, well, not so much. In fact, my town is technically a food desert: Poolesville does not have a grocery store. Don’t get me started on the irony of living in a community surrounded by farms that doesn’t have a reliable and local mechanism for purchasing food. Ahem…

…Anyway, we do have a handful of restaurants and the best and most surprising is Mexican Grill. You may be surprised to find authentic Mexican food in a predominantly causcasian exburb of DC, but we do have that. And boy, are we lucky! My household consists of a vegan, an omnivore, and two little omnivores and Mexican Grill has something to satisfy us all, whether we choose to carry out or dine in.

Folks in Poolesville may remember the bumpy early days when Mexican Grill was trying to find its groove with opening hours and staff while running a number of successful taco trucks down county . We found that the food remained reliably delicious no matter what operational glitches were going on behind the scenes. Today, they have a remodeled space that feels more contemporary and with a more responsive customer service vibe. When driving by at dinner time, the busy dining room is a positive testament to the results of their makeover.

Their menu is fairly typical for many Mexican restaurants but also offers some items you may not usually see at more Americanized joints, such as guaraches, sopes, platanos, yucca, and tacos de lengua. We have tried pretty much every item on the menu, and have never had anything to be a disappointment but our family does have its favorites.

Mexican Grill offers a number of vegetarian dishes, and they can be made vegan upon request. The biggest veggie hit in our house is the veggie burrito platter–a soft tortilla rolled around rice, beans, and veggies and served with sides of rice and beans. Though not vegan, I sometimes order the veggie enchilada platter and love that the enchiladas are filled with chunks of fresh veggies and aren’t drowning in some gloppy bizarre cheese sauce. When ordering any platter, be sure to ask for the Mexican rice, a lovely tomato-y concoction and the black beans, floating in a savory broth. Fans of heat should also request their house-made hot sauces: green is mild and red is hotter.

The omnivores in our house have favorites too. The kids always request some sort of quesadilla, crisped to golden goodness and filled with delicious gooey cheese. They also always insist upon sides of those glorious black beans and Mexican rice. I usually ordered a steak dish, but was thrilled to see with their new menu that they offer a half veggie and half steak fajita option, so that is my new favorite. Be sure to request extra tortillas with fajitas–you will savor their warm softness and find they run out too quickly. Their steak tacos are also amazing, served traditional-style in a soft corn tortilla with cilantro and onions (you can request crispy shells if you must, lol).

Steak at Mexican Grill Poolesville

Delicious steak platter at Mexican Grill.

The outstanding comfort food item on the menu, in my opinion, is the shrimp soup. I can recall many a sick day spent with bowls of this fantastic concoction, giving me my energy strength back. It is served as a large portion (I can usually get three servings out of one.) with tortillas, a small cup of rice, and a lime wedge. Plump little shrimp and chunks of veggies float in this amazing creamy savory broth with cilantro and spices. It’s my power soup!


Glorious sopa de camarones

So the next time you find yourself hungry in Poolesville, give Mexican Grill a try. They are open seven days a week and serve the usual drink options, as well as Jarritos and Horchata. Whether you choose to eat there or take it home, expect authentic, fresh Mexican food made with loving care from a small business, not cookie-cutter Tex-Mex from a big chain.

Mexican and Central American food is becoming a beloved part of mainstream American cuisine. What is your favorite dish?

Want to find more places to visit in upper Montgomery County? Check out Teach: Soleado Lavender Farm and Travel: Button Farm Living History Center

Want to cook your own authentic Mexican dishes? Click here to purchase Easy Mexican Food Favorites: A Mexican Cookbook for Taqueria-Style Home Cooking. A portion of your purchase will go to maintaining my blog. Thanks for your support!

Christine Rai

Christine Rai is a college professor in the Washington, D.C. area with a passion for food studies and experiential learning. She loves learning more in her kitchen, garden, and travels. Above all, Christine enjoys sharing adventures with her husband and two daughters. Christine is available for speaking, teaching, speaking, and leading travel experiences. Fill out the contact form to get in touch.


Patricia van Bergen · September 21, 2016 at 11:46 am

I love this restaurant too, and especially the yellow rice.

Mikaela · September 20, 2016 at 11:35 pm

Yum! Now I’m hungry again….. It looks delicious (and definitely a step up from our favorite old Mexican spot in Bmore…. Hola Amiga LOL)! When I come to visit I want to try that shrimp soup.

    Christine Rai · September 21, 2016 at 11:12 pm

    LOL! Yes, definitely better than our Los Amigos (though Mexican Grill doesn’t have Lomo Saltado on the menu). I’m hoping they may even expand to some different soups once the weather gets cold. I had lamb consommé for the first time at a hole in the wall Mexican joint in DE. A-ma-zing!

Alexander · September 20, 2016 at 11:18 pm

Pretty awesome! Mexican Grill is by far the best restaurant in Poolesville. Great blog… now I’m craving a veggie burrito.

    Christine Rai · September 21, 2016 at 11:13 pm

    Yo quiero Mexican Grill, todo el tiempo!

learnwebstrategy · September 20, 2016 at 10:58 pm

So next time I come back to visit, we will have to go there. Sounds fantastic!

    Christine Rai · September 21, 2016 at 11:14 pm

    Anywhere Kim Wright visits is automatically fantastic, in my opinion! xo

maginlasovgregg · September 20, 2016 at 8:54 pm

One of my favorite Mexican Restaurants in our area — second to Cafe Bueno in Frederick, only because I can walk there. Thank you for recommending the shrimp soup. I can’t wait to try it :-).

    Christine Rai · September 21, 2016 at 11:14 pm

    Let me know what you think when you do! 🙂

Teach: Haunted Poolesville Podcast – Christine Rai · June 3, 2018 at 12:04 pm

[…] Farm Living History Center. All that exploring got you hungry? Give Taste: Watershed Cafe or Taste: Mexican Grill a […]

Taste: Watershed Cafe – Christine Rai · April 17, 2018 at 7:19 am

[…] Looking for more things to do and taste in Montgomery County’s ag reserve? Check out Travel: Button Farm Living History Center and  Taste: Mexican Grill. […]

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