El Centro D.F.
1819 14th Street, NW
Washington, DC 20009Neighborhood:
MexicanPrice: $30 and under
El Centro D.F.
- Dining Style: Casual Dining
- Website: http://www.richardsandoval.com/elcentrodf/
- Phone: (202) 328-3131
- Hours of Operation:
Lunch: Daily: 11:00am - 2:00pm; Dinner: Nightly: 5:00pm - 11:00pm; Late Night: Sunday - Thursday: 11:00pm - 2:00am, Friday - Saturday: 11:00pm - 3:00am Brunch: Saturday - Sunday 10:30am - 3pm.
- Payment Options: AMEX,Diners Club,Discover,MasterCard,Visa
- Cuisine: Comfort Food, Mexican
- Executive Chef: Richard Sandoval
- Dress Code: Smart Casual
- Accepts Walk-Ins: Yes
- Additional Details: Banquet/Private Rooms, Bar Dining, Bar/Lounge, Beer, Dancing, Entertainment, Full Bar, Happy Hour, Late Night, Patio/Outdoor Dining, Private Room, Takeout, Weekend Brunch, Wine
- Entertainment: Latin Thursdays
10 PM-2 AM | Every Thursday in the Tequileria Lounge
Salsa / Merengue / Bachata / Top 40 / Samba / and more
No cover | Dress to impress!
Rooftop HH Drinks 10pm-11pm
- Special Events: Please contact Nora Bankert at email@example.com to book your table. We'll help you select times and menus just right for your gathering. We look forward to hearing from you!
A word from El Centro D.F.
Internationally acclaimed Chef Richard Sandoval combines traditional culinary techniques with fresh, high quality ingredients to create authentic Mexican comfort food at El Centro D.F. Designed to reflect the bustling street shops and colorful rituals of everyday life in Mexico, the restaurant is comprised of three distinct dining spaces all under one roof. The Taqueria features a casual atmosphere where a lively open kitchen serves authentic favorites. The Tequileria allows guests to dine or lounge as mixologists craft Latin cocktails from 200 Tequilas & Mezcals. Along the rooftop guests raise a glass at two open-air bars. Warm, Latin-inspired service and welcoming hospitality will round out your experience.Continued
Foodspotting photosSee all photos
Awards voted by OpenTable diners
- Diners' Choice WinnerMexican
El Centro D.F. - Best Restaurants in Downtown ›
El Centro D.F. reviews from OpenTable diners
145 reviews since July 31, 2014
- Ambiance3.9Noise LevelEnergetic
good for groups (60)fit for foodies (54)hot spot (53)great for brunch (53)neighborhood gem (46)vibrant bar scene (46)great for lunch (19)late-night find (18)special occasion (16)great for outdoor dining (14)romantic (7)kid-friendly (4)scenic view (1)Show More
- BramsDined on 11/22/2014Impressed by the tequilas and knowledge around them. Tacos were pretty good and left me satisfied!I would recommend this to a friend.
- a nice surprisehappydinerDined on 11/22/2014Previous reviews were generally good, but we saw some so-so reviews also. Weren't sure what we'd find. Restaurant was terrific. All the food at our table of 4 was excellent. Unlimited salsa and chips were very good - salsa had smoked or roasted chiles and had a great taste. Chips were warm and good. Pork carnitas was really good, as was chile rellenos. Great tequila list at very reasonable prices. Margaretas were the only negative - they were pretty tasteless. Service was excellent, both at the bar and at the table. Overall a very good evening - we'll returnI would recommend this to a friend.
- Great way to salute my 20sOpenTable Diner Since 2011Dined on 11/21/2014El Centro was recommended to me by a colleague for a good place for my 29th birthday celebration. I wanted somewhere to have dinner with a group that turned into a late night spot so we didn't have to move around too much. The night was exactly what I wanted -- they hosts even accommodated my request to increase my party size the day of. There were 11 of us and our server was absolutely wonderful. Food and drinks were great, and we had a blast when it turned into a dance floor at night.Special Features:I would recommend this to a friend.
- Great place, closest to authentic Mexican food.MmmgoodVIPDined on 11/16/2014The table guacamole (spicy) is my favorite, the baja tacos are an excellent choice if you don't want fried ask that the fish be grilled. The brunch is the best in DC! All you can eat menu and all you can drink Mimosas and/or traditional flavored waters! Serving sizes are great you will get your money's worth!Special Features:I would recommend this to a friend.
- FailMemoDined on 11/15/20143rd time for brunch and 3rd time that the wait staff WERE HORRIBLE! SLOW SLOW SLOW! Food was slow to arrive and drinks were even slower got there at 1:00 didn't get sat (with a reservation) until 1:50 Got drinks 2:20 food at 2:25. Brunch was over at 3:00. Would not recommend this place, food was good staff was the worst! I could not find one employee that was friendly or helpful except for the gentleman that brought us chips and salsa.
- Great bar and foodmjp396Dined on 11/14/2014Amazing selection of Tequilas. Cocktails better by the glass. Loved the food - you have to try the homemade guacamole made in front of you!Special Features:I would recommend this to a friend.
- reliable mexican fooddcdiningDined on 11/11/2014overall, the food and drinks were good. i had the steak huarache and guacamole for appetizer. the steak huarache was very good but the guacamole was just okay. it lacked the proper seasoning and spice (we ordered medium but you barely taste the pepper). the rest of the people liked their entree. Tacos were good. The shrimp in my entree, however, was a little overcooked. I would dine again at el centro but will skip the guacamole and chipotle shrimp next time.Special Features:
- basement gemfoodmissionDined on 11/5/2014Great evening celebrating my husband's birthday with our 3 teenagers. We sat in the basement which has a really cool vibe. We will definitely return.Special Features:I would recommend this to a friend.
- Fun neighborhood placeBexleyVIPDined on 10/30/2014Fun and casual. Great Margarita menu. Nice selection and tasty.Special Features:
- Fantastic BrunchlovebrunchDined on 10/26/2014Great service, awesome food, and overall fun time!! The waitress was extremely attentive, pre-ordered awesome food for our group, and was very friendly.Special Features:I would recommend this to a friend.
- Best Area MexicanRRogVIPDined on 10/18/2014Best Mexican food in the area. Quality ingredients, variety of choices and not greasy at all. Most items are gluten free and noted so on the menu.Special Features:I would recommend this to a friend.
- Great food, fun halloween decor!sonejah21Dined on 10/18/2014Had a party of 6 and all of us enjoyed our meal at El Centro D.F. Our server was a bit scripted, but nice enough. Food was surprisingly exceptional!Special Features:
- Delicious Food, indifferent servicebadgringaDined on 10/18/2014The food is delicious--one of a few legitimate Mexican kitchens in DC, but the service was terrible. Waiter could not have cared less--barely spoke, did not clear plates, left us without drinks or food for long stretches. The food was also clearly plated by someone disillusioned with their job--an exception to otherwise good Mexican food were the chilaquiles, which were so lazily thrown together as to be inedible (basically a plate of tortilla chips with great salsa, cheese, onions tossed around the edge). Want to love this place, but they really need to get it together. Also, we were surprised to see dollar store Halloween decorations all over the lovely Day of the Dead themed space--why not use traditional Day of the Dead decoration?Special Features:
- Awesome BrunchOpenTable Diner Since 2009Dined on 10/13/2014This dining experience was perhaps one of my best ever!!! Waitress Jessica perfect when she saw we were having indecision on what to order she offered to choose the best dishes for us, and she did, spectacular recommendations. Drink refills, food service, speedy and fabulous. Food was delicious. Make sure to save room for dessert as the plantains and churros are out of this world,Special Features:
- Great drink specialBrunchbunchDined on 10/12/2014The drink special for brunch was great at el centro df 35$ includes bottomless mimosas, margaritas and more. I had a little trouble with the hostess and a slanted table but I was able to resolve the problem quickly with a manager.Special Features:I would recommend this to a friend.
- Dinner Dancing SpotprfctstrmVIPDined on 10/10/2014Great spot to go for dinner and dancing. Definitely going back.Special Features:I would recommend this to a friend.
- Yum!WinstonBaoVIPDined on 10/10/2014El Centro never fails (goes for both locations). Excellent food - fun to share. Server was attentive without being intrusive. See you soon!Special Features:
- Fantastic serviceOpenTable Diner Since 2004VIPDined on 10/9/2014I'm not the most critical diner, but rarely is the service so amazing and memorable. From the moment we walked in to El Centro I felt like a VIP just because of how attentive and friendly the staff was. The meal was great, drinks fantastic - they accommodated our request for a semi-private space. Couldn't ask for me, but really if I owned a restaurant I would try to hire away the current crew.Special Features:
- WonderfulKellyDined on 10/4/2014Our waitress was very kind, prompt and attune to what dishes we favored. Everything was even more delicious than it looked, which says a lot because the food was beautifully presented. I'd recommend el centro 100 times over.Special Features:I would recommend this to a friend.
- Enjoyable, but not fine, diningotberburVIPDined on 9/26/2014The 14th Street area has upscale Latin restaurants and tacquerias. El Centro DF falls somewhere in between. Our food was prepared capably but had no real flare. The tortilla chips were pedestrian, and guacamole of "medium" spiciness packed no discernible heat. My main dish -- a casserole of pork and what could be described as Mexican polenta -- was satisfying and extremely filling, but not especially memorable. The margaritas, by contrast, are excellent -- and quite strong. Service was pleasant. We were seated downstairs, which is less boisterous than the front room but not especially quiet. Nevertheless, we enjoyed the evening.I would recommend this to a friend.
- Terrible serviceOpenTable Diner Since 2013Dined on 9/22/2014Waitress was more concerned with chatting it up with the bartender than servicing our table. Gtown is much better. I will say the food was good.Special Features:
- Superlative Sipping and Supping!PortiaDined on 9/21/2014My new next-door neighbor tells me it's his favorite Mexican. A relative says "It's just tacos!" But I found the food superior in nutritional value and flavor. I am a diabetic; son and wife are vegetarian; we all found good choices, while our Phoenix daughter had lots to compare with El Centro's tacos, which she pronounced excellent. I found the salad with seared tuna just right for me: high protein, low calorie. Our server was a young woman who was very gracious, helpful and prompt. (I have only one criticism which cannot be helped due to the choices made by the decorator: the hard surfaces are very hard on someone like me who wears hearing aids.)Special Features:I would recommend this to a friend.
- Great for Gluten Freeminimuffin28Dined on 9/20/2014I brought my gluten free sister here while she was visiting DC. Almost everything on the menu is GF. We split the mahi tacos and guacamole. The tacos were delicious, however the guac was just so-so.Special Features:
- Stay away. Horrible service.2FoodieDined on 9/20/2014Host scrambled to find us a table. she finally found one and asked us to follow her and took us down to their basement seating area. No problem, we sit down and then she returns to tell us that we can't sit there and takes us back up to the front entrance. We waited a few more minutes, then we finally get seated. When the server comes to get our order she was rude and hurried us through our meal and at first served us someone else's order, then brought ours out. While going to the bathroom the security guard told my friend to wait while he let an employee who was off work go ahead of her. We talked to the manager and he was just as rude and was unwilling to help and told us that employees have priority over customers. Never going back!!!
- it was just okayheartmyminpinsDined on 9/18/2014We loved the place... it was really cool inside, but the service needed help. We were there on our honeymoon and they told us they would give us a wonderful spot in the restaurant..which meant in a corner. After they sat us our waiter disappeared and didn't show back up for a long time. Really killed our vibe, however the food was good. Since we were on our honeymoon and our days were limited..in all i think i would have picked another place to eat however for locals i can see it being a great place.Special Features:
- Great Food and Service EVERY time!Jlowe88VIPDined on 9/18/2014El Centro has some of the freshest and most consistent Mexican food in DC. From the carnitas tacos to the BBQ chicken salad, which is full of texture and topped with a huge portion of grilled-to-perfection chicken breast, they can do no wrong in my book. Weekday lunch was super quiet and relaxing. Food was served up fast and fresh. Service was excellent and don't forget to try the fresh limeade. I have been for brunch and another time for lunch and I will be back many more times...Special Features:I would recommend this to a friend.
- Great place as alwayssatxspVIPDined on 9/15/2014Great place, as always. First time sitting upstairs...I will used to sitting downstairs. Much more engeretic, which was not a problem on a Monday night. Great and friendly staff.I would recommend this to a friend.
- Let staff pick your foodOpenTable Diner Since 2010Dined on 9/7/2014Our waitress was excellent! It was unlimited food selections for the bottomless, one-price brunch, so we just let her pick for us, and her choices were spot-on. Couldn't have been more satisfied for the money. She was also very generous with mimosa refills. Best brunch we have had in the neighborhood.Special Features:
- Awesome Brunch DealDCfoodieDined on 9/7/2014El Centro has an awesome $35 all you can eat and drink brunch deal - I just kept ordering things off the menu and they just kept bringing them. Honestly, I would have been fairly disappointed in the flavor and portions if I was paying the "official" menu prices, but it was fantastic when you could just order a few more plates of what ever I liked.Special Features:I would recommend this to a friend.
- excellent brunchLoriDined on 9/7/2014El Centro did not disappoint for brunch. Our server never allowed our mimosas to get completely empty. The food was well-paced. The barbacoa, carnitas, and lengua tacos are amazing, be sure to try them.Special Features:
- El Centro an Uneven ExperienceNickVIPDined on 9/6/2014Generally speaking, the food is ok... sometimes a bit better than ok. I personally like the lower level. The main level is too chaotic and much too noisy -- painful. The biggest issue I have with El Centro is the wait staff. The last 5-6 times I have been there, the wait staff is clearly the weak link. Inexperienced, inattentive or hyper-attentive. Mangement here needs to work on retaining good people. One gets the sense that waiters only work at El Centro for a week or two before moving on.
- Great Brunch!KKCincyDined on 9/1/2014It's pretty hard not to be happy about unlimited food and drinks. Our server was great and helped us pick good items from the menu. The aqua fresco drinks were delicious.Special Features:I would recommend this to a friend.
- Fantastic bottomless brunch!mimosasalldayDined on 8/31/2014I went to brunch with a large group (9 people) and it was amazing. The food (small plates) is fantastic, and there is no lack of food at all. Everything from the chips and guac to various tacos and even the fruit salad was so good. The drinks are a great deal, with a variety of available drinks (margaritas, punch, mimosas, and bloody Marias) and you aren't limited to one kind. Our waiter Doug was one of the best waiters I've ever had, anywhere. He was great about making sure we had enough food - and more importantly, enough drinks. He wasn't fazed by our large group and was very helpful.Special Features:
- Great Mexican in DCiowabearVIPDined on 8/30/2014Excellent food - the basement can get a little warm if it is crowded.Special Features:
- Excellent BrunchOpenTable Diner Since 2005Dined on 8/30/2014Excellent Service, fun atmosphere and plenty of food and alcohol selections for everyone. Best $35 bottomless brunch. Great time to hang-out with friends and enjoy a Saturday afternoon.Special Features:
- Not good and not funItalianfoodieDined on 8/26/2014The noise level was unbearable. We went on a Tuesday night.We had a high table with VERY uncomfortable stools. This might be their way to increase table turnover! The food was OK, nothing special, not genuine Mexican food. The waiter kept interrupting us all the time. He kept coming to our table to say "This looks beautiful" (our food). We did not need a cheerleader. We wanted food that tasted good. Nothing special about this restaurant if one has experienced good dining in a place where you can actually talk to the people you are dining with. The restaurant is full because it's in a hot neighborhood where a lot of young people in their 20s and 30s go out. By the way, I am not 90 years old, I am very fit and I dine out a lot in Washington.
- Terrific serviceOpenTable Diner Since 2010VIPDined on 8/25/2014Amazing service last night at El Centro. Highly recommend to everyone. Get the spicy mango margarita or the red and stormy cocktail.Special Features:
- OpenTable Diner Since 2011Dined on 8/17/2014Food and margaritas were great but the service was terrible. This was our second time at this restaurant and if it was our first impression, we would never go back. The waiter was incompetent and actually argued with us about the bill (which he ran incorrectly 4 times). When we asked for a manager he kept arguing and tried to resolve the bill on his own. When he returned to the table and the the bill was still incorrect we had to ask for the manager again. The manager didn't seem interested and gave us a standard speech. This review would have been very different if we had a different server.Special Features:
- Great First Visit!PescaFoodieDined on 8/17/2014Dinner during last night of Summer Restaurant Week and were not disappointed! Everything on the menu appears to be made in house, down to the condiments (salsa, guac, even the sour cream!). Impressive tequila list. House-infused tequila margaritas are also available--try the pinapple serrano marg if you're a fellow spice lover! Shrimp "ceviche" was delicious and refreshing, with just the right amount of spice/heat, although not truly ceviche (shrimp were cooked, and dish was very brothy--but broth was wonderful addition to chips and salsa!). The cactus tacos were a great foodie find, and beef fajitas were also on point. Both entrees were served with bowls of homemade refried black beans and Spanish rice w/peas. Will def return!Special Features:
- Great!BeccaDined on 8/16/2014I love El Centro and I have been there a couple times now. I also really appreciated how I made a mistake when ordering and didn't notice how I had ordered something that I couldn't eat due to a food allergy. The waitress was very gracious and I really felt like customers matter at El Centro.Special Features: