El Centro D.F. on 14th Street

4.4
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1426 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 1426 People Are Saying
Overall ratings and reviews
Reviews can only be made by diners who have eaten at this restaurant
4.4based on recent ratings
4.4
food
4.1
service
4.2
ambience
4.2
value
Noise · Moderate
82% of people would recommend it to a friend
5
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S
New York Area
3 reviews
Dined 4 days ago
Overall4food4service5ambience5

The drinks were great and apps yummy. The fish tacos and carnitas were overcooked. The apps were amazing!

NM
Anchorage
1 review
Dined 5 days ago
Overall3food2service3ambience5

Food was just ok. Nothing special.

i
1 review
Dined on November 3, 2019
Overall3food5service2ambience2

Service was slow. Took them 10 mins to get us seated, for us to be at table that was for 2 people, it was 3 of us.

a
1 review
Dined on November 3, 2019
Overall1food2service1ambience1

We had a very disappointing experience at this restaurant - service was very poor and the food mediocre at best.

J
Baltimore
1 review
Dined on November 1, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Excellent food and an even better server. I found this place by accident and I’ll definitely go back next time I’m back in DC.

p
Washington DC
23 reviews
Dined on October 19, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

10/10 brunch!

J
Washington DC
15 reviews
Dined on October 19, 2019
Overall5food4service5ambience5

The experience was fantastic. People brought our group of 6 plate after plate of foods to share. My only complaint is the lack of any beers on the all you can drink menu.

OT
New England
2 reviews
Dined on October 17, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Absolutely amazing experience. The service and the food were the best.

B
Washington DC
4 reviews
Dined on October 14, 2019
Overall5food5service4ambience5

Great brunch. Drinks are amazing. Wait staff is very helpful. Just wish they wrote down orders a bit more so they weren't delayed or forgotten.

J
Philadelphia
1 review
Dined on October 6, 2019
Overall4food3service2ambience4

The food and drink service was pretty slow today, unusual for El Centro

OT
Washington DC
2 reviews
Dined on October 6, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Great for Sunday brunch. Bottomless is a great value and service is always timely and generous. Highly recommend for happy hour cocktails as well as for Sunday brunch.

DB
Washington DC
1 review
Dined on October 5, 2019
Overall5food4service4ambience4

The food an services was very good. We did the 2 person multi-course option. However the "substitution" for the the pork carnitas plate (since we don't eat pork) could have been something other than a larger portion of carne asada (which when it came out we questioned if it was indeed larger). We were more than full with all of the food, so we didn't raise the concern to our waitress. The margarita was very good, but a bit steep at $40 for the small carafe.

T
1 review
Dined on October 5, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

My group had a great time. Only suggestion I would make is to have the frozen margaritas available.

PJ
Washington DC
24 reviews
Dined on October 4, 2019
Overall4food4service4ambience4

Our second time at El Centro. Not as good as the first, although probably because it was a busy Friday rather than mid-week. Kitchen seemed to be inconsistent - the same dish ordered last time was completely different this time. Bar needs to up their spicy/heat game on micheladas. Still love the place.

CM
Washington DC
4 reviews
Dined on October 3, 2019
Overall5food3service4ambience4

Rooftop dining. Attentive service, but overpriced for OKAY tacos - there are better tacos for a comparable price.

OT
1 review
Dined on October 1, 2019
Overall1food3service1ambience3

Absolutely horrible service.

El Centro D.F. on 14th Street
Responded on October 17, 2019

We want to extend our sincerest apologies concerning all the issues that you have faced. We pride ourselves in maintaining the highest quality of service standards for our guests and our team clearly let you down. We would like to learn more about your situation and what exactly happened so that we can make things right. Please email me at guestrelations@richardsandoval.cm. We appreciate your feedback and will take this as an opportunity to continuously improve our operations and hospitality.

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OT
Milwaukee
5 reviews
Dined on September 29, 2019
Overall4food4service4ambience4

Food and all was fine, service was meh, there's no real dessert menu though so that was disappointing.

CW
Washington DC
2 reviews
Dined on September 28, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

It was so good. I'd definitely go back. This was my second time going.

AS
1 review
Dined on September 22, 2019
Overall5food5service4ambience5

A friend and I came for the $39 bottomless brunch and it was amazing! I recommend the agua frescas. The food, our bartender and the atmosphere were superb. The only thing I'd say went wrong is the kitchen got backed up and forgot one of my dishes so the waiter had to put it back in and I ended up waiting an extra 30-45 min

C
Washington DC
2 reviews
Dined on September 22, 2019
Overall5food4service5ambience4

Great brunch spot! The service was good and the waitstaff is very attentive.

MM
1 review
Dined on September 22, 2019
Overall4food4service5ambience4

We were seated quickly but the downstairs was super dark and kind of loud, but not awful. Service was so so, it took a while to get our drinks and they kept giving us our food on big shareable plates rather than individually, even thought we ordered different things.

R
Chicago
3 reviews
Dined on September 21, 2019
Overall4food5service3ambience4

One of the dishes came out very late, so that person didn't get to eat with the rest of us.

e
Washington DC
15 reviews
Dined on September 21, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience4

Love eating here. Wasn’t the first time. Won’t be the last. But we were seated near the kitchen and this time the smoke was a bit much. Eyes were getting itchy

PJ
Washington DC
47 reviews
Dined on September 18, 2019
Overall5food5service4ambience3

Before I begin, let me say I love Mexican food and have eaten it all over the country, in Mexico and (less memorably in the UK and Europe).

This is the best Mexican food I have had in a long, long time. I knew I was onto something from just the flavor of the salsa that came with the chips.

We dispensed with starters and went right for the main courses and wow, the chicken and pork dishes were incredible.

Oh and $5 margaritas are apparently that price every day and at whatever hour? What?

I cannot wait to get back to this place.

OT
Washington DC
1 review
Dined on September 13, 2019
Overall3food4service2ambience5

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.

El Centro D.F. on 14th Street
Responded on September 18, 2019

We're sorry to hear about this experience, especially that it has happened twice. We value the feedback from all of our guests and will use your review to improve our service and quality, moving forward. If you would like to discuss the details about your visit further, we encourage you to reach out to us directly at guestrelations@richardsandoval.co m so we can find a way to make things right.

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OT
San Diego
1 review
Dined on September 8, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Service was fantastic and the drinks were always topped off.

S
1 review
Dined on September 3, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

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
Overall2food2service1ambience3

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
Overall1food3service1ambience2

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
Overall1food4service1ambience4

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
39 reviews
Dined on August 29, 2019
Overall1food1service2ambience1

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
Overall5food5service4ambience5

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
Overall3food4service1ambience5

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
Washington DC
2 reviews
Dined on August 25, 2019
Overall4food5service5ambience5

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
Overall5food5service5ambience4

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
Overall4food4service4ambience5

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
Overall5food5service5ambience5

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
Overall1food1service1ambience3

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
Overall5food5service5ambience5

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
Overall3food5service1ambience4

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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