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An array of colorful dishes, including steak, at D’ La Santa.
Family-run D’ La Santa on Capitol Hill specializes in steak and other hearty dishes.
D’ La Santa/Official

13 of Seattle's Most Marvelous Mexican Restaurants

From crispy carnitas to magnificent mole, and beyond

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Family-run D’ La Santa on Capitol Hill specializes in steak and other hearty dishes.
| D’ La Santa/Official

Even this far north of the border, Seattle’s Mexican food scene offers a wide range of excellent options, from top-notch carne asada to satisfying enchiladas to rich mole dishes that thrill with sweet, and spicy flavors. There's also a separate guide that includes a few more fast-casual spots and food trucks that specialize in tacos — an important talent that deserves recognition on its own.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. La Conasupo

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8532 Greenwood Ave N
Seattle, WA 98103
(206) 782-0533

Like a mullet, the party's in in the back at this Greenwood store, which doubles as a restaurant. Get the quesadillas with tinga de res, enormous carnitas tacos, or come by on weekends when there's an even fuller array of soups, meats, and crispy tacos.

A table of dishes at La Conasupo
La Conasupo is a store doubling as a restaurant.
Adrian Soto/Facebook

2. La Carta de Oaxaca

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5431 Ballard Ave NW
Seattle, WA 98107
(206) 782-8722
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Ballard denizens have been lining up at this family-owned Mexican restaurant since it opened in 2003 to sample the pools of rich, savory-sweet mole over chicken; the hand-crushed guacamole; the breaded steak; and a spirit list with more than 40 types of mezcal. Though there have been newer, trendier offshoots (like El Mezcalito in Queen Anne), it’s difficult to replicate the intimacy of the original.

An interior wall at La Carta de Oaxaca and a handful of diners sitting at tables.
La Carta de Oaxaca specializes in Oaxacan cuisine.
La Carta de Oaxaca/Facebook

3. Asadero Ballard

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5405 Leary Ave NW
Seattle, WA 98107
(206) 659-4499
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Carne Asada is the way to go at this Sinaloan restaurant in Ballard, which fires top-quality prime steak on the grill all day. The vampiro and toreado are the best options, with the latter featuring a homemade flour tortilla topped with a grilled Anaheim pepper, filled with carne asada and cheese; pickled onions complete the package.

A large cut of carne asada at Asadero Ballard.
Asadero Ballard specializes in prime steak.
Asadero/Facebook

4. Gracia

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5313 Ballard Ave NW
Seattle, WA
(206) 268-0217

Former Matt’s in the Market chef Chester Gerl is winning friends with his Ballard Mexican spot. Featuring masa sourced from Oaxacan farms for tortillas and tamales, a beautifully designed, perpetually packed dining room, and an open kitchen to let people in on the magic, Gracia is an instant classic.

The exterior of Gracia in Ballard
Former Matt’s in the Market chef Chester Gerl is winning friends with his Ballard Mexican spot, Gracia.
Suzi Pratt/Eater

5. Señor Moose Cafe

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5242 Leary Ave NW
Seattle, WA 98107
(206) 784-5568
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Señor Moose Cafe consistently draws a line for brunch and dinner in Ballard. There are half a dozen mole varieties, like enchiladas de machaca or the mole negro. More winners include crispy, limey carnitas plates and tacos; smoky, creamy camarones enchipotlados (plump shrimp in creamy chipotle sauce); and any of the brunch dishes with chorizo or cactus.

A top-down view of a dish and menu on a table at Se<span data-author="-1">ñor</span> Moose Cafe
Señor Moose Cafe consistently draws a line for brunch and dinner in Ballard.
Señor Moose Cafe/Facebook

6. D’ La Santa

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2359 10th Ave E
Seattle, WA 98102
(206) 709-2222
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Steak is the story at North Capitol Hill’s Mexican steakhouse, where big piles of tender, perfectly cooked beef rule the menu. Standouts include the 25-day dry-aged New York strip, topped with the from-scratch salsa, and the Aguja Norteña, a hunk of wagyu accompanied by a cactus salad. The meat is bolstered by a slew of family recipes, so diners know they’re getting the real deal.

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7. Mezcaleria Oaxaca

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422 E Pine St
Seattle, WA 98122
(206) 324-0506
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Queen Anne's slice of a restaurant was the original, and its still worth a visit under its new name El Mezcalito. But this Capitol Hill restaurant (now under separate ownership) is much bigger and maybe even better, with a huge bar, beautiful decor, and open rooftop where the 21+ crowd can savor an impressive selection of smoky mezcal-based cocktails.

The interior of Mezcaleria Oaxaca
Mezcaleria Oaxaca has a huge bar and rooftop lounge area.
Suzi Pratt/Eater

8. Villa Escondida

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2203 1st Ave
Seattle, WA 98121
(206) 448-2393
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Friendly service and Oaxacan food are on offer at this Belltown restaurant. The tacos al pastor are juicy and flavorful and half off during happy hour (aka perfect). And don't miss out on entrees like the pollo estofado, with its tomato-based sauce that’s as complex as mole, and the generously portioned carne asada.

A side view of a wet burrito at Villa Escondida
Villa Escondida specializes in Oaxacan food in Belltown.
Villa Escondida/Official

9. Little Neon Taco

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1011 Boren Ave
Seattle, WA 98104
(206) 682-2026
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Little Neon Taco on First Hill comes courtesy of chef Monica Dimas, who blends traditional tacos like lengua and adobada with new twists, like the cueritos with soft pork rinds. Beyond tacos, other standouts include mole chicken wings, corn and jalapeño fritters, and elote. The restaurant serves as a serious bright spot in an otherwise grim First Hill landscape of chain restaurants and hospitals.

A top-down shot of several dishes at Little Neon Taco
Little Neon Taco on First Hill comes courtesy of chef Monica Dimas.
Little Neon Taco/Facebook

10. Casco Antiguo

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115 Occidental Ave S
Seattle, WA 98104
(206) 538-0400
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Pioneer Square has pretty much everything locals need these days, including this chic Mexican restaurant (which has a newer outpost near the Amazon Spheres now). Highlights include margaritas on tap and lovely gorditas, both at their best when discounted during happy hour from 3 to 6 p.m.

A side view of several plates at Casco Antiguo
Chic Mexican restaurant Casco Antiguo has margaritas on tap and lovely gorditas.
Casco Antiguo/Facebook

11. Fonda La Catrina

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5907 Airport Way S
Seattle, WA 98108
(206) 767-2787
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Georgetown’s Mexican folk art-themed restaurant has been both consistent and beloved around town for years. It's not totally crazy to say this place has the best vegetarian options of all, with enchiladas de mole poblano with mushrooms topping the list. But there are also several excellent happy hour options, such as rock fish ceviche, chiles asados, and queso fundido.

Close-up view of a dish at Fonda La Catrina in Georgetown.
Fonda La Catrina has excellent vegetarian options.
Fonda La Catrina/Facebook

12. El Sirenito

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5901 Airport Way S
Seattle, WA 98108
(206) 767-2787
Visit Website

Fonda La Catrina’s little sister has an identity of its own, with a seafood-focused menu and sophisticated cocktails. Where Catrina is bright and decorated to the gills, this adjacent marisquería is clean and minimalistic in design, with only occasional pops of color. The crisp rockfish quesadillas, called pescadillas, and on-trend toasts (montaditas) are standouts. Oh, and how about that huge patio?

Close-up view of a plate with a pork chop and other ingredients at El Sirenito.
El Sirenito is a sibling bar to Fonda La Catrina.
El Sirenito/Facebook

13. El Paisano Rosticeria Y Cocina

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9615 15th Ave SW
Seattle, WA 98106
(206) 763-0368

The rotisserie chicken at this White Center gem is rubbed with a thick layer of ancho chile-based red salsa and cooked slowly, deliciously. Pro tip: Three doors down is the El Paisano Carniceria (butcher shop), which sometimes has a drum full of the best tamales for a song — they're Ethan Stowell's favorite too.

A chef preparing rotisserie chicken at <span data-author="-1">El Paisano Rosticeria Y Cocina.</span>
El Paisano Rosticeria Y Cocina specializes in rotisserie chicken.
Courtesy of White Center

1. La Conasupo

8532 Greenwood Ave N, Seattle, WA 98103
A table of dishes at La Conasupo
La Conasupo is a store doubling as a restaurant.
Adrian Soto/Facebook

Like a mullet, the party's in in the back at this Greenwood store, which doubles as a restaurant. Get the quesadillas with tinga de res, enormous carnitas tacos, or come by on weekends when there's an even fuller array of soups, meats, and crispy tacos.

8532 Greenwood Ave N
Seattle, WA 98103

2. La Carta de Oaxaca

5431 Ballard Ave NW, Seattle, WA 98107
An interior wall at La Carta de Oaxaca and a handful of diners sitting at tables.
La Carta de Oaxaca specializes in Oaxacan cuisine.
La Carta de Oaxaca/Facebook

Ballard denizens have been lining up at this family-owned Mexican restaurant since it opened in 2003 to sample the pools of rich, savory-sweet mole over chicken; the hand-crushed guacamole; the breaded steak; and a spirit list with more than 40 types of mezcal. Though there have been newer, trendier offshoots (like El Mezcalito in Queen Anne), it’s difficult to replicate the intimacy of the original.

5431 Ballard Ave NW
Seattle, WA 98107

3. Asadero Ballard

5405 Leary Ave NW, Seattle, WA 98107
A large cut of carne asada at Asadero Ballard.
Asadero Ballard specializes in prime steak.
Asadero/Facebook

Carne Asada is the way to go at this Sinaloan restaurant in Ballard, which fires top-quality prime steak on the grill all day. The vampiro and toreado are the best options, with the latter featuring a homemade flour tortilla topped with a grilled Anaheim pepper, filled with carne asada and cheese; pickled onions complete the package.

5405 Leary Ave NW
Seattle, WA 98107

4. Gracia

5313 Ballard Ave NW, Seattle, WA
The exterior of Gracia in Ballard
Former Matt’s in the Market chef Chester Gerl is winning friends with his Ballard Mexican spot, Gracia.
Suzi Pratt/Eater

Former Matt’s in the Market chef Chester Gerl is winning friends with his Ballard Mexican spot. Featuring masa sourced from Oaxacan farms for tortillas and tamales, a beautifully designed, perpetually packed dining room, and an open kitchen to let people in on the magic, Gracia is an instant classic.

5313 Ballard Ave NW
Seattle, WA

5. Señor Moose Cafe

5242 Leary Ave NW, Seattle, WA 98107
A top-down view of a dish and menu on a table at Se<span data-author="-1">ñor</span> Moose Cafe
Señor Moose Cafe consistently draws a line for brunch and dinner in Ballard.
Señor Moose Cafe/Facebook

Señor Moose Cafe consistently draws a line for brunch and dinner in Ballard. There are half a dozen mole varieties, like enchiladas de machaca or the mole negro. More winners include crispy, limey carnitas plates and tacos; smoky, creamy camarones enchipotlados (plump shrimp in creamy chipotle sauce); and any of the brunch dishes with chorizo or cactus.

5242 Leary Ave NW
Seattle, WA 98107

6. D’ La Santa

2359 10th Ave E, Seattle, WA 98102

Steak is the story at North Capitol Hill’s Mexican steakhouse, where big piles of tender, perfectly cooked beef rule the menu. Standouts include the 25-day dry-aged New York strip, topped with the from-scratch salsa, and the Aguja Norteña, a hunk of wagyu accompanied by a cactus salad. The meat is bolstered by a slew of family recipes, so diners know they’re getting the real deal.

2359 10th Ave E
Seattle, WA 98102

7. Mezcaleria Oaxaca

422 E Pine St, Seattle, WA 98122
The interior of Mezcaleria Oaxaca
Mezcaleria Oaxaca has a huge bar and rooftop lounge area.
Suzi Pratt/Eater

Queen Anne's slice of a restaurant was the original, and its still worth a visit under its new name El Mezcalito. But this Capitol Hill restaurant (now under separate ownership) is much bigger and maybe even better, with a huge bar, beautiful decor, and open rooftop where the 21+ crowd can savor an impressive selection of smoky mezcal-based cocktails.

422 E Pine St
Seattle, WA 98122

8. Villa Escondida

2203 1st Ave, Seattle, WA 98121
A side view of a wet burrito at Villa Escondida
Villa Escondida specializes in Oaxacan food in Belltown.
Villa Escondida/Official

Friendly service and Oaxacan food are on offer at this Belltown restaurant. The tacos al pastor are juicy and flavorful and half off during happy hour (aka perfect). And don't miss out on entrees like the pollo estofado, with its tomato-based sauce that’s as complex as mole, and the generously portioned carne asada.

2203 1st Ave
Seattle, WA 98121

9. Little Neon Taco

1011 Boren Ave, Seattle, WA 98104
A top-down shot of several dishes at Little Neon Taco
Little Neon Taco on First Hill comes courtesy of chef Monica Dimas.
Little Neon Taco/Facebook

Little Neon Taco on First Hill comes courtesy of chef Monica Dimas, who blends traditional tacos like lengua and adobada with new twists, like the cueritos with soft pork rinds. Beyond tacos, other standouts include mole chicken wings, corn and jalapeño fritters, and elote. The restaurant serves as a serious bright spot in an otherwise grim First Hill landscape of chain restaurants and hospitals.

1011 Boren Ave
Seattle, WA 98104

10. Casco Antiguo

115 Occidental Ave S, Seattle, WA 98104
A side view of several plates at Casco Antiguo
Chic Mexican restaurant Casco Antiguo has margaritas on tap and lovely gorditas.
Casco Antiguo/Facebook

Pioneer Square has pretty much everything locals need these days, including this chic Mexican restaurant (which has a newer outpost near the Amazon Spheres now). Highlights include margaritas on tap and lovely gorditas, both at their best when discounted during happy hour from 3 to 6 p.m.

115 Occidental Ave S
Seattle, WA 98104

11. Fonda La Catrina

5907 Airport Way S, Seattle, WA 98108
Close-up view of a dish at Fonda La Catrina in Georgetown.
Fonda La Catrina has excellent vegetarian options.
Fonda La Catrina/Facebook

Georgetown’s Mexican folk art-themed restaurant has been both consistent and beloved around town for years. It's not totally crazy to say this place has the best vegetarian options of all, with enchiladas de mole poblano with mushrooms topping the list. But there are also several excellent happy hour options, such as rock fish ceviche, chiles asados, and queso fundido.

5907 Airport Way S
Seattle, WA 98108

12. El Sirenito

5901 Airport Way S, Seattle, WA 98108
Close-up view of a plate with a pork chop and other ingredients at El Sirenito.
El Sirenito is a sibling bar to Fonda La Catrina.
El Sirenito/Facebook

Fonda La Catrina’s little sister has an identity of its own, with a seafood-focused menu and sophisticated cocktails. Where Catrina is bright and decorated to the gills, this adjacent marisquería is clean and minimalistic in design, with only occasional pops of color. The crisp rockfish quesadillas, called pescadillas, and on-trend toasts (montaditas) are standouts. Oh, and how about that huge patio?

5901 Airport Way S
Seattle, WA 98108

13. El Paisano Rosticeria Y Cocina

9615 15th Ave SW, Seattle, WA 98106
A chef preparing rotisserie chicken at <span data-author="-1">El Paisano Rosticeria Y Cocina.</span>
El Paisano Rosticeria Y Cocina specializes in rotisserie chicken.
Courtesy of White Center

The rotisserie chicken at this White Center gem is rubbed with a thick layer of ancho chile-based red salsa and cooked slowly, deliciously. Pro tip: Three doors down is the El Paisano Carniceria (butcher shop), which sometimes has a drum full of the best tamales for a song — they're Ethan Stowell's favorite too.

9615 15th Ave SW
Seattle, WA 98106

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