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January 2007: 100 Very Best Restaurants
A stylish downtown place for mojitos and Latin-themed cooking.
Reviewed By Todd Kliman, Ann Limpert, Cynthia Hacinli
Comments () | Published January 23, 2007

Ceiba
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 10:30 PM; Friday 11:30 AM to 2:30 PM and 5:30 to 11 PM; Saturday 5:30 to 11 PM; Sunday 5 PM to 9 PM.
Wheelchair Accessible: Yes
Nearby Metro Stops: McPherson Square, Metro Center
Price Range: Expensive
Dress: Business 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.
Special Features:
Wheelchair Accessible, Valet Parking Available, Party Space, Good for Groups
Scene:
Food Specials
Happy Hour Details:
Monday through Saturday 3 to 6 PM; all day Sunday.
Happy Hour Days:
Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays

No. 90 Ceiba

Got a crowd to please? Here’s your place. Picky eaters, parents young and old, teens, tourists—all can find something to entertain them at this Nuevo Latino–themed eatery. There’s a lot to like: a peppy salsa soundtrack, tart mojitos, a hacienda-chic interior, and service so efficient you’ll likely hear “Another cocktail?” within a minute of polishing off a pisco sour.

The menu is a pan-Latin mash-up of renditions both straightforward (black-bean soup) and newfangled (foie gras pupusas). If some dishes look better than they taste—chorizo meatballs turn up underseasoned and dry, Cuban crab fritters are gluey, and  queso fundido  is bubbling but boring—there’s often enough surprise on each plate to compensate.

The best thing about an entrée of tuna escabèche is not the thick slices of fish, it’s the dense  causa —a Peruvian-style potato salad—on the side. The shellfish in the seafood stew may be a tad overcooked, but the tomatoey broth is addictive. If there’s a must-have, it’s the beef empanadas—so good, they’d be worth opening a takeout window for.

A server one night touted pastry chef David Guas’s recent appearance on the  Today show. But his desserts, save for a terrific guava cheesecake, have been less sparkling lately.
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Posted at 11:55 AM/ET, 01/23/2007 RSS | Print | Permalink | Washingtonian.com Restaurant Reviews