422 E. Pine St.
Seattle, WA 98112
With 30-plus mezcals being offered up, how could you go wrong by stopping in at this bustling new outpost in the Capitol Hill neighborhood? Even before the doors opened at Mezcalaria Oaxaca, people were buzzing about this newest addition to the Oaxaca-style restaurants. Aside from the mind-numbing amount of mezcals to choose from, Mezcalaria Oaxaca’s menu is just as staggering. The traditional pozole is always a surefire hit as well as the house specialty, mole negro oaxaqueno. And if you like your enchiladas smothered in salsa verde, you can’t go wrong with the enchiladas verdes. As the Cinco de Mayo celebration moves forward, so do the various choices of margaritas and other tequila-based drinks guaranteed to carry the festivities well into the night.
4219 S. Othello St.
Seattle, WA 98118
It didn’t take long for this phoenix to rise from the ashes. Two years ago, this popular family-run Mexican restaurant caught fire and had to close its doors. But it wasn’t long before Huarachitos found a new home just about a mile north in the Rainier Valley neighborhood, where its longtime fans could gather for the authentic Mexican fare they have come to know and love. There should be plenty of celebration this Cinco de Mayo at Huarachitos. You might want to try the sinfully rich chicken mole, which comes with a healthy dose of rice and beans on the side. The margaritas should be flowing and, of course, the chips and guac are the perfect way to start up the festivities.
Lower Case Brewing
8103 8th Ave. S.
Seattle, WA 98108
This new brewery is part of a micro-beer movement that has worked its way to the South Park neighborhood of Seattle. With plenty of outdoor seating to soak up the sun along with your suds, this friendly shop is pulling out all of the stops for Cinco de Mayo. It will be brewing its own Mexican Lager beer to kick of the festivities. Once you’ve grabbed a specialty pint that has been brewed in the tradition of the great Mexican lagers, grab yourself some tamales that the brewery is bringing in from a nearby carniceria in White Center. If you’re lucky, you may even catch a glimpse of the neighborhood’s Cinco de Mayo parade.
3209 Beacon Ave. S.
Seattle, WA 98144
This popular joint on top of Beacon Hill is the perfect place to grab a margarita and some of the best Mexican food you’ll find in the city. It’s a family-run restaurant and you’ll feel right at home as you settle into a generous serving of skirt steak in the huarache laisha rico. Or wrap your hands around one of its popular Mexican sandwiches, like the pambazo de papas con chorizo. You’ll find the menu heavily influenced by Mexico City’s street fare so make sure you’re plenty hungry when you arrive. And if you are celebrating Cinco de Mayo late into the evening, there’s a good chance El Quetzal will have DJs spinning into the night.
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Barrio Mexican Kitchen and Bar
1420 12th Ave.
Seattle, WA 98112
This popular Capitol Hill joint is sure to be packed on Cinco de Mayo, so make plans to get there early if you’re looking to nab one of its prime seats. The restaurant has an open floor plan so no matter where you sit, you’ll have a view of all of the day’s celebrations. Margaritas will surely be the drink of the day, but if you’re feeling adventurous, you may opt for the ‘Barrio Barrel’ Extra Añejo which is aged four years in the Casa San Matais distillery in Guadalajara. The Barrio will also be serving up its tasty guacamole which goes perfectly with just about any dish coming out of the kitchen – including the crispy braised pork carnitas.
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Jenise Silva is a freelance writer in Seattle who has studied culinary, visual and performing arts. She penned the financial planning guide Women & Money, and has been writing about food and the arts for a number of years. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.