El Centro D.F. on 14th Street

4.3
1387 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 1387 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
4.3
food
3.9
service
4.0
ambience
4.1
value
Noise · Moderate
81% of people would recommend it to a friend
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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 3 days ago

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
46 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
6 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

s
Washington DC
13 reviews
Dined on June 8, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Great food, really nice staff

TE
1 review
Dined on June 8, 2019
Overall 3food 3service 4ambience 4

The food was great and drinks were awesome, our waiter was great as well - only inconvenience was the wait. Reservation was at 145, we got there 10 mins early. We were told wait would be 15 min - which was fine, nbd and the hostess served us mimosas while we waited. We didn’t get seated til almost 230 and didn’t eat until around 3 so we didn’t get to fully enjoy 2 hours of service because the kitchen then had to prepare for dinner around 4 which was unfair to us considering we got there when we supposed to. Otherwise, it wasn’t terrible.

A
1 review
Dined on June 8, 2019
Overall 4food 5service 3ambience 4

El Centro was great! I would definitely come back again and try more things! We made reservations during Pride and they were about 30 minutes late honoring the reservation which made me nervous at first but, after we were seated we did the bottomless brunch and it was well worth the money. The vibes of the basement seating were very edgy and energetic. The chicken quesadillas were melt in your mouth good and the empanadas were delicious too. Other people at our table were fans of the tacos as well. We ordered the Bloody Maria, Bloody Mary, and Margaritas as well and they were all incredibly good! The mimosa was a typical mimosa and nothing too exciting. After awhile it got busier and people at the table felt a little forgotten as time passed and our drinks weren't coming as quickly but it was an overall good experience.

JM
Washington DC
3 reviews
Dined on June 8, 2019
Overall 2food 3service 2ambience 2

It was a busy weekend but we were seated 45 minutes late. Hostess offered us free mimosas but another waitress took the pitcher for a table before she could pour them for us. The food was ok but service was slow and it was crowded. I’ve been before and had better experiences but maybe avoid on a busy weekend day.

D
1 review
Dined on June 7, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Overall, a great experience. My friend ordered the tamarind margarita but the flavor was a little too subtle. The strawberry basil was terrific. The background music was a bit loud and the noise levels grew as more people arrived. But the food and service were very good. Would definitely return!

MO
New York Area
1 review
Dined on June 1, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

We had an excellent time here. It was my friend’s bachelorette and they treated us so well! We were moved up to the patio and given a complimentary champagne with our food and drinks. We ordered the fiesta menu which was definitely worth the price. We had more food than we could eat and everything was delicious especially the carnitas and guacamole. I would definitely recommend anyone celebrating something to dine here. The ambiance was great too and our servers were so thoughtful & considerate.

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

Haven't been in DC very long and was searching for a great new Mexican joint to try. I had heard great things about this place so I brought my family here! This is an upper scale taco place, would not recommend going if you are looking for authentic entrees. The salsas however are worth a trip of their own. Every salsa provided with our meals were to die for. I went on a limb and tried the lamb steak tacos, and did not enjoy them but our waitress was so nice and took them right off the bill. My mom however LOVED the lamb. my aunt LOVED the steak tacos, and my friend LOVED the chicken enchiladas. Would love to go back for some quick chips, salsa, and the super cool drink menu!

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

Excellent food as usual. However, my party of three was sat at a table for two, while we watched a table of two sat a table for two after that table had sat empty for a while before we entered and while we ate. It was just an uncomfortable dining experience and made it hard to enjoy eating when we were trying to make sure our there was enough room for all our plates/elbows.

OT
New York Area
3 reviews
Dined on June 1, 2019
Overall 2food 3service 2ambience 3

Poor service which may be in result to poor staffing. The food was ok considering you can order unlimited tapas but the margaritas were a bit unbearable as it tasted like I was drinking sour mix out of a cup. With a two hour table limit with unlimited food and drinks something must have gone wrong if the check was requested 45 mins in.

DL
Washington DC
2 reviews
Dined on May 27, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 3

WE love your Brunch!!! That is why we came, just bummed out that we were told we couldn't sit at the window (At that time only 1 person was sitting there and it was just my husband and I) But after we were seated in the rear of the restaurant we saw about 6 ppl get seated at the front and were confused. That was the whole point since it was a great day; eat good, drink good, and people watch.
BUT nonetheless, food was great, our server Raven was awesome and on point!

OT
1 review
Dined on May 25, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

My husband and I stopped here on the first night of our long weekend in DC. The restaurant has a really cool vibe. It’s dark and industrial. The food and drinks were great. My husband sampled some of their house infused tequilas and really enjoyed them. He also had the hanger steak tacos which were phenomenal. My Paloma was perfectly refreshing for the hot day. The crab and shrimp enchiladas were killer. Overall it was a great meal! A little pricey, but it’s DC, so what’re ya gonna do?

Oh and we went at 5:30 on a Saturday and totally didn’t need a reservation.

BC
Washington DC
3 reviews
Dined on May 25, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 4

I would definitely recommend el centro - if you want to be able to have a conversation and still have a little music in the background, I recommend you book your table on the lower level. Also, note that the guacamole is not included in the bottomless menu! So youlll have to pay extra for it. Aside from that, their churros is the best in town, hands down!

OT
Washington DC
1 review
Dined on May 23, 2019
Overall 4food 5service 3ambience 5

Love El Centro but they were out of iced tea and the service was very slow. Their Georgetown restaurant is a better experience.

OT
Washington DC
1 review
Dined on May 21, 2019
Overall 2food 1service 3ambience 2

I was served raw pork and told by the chef that pink is the normal color of the al pastor meat. The waitress provided a good service and apologized for the inconvenience.

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