Say the name Mike Isabella to any DC foodie, and thoughts of the chef’s sopressata-dotted pizzas and masterful, melt-in-your-mouth agnolotti will likely spring to their minds. But that could very well be changing now that his newest venture, Bandolero, has put down roots in Georgetown. A culinary departure from Graffiato, his successful Italian restaurant in Chinatown, Isabella’s new haunt dishes up modern Mexican cuisine, tapas style, along with interesting twists on ultra-traditional dishes such as queso fundido (the chef’s version pairs savory duck confit and creamy manchego with a sunny-side-up egg).
So what else defines Georgetown’s hottest addition? “Lots of tacos and strong margaritas,” says Isabella. Boasting more than 60 types of tequila and mezcal, Bandolero batches its signature margarita, El Bandolero, into kegs daily to keep the libation flowing—it’s a definite crowd pleaser. The eatery showcases Day of the Dead décor, a moody theme Isabella had in mind when designing the restaurant. “The cemetery gates and animal skulls were my touches,” he says. Dark ceilings and walls, flickering candles, and weathered ironwork drive home the point that this new venture of Isabella’s has its own flavor, style, and personality. 3241 M St. NW, 202-625-4488