When David Orozco moved to Seattle from California, his main focus was a very specific type of restaurant. “There wasn’t anyone doing a Mexican steakhouse; everybody was falling into the Tex-Mex concept,” Orozco says. So he created a casual version of a high-end steakhouse, with impeccable ingredients and flavors inspired by his family’s background. Orozco’s first restaurant in Kent, south of Seattle, did so well he opened a second location in Ballard in 2016. The kitchen uses traditional Sinaloan methods with high heat and mesquite wood, imparting a distinctive flavor to the meat, and serves a variety of Orozco’s mother’s lively salsas ground in a stone molcajete. Treat yourself to the filet mignon flight: three 4-ounce portions of USDA Prime, American Wagyu, and Japanese A5, the rarest of the marbled Wagyu steaks.
Asadero Prime | 5405 Leary Ave NW
Sisters Aminta and Ana Elgin moved to Seattle from El Salvador and opened their White Center business in 1996 with a commitment to providing traditional meals to immigrants of El Salvador and locals alike. The family offers everything from carne asada and five different soups to Salvadorean sweet bread and flan. If you have a hard time choosing just one or two savory dishes, try the generous Plato Guanaco Salvadorean Platter, which includes a pupusa—a thick, stuffed flatbread and one of the most famous foods from El Salvador—and tamale stuffed with your choice of meat, deep-fried ripe plantain, fried yucca topped with pork bits, and refried red beans.
Salvadorean Bakery and Restaurant | 1719 SW Roxbury St
‘Frelard’ is local-speak for the blending of Seattle’s Fremont and Ballard neighborhoods. And while the name is somewhat of a misnomer for this business located in Green Lake, that doesn’t stop people from flocking to indulge in these flavorful, handmade tamales made from scratch. This family-run business is captained by proud interracial gay couple, Dennis & Osbaldo, providing variations a recipe that has been passed down from generation to generation in Osbaldo’s family from Puerto Vallarta. About double the weight of traditional tamales, “los tomaleros” fill their masa with savory flavors like chorizo & cheese or vegan rojo salsa “pork” (jackfruit) alongside dessert options like pineapple or sweet corn.
Frelard Tamales | 6412 Latona Avenue NE
Pollo a la brasa—Peruvian spice-rubbed and roasted chicken—is the specialty at Walter Diaz and Nancy Bautista’s Central District restaurant. The juicy, fall-off-the-bone chicken might be the namesake, but the green sauce—made from mayonnaise, sour cream, cilantro, garlic, jalapeño, and lime—is a star in its own right. It’s equally appropriate slathered on chicken or a tender pork tamale.
San Fernando Roasted Chicken | 900 Rainier Ave S
Born in Mexico and raised in Eastern Washington, Monica Dimas has earned her stripes on the Seattle food scene with a series of notable eateries including Little Neon Taco, Sunset Fried Chicken, and Tortas Condesa. Her current project, however, stretches beyond traditional Latinx flavors. Since 2018, Westman’s Bagel & Coffee has been serving up fermented, hand-rolled New York style bagels on Capitol Hill. While this micro-bakery is situated in a 300-square-foot shop, fans are drawn to its cool, bright counter for classic bagels with generous schmears (note: the Friday special features salmon caviar). Fan-favorites include the B.E.C. (bacon, egg, and cheese), house-smoked whitefish, avocado toast, and vegan carrot lox. You’ll also find new takes on traditional pastries like their seasonal babka buns. Hungry for more? Word on the street is that Westman’s is expanding later this year!
Westman’s Bagel & Coffee | 1509 E Madison St
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