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“Cozy Peruvian place in downtown DC”

El Chalan Restaurant
Ranked #294 of 3,236 Restaurants in Washington DC
Certificate of Excellence
Price range: US$0 - US$20
Cuisines: American, Latin, Peruvian
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Dining options: After-hours, Reservations
Neighbourhood: Dupont Circle
Tallahassee, Florida
Level 4 Contributor
25 reviews
11 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
“Cozy Peruvian place in downtown DC”
Reviewed 7 June 2014

We wanted to try an ethnic food in DC and found this place in downtown area. It is a small but lively place with good food. We had the goat stew and lomo saltado which both tasted great.

Visited June 2014
Helpful?
Thank pfaizian
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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228 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
    82
    107
    29
    3
    7
Rating summary
    Food
    Service
    Value
    Atmosphere
Date | Rating
  • Chinese (Traditional) first
  • English first
  • French first
  • Japanese first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
DC
Level 4 Contributor
41 reviews
17 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 34 helpful votes
“Abundant portions, reasonable prices”
Reviewed 2 June 2014

We recently visited El Chalan with another couple for dinner. We had red sangria--which was sweet and easy to drink--and shared an order of the ceviche which was delicious, abundant, and nicely presented. Three out of the four of us had the seafood rice dish--which was very much like paella--and the fourth (a non-shellfish eater) had a chicken with cilantro and rice dish. The portions were really enough so that we could have shared two instead of ordering four. But the excess meant great leftovers for lunch the next day!
Service was unpretentious. The room was exceptionally noisy--small and underground--and there was a guitarist for live entertainment--which made conversation very challenging.
Definitely a very good value for a nice meal downtown.

  • Visited May 2014
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
Thank Washingtonwander
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Palos Heights, Illinois
Level 6 Contributor
281 reviews
103 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 358 helpful votes
“Interesting experience. Fairly good service. Decent food”
Reviewed 16 May 2014

We passed El Chalan regularly on our walks from the Foggy Bottom Marriot Courtyard to the Farragut West Metro station and, never having sampled Peruvian cuisine, we finally decided to check it out and have dinner once during our visit to D.C. It was located just east of the intersection of 20th and I Streets NW and lay below street level. We made reservations for a midweek dinner but it turned out the restaurant was not particularly busy the night we dined there. While more diners showed up as the night went on the restaurant never got so noisy as to make quiet conversation a problem.

It was a cozy establishment with a rustic decor (white/stucco walls, dark wood furniture and trim, beige tiles) and fairly low ceilings. We were seated right away. The service was friendly and prompt. We started with the ceviche mixto and Anticuchos El Chalan (marinated beef heart) appetizers. We moved on to the lomo saltado (sauteed beef strips) and cabrito norteno (goat stew). We topped it off with tres leches and coffee.

We did not come with any particular or high expectations from the restaurant and though we found the food was well-cooked and tasty, we were also not awed by its quality either. All-in-all our family had a pleasant dinner at El Chalan.

  • Visited April 2014
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
Thank ImmerWandern
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
Level 6 Contributor
151 reviews
118 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 54 helpful votes
“PLEASANT PERUVIAN SURPRISE”
Reviewed 16 May 2014 via mobile

I recently had the opportunity to dine at El Chalan with friends from the District. A new experience to try Peruvian selections. We started with yummy Piscos Sours. Piscos is a grape brandy. Because it was my first time I agreed that the locals should select food items with the help of staff. We started with Ceviche and Shrimp in Garlic/Butter sauce. Both very good. For entrees we had the Goat Stew and Beef Tenderloin tips with potatoes and onions. Even though I come from beef country, I thought the Goat Stew was best. We drank a delicious Malbec the waiter recommended. Our desserts were very good. I will definitely return on future visits and search out Peruvian cuisine in other cities.

The service was excellent.

Visited May 2014
Helpful?
Thank Jim F
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Chandler, AZ
Level 4 Contributor
46 reviews
14 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 50 helpful votes
“Get the goat stew!”
Reviewed 11 May 2014

Great meal, very large portions (easily shareable), and excellent sangria. Not a very fancy looking restaurant, but it fits the Peruvian theme well.

I'd recommend the goat stew, it was excellent!

My only complaint was that the restaurant refused to call us a taxi and it had just started to pour rain. Being an underground restaurant, you had to be on the sidewalk / street to hail a cab. This kind of ruined the experience.

I would recommend this restaurant -- even if they don't serve guinea pig which is a common meat served in Peru (perhaps this just isn't legal in the USA).

  • Visited May 2014
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
Thank sad69
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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