I first saw this place ages ago, and immediately it piqued my interest. What looked like some kind of fast food joint, packed with people, but not a single sign in place to tell you what it is. I’m the typical “curiosity killed the cat” sort of person, if something catches my attention and I can’t figure it out, I’ll obsess until I finally know. So when a friend from school started talking about Rancho Bravo as “that place on Pine with no signs on it”, I knew I had to drag her along to find out what it’s all about.
Local Seattleites will tell you, this place is pretty legit for quick and dirty Mexican food that isn’t just shitty tacos. Although as fellow FancyFrite Felix said when I described this place to him, “sooo pretty much typical hipster Seattle meets Mexican food?” To remind everyone, Canadian “Mexican Food” is Taco Time, so of course that’s the standard I measure everything against (which isn’t much of a competition in any event). On arrival I took a few minutes to peruse their pretty extensive menu, with everything from burritos to enchiladas to a wide variety of tacos, tamales, and everything in between. Even the drinks are legit, you can get Horchata (some kind of rice milk with cinnamon), pineapple juice, or a variety of Mexican sodas.
For my first visit, I was craving some good Tamales, something another school friend introduced me to last year. Essentially, Tamales are a spiced meat or veg mixture, surrounded in a corn masa (a corn meal mixture), wrapped in a corn husk, and steamed. I went with the pulled pork tamales and grabbed some kind of salsa verde or green sauce (my lack of knowledge about Mexican food becomes painfully apparent). I have to say, these were actually SO delicious. The spice on the pork was perfect, the corn masa nicely steamed with still a bit of bite to it, and the green sauce stuff (they weren’t labelled, ok?) complimented everything nicely. I also went for the Horchata to see what it was all about, and that was quite delicious as well. It’s exactly what you think a rice milk-type drink with cinnamon would taste like, but also somehow fresher than you’d think. It was a great pairing with the food for sure.
Seattle is pretty sparse for good Mexican food, so as far as Capitol Hill options go, I’d definitely recommend Rancho Bravo. Our food came out within minutes of ordering which tells me that some of their stuff is pre-made, but that doesn’t change the fact that it all still tastes delicious and fresh. As the friend said who I went with on this particular occasion, “You know it’s good when it tastes just as good while eating it drunk as it does while eating it sober.”The service was really friendly too, unlike some Seattle hipster spots, I actually didn’t feel judged for being there without the requisite horn-rimmed glasses and ironically cuffed pants and oxfords.
Rancho Bravo, 1001 E Pine St, Seattle, WA 98122