El Centro D.F.

Mexican Restaurant / Tequila Bar
El Centro D.F. Three distinct levels – from a classy, intimate basement to a rowdy open-air rooftop – make El Centro D.F. (Distrito Federal) a multi-faceted haunt for anyone in need of inventive Mexican cuisine or just a mess of tequila. Washington, DC United States 38.914694 -77.03155
3.4 6
El Centro D.F. - Mexican Restaurant | Tequila Bar in Washington, DC.
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Ratings:
Lucas
Adriana
Jonah
Emma

Party Earth Review Three distinct levels – from a classy, intimate basement to a rowdy open-air rooftop – make El Centro D.F. (Distrito Federal) a multi-faceted haunt for anyone in need of inventive Mexican cuisine or just a mess of tequila... ... read full review

  • Metro:

    Green, Yellow Lines: U Street/African-Amer Civil War Memorial/Cardozo

  • Phone:

    202–328–3131

  • Links:

  • Hours:

    M–F 5pm–2am, Sa 10am–2am, Su 10am–11pm
    Kitchen: closes at 11pm but smaller late night menu remains available till close

  • Recommended as:

    • Day Spot
    • Night Spot

Party Earth El Centro D.F. Review

The Scene

Three distinct levels – from a classy, intimate basement to a rowdy open-air rooftop – make El Centro D.F. (Distrito Federal) a multi-faceted haunt for anyone in need of inventive Mexican cuisine or just a mess of tequila.

Three distinct levels – from a classy, intimate basement to a rowdy open-air rooftop – make El Centro D.F. (Distrito Federal) a multi-faceted haunt for anyone in need of inventive Mexican cuisine or just a mess of tequila.

Textured walls and rough-hewn tables make up the industrial ground floor, which swells with a trendy after-work crowd passing bowls of guacamole and bottles of wine. The concrete bar provides a front row view of the cacophonous open kitchen, where signature beef tongue tacos are churned out as thirsty drinkers sip sweet agave cocktails or just stick with bare-bones margaritas in a can.

Above their heads, the rooftop swells with a more casual Happy Hour crowd clustering over Tecates and mojitos beneath twinkling white lights, though lines can get long for the roof once the action picks up.

For a more intimate experience, young couples can head to the subterranean tequileria, a dim space decked out in clay masks and offering over a hundred different types of tequila.

On Fridays and Saturdays, the sleek tables in this basement den are pushed aside by 11:30pm when DJs start spinning Top 40 and Latin hits, while the upper levels see hordes of partiers flooding in for tacos and tequila tastings.

Chic eats and agave treats make El Centro D.F. the place to go, whether for a late-night fiesta or an afternoon hangover treatment.

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Tip from Emma:

Hit the rooftop on the weekends from 11am to 3pm, when you can get bottomless tequila cocktails and small plates of scrumptious Mexican grub for $35. Go ahead and splurge – Monday comes fast!

  • Crowd

    Varying mix of dapper young couples, trendy professionals, casual post-grads, and tequila lovers, late 20s to early 40s.

  • Entertainment / Music

    DJs spin salsa, house, Latin beats, and Top 40 hits in the tequileria Fridays and Saturdays after 11pm, as well as during special events earlier in the week. Music is piped throughout venue.

  • Food / Miscellaneous

    Authentic Mexican menu including ceviche, carne asada, tacos, tostadas, and pork carnitas. Happy Hour daily 5–7pm.

  • Prices

    All-you-can-eat-brunch $35, brunch small plates $5–$13, rooftop menu $6–$8, sides $4, appetizers $10–$11, entrées $11–$20, late-night menu $4–$10.

    Beer $6, wine $7–$10/glass or $26–$34/bottle, cocktails $7–$12, margarita in a can $6, tequila $8–$150, tequila tastings $18–$75.

  • What to Wear / Dress Code

    Casual to trendy: jeans, t-shirts, cotton dresses, sneakers, sleek tops, button-downs, cocktail attire.

  • Hot Nights / When to Go

    Earlier in the week for a relaxed rooftop scene, Friday and Saturday nights for a lively late-night crowd, and weekends for a Mexican brunch.

  • Close By

    Standard (1801 14th Street NW) offers tender barbecue and made-to-order donuts in their outdoor beer garden.

El Centro D.F. User Reviews

Average rating:
Taco flavored kissssess
Seema S. May 20, 2013
Love it, love it, loveee it! Every part of this restaurant has a different vibe and each one is spectacular! It has a great rooftop with lively music. The Mojito Mexicanos are bomb!. They are very unique with a little spice and probably one of the best mojitos I have had in a long time. The margaritas are also excellent and all the drinks are just strong enough. Everything is made with tequila, who wouldn't love that? The service is great too. Each time I have been here and didn't have cell phone service, the wait staff has personally come up to the rooftop and got us when our table was ready. The wait can be long, but they do give you an accurate estimate for how long you will have to wait and I appreciate that. on to the food...Everything on the menu is delicious. The cactus tacos, carne asada, and enchiladas...AWESOME! The guacamole is some of the best I have had in DC and the queso is great, but you don't get a lot of it. The tequileria is such a great addition to this gem. They have quite the variety of tequilas and offer reasonably priced tastings. I was impressed at how much our waiter knew about the different types of Tequila and he made excellent recommendations for our party. This is definitely one of my new favorite places in the neighborhood.
Great Rooftop and Margaritas
Pascal A. Oct 5, 2012
They serve excellent margaritas with multiple flavor options (I'm partial to mango). The rooftop is a great venue for afternoon mingling or nighttime partying, with a distinct Central American decor.
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