This fajita burrito at Santa Fe Mexican Grill & Cantina in Edmonds contains chicken and sauteed bell peppers and onions. (Sharon Salyer / The Herald)

This fajita burrito at Santa Fe Mexican Grill & Cantina in Edmonds contains chicken and sauteed bell peppers and onions. (Sharon Salyer / The Herald)

Wait is over for new Mexican restaurant in downtown Edmonds

Santa Fe Mexican Grill & Cantina has sibling eateries in Shoreline, Totem Lake and Renton Highlands.

I had so looked forward to the opening of the Santa Fe Mexican Grill & Cantina in Edmonds.

I kept watch over the summer as the space formerly occupied by El Puerto near the downtown fountain underwent a major conversion. Brown paper covered the windows, and a sign said the new restaurant would open soon.

Santa Fe opened Nov. 18 after six months of top-down renovation that included new plumbing and electrical systems, a new bar and changing out the interior seating and decorations.

I will preface my comments about the restaurant with two caveats. When writing dining reviews, it’s good practice to give a restaurant about six months of shakedown time, allowing it to get its culinary sea legs.

If you’ve ever known anyone who owns, manages or works at a restaurant, you know what a demanding and frenetic business it is. Getting all the pieces of cooking and serving to run smoothly can be like putting together a 1,000-piece jigsaw puzzle.

Second, my friends and I went there on Dec. 26, important because the place was absolutely jammed. Who wants to cook the day after Christmas?

There are no dinner reservations, so you take your chances on having to wait for a table. (Through the luck of the draw, I didn’t have to wait.)

The staff obviously had its hands full dealing with a packed house. So I was surprised when one of the servers, without being asked, plunked down a much-appreciated appetizer: tortilla chips with a dip of diced avocado tossed with onions, tomatoes, cilantro and lime ($7) as I waited for my friends. When they arrived, they agreed it was a wonderful introduction to the meal.

My friend Barbara Purrington ordered chicken enchiladas ($14). The chicken, she said, was especially tasty.

Mike Forrester ordered a fajita burrito ($18.95) with chicken, sauteed with bell peppers and onions. He dispatched it so thoroughly and with such quick efficiency he could have been appointed a member of the Clean Plate Club on the spot.

I wanted to try something different, so I ordered the coctel de camarones — shrimp, avocado, onions, tomatoes and cilantro in a tomato broth ($18).

Restaurant manager Ricky Bobadilla said the dish draws on one of the traditional dishes found in his father’s former neighborhood in Guadalajara, Mexico.

The server said it is served cold, warm or hot. I opted for warm, but to my taste, it was in the cool range and would have benefited from the serving temperature being warmer. I also found the shrimp a little tough.

And since readers have asked me to include such information in our reviews: Yes, there are vegetarian options.

Our biggest complaint, and one you’ll find in online comments as well, was the noise. It was impossible to have a conversation. It was so loud that as soon as we finished our meal, we paid the bill and adjourned to a nearby coffee shop where we could sit and talk.

Bobadilla said he’s aware of the noise issue, and that it has since been addressed. Sound pads have been installed in the dining room and some sections are being added under the booths to help absorb sound. “We noticed a big difference during the lunch rush,” he said.

The business also is beefing up its online presence, with more information on the Edmonds location to avoid confusion with sibling eateries in Shoreline, Totem Lake and Renton Highlands.

At the Edmonds restaurant, the seating layout best accommodates groups of four, possibly up to six. “To be totally honest, we’re not ideal for big groups,” Bobadilla said.

He said plans already are under way for some additions, including once-a-week tequila tastings, extended summer hours and specialty menus with more seasonal offerings.

“It’s been an amazing welcome,” he said. “There’s absolutely been a buzz. We’re super-grateful.”

Sharon Salyer: 425-339-3486 or salyer@heraldnet.com.

If you go

Santa Fe Mexican Grill & Cantina, 423 Main St., Edmonds, is open from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily. Call 425-245-7916 or go to tinyurl.com/FBSantaFeEd for more information.

Talk to us

More in Life

Dave Dodge stands on a speaker while playing his guitar during Nite Wave's show at Tony V's Garage on Saturday, June 8, 2019 in Everett, Wash. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
1980s new wave streams when Bothell cover band performs

Hear Bothell’s own Nite Wave rock out at the “Best ’80s Party Ever!” on Feb. 27 via Facebook.

"Prophets, Teachers and Kings" is a 2020 documentary by Snohomish's John Carswell.
Urban art gets the spotlight at a new Snohomish gallery

The Rosella Gallery features artwork featured in the “Prophets, Teachers and Kings” documentary through March 30.

Barre3 owner Gina Drake leads an exercise class in the Red Barn at 5th Ave S and Maple Street on Wednesday, Jan. 13, 2020 in Edmonds, Washington.  (Andy Bronson / The Herald)
Barre3 teaches a fitness trifecta for balance during COVID-19

The full-body workouts combine strength conditioning, cardio and mindfulness to help you feel balanced.

Bourbon mash sits at a distillery in Versailles, Kentucky, on July 26, 2020. MUST CREDIT: Bloomberg photo by Luke Sharrett.
Start your whiskey collection with these 10 bottles

Whether you’re new whiskey game or are a veteran collector, it’s hard to know when to store it or pour it.

A grain bowl with roasted veggies and lemon-garlic salmon is a great way to kick off fish Fridays for Lent. (Gretchen McKay/Post-Gazette/TNS)
Make this zesty lemon-garlic salmon farro bowl for Lent

A grain bowl with roasted veggies and lemon-garlic salmon is a great way to observe fish Fridays for Lent.

Riley Wong, 7, shows his pen pal, Smudge, the picture he drew for her in addition to his letter at Pasado's Safe Haven on Friday, Feb. 19, 2021 in Monroe, Wa. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Kids make connections with critters through pen pals program

Pasado’s Safe Haven near Sultan invites children to write to a turkey, a goat, a cow and a rooster.

The 2021 Honda Odyssey minivan has a restyled front end, including the grille, front bumper and LED headlights. (Manufacturer photo)
Functional, practical Honda Odyssey is a favorite among buyers

There’s plenty of room inside this minivan for people, pets and whatnot, and it’s even good in snow.

Can houseplants make you happy? We think so. (Jennifer Bardsley)
A love letter to houseplants during a long and lonely pandemic

A year of social-distancing is like living in a hothouse, but at least her plants provide good company.

Your teenage girl and the negative messages she gives herself

She might benefit from reading “Be True to Yourself: Daily Affirmations and Awesome Advice for Teen Girls.”

Most Read