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

Brian Geppert holds a birdhouse made of skis at his home in Lynnwood, Washington on Saturday, March 11, 2023. Geppert started a recycling program for the greater Seattle area, which has saved hundreds of skis from their demise. He turns the skis into functional art for the home, such as coat racks, bottle openers, bookends, shelves, candle sconces, toilet plungers, beer flights, and more. (Annie Barker / The Herald)
Boeing engineer turns old ski gear into household essentials

If Lynnwood’s Brian Geppert isn’t on the slopes, then he’s turning skis into coat racks and bottle openers.

Give your home some extra love with a deep clean this spring. (Jennifer Bardsley)
Roll up your sleeves and tackle these 15 spring cleaning steps

A lot of work? Sure. But it beats paying $800 for a cleaning service to do all this stuff.

What to do when a co-worker makes you miserable

It’s counterintuitive, but you need to get to know that person better. You don’t need to be friends — just understand them better.

Positano, the jewel of Italy's Amalfi Coast, hugs the rugged shoreline.
Rick Steves’ Europe: Glitzy Positano: Not just a pretty facade

It’s one of the most romantic and chic stops on Italy’s Amalfi Coast, a place of beaches, sunshine and picturesque towns.

Lyft charged her $150 for mud stains in a car. But she didn’t do it!

Debbie Kim is shocked to find a $150 charge from Lyft on her credit card. What did she do — and is there a way to undo it?

Hurtado works in a tattoo style called “fine line.” (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Tattoo artist draws a fine line

Ernesto ‘Nesto’ Hurtado of Wicked Boy Tattoo in Lynnwood specializes in a minimalist style that draws praise and criticism.

Caption: Three years after the pandemic began, simple items like masks, disinfecting wipes and toilet paper stir up deep memories.
Psychological impact of pandemic lingers three years later

When the words “two-item limit” in supermarkets still strike fear, it’s hard to toss pandemic relics like cloth masks.

Is every day Groundhog Day — and the same old bad habits?

How can we embrace change without waking up every morning to the same day?

Christian pilgrims and tourists are drawn to the dramatically situated Mont St-Michel, a soaring island abbey in Normandy that is completely surrounded by the sea at high tide.
Rick Steves on Mont St-Michel, Normandy’s magnificent island abbey

Solitude drew monks to this rock outpost long, long ago. Today, it’s crowded with tourists.

Most Read