Want to SAVE, EMAIL, and PRINT your picks? Sign up for a Purple Passport account to get started.
El Centro D.F.
1819 14th St., NW (U Street/Shaw)
(1) 202-328-3131 | www.richardsandoval.com/elcentrodf
CUISINEMexican Comfort Food
HOURSSun.-Wed.: 11:00am-3:00pm, 5:00pm-11:00pm; Thurs.-Sat: 11:00am-3:00am
BEST FORDinner; late-night snack; weekend brunch
RESERVATIONSStrongly recommended, especially on weekends
BARYes - three bars, including two on the roof terrace
PRICE (TACOS; GUACAMOLE; BOTTOMLESS BRUNCH)USD 10.95-13.95; USD 9.95; USD 35
FAMOUS PLATESTacos; guacamole
DRINKS AND WINE200+ tequilas; Latin-inspired cocktails; margaritas
# OF SEATS260
OUTDOOR DINING?Yes - rooftop dining
PRIVATE ROOM AVAILABLE?Yes
The latest in chef Richard Sandoval’s string of trendy Mexican spots is this funky lounge/restaurant near perennially hip U Street. The restaurant is broken into three distinct spaces. Downstairs, there’s the romantic underground Tequileria, all polished concrete and distressed wood. The low-key ground floor Taqueria features a lively open kitchen, some casual eat-in counters and stools, and (of course) tacos galore. Up top, two open-air bars on the cool roof terrace offer plenty of alfresco drinking options as well as a menu of light bites.
Smart, hip 20- to 40-somethings. After 5:00pm, this is a popular watering hole for office types.
WHAT WE WOULD WEAR
The Taqueria is pretty casual (you could even get away with jeans and a casual tee), but the Tequileria and rooftop lounges are a bit smarter, so dress it up with a cute dress and heels.
GO HERE WITH
Friends - for tacos and gossip; colleagues - for rooftop drinks; a date - for a romantic dinner
WHY WE LIKE IT
This would make a great spot for a date, but we prefer to come with a gang of friends, either for rooftop happy hour during the week (5:00pm-7:00pm daily) or for the “Bottomless Brunch” on weekends (10:30am-3:00pm; USD 35 all you can eat and drink). Another great night to come is Taco Tuesdays for the USD 2 tacos all night long. Regardless of when you go, don’t miss the made-fresh-at-your-table guac. It’s super delish.
WHAT WE WOULD CHANGE
The service can be a little slow and distracted. (For more consistent attention, dine at the bar.)
GOOD TO KNOW
We're fans of chef Richard Sandoval, who’s a force behind the stylish Mexican restaurant scene around the country. Don’t be misled by the nondescript front entrance, which doesn’t necessarily wow upon first sight; inside, the restaurant is quite stylish and spacious in true Richard Sandoval tradition. The space is available for private events for groups of 50-275. The ground floor Taqueria offers takeout. There are often DJs spinning at the rooftop lounge on weekends and the Tequileria Lounge features International Nights on the weekends too. Just a few doors down from El Centro is another, dressier Richard Sandoval restaurant, Masa 14.
Rosa Mexicano (New York)
All information within this website was checked for accuracy at the time of publication. But since the world moves quickly, things may have changed. Pardon us for any errors as we strive to give you the most up-to-the-minute details!