El Centro D.F.

El Centro D.F.

  • Dining Style: Casual Dining
  • Website: http://www.richardsandoval.com/elcentrodf/
  • Phone: 2023283131x
  • 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 nbankert@richardsandoval.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!

Getting there

  • Cross Street: Swann St, NW
  • Public Transit: U Street Metro Stop and all 14th Street bus lines.
  • Parking: Street Parking
  • Parking Details: Only Street Parking
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 photos
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Awards voted by OpenTable diners
  • Diners' Choice WinnerMexican
El Centro D.F. reviews from OpenTable diners
179 reviews since May 5, 2014
Overall Rating4.1
  • Food4.2
    Service4
  • Ambiance3.8
    Noise LevelEnergetic
86% of reviewers would recommend this restaurant to a friend.
great for brunch (75)fit for foodies (60)good for groups (60)vibrant bar scene (58)neighborhood gem (58)hot spot (55)great for outdoor dining (22)late-night find (20)special occasion (19)great for lunch (15)romantic (9)kid-friendly (8)scenic view (3)notable wine list (1)Show More
  • Great Mexican in DC
    iowabearVIP
    Dined on 8/30/2014
    Excellent food - the basement can get a little warm if it is crowded.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, neighborhood gem, vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Excellent Brunch
    OpenTable Diner Since 2005
    Dined on 8/30/2014
    Excellent 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:
    good for groups, great for brunch, hot spot, neighborhood gem, vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Not good and not fun
    Italianfoodie
    Dined on 8/26/2014
    The 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.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Terrific service
    OpenTable Diner Since 2010VIP
    Dined on 8/25/2014
    Amazing service last night at El Centro. Highly recommend to everyone. Get the spicy mango margarita or the red and stormy cocktail.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, special occasion, neighborhood gem, vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • OpenTable Diner Since 2011
    Dined on 8/17/2014
    Food 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:
    fit for foodies
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Great First Visit!
    PescaFoodie
    Dined on 8/17/2014
    Dinner 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:
    fit for foodies, great for outdoor dining, romantic, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Great!
    Becca
    Dined on 8/16/2014
    I 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:
    great for brunch, fit for foodies, neighborhood gem, hot spot
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Great food!
    Piglet
    Dined on 8/15/2014
    The food was outstanding. We were seated in the basement, which was not as noisy and smoky as the first floor. The decor was very interesting--the walls are decorated with Aztec masks bathed in red light. The service was friendly and prompt. The noise level was too high for our taste--we are all over 50. I will definitely be back.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, hot spot, vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Love It!
    Newfoodie
    Dined on 8/13/2014
    My sister and I enjoyed our dinner here. The waiters and waitresses were very kind and the service was fast. The food was amazing! I will definitely return.
    Special Features:
    great for brunch, good for groups, special occasion, neighborhood gem, hot spot, vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelCannot Recall
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Amazing!
    OpenTable Diner Since 2014
    Dined on 8/11/2014
    The restaurant was hosting a special menu for "restaurant week" and it was fantastic. The meal included a drink, appetizer, main course, and a dessert for a great price. Not only was it delicious, but was plenty of food as well. Definitely recommend to anyone...
    Special Features:
    neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Great Food!
    DCVisitor
    Dined on 8/8/2014
    Cocktails were great, food was spectacular. The beef enchiladas, chicken enchiladas, and the accompanying rice and beans were just a bit better than you get at your normal Mexican restaurant.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, great for lunch, neighborhood gem, hot spot
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Not the best visit
    BrettDC
    Dined on 8/3/2014
    If this was my first time at El Centro I'd be disappointed. Luckily my date and I enjoyed each other's conversation. I've been to the Georgetown location several times before and always been amazing! My first time here at the 14 St. location was much different. We did the $35 brunch and placed our drink orders. This came out fine, but after that nothing went right. We ordered our food after these and nothing came out for almost 20 minutes. When we asked again about or orders and ten minutes later only one thing arrived it was annoying. We asked again about our orders and the server apologized. Soon we multiples of the same items arriving or things we didn't order. My date was vegetarian and all but one of her items came with meat.
    Special Features:
    great for brunch, fit for foodies, hot spot
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • good food
    ChelleNikki
    Dined on 8/3/2014
    There is nothing monotonous about their menu. Very good food!
    Special Features:
    great for brunch, fit for foodies
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • El centro is amazing
    OpenTable Diner Since 2014
    Dined on 7/27/2014
    This was my first time going to el centro for brunch and the food was amazing. We ended up cokin back for happy hour afte leaving brunch. I will go back and continue to go there for happy hour
    Special Features:
    great for brunch, good for groups, great for outdoor dining, late-night find, scenic view, neighborhood gem, hot spot, vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelCannot Recall
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Great food, accommodating servers
    Erin
    Dined on 7/26/2014
    I've dined here before and really enjoyed it, but the staff went above and beyond on my last visit to accommodate a friend who had a food allergy. The chef himself brought out her specially made entree. Consistently great and fun vibe!
    Special Features:
    good for groups, vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • STP72VIP
    Dined on 7/26/2014
    Despite plenty of tables open when I arrived, we were asked to wait until the remainder of our party arrived. I understand during a rush or if I didn't have a reservation but the hostess seemed to be pretty strict about this despite there being several open tables in the dinning room. All the food was pretty good for tex mex but if you have ever had tamales in the south west then don't bother ordering them here. They were kind of dry and too much chicken, but decent if you have only had east coast tamales. The enchiladas were fine, as were the nopal tacos. I didn't try the flatbread that was ordered by one in our party but it was reported as "pretty good."
    Special Features:
    great for brunch, vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • A great time
    JeffH
    Dined on 7/26/2014
    Our group, encompassing a range from a 9 month old to a senior citizen, received great service and excellent food.
    Special Features:
    kid-friendly, fit for foodies, neighborhood gem, vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Great service, but so loud!
    OpenTable Diner Since 2007
    Dined on 7/22/2014
    The staff here are excellent, but the music is SO loud, I had trouble hearing, even in the "quieter" downstairs section.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Taco Tuesdays!!
    OpenTable Diner Since 2012
    Dined on 7/22/2014
    $2 Tacos on Tuesday, do I need to say more?!? Each week they feature three different tacos, each for $2 a taco. Great deal and delicious!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • BEST MEXICAN FOOD IN THE HOOD
    RobertVIP
    Dined on 7/19/2014
    Dinner was terrific. We have had the guacamole before, but it, along with the salsa was better than ever. It had just enough residual heat and the avocados were perfect. The shrimp cerviche was as good as the cerviches we had at Sandoval's place in NYC a couple of years ago. After that, we only had room enough for the duck tacos and they were delicious. The duck was delicious and had nice crunchy bits. The Serrano/pineapple margaritas were excellent.
    Special Features:
    great for brunch, kid-friendly, fit for foodies, good for groups, great for outdoor dining, late-night find, neighborhood gem, hot spot, vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Great spot!
    klucca27
    Dined on 7/19/2014
    Food and drinks were excellent, and service was superb! It was my birthday, and they brought me and my family not just one, but 2 desserts - on the house! And they were to-die-for!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, neighborhood gem, hot spot, vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Bad Service
    orange11am
    Dined on 7/19/2014
    Second time at brunch here. Loved it the first time, but the service has really gone down hill. Food delivery was inconsistent, as well as the quality of the food and drinks. Sad to see the quality of this brunch decline.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Eh
    dinerguyVIP
    Dined on 7/13/2014
    Horrible service. Hard to get drinks. Waiter was overwhelmed. Appetizers came out with meal. It was clear that the staff were poorly trained.
    Special Features:
    vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Not for bday celebration!!
    Fabulous
    Dined on 7/13/2014
    I went for brunch! To celebrate my friend bday!!! They dont do anything special for bdays!!!!! Whats the point to go for celebration!?
    Special Features:
    great for brunch, good for groups
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelCannot Recall
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Luvtoeat
    Dined on 7/13/2014
    The hostess at the front was rude, as a person who has worked at a Richard Sandoval restaurant and one who knows what expected of a hostess, her tone was demeaning and rude will definitely not be going back......
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • So so
    DinningDiva
    Dined on 7/12/2014
    Went for brunch and did the all you can eat and drink special. We service was lacking and we didn't get a number of items we ordered. We also had to ask repeatedly for condiments and water. The mixed drinks were good and it was a good deal but I think I'll try a few other places before I return.
    Special Features:
    great for brunch, good for groups
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelCannot Recall
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Brunch is not that great
    hekkhb
    Dined on 7/12/2014
    I love this place for dinner. Unfortunately their brunch menu is not good. With their bottomless brunch concept, which I admit, $35 is hard to beat; but there's nothing special about it. Drinks are watered down and the food is just bad. I wish they would have a real brunch menu, one comparable to their dinner menu, I would rather pay regular prices for good food. Service wasn't the best either, usually waiters/waitresses are checking how everything is, this time we had to keep flagging people to get another drink or even to get silverware. Will not be coming back for brunch after three disappointing experiences.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelCannot Recall
  • RT328
    Dined on 7/12/2014
    Great experience! The atmosphere was really fun and energetic! The food and drinks were wonderful! The service was a little slow, but other than that my friends and I had a great time!
    Special Features:
    great for brunch
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Excellent Experience
    Julia
    Dined on 7/11/2014
    My parents and I had dinner at El Centro and had an amazing experience. Our server, Sarai, was friendly and informative about the menu and she even remembered my dad and me from when we had dined there a few months ago. Food was outstanding, as usual. The manager Josh treated us like family. Highly recommend!
    Special Features:
    great for brunch, good for groups, great for outdoor dining, special occasion, neighborhood gem, hot spot, vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Good food but too loud
    dferro
    Dined on 7/5/2014
    The food was excellent, but the restaurant was way too loud. Our waitress had to raise our voice to be heard, and we had to do so, as well. I hate not being able to hear my dinner companions. Turning down the music might help.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Don't waste your time or money
    BlacklabfreyrVIP
    Dined on 7/5/2014
    The food and drinks are mediocre at best. The service is fair. Don't waste your food dollars.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Love Brunch at El Centro
    OpenTable Diner Since 2012
    Dined on 7/5/2014
    Discovered El Centro's brunch a few weeks ago and I've been there 3 weekends in a row. The food is good, drinks are tasty (and bottomless) and service is great. Can't lose with El Centro's brunch!
    Special Features:
    great for brunch
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Amazing bottomless food brunch
    ShelbiRenae
    Dined on 7/5/2014
    I cannot recommend El Centro D.F. highly enough! I went to the location on 14th street with three out of town guests and although we had a reservation for inside, they let us move up to the seat yourself outdoor patio. The weather was wonderful and the TVs had the World Cup queued up and ready to go. Although El Centro advertises the $35 bottomless food and drinks option, we did the $25 bottomless food only route since we had a fully day ahead. We tried almost the whole menu between the four of us and everything was exceptional! Our waiter was attentive and even let us know when it got busier that there may be a slight slowdown in food speed (which was totally fine with us!). I loved the atmosphere, service, and food.
    Special Features:
    great for brunch, fit for foodies, good for groups, great for outdoor dining, neighborhood gem, hot spot
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Delicious Bottomless Brunch!
    Jlowe88
    Dined on 6/29/2014
    This place can't be beat for the bottomless brunch. The food is varied and fresh….and there is so much of it! The brunch with the alcohol included is fine, but the food is so good you don't want to fill up on drinks, so get the bottomless brunch without the alcohol. The food came out quickly and it is all small plates. The wait staff works hard for the $ and all in all I highly recommend. Please tip your waiter accordingly!
    Special Features:
    great for brunch, fit for foodies, good for groups, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Great birthday celebration
    mexicanfoodsnobVIP
    Dined on 6/28/2014
    I had been to El Centro before and had an ok experience, but this one was much better, largely because of the company, but our waitress was absolutely fantastic and that weighed a lot on our great time, too. She was quick and friendly and any time we asked for anything she was a step ahead of us. We practically had to be rolled out the food was so good and we kept wanting to try more. The top two dishes were the churros and the hot dog- wrapped in bacon. But everything was very tasty!
    Special Features:
    great for brunch, fit for foodies, good for groups, hot spot, vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • OpenTable Diner Since 2008
    Dined on 6/27/2014
    Great food--better than I expected. Service was excellent--helpful, friendly, attentive. Ambience--interesting--I liked it; was concerned when we were taken to basement, but it was great--far better than being seated on the ground level.
    Special Features:
    great for outdoor dining
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelCannot Recall
  • El Centro
    OpenTable Diner Since 2011
    Dined on 6/24/2014
    If you are hitting up a concert at The Black Cat, be sure to give yourself an extra hour to pop right next door into El Centro for a drink and a bite to eat. The place is awesome, something for everyone on the menu. I chose the Baja Tacos. The arrived on a cool tray with little taco holders, the best black beans I have ever ate and some Spanish style rice. Great beer and cocktail selections also. I will definitely be back again!
    Special Features:
    good for groups, vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Rooftop Brunch
    zvaigzdutem
    Dined on 6/22/2014
    Took advantage of El Centro's unlimited brunch on their lovely little rooftop. It felt like cheating to have so much good food and so many amazing drinks to choose from! I highly recommend the mole fries and the watermelon agua fresca.
    Special Features:
    great for brunch, good for groups, hot spot
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • foodieatheart
    Dined on 6/21/2014
    The food was good and our server was very knowledgeable on tequilla choices
    Special Features:
    vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Great food amazing drinks
    icuspr05
    Dined on 6/20/2014
    As a hospitality professional myself I always appreciate good service and genuinely good hospitality. This place certainly has that. The infused tequilas are amazing! Must try. And they don't use cheap stuff either. Give it a shot! You won't regret it.
    Special Features:
    good for groups, late-night find, vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelCannot Recall
    I would recommend this to a friend.