Judging Restaurants – El Paraiso


El Paraiso is located at 1916 14th St NW near T Street. I’ve also walked by this place dozens of times and it always seems to be crowded no matter what time of day. So I’m curious to know if there are any fans out there? Any specialties that are a must sample?

17 Comment

  • Seemed somewhat dirty, noticed a lot of flies.

  • Very solid food – certainly no worse than lauriel plaza. Nice papusas.
    Good margaritas!

  • It is sort of dirty but I can’t help but like this place. It’s the kind of whole in the wall I love, and the food is always always delicious.

  • Good fish tacos. I’ve eaten here a handful of times and never had a problem. I second the comment on Lariol Plaza – this is a far more enjoyable place to eat.

    On a side note, does anyone have idea what the signs for a zoning hearing called by Georgetown Strategic Partners are all about? They are plastered all over the block that includes El Paraiso.

  • Cops seem to love the place. I take that as a sign of a good quality and low prices.

  • I love this place! I have a beautifully destructive cycle that occurs every few weeks with this establishment; I go in to practice my spanish with the bartender, quite a few STIFF drinks are poured, I start dancing with a waitress, and at some point later in the evening (without fail) I am kicked out for a reason I won’t remember in the morning and they won’t care about next week.

    For those of you hankerin hearty Salvadorian cuisine served up with a raw hardworking atmosphere and garnished with a little hard liquor, I give this place 4 delirium tremors out of 5.

  • Thier Joint on 8th street is superior.

  • Ate there once. Thought it was absolutely horrible. Many far better places in CH.

  • never been; but it will be gone in a year or so for this new development:


  • is this the same as the one up by Red Derby? also the new development going up there. is it going to demolish that whole bloke or preserve the facades? its hard to tell from the sketch up.

  • I don’t think it is going anywhere. I understood that this building is not part of the development.

  • I love this place. Yes, it’s a hole in the wall, but DC needs more of them IMO. Food was good, and the wait staff was great. Last time I was there we ended up in the middle of a birthday party, which was great. Sad to hear that it will be replaced with cookie cutter condos.

  • The development will go from McDonalds all the way down to that building where the new Policy Restaurant is going. The development is preserving the facades along U Street because those are historic; so Simply Home will remain open throughout. The places along 14th Street will go away since they are not historically significant.

  • This is nowhere near Red Derby, it’s right near St Ex in between T and U on 14th street. I’ve never been but always wanted to try, I’ll have to swing by (before it’s gone, apparently?)

  • It belongs to the same people as El Paraiso II (formerly Las Tunas) on 14th and Randolph. Their steaks are delicious. It’s all in the marinade. Believe it or not, they renovated a couple years ago, and it’s a lot fancier, cleaner, and less sketchy than it used to be.

  • That link Marco posted is completely horrifying. The Clarendon-creep of hideous, impersonal, greedy new development is appalling.

  • Love El Paraiso…The food rocks and the staff couldn’t be friendlier, so go. And this is the perfect immigrant success story too.

    BTW, the owner of El Paraiso is refusing to sell to the developer of the new project so it will be built around him (unless they offer him a much better offer than what they’ve offered so far).

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