Ole! Celebrate Cinco de May 2016 at Seattle’s Newest Mexican Restaurants

Spice up your Cinco de Mayo festivities at these recently opened spots

Fresh heirloom tortillas are the secret to Gracia’s taco success.  

April showers bring May margaritas. Though Seattle is much closer to Canada than our south of the border neighbor, we are Cinco de Mayo pros thanks to our abundance of Mexican restaurants. New cantinas are opening faster than the boom of new condos, giving Seattleites ample options to choose where we fiesta daily. Here are three new spots celebrating their first 5th of May.

When the former chef of Matt’s in the Market opens a restaurant, you can bet the food will be fantastic. Chef Chester Gerl hits the jackpot at his new Ballard Ave. place. Grab a seat at the open kitchen’s gorgeous, tin-tile bar to try classic Mexican dishes like pozole verde, finger-lickin’ chicharonnes, barbacoa lamb tacos, and churros dipped in chocolate. Tortillas made from heirloom masa shows chef Gerl’s commitment to sustainable, artisanal ingredients. The bar slings agave versions of classic cocktails like a Negroni with Gran Centenario Plata or a French 75 with La Partida Blanco.

El Sirenito
In a space that once housed hungry diners waiting for a table at Fonda La Catrina, Gerogetown’s El Sirenito is now a dining destination. Like its big sister, El Sirenito serves Mexican fare, but specializes in mezcal and Spanish-influenced seafood. Over 50 bottles of tequila and 20 bottles of mezcal line the lengthy bar — the friendly barmen are happy to educate you on all things agave. Small plates include ceviche, grilled octopus with guajillo chile, clams & chorizo, and sardine & avocado montadito (Spanish-style crostini). The string-lit patio provides a simple, yet charming setting to indulge in quality Mexican fare.

While working in Cantinetta’s kitchen, chef Gabriel Chávez’ cooked dishes from his homeland for staff meals and private events. The owners were so smitten with the authentic Mexican flavors they gave Chávez his own place. Inside the white-washed Capitol Hill space, gourmet tacos like shredded short rib desebrada and braised lamb borrego are the stars of the show. Tasty guacamole is available four different ways. Every reviewer, Yelper, and Instagrammer has raved about the chile en nogada — a pork, walnut, pomegranate, and apple stuffed Poblano pepper dish that is hard to find outside of Mexico. As is de rigueur for Mexican cantinas, the bar boasts tons of tequila and is one of the only spots in Seattle to find sangrita, a Mexico City shot of citrus, tomato, chile, and lime to sip with straight tequila.

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