Truly a must eat at restaurant. The line is always long ?? but more than worth it. We think it is best to go when you don??t mind standing out side. The tortillas themselves are worth the wait. The tastes are nothing like I??ve ever had but have driven me to come back to try different things.
Ice cold home made lemonade soothes our throats as we gorge on salty fresh corn tortilla chips right out of the fryer with real homemade guacamole. The flavors are wondrous. My husband is speechless. As we ate the entire basket of chips and have seconds of salsa fresca our food comes. Three entree; chicken mole, empinadas, and enchiladas. The mole was especially delicious. It reminded me of 19 years ago traveling down Baja Sur and stopping off at a little tienda for the meal of the day. Everything drizzled perfectly in crema. My favorite with all Mexican dishes. The two of us had to be rolled out of the restaurant.
There is not a lot of good mexican restaurants in town, but Oaxaca is the undisputed king in town. The mole sauce is why everyone lines up for this place every night. Even if you don't like mole you will like thieir mole. Everything else is yummy, yummy, yummy, too. You will have to wait quite a while to get seated because it is sooooo good, but just go to the bar to make the wait go by a bit quicker. Even the bar is often full, so bring along The Stranger or Weekly to read while you wait. Their enchiladas are heavenly. The sauces, spices, and flavors are absolutely scrumptous. You will never even bother going to another mexican restaurant again once you have tried this place, everything else will taste bland. I have searched far and wide for a good mexican place since I moved here - this is it!
PROS: Flavorful and authentic food
CONS: Long Lines
I walked in after hearing good things about this place, I should have read more reviews. Person was rude to me as I walked in, said they were closed, even though there were lots of people eating. It was shortly after 3PM on a Saturday. Won't be back, it's obvious they don't need my business.
Pros: No pros I didn't actually get to eat
Cons: Closed after 3PM on a Saturday
Always good service, even when they are slammed. Food is great and very consistent. You may have to wait a bit for a table, but it is definitely worth it.
Pros: great food and atmosphere
Best mexian food in Seattle! Awesome bar tenders and strong drinks!
Food - the dishes we were served - was excellent and the margaritas delicious. We were given one glass of water for a table of six, despite requests for five more. Other food items we ordered were never served. This is the worst and rudest restaurant service I've ever experienced! Two members of our party left the restaurant in tears - so much for a celebratory evening. Wish I'd read ballardanne's review first.
I just had the most bizarre experience at a restaurant ever. I went here with a friend and her daughter and my husband and daughter decided to join us. We told the waiter that two would be joining us. After my family sat down, the owner came over to tell us that they couldn't eat with us since others were waiting. They could not order and could not eat. We, however could order additional food, but if my husband ate it he would be asked to leave. Needless to say this unnecessary confrontation was an embarrassment and very upsetting to our kids.
He said he would rather stick with his policy and lose us as customers than to accommodate. Hmmmmm must be nice to have sooooo many customers that you feel so cavalier about throwing a few away. I will never be back - there are other authenticate Mexican places to eat at. Just about any taco truck springs to mind......
This is my boyfriend and my absolute favorite restaurant that we go to at least a few times a month. The food is beyond fresh and is not your typical American-Mexican food that is dominated by refried beans and huge platters bigger than a football. Yes, the portions are small, because they are SO CHEAP (plates are between $5 and $8) and meant to be mixed and matched! We usually order three plates when we go, and often an appetizer (their shrimp cocktail is delicious and again, so fresh!). So as long as you realize that this place is meant to have small portions so you can try different plates, then you will love it. The atmosphere is so much fun and... shoot. I want to go right now!
Pros: Fresh, fresh Mexican food, really fun atmosphere
Cons: None, except it is so popular that you will definitely wait!
Heard some talk about how wonderful this place was so tried it out. Not wonderful, at all. Had 2 tiny tacos for $5+ each & it would have taken at least 3 more just to make an entre, much less a meal. That is, if I hadn't cut it off and escaped when I did. Probably should have figured this place to be more hype than substance as soon as I saw the stupid church-social style table layout & the parking garage flourescent lighting. Evidently the reviews of this place have somehow benefited from a freak mass of people who either just don't know better or are too afraid to call the Emperor clothesless, as it were (think those who voted for JWBush twice). Anyway while I walk by on my way to better restaurants I am now torn between laughing at & running up to yell some sense into those lemmings who actually wait in the cold to get inside this unworthy spot. Please, don't be a lemming.
Pros: If you have too much money & too little taste, this place is for you.
Cons: Rediculously over-priced, poor ambience, etc. etc.
All I can really say is yum. Fish tacos were great. Chips and guac were awesome too. Jason, the bartender was cool with us havin a lil fun, and closin the place down. Ha ha
I had heard so many people recommend this restaurant, and finally tried it this weekend....was very pleased with the choice. Had the Mole and it was amazing. Portion sizes are on the small side compared with other mexican restaurants (ie. chicken mole for lunch had 1 chicken thigh, some rice, and two corn tortillas for $9)....but it's definitely quality over quantity!
this place is located in ballard, and is really super busy during the dinner hour. it can be hard to snag a table sometimes, but is definitely worth the wait for the great, authentic mexican food. you serve yourself when it comes to the salsa bar, but you order as you would at a normal restruant. the fish tacos and mole dishes are fabulous choices!
Pros: great flavor, great food
Cons: very busy and sometimes a long wait for a table
I came to La Carta de Oaxaca as a gluten-free diner and had a fabulous experience. My husband and I ate a late lunch and were seated right away, but I think we just got lucky--the restaurant was still packed and filled up again as people left while we ate. My pork mole tamale was sweet and richly flavored; my husband's tacos enchiladas (a lunch special) had a red sauce that stood in contrast to my mole but was just as delicious. Service was busy but fine. The photos from normal life in Oaxaca that cover the walls are interesting to check out. I highly recommend the restaurant.
The person who wrote the review below must be greatly mistaken... as Fantasy Island is no where near Oaxaca. Perhaps they are not aware that the people of Mexico happen to be a bit shorter than other Americans, and that they sound extremely inappropriate refferring to a person of ethnicity by comparing them to a little person of fictional character. Perhaps they also have never been to a busy restraurant where you do, indeed have to have a complete party in attendance before being seated.... or that in these circumstances, when a business is exceptionally busy, they have seating policies for a reason. You are not the only person waiting to be seated....
That being said, the people that work at Carte de Oaxaca are extremely nice, and accomodating in many ways, even under the pressure of running such a busy restraurant. Not to mention, they serve the best and most authentic mexican food in the most comfortable environment I've ever had a Mexican meal in Seattle. The chili relleno is the best I've ever had!! the quesadilla is crispy, and filled with just the right amount of queso fresca... and the salsa bar features tons of tasty delights that you can take as much of as you want. Try everything!!! I have yet to see a friend order something they didn't enjoy and rave about throughout the meal.
If you are worried about a wait, just walk across the street to Thai Ku, they have a cozy bar with lots of yummy drinks. Unless, of course, you have a problem with the height of their servers as well...
Pros: the food!!! the tequilla bar!!! the ambiance!
Cons: there's a bit of a wait.
I was very excited to go to La Carta de Oaxaca. I have passed it several times and it has always been packed. I was invited to a birthday party being held there. Our party consisted of 10 people. La Carta de Oaxaca does not take reservations so there was a long wait of almost an hour. Once the table was ready, 8 of the 10 people had arrived and the host, who I can only describe as tattoo from Fantasy Island with a pretentious attitude, refused to seat us as not all 10 people had showed up. We had to plead with this annoying troll to get a seat. French waiters could seriously get rudeness lessons from "este pinche enano"
Now to be fair, the food is quite authentic. I had the Mole Oaxacano, which I found to be quite authentic. The quesadillas were interesting and the tortillas tasted like they were straight out of a vendor?s cart in small town Mexico. I suppose that is really something to Seattleites who haven?t had anything but Azteca but the food served here is not Mexican Haute Cuisine by any stretch. This is the kind of food you would find at any Oaxace?os house.
Despite tattoo, I would recommend the restaurant.
Pros: Very authentic home style food
Cons: Tatoo the host is a conchatumadre
This is the real deal. Hand made tortillas, freshly made sauces. Like travelling to Mexico for dinner. Very busy (because it is so good). Long lines. Try lunch - much easier to get in. Everything is good. Small portions/a la carte menu is a refreshing change from more is better approach of the americanized mexican joints. Chips are freshly made for each order! I can say enough good things about this place. If you are used to americanized mexican you may be disappointed, however if you want authentic this is one of the few places in town to go. Best halibut tacos anywhere!
Pros: Food, Food, Margarita, Food, maybe another Margarita
Cons: Very busy
La Carta De Oaxaca is one of my favorite places to eat in Seattle. Yes, lines can be long but the wait is worth it. So far all the items that I've tried have been really tasty. My favorite is the "house specialty" Mole Negro Oaxaqueno. The sauce, the sauce! I could rhapsodize about the mole sauce all day and night. Other items worth mentioning: The fish soup (not sure of the name) is spicy and soothing, the guacamole is smooth and perfectly paired with the freshly made chips, and the carne asada tacos are little bites of heaven. The appeal is that they use fresh and simple ingredients with knock-out flavor. Can it get any better? Yes. Yes it can. The price is also very reasonable. And last but not least, you don't leave feeling like a big tub of refried beans.
Pros: Delicious food
Cons: The wait, but that's due to the aforementioned "Pro".
A neighborhood gem! My family eats here weekly. The food is authentic and so tasty. The service is warm & you can get in and out fairly fast. Prices are reasonable. The mole is divine! The picaditas, the carne asada, the flan, the guacamole. Everything is fabulous!
My Second Review... After hearing so much hype about this restaurant I obviously had to try it out for myself. WIth much scepticism (you know how it is when a movie is hyped up so much you're already looking to hate it) my friend and I traveled over to Ballard to check out the scene. Of course the wait was 45 mins, but what else could have been expected? After sitting down, staring at all the emaculate artwork, mix of new and old architchture lines, there was a buzz in the air that this place was going to live up to its expectations. Although the place was packed, we immediately got a couple of waters and were asked if we wanted chips, which, if you choose, comes with a huge glob of guacamole for a couple of extra bucks... worth it. While waiting for our food I must make this comment... opposed to some of the older patrons, I wouldn't refer to the atmoshphere as "loud," I would describe it as energetic... I thrive off of that energy. When the food arrived there were two things that we noticed... 1. the food looked rediculously amazing and 2. the portions were a bit small for our rumbling apetite. Looking past the small portions I dug into my lamb birria served with rice and beans, which had some sort of delicious sauces laying over the rice. My friend who had the "entomatadas," thinly sliced beef with a green sauce and tortillas, had just gotten back from Mexico and was sitting their raving about how great the food was and how it definitely compares to the food that he was eating just a week ago.
Overall, although the line may be long... wait. Great service, great ambience, and of course, delicious food.
Pros: Food, ambience, service, salsa bar, neighborhood
Cons: parking, waiting in line
On a recent 4 day trip to Seattle, our lunch here was the most memorable of all our meals.
The al pastor tacos were sensational. The tostadas, much different than your big salad in a bowl shaped shell, were also terrific.
I'm sad that I may never get up to Seattle to eat there again.
This is a fun place. Drinks are good. Order the fresh chips and guaco. Everything else that I have tried (most of the menu) has been good too. You might need to wait for a table.
Pros: food, location
I have been hearing about this restaurant for the last year from all over. I finally made the plunge last night with a large group of friends. I went by around 7 and by 8 they had a table for the 9 of us, which is amazing in itself. The service was quick and the host was so much fun. We had rounds of margaritas, Negro Modella and chips and guacamole. They have a wonderful salsa bar where you can go to choose whatever salsa you want to compliment your meal. Their famous mole was absolutely wonderful; as was everything else we tried. They do not take reservations, even for large parties, but the service is quick so you won?t wait too long for a table. The bar is tiny and usually quite crowded with those waiting. They won?t seat a table until all the people are there, so be prepared. The good reputation of this restaurant is well deserved.
Pros: Wonderful food, fun waitstaff, view of kitchen
Cons: Crowded and loud
So this place is amazing. I will say that I once got a tamale with a tiny mechanical spring in it but their food really is good enough to overlook my random encounter. La Carta is always packed, every night of the week so watch out. The big crowd outside makes it easy to find.
Oaxaca is THE place to go for Mexican tapas. I usually order 5 plates for 2 people, so we can share! (We even had leftovers). One of the best parts about this is that the women do all of the cooking in the back and the men have to serve! Keep in mind not to sit next to the door if it's cold outside, as the long line out the door will keep it open (after one strong margarita, it wasn't cold anymore). Also, there is minimal seating so expect to wait on a busy night (it's worth it)!
Pros: Service, Taste, Quality
La Carta de Oaxaca is unbelievable. I could eat here every day and never get tired ot the authentiic oaxacan food.. Qualtiy of the food is excellent and the margaritas are my favorite. The service is warm and it has a really great atmosphere. The portions are small and meant to be shared similar to tapas style. The mole is amazing! Expect to wait for a table but it's well worth it!
Pros: Food, Margaritas
La Carta is awesome. Yes, they are always busy and you will always have to wait for a table but once you're in there the service is great and the food is even better.
This place is truly amazing: excellent food, good drinks, friendly service and lovely art. The restaurant is usually pretty busy and crowded, so it's not really a romantic spot but it is good for casual dining. Tables are set up close together so that strangers are sometimes sitting next to each other--in many parts of the world this is typical and inspires friendly banter, but I've found that Americans can be a little uptight about this setup. No matter, since the food is fantastic! It is served in small portions so order two (or three if you're hungry) dishes per person and share. For those who don't consider this "typical" Mexican food: it isn't, it's Oaxacan!! Oaxaca is very far south in Mexico, near Belize and Guatemala...don't forget Mexico is a huge country with many different types of cuisine that vary from region to region. I highly recommend that you give La Carta de Oaxaca a try!
Pros: Food, quick service, beautiful photographs
Cons: Crowded, wait to be seated
The food is not the typical Mexican fare. The salsas were a bit spicy for me but I'm not a lover of really spicy food. We had a chicken dish with mole sauce that was so delicious and the thin steak menu item was also very tasty. We had great margaritas and very good service considering the place was completely packed. It's a great place to go for an inexpensive and good meal but it's very loud and crowded.
Pros: great food, good service, inexpensive
Cons: Very loud, difficult parking, crowded
After hearing friend's reviews of La Carta, my curiosity was peaqued as I've had trouble find real Mexican food (not Azteca). After my visits, I always leave happy!
This family-owned and run restaurant is very friendly, prompt, and make wonderful food. If you can wait the standard 20 minute wait time, you will realize that the food was worth it!!
Pros: Great staff, great service, great food
Cons: Wait time is usually long
La Carta de Oaxaca will really clear your palate of Americanized Mexican food. These dishes are spicy, subtle, and light. Not to be missed by anyone who wants to keep track of the latest and greatest eateries in Seattle.
However, even at lunch this place is much too loud. Large parties, trendy parents with adorable kids running completely out of control, and everone bellowing to be heard over the deafeningly loud mariachi-style recorded music. Great food, but the only way I'll ever taste it again is if it's take out or if I wear noise-cancelling headphones. Not the place to go on a date, for sure.
Pros: Exquisite food
Cons: Deafeningly loud recorded music
This little whole in the wall was a little hard to find but worth the drive and the searching! its tiny but the food is amazing and mmmmm, some nice home-made tortillas like my abuela makes! (and me on occasion!) the waiters are cute too.
Pros: yummy food, great decor
Cons: small space
Best mexican food I've had in years. I'm so happy to live in Ballard so I can come here often. From the luscious mole to the simple, carne asada tacos, La Carta shines. The margaritas are delicious and the bartenders friendly. The homemade tortillas are addiciting.
This is a massively overated place. My wife and I moved to Seattle from Chicago two years ago, and have been woefully disappointed in the awful Mexican food here. To those who call this "authentic": have you ever eaten real mexican food? My wife had the goat and I had the Pollo en Mole. The Mole was overly sweet, without any of the complexity and earthiness of true mole artfully prepared. The goat and salsas all shared the common theme of being one-dimensional and bland. The earthiness and depth of true Mexican ciusine are completely absent. Even the tortillas seem to be some flour-corn hybrid that is too sweet.
There has only been one Mexican restaurant in Seattle I would consider worth eating at - and I'll be posting a review for that next.
I finally visited this crowded popular spot in Ballard. I sure am glad I got there at 5 05. I wound up sitting at the bar, where the guy was just an amazing bartender, waiter, and conversatonalist with exceptional balance and rapid service. I had a special tequila drink that was new to me, plus lots to eat: tamales, enchilada, and wonderful posole with tender pork. I was so full I had to cancel the greedily preordered flan. I have been to Oaxaca before, and found this place to be absolutely as good as any place I had eaten in that wonderful, temporarily distressed colonial town. I asked the bartender about expanding the limited space. He said they liked it just the way it is: noisy and crowded. I will go again, and thank my friend from El Salvador for recommending it. I cannot stomach the boring Mexican "cuisine" offered up in this town.
Pros: great food
I have been waiting for a place like this to come along. The food is excellent and authentic. The magaritas were perfectly made, the tequila list is impressive. Every dish that my party had was given a thumbs up. The halibut tacos were my absolute favorite. I will go back again and again. This food is WORTH the wait if it's crowded.
Pros: Food , ambiance
Cons: may require a wait
My boyfriend and I were searching for MONTHS to find a great Mexican restaurant in Seattle. We braved the hour-long Friday night wait at the bar, where we decided to order. My margarita was great, not too wimpy like some places. Bartender recommended unique sipping tequila for my boyfriend. Food is AWESOME and reasonably priced. Very fresh, authentic, none of the standard "refried beans & 'spanish' rice of the typical restaurant. Sizes are small-ish, we ordered 3 for both of us. Not stuffy and intimate at all, but a fun and festive atmosphere.
Pros: Value, Fresh tortillas!!
I grew up in Southern California, and since moving to Seattle have been searching for authentic Mexican food. This is it. The service is prompt, the food is absolutely delicious and authentic, the drinks are strong and the price-point is perfect. Be prepared to wait, its a popular spot, but well worth it in my opinion. The ambiance is also not romantic in any way, but it is extremely fun and the quality of the food makes you forget about sharing a table with strangers.
Pros: Inexpensive, Delicious!, Authentic
In general very good, definetely recommended and worth going back. Plus I love the name and the state of Oaxaca!
For other posters: as a transplant from Mexico I find it funny that a Mexican restaurant would be judged by the Sangria - a typical drink from Spain.
Wow. I am still thinking about the mole--the perfect balance of spicy yet chocolatey goodness. From the camarone tostada to the posole there is something for everyone. The margaritas rocked. Love the modern decor and the pictures on the walls are incredible. Seating is limited. There is one large communal table and the other tables are situated closely together but the food makes up for the close quarters.
Amazing little place - always busy - our "go to" restauraunt. The food has always been incredible
So glad that La Carta came to my neighborhood. The food is authentic and the best mole I've ever tasted. The Carne Asada tacos are delicious and even come with radish and lime - truly authentic garnishes. Margaritas are outstanding.
Pros: Good Food, Authentic
The best authentic mexican food in the city. Great location, wonderful interior, very good service, and as i said before, amazing food and a great price. It can get a bit busy but its well worth the wait. While your there you should definitely read the story that accompanies the photos on the walls or ask one of the staff about them.
Pros: Great Food, Amazing Service, Inexpensive
Cons: Can be busy
Love the food and the drinks! One of the best selections of tequila in the city.
The host/servers are always friendly.
It gets very crowded so be prepared to wait. We usually go here with friends and we're willing to wait for a seat.
Worst thing about this area, is that parking is difficult to come by. I do have better luck here than Belltown though.
Pros: food, friendly service, drinks
We LOVE Mexican food and have been waiting a while for some good Mexican food in this town. But, we are not fans of the seating, it takes a long time to get a seat and you most likely will have to sit next to strangers. They're better off replacing the big tables with smaller more intimate tables so that they can fit in more people and let them dine more intimately. I did not like the margaritas at all, even ordered a topshelf one. I am thinking that their choice of margarita mix is not the best. So, we resorted to drinking straight tequila. They have a good tequila selection. Overall, I think its a decent restaurant and we'll return next time we're in Ballard because the food and service is worth it.
Pros: excellent food, friendly service, good value
Cons: bad seating, bad margarita mix
I went with a group of friends and we were all fell in love with Oaxaca. The service was great but the food was beyond description. Before the food arrived, we were all happily chatting. After, it was a series of, "Ooooh, try this." This mole is the best I have tasted." We ate family style so we got to sample many wonderful dishes. We will all be back soon.
Pros: Delicious Food, Service, Ambiance
We're fortunate that La Carta de Oaxaca is so close to home - we walk down at least once a week to see our friends Ophelia (master tortilla maker), Roberto (server with the most!), and the rest of the crew. The authentic food is a taste delight and the prices more than fair. The Hornitos margarita makes a perfect compliment to your meal. If you don't mind sodium, try the entomatadas (skirt steak) - so tasty. This place is a blast. Give it a shot but don't go telling everyone!
Pros: authentic food, wonderful staff, good drinks
Cons: can be loud, often a wait, kitchen bar gets hot!
i had been looking forward to an amazing dinner, but this place is nothing too special. the service was friendly and prompt, and everything was fresh, but not incredible like other reviews would suggest. perhaps its because i am used to the stellar mexican in los angeles, but i would call this place just a little bit above average. the sangria was average, the guac above average, and the mole was very good.
Pros: friendly, fresh
Cons: noisy, crowded