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Simplicity at Fogon.

Image: Olivia Brent

Casco Antiguo

It’s a pretty rugged stretch of Pioneer Square, so be prepared to feel your privilege walking into this rustic brick-and-timber storefront with the peerless booze and the very happy happy hour. Food is seriously flavor forward, including terrific tacos (try the meaty mahi) and a notably subtle mole. And if it looks like you won’t get a table, don’t despair...there’s a room in back.

Fogón

A lovely Michoacán family runs this teeming regulars’ haunt in Pike/Pine, where margs come in stainless shakers, a tostada comes on the house, and the rest of the food comes cheap—super cheap during the multiple happy hours (3pm to 6pm, then again at 9pm). For all the hoopla the food really is vivid, including fresh salsa, housemade tortillas, and tacos loaded with fillings like smoky char-grilled chicken. Arrive early. 

Fonda la Catrina 

You might assume this color-splashed Georgetown cantina with the faintly industrial vibe and the courtyard patio is too enchanting and fun to be this precise—but orange-kissed cochinita pibil and grass-fed bistek tacos testify otherwise, along with (usually) the rest of the authentic Mexican menu. The salt-rimmed deal of the century, from 3pm to 6pm weekdays, are excellent $6 margaritas.

Manu’s Tacos

Pioneer Square’s basement Flatstick Pub features an array of competitive distractions—mini golf!—and also a mighty compelling gastronomic one: tacos from chef Manu Alfau (Manu’s Bodega, Manu’s Bodegita). By day you can grab them to go from a street-level window just east of Second on Main, in varieties like black beans and cotija, chicken tinga, or chorizo potato. Our faves are a stewy brisket, with chunks of tender beef, black beans, and slivers of pickled onion; and the stunning carnitas, loaded with explosive pork flavor and a frisky pico de gallo. Manu overstuffs these $3 babies, so come hungry.

Rancho Bravo Tacos

A local chainlet of taquerias, born from a food truck to become a civic fast food mainstay. Rancho Bravo’s tacos, nachos, burritos, and bowls are welcome soakers of booze after a night out, but also worthy of consideration stone cold sober in the light of day—especially the chorizo torta and tacos al pastor. The Capitol Hill location has a working drive-thru.

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Happiness in a photograph: A plate of tacos and a Mexican coke at Rancho Bravo.

Tacos Chukís

Tacos Chukís drags eaters by the taste buds on a cheapo’s tour of Mexico City. Yes there are $3.50 baby burritos and $4 quesadillas (the latter, crafted of flour tortillas and carne asada, boast more mere aroma than your typical quesadilla has flavor)—but your first order of business has to be the two-buck tacos, swaddled in their corn cradles with plenty of cilantro, onion, salsa, and guacamole. And meat, like the deeply marinated adobada pork—carved off a vertical rotisserie and served with a slice of caramelized pineapple—which doesn’t wear its tingly, fiery flavor so much as exhale it. If there is a single more compelling taco in this city—bring it. The original location is hidden in the upstairs warrens of the Broadway Alley building, and a second outpost feeds the Amazon lunch hordes. 

The Saint

Everything is fun at the Saint tequila bar—even the restrooms, which are decked out like Day of the Dead dioramas. Try a shot of Sauza chased by spicy housemade sangrita. Full menu of from-scratch Mexican eats. 

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Editor’s Pick

The Saint

$ Mexican 1416 E Olive Way

Everything is fun at the Saint tequila bar—even the restrooms, which are decked out like Day of the Dead dioramas. Try a shot of Sauza chased by spicy housem...

Editor’s Pick

Tacos Chukís

$ Mexican Multiple Locations

Tacos Chukís drags eaters by the taste buds on a cheapo’s tour of Mexico City. Yes there are $3.50 baby burritos and $4 quesadillas in this slight and sunny ...

Rancho Bravo Tacos

$ Mexican Multiple Locations

A local chainlet of  taquerias, born from a food truck to become a civic fast food mainstay. Rancho Bravo's tacos, nachos, burritos, and bowls are welcome so...

Editor’s Pick

Manu's Tacos

$ Latin, Mexican 240 Second Ave S

Pioneer Square’s basement Flatstick Pub features an array of competitive distractions—mini-golf!—and also a mighty compelling gastronomic one: tacos from che...

Editor’s Pick

Fonda La Catrina

$ Mexican 5905 Airport Way S

You might assume this color-splashed Georgetown cantina with the faintly industrial vibe and the courtyard patio is too enchanting and fun to be this precise...

Fogon Cuisine of Mexico

$ Mexican 600 E Pine

A lovely Michoacan family runs this teeming regulars' haunt in Pike/Pine, where the margs come in stainless shakers, a tostada comes on the house, and the re...

Casco Antiguo

$$ Mexican 115 Occidental Ave S

It's a pretty rugged stretch of Pioneer Square, so be prepared to feel your privilege walking into this rustic brick-and-timber storefront with the peerless ...