Seattle >Food & Dining > Santa Fe Cafe
5910 Phinney Ave N, Seattle, WA | Directions 9810347.671771 -122.354366
Monday-Friday 5-10 p.m.; Saturday & Sunday 11:30 a.m.-3 p.m. & 5-10 p.m.
Neighborhoods: Northwest Seattle, Phinney Ridge, Northwest
ONE WORD: WARMTH – The food provides warmth. The rooms provide warmth. The cocktails provide warmth. But--I suspect due primarily to the tender attentions, blood, sweat, tears and years (and years and years) of owner Drew--the staff provides the warmest service I have ever encountered in any restaurant I've patronized. And I am not young. And I do not offer praise easily. And. I. Am. Not. A. Warm. Person. Myself.
Yes, SF Cafe is not only a top-notch Seattle treasure that prepares outstanding food, it is also one of those hoariest of cliches: the combination of staff and kitchen capable of melting the curmudgeon bachelor's defenses. Damn it all anyway!
SF Cafe is a Seattle institution, that prepares and serves delicious and imaginative dishes from the genuine New Mexican repertoire (I'll let that particular debate rage on its own here, but this IS the real thing) The portions, the deliciousness, the service and the good, warm feelings are all served with affection and (much!) generosity.Get yourself and your family (oh, how wonderfully SF Cafe treats the little ones!) to The Cafe for a test-drive and a real treat! You will not be disappointed. You will have a new favorite.
Oh yeah, and @Gangstawho--hells yeah! The MUSSELS!
Coming In the near future – I was Born In Santa Rita NM my Mother Sofia taught me how to cook Tamales, Mole, Enchiladas. Menudo, Posole. I could go on and on and yes Her Sopaipillas Mmmmmmmmmmm! i am hoping to open soon. i will keep eveyone posted. I was In Santa Fe Cafe years ago and I enjoyed what i had.
One of my favorites – I love the neighborhood feel, the friendliness of the staff, the good margueritas AND the great food. We love to have family gatherings here as well as evenings for just the two of us.
OMG! The mussels, the freaking mussels! – Yo Drew (owner)! What's the deal? My girlfriend and I have been loyal customers for years now and love your curry mussels but our repeated presence is equally due to your bartender extrodinaire (Chris). I've noticed a lot of turnover lately with the staff and am wondering what the deal is?
Closest you are going to get to Northern New Mexico Cuisine. – Santa Fe Cafe is the closest you are going to get to Northern New Mexican cuisine in Seattle. It reminds me of more of a gourmet santa fe style, and not mom and pop style. They use real New Mexico Chile in their sauce. I believe they order the Fresh Frozen stuff from Bueno Chile out of Hatch NM . The red enchiladas and green baked chicken enchilada are supreme. Me sure to get an egg on top of the red ones. They do need to invest in a fryer and stop serving tostitos for their chips. I was also upset that they dont do sopillas. They say it is because of elevation and moisture in the NW, but I have made them here and if this gringo can do it they can too. I think they just dont want to get a fryer. The food is great and so is the wait staff. If you are expecting what you get in the southern area of New Mexico that has been influenced by Texas you will be a little disappointed. Overall Santa Fe Cafe keeps this New Mexican from being completely home sick for New Mexican Cuisine.
It's NEW MEXICAN- not MEXICAN food & it's GREAT! – It's so funny to me (and sad) how close minded people in SEATTLE are! Seriously! First off, it's NOT Mexican food- no where does it claim to be Mexican food. It is NEW MEXICAN food. There is a difference, people. Do your homework. If you go to New Mexico you will find the same sort of fare that makes the state so famous for it's cuisine. To the people who were complaining about the spice of the food- that's what makes it so unique! The chilis! Again, it is NOT your run of the mill, we cater to Americans who can't take the heat, Mexican restaurant. Also, for the people who were complaining that the green chilis were not from Hatch...keep in mind that you can't even get fresh green chilis from Hatch in New Mexico this time of year, therefor they are most likely canned but are still HATCH green chilis. I have been to many New Mexican restaurants, and am married to a New Mexican, and this restaurant is very authentic, The drinks, food, atmosphere, and service are excellent. If you're open mided, like chilis, and realize that this is not a mexican restaurant but an authentic new mexican restaurant...you will be in for a treat! Delicious!
New Mexico Cuisine?!?!?...... Not Really, Not Actually..... Well, Not Even Close!!! – My date and I ordered the "to die for" guacamole and the clams in red chile as appetizers, the latter being the highlight of our experience. We were able to save the absolutely unimpressive and bland guacamole by mixing in some of the salsa provided. The apparently store bought tortilla chips provided with the dish were also a huge disappointment. For our entree my date ordered the enchiladas in red chili and I the green chili burrito . When our meals were served I could tell immediately that there was absolutely no time or care given to the presentation of the dishes. My date's meal appeared to have been left in the oven a little too long giving it the overall appearance of having been burned. The sauce had a congealed appearance and the side dishes were dry and unappealing. My entree wasn't any better...... the side dishes appeared to be of the same quality as my dates and this high priced burrito contained a couple of ounces of beef at best and was stuffed the rest of the way with tomatoes!! The chilie verde appeared to have been prepared by chopping up some green chilies and throwing them on the plate, additionally there apparently was no care given to actually peeling the chilies, I ended up with a small mountain of chili skins on the side of my plate. Overall it was as bland and unappealing. I suspect that this is where my rant begins!! Both my date and I are from the Southwest and had been looking forward to dining here all week. There green chili is champion and the Hatch is the champagne of chilies. When I lived there I would buy, roast, PEEL and freeze a couple of bushels of Hatch chilies each Fall. I can only make guesses as to what went wrong here, the chilies used were driven within 100 miles of Hatch, NM, therefore branded as real Hatch, the cook went to four corners as a child and placed a foot in NM's corner therefore their NM experience, they used a cookbook on NM written by Grahm Kerr...It was horrid, most of our food was left on the plate, DON'TGO
Try their best - you'll become a regular! – I've been going here for 10 years, and I have to recommend it - it is a fave spot for the things they do best.
It is NOT baked-on-a-plate Mexican! Have the house salad - the butter lettuce is always fresh and the roquefort tarragon dressing is divine. The Mussels are always awesome when they are in season (most months) - try the Thai curry version. The Queso dip + an awesome Margarita is the main reason I keep coming back. When I want a heavy, comfort-food item, I always go for the chicken enchiladas. Yes - there is a lot of spice. Delicioso! I would not order the "standard" Mexican items, b/c nothing here is standard. BTW - Wed. is the night for discount margys...(Also - it's NOT overpriced. If you want cheap baked-on-a -plate Mexican with no spice, then go to Azteca or Jalisco's or Mama's.)
Not Mexican – This is my favorite restaurant in Phinney Ridge and one of the more interesting "ethnic" restaurants in this part of Seattle.
To those who see all the reviews comparing it unfavorably to other Mexican restaurants, please be aware that this is New Mexican cuisine, not Mexican. If you go expecting Mexican it won't be what you expect and you may be disappointed.
Some of the dishes are fairly hot. If you're sensitive to heat, ask first. Not sure why some people give negative reviews for that though. It's supposed to be hot!
Prices aren't cheap, but I always find the food to be well crafted and carefully prepared. Definitely worth it in my mind. Service can be spotty at times.
Overall, I thouroughly enjoy this restaurant.
Less Hot is Not Good! – In a city awash with mediocre Tex Mex restaurants, The Santa Fe has always stood alone with reasonably authentic New Mexican cuisine. For the unititated, New Mexican cuisine means hot, hot, hot! Hot means hatch or habanero chilies in abundance. Sadly, the Santa Fe now uses chilies much milder and their salsa is as bland as what you would get in a Tex Mex chain. Their decision to back off on the heat impacts every dish they make. My family has enjoyed the The Santa Fe for many years, but I doubt we will return any time soon. Instead, we will enjoy true New Mexican fare in the Southwest.
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