You won’t have a hard time finding Sol de Mexico in downtown Everett.
Sure, the new Mexican restaurant and bar, on the corner of Hewitt Avenue and Broadway, across the street from the Angel of the Winds Arena, is next to Thai Gusto and the now closed Y Not sports bar, which, like the arena, are great landmarks. But what you’ll notice is the colorful building. The exterior is painted in a Crayola crayon box of colors: red, yellow, purple, blue and green. It’s as festive as happy hour in Margaritaville.
Sol de Mexico, which means Mexico’s sun in English, is not to be confused with the Mediterranean-inspired eatery Sol Food, also on Hewitt Avenue. The Mexican restaurant opened in early February. The Everett location is one of two owned by Araceli Cardenas.
The riot of color continues in the expansive dining area, which is decorated in the way you’d expect at a Mexican restaurant. My lunch companion, Herald editor Mark Carlson, and I were seated at a booth where a portrait of the artist Frida Kahlo gazed down upon us.
I ordered the arroz con pollo ($12.25), which is chicken and rice cooked with mushrooms, pico de gallo and tomato juice. You get a choice of corn or flour tortillas to go with the meal. My one complaint is that the dish was too salty. I shared my leftovers with my salt-loving sister (she will salt her tortilla chips before dipping them in salsa when at a Mexican restaurant) and even she declared the arroz con pollo too salty.
Tasting the dish, Mark said he didn’t think it was too salty. “That said, I’d want more chicken and I’d delete the mushrooms, which seemed out of place,” he said.
I’ve been ordering arroz con pollo ever since I tried it a year ago at Todo Mexico in Snohomish. It’s my newest Mexican obsession. Sol de Mexico’s was good, but I prefer Todo Mexico’s version, which features mushrooms, onions, green and red bell peppers, and Monterey jack cheese.
Mark tried the street tacos for $10.25. You get three corn tortillas filled with steak and garnished with the traditional trifecta of cilantro, onion and lime, plus a serving of rice and beans.
“The meat was moist and flavorful,” he said. “Rice and refried beans on the side at Mexican restaurants are pretty ho-hum to me, so I wish I’d thought to ask them for an extra taco or two instead.”
We also ordered beef enchiladas rancheras ($9.99) to go. It’s two enchiladas covered with red sauce, melted Monterey jack cheese, lettuce, tomato, green onion, sour cream and Mexican cheese, also served with rice and beans. I shared these with my sister, too. We both thought the enchiladas needed more red sauce — just know that we also top our spaghetti with so much sauce that it’s equal parts sauce and pasta. (I’m only half joking.)
There’s a full bar on the premises, so be sure to order one of the restaurant’s many margaritas. Margaritas are my go-to when I’m in Mexico — most recently I vacationed in Puerto Vallarta. I’ll have to go back to Sol de Mexico after work and try one.
Cardenas, 28, said she previously owned and operated Tequila Azteca in Sedro-Woolley for three years. That establishment has since closed, but a second Sol de Mexico location is set to open in three months in the Skagit County city.
A native of Guadalajara, Mexico, Cardenas was raised in Everett. She graduated from Everett High School in 2011. She lives in Sedro-Woolley.
“I wanted to try a different location and bring our food down south,” she said. “People have loved our food, so it’s been good.”
If you go
Sol de Mexico, 2019 Hewitt Ave., Everett, is open 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily. Call 425-374-2871 or Find Sol de Mexico on Facebook.