D’ La Santa

Surprises can be bad. Like appendicitis, or learning that all the “friends” your blind date has referred to are actually antique dolls. But there are also great surprises, like taking your winter coat out of storage and finding a $20 bill in the pocket, or stumbling on an onion ring in a bag of fries.

D’ La Santa falls into that second category, mostly because it’s just so easy to miss. It’s on 10th Avenue in Capitol Hill, and there’s a good chance you’ve driven past it dozens of times without even realizing. If that’s the case, we have great news. Next time you get off I5 North, you’re going to want to cut a right on Miller, grab a parking spot on the street, and prepare yourself for the best Mexican food in the entire city.

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photo credit: Nate Watters

The tacos are great, especially the tacos de birria served with rich drippy consomme, as well as those filled with shrimp, garlic butter, and cheese—or get a huge sampler platter so you can DIY your own taco bar. They also serve excellent red meat, from wagyu carne asada (served with chorizo, grilled cactus, and a mini quesadilla) to a porterhouse or, if you really want to go all-out, a $90, 44-ounce Tomahawk steak. You’ll need some guacamole, no matter what else you’re ordering, and don’t miss the margaritas, either.

The space is dominated by one of the more striking restaurant decorations in all of Seattle: a huge fake tree with lanterns hanging from its branches. (A full wall of decorative crosses is another eye-grabbing touch.) And the energy inside is the perfect level of fun-but-not-wild. You definitely feel like you’re in a family spot, where everyone, including the staff, is having a great time.

Come with a group, order some rumchata and plates to share, and enjoy the upbeat ambience in this otherwise quiet Northwest corner of Capitol Hill. Because unlike your appendix, D’ La Santa is something you really do need in your life.

Food Rundown

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A great, well-seasoned guacamole topped with cotija cheese. It comes with crispy baked tortillas, but ask for extras. You’ll need them.

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Taco Gobernador

Crispy tortillas filled with fresh shrimp, garlic butter, and cheese. These are listed separately from the other tacos on the menu, and we can see why— they definitely stand out. Hurry up and order them.

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Basically a DIY taco bar for your table. If you’re not getting the shrimp tacos, this is what you want to do. It serves two people and comes with warm tortillas, plus two trays: one with a bunch of different taco fillings (our favorite is the grilled marinated chicken), and another with toppings like sliced radish, tart pickled red onion, and a very good spicy salsa.

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Torta Caramello

You just found your new favorite sandwich. This buttery baguette comes with any protein you want, plus refried beans, grilled onions, cheese, and a whole charred pepper—stem sticking out and all.

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Wagyu Carne Asada

This tastes great even though it’s a little dry around the edges. It comes with pinto beans, salsa, warm tortillas, half a charred chorizo sausage, some grilled cactus, and (in case you felt like you were missing something) even a mini cheese quesadilla.

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