El Centro D.F. on 14th Street

4.3
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1401 Reviews
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$30 and under
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Mexican
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.


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What 1401 People Are Saying
Overall ratings and reviews
Reviews can only be made by diners who have eaten at this restaurant
4.3based on recent ratings
4.4
food
4.0
service
4.1
ambience
4.1
value
Noise · Moderate
76% of people would recommend it to a friend
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OT
Washington DC
1 review
Dined 5 days ago
Overall 3food 4service 2ambience 5

Love El Centro but this is the second time we’ve had a reservation and had to wait 15 minutes passed our reservation time. Once we were sat downstairs, there were a bunch of open tables. Not sure what the hold up was. We ended up missing happy hour. Normally wouldn’t write a review about this but it happened twice in a row.

OT
San Diego
1 review
Dined on September 8, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Service was fantastic and the drinks were always topped off.

S
1 review
Dined on September 3, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Great recommendations by staff for menu items. Went to celebrate a birthday and they hooked us up with a plate of churros, really good!

b
1 review
Dined on September 1, 2019
Overall 2food 2service 1ambience 3

My reservation for brunch was at 1:45. We arrived and were rudely greeted by the host who said she would be with us in a minute. 10 minutes go by and another host came up to us and asked what we were waiting on. Turns out the first host never did anything to help us get seated. The second host was very nice and worked to get us seated ASAP and even brought us a round of drinks and chips while we waited. We were finally sat at 2:30. However no one approached us to take our order until at least 2:45. This usually wouldn’t be so bad except for the brunch specials ended at 4 o’clock and we had already had an hour of our time taken away by staff. I think someone checked on us maybe 3 times for the remainder of the time were were there and other times they had to be flagged down I order to get their attention. The food was subpar and they kept bringing out the wrong things to us. We were hungry so we ate it but still very annoying. All together it was not worth the money I spent at all and I wish I had not gone in the first place.

El Centro D.F. on 14th Street
Responded on September 5, 2019

Dear Brianna, I hope you will accept my sincere apology, as I am very disappointed to learn how our service team handled your evening. We pride ourselves on excellent food and service, and our team clearly let you down. We will meet with our service team to ensure something like this does not happen again. If you would like to further discuss your visit and hopefully earn a second chance, please email us at guestrelations@richardsandoval.co m Best, Molly Guest Experience Team

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s
Washington DC
1 review
Dined on September 1, 2019
Overall 1food 3service 1ambience 2

Very very slow service which takes away the value from bottomless. Sat for 30+ mins with an empty drink and no food in between orders

El Centro D.F. on 14th Street
Responded on September 5, 2019

Sarahd, I am sorry to hear we were not able to provide you with desirable level of service and food expectations while dining at El Centro. We pride ourselves on excellent food and service, and our team clearly let you down. We will meet with our service team to ensure something like this does not happen again. If you would like to further discuss your visit and ways we can earn a second chance, please email us at guestrelations@richardsandoval.co m Best Molly Guest Experience Team

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OT
Washington DC
1 review
Dined on September 1, 2019
Overall 1food 4service 1ambience 4

Waitress was horrible. Avoided taking our food and drink orders. When she finally did come around to take our order she would cut us off and have an attitude. She was shocked that we wanted to speak to the manager when we didn’t get a refill on our mimosas for over 20 min. If you pay for a bottomless brunch experience you should get one. I shouldn’t be sober and hungry after a bottomless dc brunch.

El Centro D.F. on 14th Street
Responded on September 5, 2019

I hope you will accept my sincere apology, as I am very disappointed to learn how our service team handled your evening. We pride ourselves on excellent food and service, and our team clearly let you down. I will be meeting my team to ensure something like this does not happen again. If you would like to discuss your visit, please reach out to us directly at guestrelations@richardsandoval.co m so we can find a way to make things right and earn a second chance. Molly Guest Experience Team

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G
Washington DC
38 reviews
Dined on August 29, 2019
Overall 1food 1service 2ambience 1

Drinks were okay. Nothing unique about. And we could t have Mojito drinks of any kind because they didn’t have mint :(((
I do not plan to return.
Salsa bowl had a chewed gum stuck on it. How did the server not notice it? Your guess is as good as mine. Our bill was discounted by $11. Not even a manager came to apologize. This place is a dump. Open Table needs to update its high description of this place. The three of us were disappointed. I do not recommend this place.

El Centro D.F. on 14th Street
Responded on September 5, 2019

Dear Ging, I hope you will accept my sincere apology; I am very disappointed to learn about your evening. We pride ourselves on excellent food and service, and we clearly let you down. I have addressed my team about the gum incident, which is entirely unacceptable, and will never happen again. We would like to invite you back to have the experience at El Centro you should have had in the first place. Please email me at guestrelations@richardsandoval.co m so I can work on making things right.

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OT
San Francisco
8 reviews
Dined on August 26, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 4ambience 5

All day Monday Happy hour was great! Good food, good drinks.

El Centro D.F. on 14th Street
Responded on September 5, 2019

Thank you for the rating! We are glad that you enjoyed your experience and hope to welcome you back to El Centro soon.

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OT
Richmond
1 review
Dined on August 25, 2019
Overall 3food 4service 1ambience 5

Waitress was very curt and non attentive. Made us feel like we were a burden on her. I do not feel that we did anything to warrant her attitude

El Centro D.F. on 14th Street
Responded on September 5, 2019

Thank you for alerting me to your experience at El Centro. We're sorry our service team let you down, and especially sorry to hear that our team members weren't as respectful and professional as they could have been. We'd like to hear more about your visit. Please reach out to me at guestrelations@richardsandoval.co m so I can see about making things right and earning another chance to provide the El Centro experience you should have had in the first place. Best Molly Guest Experience Team

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TG
1 review
Dined on August 25, 2019
Overall 4food 5service 5ambience 5

The drinks are weak. Other than that, the food and service are great.

El Centro D.F. on 14th Street
Responded on August 27, 2019

Dear Teresa, I am sorry to hear that your drinks were not up to our usual standard. We will talk to our bar team and make sure our drinks are more consistent going forward. However, I am glad that everything else was to your liking! Thank you for taking the time to review, we appreciate the feedback. We hope to welcome you back to El Centro soon. Warm Regards, Molly Guest Experience Team

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OT
Baltimore
1 review
Dined on August 25, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

Staff knows how to take care of their costumers! Didn’t have to worry about what to order next!

El Centro D.F. on 14th Street
Responded on August 27, 2019

Thank you so much for taking the time to review. We are pleased that our staff made such a positive impression and represented El Centro so well. We appreciate the feedback and hope to welcome you back to El Centro soon.

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A
Washington DC
1 review
Dined on August 24, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 5

It was my first time visiting. The upstairs dining area is so great — I didn't realize the ceiling was open and the space was so large and spacious. The tacos I had were super tasty. I would definitely come back and bring people.

El Centro D.F. on 14th Street
Responded on August 27, 2019

Hi Ashley, I wanted to reach out and say thank you so much for your review. We are happy to hear that you had such a good experience with us at El Centro. We appreciate your feedback and hope to welcome you back soon. Thanks, Molly Guest Experience Team

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JJ
Houston
1 review
Dined on August 24, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Celebrated my birthday here. Love the unlimited brunch for $39. That’s hard to beat. Food and drinks come quickly.

El Centro D.F. on 14th Street
Responded on August 27, 2019

Dear Justin, Thank you for taking the time to review. We are glad that we could help make your birthday special! Hope to welcome you back to El Centro brunch soon.

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TH
1 review
Dined on August 17, 2019
Overall 1food 1service 1ambience 3

Horrible customer service. Mediocre food. People are clearly paying for the location and unlimited small plates. . .Because the food was not impressive enough to warrant the awful service. This was our 1st and last visit. And I have told friends to avoid the waste of money and time. Which is unfortunate, as I was initially looking forward to trying the menu.

TM
Washington DC
7 reviews
Dined on August 14, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

This San Diego girl's family was in heaven. Fantastic guacamole made tableside! Ceviche was so fresh & delicious, a bountiful portion in a chilled authentic bowl. Carne tacos best in DC, truly! Jalisco Crab & Shrimp Enchiladas terrific, flavorful with amazing verde risotto. Black refried beans are straight out of Baja California. Rooftop ambience was playful and again straight out of SoCal. Highly recommend El Centro D.F, like taking an authentic trip to Baja Mexico in the trendy Shaw neighborhood.

El Centro D.F. on 14th Street
Responded on August 20, 2019

Hey Mac Fam, We are so glad to hear that you enjoyed your experience at El Centro! We hope to see the whole family again for more carne tacos next time you are in the DC area. Thanks for your review! Warm Regards, Molly M Guest Experience Team

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n
1 review
Dined on August 11, 2019
Overall 3food 5service 1ambience 4

The food was excellent, but the service was pretty slow/not great. The food came out fast, but some orders were forgotten about. We also went 30 minutes at a time with empty drinks. I wouldn't be as bothered by this if there wasn't a 2-hour time limit on the bottomless option and after spending $40 automatically without tip the value was mediocre.

El Centro D.F. on 14th Street
Responded on August 14, 2019

HI Nikhitaas, I am happy to hear that you enjoyed the food. I am sorry however that the service was slow and some dishes were missed. We strive to have the very best service and experience for all of our guests and we seem to have missed the mark here. I have sent you a private communication to discuss further. Best, Eric Lawson General Manager

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OT
Baltimore
2 reviews
Dined on August 10, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Food was great and perfectly portioned! We did the bottomless brunch food+drinks. Everything was great and our server was fantastic, she made sure to tell us ahead of time our 2 hours were almost up and came back at the end of it for any last minute orders. This was listed on almost every “top brunches in DC” list I read and it didn’t disappoint!

El Centro D.F. on 14th Street
Responded on August 14, 2019

Good afternoon, I am very happy to see that you enjoyed your experience. Please come back and see us again soon. Best, Eric Lawson General Manager

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OT
Washington DC
1 review
Dined on August 4, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

I enjoyed everything!

J
Washington DC
47 reviews
Dined on August 1, 2019
Overall 2food 2service 2ambience 1

The food was O.K. The service was unexceptional. The environment was unremarkable. I won't return.

k
Houston
14 reviews
Dined on July 27, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 3ambience 3

Brunch. Decent value but service was slow and it was sweltering upstairs

OT
Richmond
7 reviews
Dined on July 24, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Loved our dinner at El Centro - the infused tequilas were really great especially the strawberry basil. It was busy but we were seated right away and our server was attentive and really nice. Fresh guac was amazing and the food was great - loved the vegetable tacos!

D
Miami
5 reviews
Dined on July 21, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 3

Sehr gut gegessen, total ungezwungen und sehr freundliches Personal. Preis - Leistung sehr gut.
Sassen beim Eingang und dort war es sehr laut, aber im OG hätte es noch Tische gegeben.

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JA
Washington DC
1 review
Dined on July 21, 2019
Overall 1food 2service 1ambience 4

I have had good experiences in the past, but this time was horrible. Our service was horrible. It took an extended time for drinks and food. Our food came out wrong several times, we were not given all of the plates at the same time. They forgot several small orders. We had to place drink orders way far in advance to get them in a reasonable time. There were too many staff in our downstairs section for such a delay in both drinks and food. I have never had such a bad experience here.

DD
Baltimore
1 review
Dined on July 20, 2019
Overall 4food 3service 2ambience 5

Get there early if you have a reservation. Love the basement; music at a decent level to hold a convo; food good; the drinks were OMG delicious😃😃

OT
Charleston
2 reviews
Dined on July 15, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 4ambience 5

Fantastic food! The salsa had an adobo smokiness about it and the tacos were ON POINT.
Super cool upstairs semi outdoor bar too

BM
Washington DC
21 reviews
Dined on July 14, 2019
Overall 2food 2service 4ambience 2

Several years back, El Centro was my favorite all-you-can-eat Sunday brunch in DC. But my last visit was disappointing. The mimosas were good, as was the service. But the bloody mary was gross -- much too salty -- and the various egg dishes were all overcooked. We were seated upstairs, and even with the fans blowing it was uncomfortably hot and humid. I won't go back here for brunch.

El Centro D.F. on 14th Street
Responded on August 14, 2019

Hi BenM, I am very sorry to her that your experience was not as it should have been. I have sent you a private message. Please reach out to me as soon as you are able to. Best, Eric Lawson General Manager

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C
1 review
Dined on July 13, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 3

Super hot on the roof! Fans could have been better placed- Was pretty uncomfortable while eating

OT
Washington DC
1 review
Dined on July 13, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

The food was delicious. Never disappoints me. And the service is outstanding.

OT
Washington DC
1 review
Dined on July 8, 2019
Overall 3food 4service 3ambience 3

Service was VERY slow. With food and especially drinks. Waiter seemed angry the whole time. Restaurant was also pretty loud.

Food was good, however.

c
Washington DC
1 review
Dined on July 7, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

Our server Celia was phenomenal. Our group ordered the unlimited brunch, and we weren't sure what food to order. She took care of everything and made our lives even simpler. Our only task was to enjoy the company of our friends.

The restaurant was quite warm in the front with little to no a/c. They used a fan, but it wasn't quite sufficient for the heat that day.

BA
Washington DC
1 review
Dined on July 6, 2019
Overall 1food 5service 1ambience 2

Awful service

OT
New England
1 review
Dined on July 4, 2019
Overall 3food 4service 3ambience 3

We dined on the ground floor and it was so, so hot! We asked to move under the fan but allegedly there was another reservation. The food and service was great but the fact that it was cooler outside (90+ degrees and very,
Very humid) after our dinner was very telling.

OT
New York Area
1 review
Dined on July 4, 2019
Overall 2food 4service 2ambience 1

NO AIR CONDITIONING. Get air conditioning and the slower service will be manageable!

PB
Washington DC
5 reviews
Dined on June 30, 2019
Overall 3food 3service 4ambience 1

We were there on a Sunday night and the downstairs was closed. Service and ambience upstairs were mediocre.

R
Washington DC
1 review
Dined on June 30, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 5ambience 3

Lovely server, host and food. Loud and hot up front.

A
1 review
Dined on June 23, 2019
Overall 4food 3service 4ambience 4

Great drinks, food was good. Although, tacos break apart pretty quick. Venue was great compared to GeorgeTown, bigger chairs would be great. These are just my preferences. GOOD EXPERIENCE OVERALL.

E
Washington DC
1 review
Dined on June 22, 2019
Overall 2food 5service 1ambience 2

We started becoming harassed about the 2 hour minimum before our time was even up.. the waiter also stopped coming to the table to the point I had to stop her in her tracks to give us water.. YOU GUYS HAVE LOST ME AS A CUSTOMER AND FOR MY FRIENDS OUT OF TOWN THIS WAS A HORRIBLE EXPERIENCE... I WILL STOP ALL MY FRIENDS AND FAMILY WHO WAS GOING HERE... NEVER AGAIN!!!

VM
1 review
Dined on June 16, 2019
Overall 2food 2service 4ambience 3

Normally El Centro is a great experience, however this day was quiet disappointing. The server was okay, the food and drinks not so much. Let’s start with where we were sat, it was hot! Fans were blowing in all direction except for our direction. We requested cold water to help with the heat, water had no ice. Okay. We asked for mimosas, the first one was cold but the rest were warm then hot. I realized the server left the pitcher right under the sun. It took a while to get fruit salad and the plantains. After about 20 min waiter asked if we were okay, we said we are still waiting on fruit salad and plantains. Finally, after another 10 min the fruit salad is brought out. No plantains. 5 min go by and plantains come, but nothing compared to how I’ve had them before. They were plantains with sour cream. Such a disappointment. Waitress suggested churros , I said okay sure. 15 min went by for freaking churros. I paid and just decided to leave . As I was leaving the churros arrived. Won’t be going back for a while. Disappointing experience.

MM
Washington DC
2 reviews
Dined on June 16, 2019
Overall 2food 4service 3ambience 1

Eating in 85+ degree heat on the roof, especially when it’s cooler outside, is quite unpleasant.

H
San Diego
2 reviews
Dined on June 9, 2019
Overall 2food 2service 1ambience 3

Poor service bad food

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