Catalina's is a no-frills, family-run Mexican and Latin American restaurant in the middle of a Columbia Heights strip mall. What it lacks in ambiance (plastic tablecloths and painted concrete floors) it more than makes up for in its carefully prepared and very wallet-friendly food. Its diverse menu is all made from scratch, and if you step just a little outside your comfort zone, it contains more than a few of the good kind of surprises, such as the yucca con chicharones, the pastelillos de carne (essentially little Mexican pasties), or the glorious chiles rellenos. Be sure to order a glass of pleasantly tart hibiscus juice. Its cleansing properties play beautifully with the heat from the complimentary red and green salsas that come to your table.