When to Go: Paseo is a popular choice with visitors and locals alike, and the line tends to stretch out the door. Try going during a weekday to avoid the rush.
Where to Sit: The restaurant’s Fremont location houses a few small tables in a cozy dining room, while the Ballard outpost is a walk-up stand with a few outdoor stools and picnic tables.
Awards and Acclaim
While You’re Waiting: Salsa music and other live Latin performances set the tone in this teeny, lively cafe. Don’t be surprised to see tables pushed aside to create a dance floor—and be ready for a server, bartender, or other friendly staff member to ask you to join them.
Caipirinha: a Brazilian cocktail made with the sugarcane-based spirit cachaca and lime juice.
Plantain: very popular in Caribbean dishes, these starchy fruits are a slightly larger cousin of the banana and must be cooked before serving.
Tostones: fried slices of unripe plantain; a common side dish in Latin America.
Whether driving or walking past, the bright facade of Bongos would be hard to miss. The front is painted in a cool ocean blue; on the side people can see a mural of palm trees with a blazing sunset in the background. So before any customer steps through the door, they've already picked up some tropical vibes and started thinking about the food waiting inside—burgers, sandwiches, rice bowls, and more, all cooked up with plenty of Caribbean influences.
Tucked away behind its posh sister, Club Sur, Cafe Con Leche transports diners to a laid-back corner eatery in Cuba. Diners sit amid colorful murals and decorative, cast-iron lamps as they chow on flaky empanadas and traditional roast pork entrees, washing down bites with mojitos. After dinner, guests can head through the velvet curtains of Club Sur for drinks and salsa dancing.