El Sapo Cuban Social Club

4.1
34 reviews
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$30 and under
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Cuban
EL SAPO, Cuban Social Club is a hip, festive, forward-thinking Cuban restaurant, and the first of its kind in the D.C. metro area: bright, open, and brimming with energy, fresh mojitos, upbeat music and bold island food.
Dining Style
Casual Elegant
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Cuisines
Cuban
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Hours of operation
Dinner
Mon–Thu 4:00 pm–9:30 pm
Fri–Sun 4:00 pm–10:30 pm
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Phone number
(301) 326-1063
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Payment options
AMEX, MasterCard, Visa
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Dress code
Smart Casual
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Executive chef
Raynold Mendizabal
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Private party facilities
For private events, please send us a note at events@elsaporestaurant.com.
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Neighborhood
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Cross street
enter on Wayne Ave.
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Parking details
Public Garage available.
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Public transit
Silver Spring Metro Station
Additional
Bar/Lounge, Beer, Chef's Table, Cocktails, Corkage Fee, Entertainment, Full Bar, Happy Hour, Late Night, Non-Smoking, Outdoor dining, Patio/Outdoor Dining, Weekend Brunch, Wheelchair Access, Wine
What 34 People Are Saying
Overall ratings and reviews
Reviews can only be made by diners who have eaten at this restaurant
4.1based on recent ratings
4.2
food
4.0
service
4.1
ambience
3.8
value
Noise · Energetic
80% of people would recommend it to a friend
5
4
3
2
1
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OT
Washington DC
1 review
Dined 2 days ago
Overall 3food 3service 3ambience 3

Just disappointing. Not bad, not very good. Prices are just slightly overpriced and dishes are slightly off the mark. The real bummer was with management. Very lackluster, aloof and kinda cold. For a Cuban place the staff and the vibe lacked passion and warmth.

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RR
Washington DC
2 reviews
Dined 5 days ago
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 4

Food and service were excellent, but very hard to talk. It needs some type of noise damping feature

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R
1 review
Dined 5 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

This is an awesome new restaurant in Silver Spring. The drinks and food options are amazing. Strongly recommend the souco drink, vaca frita, ropa vieja and pastelitos. Yum! I enjoyed the food so much that I went twice over one weekend. This is definitely going to be my new hang out place.

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GA
Washington DC
18 reviews
Dined 6 days ago
Overall 1food 1service 1ambience 1

Not sure how to respond to this request. Hard to judge food, service etc when THE PLACE WAS NOT OPEN!. I made a reservation, for Brunch at 11:00, several weeks ago. It was accepted and I received multiple reminders for the same time. Yet we show up at the restaurant and is not open. Sign on the door says open at 11 on Sundays. But no activity inside. No response to phone call or email...yet. Hmmmm, will we try again? Perhaps - when the bugs are worked out.

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MC
Washington DC
2 reviews
Dined 6 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Loved the food and energetic vibe. It was a Saturday night, so perhaps the volume was up a couple notches. Only nit to pick was the taped music was blasted at a level that made conversation very hard. Perhaps take it down a couple decibels. But overall, lterrific.

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LS
San Francisco
2 reviews
Dined 6 days ago
Overall 3food 2service 2ambience 3

El Sapo has recently just opened and it needs to get on its feet! Service painfully slow; the mojito was horrible-NO RUM! Food average- does not reflect true Cuban cuisine....Been to Cuba several times and it doesn’t come close although Roma Veijo was decent

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PM
Washington DC
3 reviews
Dined 7 days ago
Overall 3food 2service 4ambience 3

My visit to El Sapo was underwhelming. The music was extremely loud at 8pm and the food was overpriced for the portion size and flavor. I ordered the Spanish Branzino to share and the fish had a bitter taste. The empanadas was disappointing, it reminded me of chilli. Overall the restaurant is located in a prime location and has potential if they revisit their menu and the noise level.

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BK
Washington DC
1 review
Dined 7 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

My boyfriend and I went for happy hour and, literally, got every item offered for happy hour (mojito, house beer, six street food items and the cubano - which we had to take to go). We enjoyed every sip and bite. We thought everything was amazing that we wanted to tell the owner/chef how great it was. Unfortunately, he must have been very busy and didn't seem to
appreciate the praise. We wouldn't have gone up to him if the kitchen wasn't an open concept. That being said, the food and atmosphere was great and we will be back soon and often!

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TC
Washington DC
1 review
Dined on November 10, 2018
Overall 3food 3service 2ambience 4

Great location! Nice decor and good music (a bit too loud). Went there on Friday night, at 10 pm they have what they call "Havana Nights" where they have happy hour prices on some items but apparently it is only served at the bar and communal table. This is hugely misleading, there is no different menu between dining part and the others and actually it makes little sense to have different prices. Anyways, we got a pitcher of mojito which was less than average. Food was okay, I got pan con lechon. Others got ceviche, topa vieja. Dessert what guava pastry pretty good.

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C
Chicago
2 reviews
Dined on November 10, 2018
Overall 4food 5service 5ambience 3

The food and service were outstanding, but the ambiance was just terrible. The music was blaring. I was hoarse by the end of dinner as telling was necessary to engage in conversation. The management should consider turning the restaurant into a dance hall after a certain hour or turn the music down... over the top!

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N
Washington DC
1 review
Dined on November 10, 2018
Overall 3food 5service 4ambience 1

There is a lot to love about El Sapo, but it’s pretty much overshadowed by the extremely high noise levels which make it an unpleasant experience. Great food, fun cocktails, fun decorating, and fantastic live musician. But it was all impossible to enjoy because the noise level was through the roof. Even the wait staff had to lean into the table to hear our order. Super disappointing because I’d be back often if that weren’t the case. El Sapo- you’ve GOT to address this or you’ll only get folks to come once.

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OT
London
1 review
Dined on November 10, 2018
Overall 3food 3service 3ambience 2

Music Way too loud for conversation

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OT
Washington DC
1 review
Dined on November 10, 2018
Overall 1food 1service 1ambience 2

Despite a reservation they did not have a table for us. So we left.

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K
Washington DC
2 reviews
Dined on November 9, 2018
Overall 3food 1service 5ambience 5

All the food was extremely salty and a lot of it was bland. Service was good.

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EH
Washington DC
3 reviews
Dined on November 9, 2018
Overall 4food 4service 5ambience 4

We enjoyed ourselves and liked the food. The noise level, both people and music, was perfect for a young crowd and most patrons were on the younger side, for example, my husband and I had a reservation for 6:30 pm and left at around 9 pm, we're 65 years old and throughout our stay we were the oldest patrons there. That's cool! Once in a while we're up for a happy noisy environment! The Cuban cuisine might disappoint traditional Cuban tastes. I'm Cuban and I loved the new take on the traditional dishes we tried, like the quimbombó, but if you're looking for the traditional Cuban fare, this might not be the place for you. We're certainly coming back!

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l
Baltimore
2 reviews
Dined on November 9, 2018
Overall 2food 3service 3ambience 2

I was disappointed in Le Sapo, after waiting for the restaurant to open for quite some time. There are minimal vegetarian options and no vegan options. If you don't want sangria or a mojito, there are limited drink options. Wine is red, rose or white. The red wine I had was unremarkable. Beer choices are similar. The noise level is very high, making conversation difficult. Even after the music was turned down a bit, the noise level was 80 to 90 dB on my phone app. I like a lively atmosphere, but don't want to strain my voice while socializing. The server was nice and efficient and the interior is pretty and clean.

As a vegetarian, I can usually find a few things on most menu's that I like, but there is not much for me to eat here. I might consider it for pre- or post-dinner drinks, but the choices are also limited. This could be my go to place, since I live in Silver Spring, but I am not sure that I will return.

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L
Washington DC
2 reviews
Dined on November 8, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

I have been to El Sapo three times since it opened a week ago. Twice for happy hour and once for a birthday party for my husband. Also going again this evening. Love it. Owner and staff make you feel very welcome. Drinks and food are great. My husband and I had the oxtail for two. Very tasty and tender. It’s a happy and happening place. Great addition to our eclectic neighborhood.

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l
Washington DC
16 reviews
Dined on November 7, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

I'm cuban and was beyond delighted with the amazing flavors of the food. I will return every week for my cuban food fix. Great ambiance. Chef was there and walking around and greeting everyone. Amazing feel and more amazing food. Congratulations! and Thank you for opening this awesome place!

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AL
1 review
Dined on November 7, 2018
Overall 2food 3service 1ambience 2

The restaurant is attractive but very laud you have to scream in order to converse. The waitress I had was clueless in English and Spanish. I called her attention to the fact that I had injured my gum with an olive pit which by some odd reason they use in the black beans. She had zero reaction and basically dismiss what I had just told her. I brought the situation with the owner chef mainly because of my concern that it could happen to other people. He actually reacted as he could care less. He said "so what do you want me to do about it", I hoped that he would at least offer and apology and maybe buy me a coke! Instead he just turned his back and left kind of indignant. My food was served first and I had to wait another 5 minutes for the food for the rest of the dinner party to be served. Clueless waitress returned to ask if everything was fine and never offered if we wanted desert. When she brought back the check she asked if we wanted coffer or desert. Clueless for ever! El Sapo should move to Hialeah. Never again.

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AE
Washington DC
2 reviews
Dined on November 6, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

The service here is fantastic, we felt very well taken care of. Hubby and I shared a crab cake, the sweet potato puree, and the crab and mango ceviche. All of it was delicious, very flavorful. Mojito and Saopo were both great, too!

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AE
1 review
Dined on November 5, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Amazing food and great drinks with a great bar. Good place to grab dinner or have drinks with your friends.

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s
Washington DC
1 review
Dined on November 5, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

So YUMMY! Mojitos, appetizers and entrees were great. The chef came out and mixed our brisket and rice. Nice touch. It was a little loud, but I’m old and sensitive to noise.

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MS
Washington DC
2 reviews
Dined on November 4, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

The food was great! I asked for a custom order because I am only able to eat one entree off the menu and the chef was able to honor my request. Great atmosphere and will definitely come here again!

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s
1 review
Dined on November 4, 2018
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 4

Since El Sapo had only been open a few days, I was expecting some rough edges, but we had a great experience with no complaints. Our server was helpful and prompt the Ropa Vieja was solid, but nothing special, but the Pan con Lechon & Salmon a la Plancha were outstanding. Will definitely return!

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BR
Washington DC
1 review
Dined on November 4, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Went there for a late, Saturday night dinner. The first impression is the place is very loud. This may have been related to the time I was there as the place is also trying to be a late night place to go. But, it gave out a vibe that this is a happening place to be.

The service was very good. My wife had a saoco (coconut drink with rum served in a coconut) which was very good. I'm not familiar with Cuban food so I went with a small plate of PÁN CON LECHÓN and COSTILLITAS BORRACHAS. The food was fantastic.

Overall, the place was a very festive atmosphere and had delicious food. Great if you want try something different. A good place to go to celebrate.

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CL
Washington DC
2 reviews
Dined on November 4, 2018
Overall 1food 1service 1ambience 1

We so wanted to love this place as the husband is Cuban and we’re always looking for good Cuban food. Service was horrible. The waiter took our drink order. A bit later brought th m, took our food order and never returned. Heads up, don’t order the house wine. The yuca frita resembled mozzarella sticks. Ok, fine we’ll play along. But, the shrimp ceviche was disgusting. The shrimp had this odd texture. Oyamel’s ceviche is so much better and fresher. The bacalao was overly salty. My tongue is still recovering. The waiter finally returned at the end of the meal. We explained things and he was extremely arrogant as our dislikes did not matter. We paid and left. We will not return.

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MC
Washington DC
3 reviews
Dined on November 3, 2018
Overall 3food 3service 4ambience 2

We had the ropa vieja. The ropa vieja in itself (the meat) was wonderful. Probably one of the best I've eaten. However, we were just hoping the dish was more complete and instead of just white rice and the ropa vieja, a side of beens and sweet plantains would have made it more feel like a full homemade dish Cuban experience. This is how ropa vieja is sold in most restaurants, so I just assumed it and was disappointing to not to see it coming. It's like ordering a burger and then have it it come without fries, if this makes any sense. The mojitos were also very disappointing, overly sweet and feeling more like a fake mix. The churros were EXCELLENT! That I have to give them too. Finally, what was the worst for me was the noise level. Awful for conversation with our friends (we had a double date night) and the speakers sounded so bad too. I know the title of the place has "Social Club" in it so I'd see how they need not to make excuses for the noise level but at the end of the day, no matter the title of the space, this place is a mainly restaurant. And IT IS set as a restaurant, so I'd think that keeping music a bit lower until at least 9:30PM would be more appropriate, and then turn it into the social club / lounge they're going for once most people are there for drinks and partying.

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LE
Washington DC
1 review
Dined on November 3, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

What an amazing place! So glad it came to Silver Spring! The food was of course delicious, the staff super friendly and helpful, and atmosphere very lively! Will be a new local favorite.

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OT
Washington DC
3 reviews
Dined on November 2, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 4ambience 3

Food was amazing, music was slightly too loud, even for a Cuban social club vibe. Couldn’t hear ourselves.

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P
Washington DC
1 review
Dined on November 2, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 4ambience 5

Excellent food and fun atmosphere—destined to be among Silver Spring’s best!

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SS
Washington DC
11 reviews
Dined on November 1, 2018
Overall 4food 3service 3ambience 5

It had a great vibe. The owner was sitting outside greeting guests. Drinks were solid. Ceviche also.
I’ll go back.

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N
New York Area
1 review
Dined on October 31, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Had a wonderful time at El Sapo! The food was great, the ambiance was amazing, and everyone was so friendly. So happy to have this restaurant in Silver Spring and I look forward to going back to try more of the menu.

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OT
Washington DC
1 review
Dined on October 30, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Amazing meal and friendly staff. The food was authentic Cuban, which I could say since I’m Cuban and grew up in Miami. Wait staff was a bit disorganized but I’m sure they are just working out the kinks. Did not affect our experience at all. Great to see a good Cuban restaurant finally come to the area. We will be back.

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JK
Washington DC
3 reviews
Dined on October 30, 2018
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 4

We went to El Sapo on the opening day. It was very busy and very loud. The food was good, perhaps not as hot as I wished. The music was too loud to allow conversation. Probably the best empanadas I've ever eaten and a really good mojito.

I will go back after things settle down a little.

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