A stylish downtown place for mojitos and Latin-themed cooking.
Reviewed By Todd Kliman, Ann Limpert, Cynthia Hacinli
Comments () | Published October 30, 2006
Address: 701 14th Street, NW, Washington, DC 20005
Phone: 202-393-3983
Neighborhood: Downtown
Cuisines: South American, Nuevo Latino
Opening Hours: Open Monday through Thursday 11:30 AM to 2:30 PM and 5:30 to 11:30 PM, Friday 11:30 AM to 2:30 PM and 5:30 to midnight, and Saturday 5:30 to midnight. Closed Sunday.
Nearby Metro Stops: McPherson Square, Metro Center
Price Range: Expensive
Dress: Upscale Casual
Noise Level: Chatty
Reservations: Recommended
Best Dishes Yellowfin tuna ceviche; shrimp ceviche; beef empanadas; black bean soup; grilled octopus salad with gazpacho dressing; Cubano sandwich; feijoada; whole red snapper Veracruz; Peruvian seafood stew; guava cheesecake.
Price Details: Lunch appetizers, $7 to $12; entrees, $13 to $16. Dinner appetizers, $7 to $16; entrees, $17 to $29. Bar menu, $9 to $14.

From January 2006 100 Very Best Restaurants

THE SCENE. This stylish downtown restaurant is different things to different people: The starched service and quieter, more private dining rooms appeal to people in power suits, while Match-dot-commers and after-work unwinders linger over Champagne-topped mojitos in the leafy bar. But it's Travis Timberlake's appealing, Latin American-accented cooking that makes Ceiba more than just a cool scene.

WHAT YOU'LL LOVE. The little things: tiny shots of Gosling's Black Seal rum and peppered sherry that dress up a workmanlike conch chowder; a paper bag of caramel popcorn that comes with the check; and the sugarcane juice pressed in-house that makes the mojitos Havana-worthy.

WHAT YOU WON'T. Service has a Pavlovian efficiency that can feel robotic, and, when the place isn't jumping, the vibrant, flashy setting (salsa music, colorful murals) seems oddly canned. Some dishes--grouper ceviche, jerk chicken--aim for authenticity but come off like Xeroxes.

BEST DISHES. Spicy yellowfin tuna ceviche cooled on a bed of ice and toned by mango, jìcama, and crushed cashews; grilled octopus salad with gazpacho dressing; the lunchtime Cubano sandwich; feijoada, a Brazilian pork stew; whole red snapper; pastry chef David Guas's coconut Key-lime tart, almond-accented flan, and churros dipped in warm chocolate.

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