Image: Olivia Brent
Fogón tacos.

Fogón Cocina Mexicana    

600 E Pine St, Capitol Hill, 206-320-7777; fogonseattle.com

  • Pedigree: A supersweet Michoacan family
  • Eat this: Beautifully seasoned and smoky char-grilled chicken tacos on homemade tortillas
  • Drink this: A stiff Ultimate margarita, which arrives in a shaker
  • Authentic-O-Meter: Not terribly, but so cheap and tasty that nobody cares 
  • Claim to Fame: A gratis tostada for every guest
  • Avoid: Arriving too late in the teeming happy hours (3 to 6pm, 9pm to close), as you will suffer a wait and/or hearing loss


 

 

Image: Olivia Brent
Nacho Borracho's spicy molasses chicken wings.

    Nacho Borracho   

     209 Broadway E, Capitol Hill, 206-466-2434
     nachoborrachoseattle.com 

  • Pedigree: Owned by the great Rachel Marshall (Montana, Rachel’s Ginger Beer) and Kate Opatz (Montana)
  • Drink this: Slushy Moscow mules gush from machines here like Slurpees. Not to be missed on a hot day. Or a cold one.
  • Authentic-O-Meter: It’s the most authentic munchies dive in town anyway, complete with black walls and bar smell.
  • Claim to Fame: The Totchos—nachos made of tater tots and beloved primarily of the hungover and the stoned  
  • Avoid Hate to say it…but the nachos. They’re
    skimpy and average.

 

 

Image: Olivia Brent
Mole, a sweet and complex and rich concoction inside a pork tamale swaddled in a banana leaf.

La Cocina Oaxaqueña  

1216 Pine St, Capitol Hill, 206-623-8226;
lacocinaoaxaquena.com

Pedigree: A different branch of the family that brought us the stunning La Carta de Oaxaca/Mezcaleria Oaxaca trio—separate businesses with nearly identical menus. 
Drink this: Exceptional sangria. By the carafe. On the big, breezy, loud Pine Street patio.
Authentic-O-Meter: Pretty dang high, especially the fish dishes and that freakishly delectable mole
Claim to Fame: Fried-to-order chips with a four-choice salsa bar
Avoid: The bland guacamole
 

 

 

Mezcaleria Oaxaca   

422 E Pine St, Capitol Hill, 206-324-0506;
mezcaleriaoaxaca.com

Pedigree: The second mezcal-happy offshoot from the hallowed Carta de Oaxaca family boasts slick and streamlined decor.
Eat this: Break away from the mole and try the killer halibut tacos.
Drink this: Mezcal, fool—35 kinds, by the flight or single shot
Authentic-O-Meter: Order the barbacoa—roasted goat with handmade tortillas and a trip to the salsa bar—then you tell us.
Claim to Fame: The broad rooftop deck with skyscraper views, undercover heat lamps…and the promise of a taco truck
Avoid:  Expectations of happy hour. There isn’t one. 

 

This article appeared in the September 2014 issue of Seattle Met.