Lobster with jalapeño butter Credit: Anafre

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The transformation is complete. Chef Alfredo Solis‘ Little Havana will reopen Friday as Anafre. The new venture specializes in cuisine one might encounter in Baja California, Acapulco and the Yucatán Peninsula. Solis also owns Mezcalero on the same strip of 14th Street NW.

An anafre is a clay pot filled with coals used for cooking. Solis’ mother used one to make family dinners in the Mexican countryside because they lived without gas or electricity. Many of the dishes at Solis’ latest restaurant will be cooked over charcoal as a nod to his family and upbringing. 

When you walk into the restaurant, Solis says it should feel like you’re in his grandmother’s rancho. “It’s decorated with all of these religious things and flowers and plants,” he says. There’s a depiction of the Virgen de Guadalupe on the wall. “It’s very cozy.” 

Solis’ menu leans heavily on seafood, from shrimp and nachos and grilled octopus to lobster served with jalapeño butter. “I hope people are wiling to come in and try fresh Mexican seafood,” he says. “I’m very picky about seafood. It has to be fresh.” He pulled inspiration from Mexican cities that are on the coast.

Pollo a la brasa is also a focal point. Diners can order a quarter, half, or whole charcoal-grilled chicken served with traditional sides like fried yucca, red rice, and beans. 

Another highlight is the selection of tacos de guisados. They differ from the tacos at Mezcalero because they feature braised strews on top of rice all cradled in tortillas. “This is more like my grandmother made,” he explains. He recommends the one filled with shrimp or the vegetarian papas con rajas. 

Cocktail lovers will appreciate Heriberto Cassanero‘smenu consisting of 16 options spanning from an Old Fashioned made with Mexican whiskey that folds in mole to several drinks showcasing lesser known agave spirits such as sotol and raicilla. Those at Anafre for date night can order a margarita built for two.

Starting Friday Anafre will be open Mondays through Thursdays from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. and Fridays and Saturdays from 11 a.m. to midnight.  

Anafre, 3704 14th St. NW