Spork Rating: 3
- Neighborhood: Brookline Village, with the original location in the South End
- Cuisine: Mexican
- Price: Cheap Eats to Affordable, depending on your order. Appetizers $2.50-$9, entrees $10-$22
- Hours: Open daily, 11am-10pm.
- Reservations: No. Check in with the staff when you arrive.
- Recommended For Dining With: Infants, toddlers, kids
Following on the success of the original El Centro in Boston’s South End (and rumors of a Belmont location coming soon), El Centro Dos is the second Mexican restaurant from the same chef-owner, sharing the same name and concept. Enter the kid-friendly Brookline Village Mexican restaurant and you’ll be surrounded by dark wood, exposed brick and large, bright artwork. The food here is genuine and comforting, but the service is not. And while the spotty, inattentive service isn’t enough to keep food lovers away, families dining out with kids should be prepared to take control of the pace of the meal, flagging down the aloof staff and explaining exactly what is needed.
Improving over time. While they aren’t unwelcoming or unhelpful at this kid-friendly Brookline Village Mexican restaurant, it seems to depend on the server you get. Some will bring plastic cups with lids and coloring books and crayons, others just stick to the service basics. We chalk it up to overall lackluster and sometimes inconsistent service, not anything specific to dining out with kids. If the staff doesn’t jump in right away, be prepared to fetch your own high chair and figure out kid-friendly menu items on your own.
This is pretty darn authentic Mexican food, so don’t go in expecting Americanized TexMex. You’ll find basics to keep kids (and adults) of all ages happy, plus lots of more adventurous dishes. Just about everything on this menu is heavy and filling, so go slow as you dig in. Favorite dishes include:
- Tacos (order 2 with some sides to make a meal)
There’s no kid’s menu here, and navigating the menu with less adventurous eaters may be a challenge. When in doubt, there’s always basic items like quesadillas, chips and guac and the tortilla soup to fall back on. Kids looking to explore may enjoy some of the tacos (portioned perfectly for little hands), and just about everyone likes the corn on the cob.
- JFK Birthplace
- Boston University
- Boston College
- Museum of Fine Arts
- Longwood Medical Area
- Riverway/Olmstead Parks
- Larz Anderson Park
- High chairs
- T accessible
- T accessible by the Green Line’s D trains at the Brookline Village stop
- There’s usually plenty of metered parking on Harvard St., surrounding side streets, as well as several municipal lots within 2 blocks.