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“Best Dining Experience I've Had In Awhile!” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Cactus Restaurant

Cactus Restaurant
2820 Alki Ave SW, Seattle, WA 98116 (West Seattle)
(206) 933-6000
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Ranked #34 of 3,429 restaurants in Seattle
Price range: $21 - $30
Cuisines: Southwestern, Mexican
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Dining options: Reservations, Late Night
Neighborhood: West Seattle
Kenmore, Washington
Contributor
20 reviews 20 reviews
10 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 15 cities Reviews in 15 cities
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
“Best Dining Experience I've Had In Awhile!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 21, 2013

My husband took me to dinner here on a Saturday night. We drove on Alki looking for a spot to eat dinner. This place was packed so we chose here. We chose exactly right! We had to wait 1/2 hour and I don't normally like waiting to eat but we were so glad we did. Once we got seated we were treated so well. The manager came to our table and talked to us. He even got me a gluten free menu as I have food allergies. He made a suggestion for me from what I told him and it was perfect and quite an excellent dish. Our waiter, Luis was the best waiter I have ever experienced! My husband ask him for a recommendation of his favorite dishes and my husband picked one and he loved it! The food and the customer service here is top notch. I lived in Texas for 15 years and this was the best Mexican food I've had since then. Great place! We highly recommend it! We loved it!

  • Visited January 2013
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Food
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53 reviews from our community

92% Recommend
    31
    18
    3
    1
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Rating summary
    Food
    Service
    Value
    Atmosphere
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
Seattle
Senior Contributor
43 reviews 43 reviews
33 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 14 cities Reviews in 14 cities
31 helpful votes 31 helpful votes
“This is not Mexican, it's Heaven in the Southwest”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 8, 2013

When Cactus opened on Alki, the clouds opened up and the sun shined down. The patio warmed up with the gas firepit supplemented by gas heaters. The bar was filled with beautiful people from 21-81, and the restaurant was absolutely packed. Years later, it still is, and for good reason.

One can go meatless at Cactus and never notice. One can even eat spa-type food (BORE-ing anywhere else) and not feel deprived. One can try things you have only read about in Bon Appetit, Gourmet or Martha Stewart, and not feel like you need to check your grunge-wear at the door.

Navaho fry bread! Butternut squash enchiladas! Annatto beans, fry bread, cheese, lettuce, guacamole and pico de gallo stack up on an addictive Navaho Torta. The chimichanga (a completely American invention of the 80s) is offered in numerous proteins -- most of which are fantastic.

Go and be adventurous. Don't be dull and order the nachos. Not that there is anything wrong with them, they are just so pedestrian compared with most everything else.

The only thing that has ever disappointed were the ribs, which the server talked up as "out of this world, and spicy?". She must have been comparing them to Tony Roma's or Famous Dave's or some other bland Americana chain. The ribs, in other words, were not spicy, were not that big, and were definately nothing to consider ordering.

But.You.Must.Order.DESSERT. The Cowgirl Brownie. I don't care how full you are. You have to get this. Every single element of this dessert could be sold on it's own -- the brownie, the vanilla-bean-flecked ice cream (from Olympic Mountain), a peanut butter sauce, and a spicy chipotle brittle. As George Takei would say, "Oh myyyyyyyyyyyyyy".

What I really like about Cactus, besides the patio, the roll-up-in-summer garage-doors, the firepits, the clean restrooms... is the fact that the proprietor actually put more than 3 minutes of thought into non-alcoholic options. Rare indeed. An addict of the Mexican lemonade, I'll skip the 12-step program and simply acquiece.

  • Visited October 2012
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Food
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Bellingham, Washington
Top Contributor
90 reviews 90 reviews
37 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 35 cities Reviews in 35 cities
38 helpful votes 38 helpful votes
“Strong margaritas, super nachos!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 5, 2013

We went to this location of the Seattle local chain after eating at the Madison Park location a few months ago. This location is far nicer for its sheer size (big), its location across from Alki waterfront, and its fire pit at hostess station. Service was friendly and helpful in selecting drinks, which were EXCELLENT margaritas. I recommend the top shelf/upmarket margarita that comes in the martini glass. One, even with food, is enough to let you know you've imbibed some high proof stuff. Seriously good. Nachos are hands-down the BEST I've ever had in a Mexican restaurant, and I'm a bit of a nacho snob. Steak cooked to perfection, blend of real cheeses, served with healthy portions of toppings in a deep dish pan straight from the fire. Warm corn tortillas are also ranked as the BEST I've ever had. I normally don't eat them for the carbohydrates but these were insanely fresh and too delicious too pass up. DO GO!

  • Visited December 2012
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Food
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Seattle, Washington
Senior Contributor
47 reviews 47 reviews
24 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 16 cities Reviews in 16 cities
23 helpful votes 23 helpful votes
“Great Margaritas”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed December 8, 2012 via mobile

The food is great, however the Margaritas are amazing. If you go there and are interested in a little spice try their Baja Margarita. Very Nice!!

Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Seattle, Washington
Top Contributor
87 reviews 87 reviews
79 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 20 cities Reviews in 20 cities
21 helpful votes 21 helpful votes
“Will Definitely Be Back!”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed September 20, 2012

Where to take a college-aged niece who was visiting from out of town and staying in West Seattle? I asked a friend who lives in the area and without hesitation she insisted "Cactus." she was right - you can dress casually, and it has a hip and happening vibe with an amazing view of the Sound. My friend told me the magraritas are the best in town and they were perfect. The food was exceptional and I an't remember the names of everything we tried but they did mine specially in burrito-style which wasn't on the menu and how good and fresh and light as opposed to some Mexican food where you can leave feeling stuffed. The prices seemed reasonable too and the key lime pie was a slice of heaven.

The only reason I did not give it five stars is a pet peeve of mine. Will someone tell the waiters in the Pacific Northwest to stop asking "How is it tasting?" The correct question is "How is everything?" which allows the customer then to say anything from "Could you turn the music down just a hair" to "Would it be possible to have a little extra sauce," to "Could I have another drink?" Going to dinner is an experience and food is only one part of it. To ask how something is tasting is admitting insecurity about the chef's work. And taste buds are highly individual which can open up a can of worms. Please just ask how everything is.

  • Visited September 2012
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
    • 4 of 5 stars Food
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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