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“Enjoy it for what it is”
4 of 5 bubbles Review of Center Cafe

Center Cafe
Ranked #2,225 of 3,196 Restaurants in Washington DC
Price range: $15 - $25
Cuisines: American
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Good for: Business meetings
Dining options: Lunch, Drinks, Breakfast, Dinner, Accepts American Express, Accepts Discover, Accepts Mastercard, Accepts Visa, Full Bar, Reservations, Seating, Serves Alcohol, Waitstaff
Dining style: Casual Dining
Cross street: Union Station
Description: The only 50-star restaurant in D.C.! With its sweeping views of Capitol Hill, there could hardly be a more perfect setting for this celebration of regional American cuisine than historic Union Station.
Toronto, Canada
Level Contributor
187 reviews
119 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 214 helpful votes
“Enjoy it for what it is”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed April 8, 2013

I'm a lifelong sucker for trains and historic railway stations, so those considerations probably colour my review.

Wife and I knew in advance that we'd have to eat here at least once while on our recent visit to Washington: the setting, right in the centre of one of the world's most beautiful stations, surrounded by all that metropolitan hustle and bustle, was irresistible. Our first experience was decent enough that we ended up having two more dinners at the Center Cafe--one in the company of another couple--and one breakfast, as well. Everone was satisfied. This is not a place that we would probably return to regularly if we were residents but as tourists, we were very happy.

Menu offers a wide selection and prices were decent, particularly upstairs in the bar area, where there were happy hour deals during the week. Too frenzied up there for us, though, linen tablecloths downstairs, a bit more relaxed, same great view. Our dinners were better than our breakfast, though the breakfast was decent and at at $10.95 all in--juice, loaded breakfast croissant, and coffee/tea--in such a setting, what's to complain?

Service was just a tad TOO efficient (I think that I recognize that waitress who slams down the cutlery and avoids eye contact!) but the servers are very busy and many of the customers are in a hurry. We took our own sweet time and nobody tried to rush us out.

  • Visited April 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
1 Thank Torontotraveller2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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107 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
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Rating summary
    Food
    Service
    Value
    Atmosphere
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Portuguese first
  • Any
English first
Paris, France
Level Contributor
940 reviews
412 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 539 helpful votes
“One of the worst places I have been”
1 of 5 bubbles Reviewed April 5, 2013

Situated inside the train station in Washington DC, this has a nice location and layout, but the service and food here are terrible. I will not go back and left most of my meal there in the first place.

  • Visited February 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
Thank HiddenCaviar
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Palm Coast, Florida
Level Contributor
231 reviews
105 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 95 helpful votes
“busy position”
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed April 3, 2013

We ate here as we were getting the night tour bus at 7 pm.
We sat down and very quickly asked what we would like to drink and given menus to peruse.
The 2 dishes we chose were Lemon chicken and Crabcakes both were good quality and the vegetables were cooked perfectly for us.
The waiting staff were very busy so didnt waste time with chitchat. This didnt bother us as we had a schedule to keep but it would probably upset others.
At the end of the day this a busy cafe in a busy railway station.

  • Visited March 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
Thank Robertson;Mrs.a... R
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Phoenix, Arizona, United States
Level Contributor
26 reviews
14 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 25 helpful votes
“Crappy service, aweful food....got really sick”
1 of 5 bubbles Reviewed April 2, 2013

My boyfriend and I were visiting DC and having a great time...until I ordered the half chicken, veggies, and mash potatoes at this place for a late lunch. Where to start with the mess? First, to call the female server indifferent would be kind....she slammed the silverware down on the table without a word, as she did everything else. But we were sight seeing and in a hurry, plus it has a great view of the station, so we stayed. My boyfriend had the chicken panini, which came with stale potato chips and coleslaw (though not real fresh). I, unfortunately, had the chicken. You can tell the food is not really fresh or cooked to order. My veggies were dried at the edges, indicating that they had been sitting out a while in the air.....hmmm. Looking back, I wish I had skipped this meal and that we had NEVER gone there. I didn't want to make a fuss, so I ate it.

Later that afternoon, I felt nauseous and later that night, had severe diahrrea starting at 3:00 am and vomiting to boot. This was our last day here, so it was a horrible way to end our trip to DC. I remained ill through our entire flight home, and am still nauseous as I write this. I'm sure if I called them to tell them, they'd deny it was their food. But that's all I had that day.

Between the "old" food and the crappy service, I warn everyone to stay FAR AWAY from this place unless you feel like gambling with food poisoning.

Horrible place, but such a shame really as it has one of the best views in the station....

It's

  • Visited March 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
Thank Jaybird61
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Westfield, New Jersey
Level Contributor
9 reviews
5 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
“worst. meal. of my life.”
1 of 5 bubbles Reviewed April 2, 2013

No exaggerating the worst meal we've ever had. I took a bite of the pizza, and forget swallowing, I couldn't even bring myself to chewing it; reflex-refunded it right back onto the plate. I tasted like the cheese was brined in a bucket of vomit. I've never tasted anything more disgusting in my life. Pizza was ordered for my kid, I had ordered a panini, and my husband ordered a wrap - equally dry, old, and inedible. But that pizza taste will stay with me forever.. the 'cafe' is in the middle of the station, the wait was 30 min from the time we sat to the time we got our order.

  • Visited March 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
2 Thank ABE692
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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