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La Carta De Oaxaca - 87 Reviews - 5431 Ballard Ave NW, Seattle, WA - Restaurants Reviews - Phone (206) 782-8722

La Carta De Oaxaca

5431 Ballard Ave NW
Seattle, WA 98107
(206) 782-8722
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La Carta De Oaxaca - Seattle, WA


( 47 )
( 23 )
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Always good service, even when they are slammed. Food is great and very consistent. You may have to wait a bit for a table, but it is definitely worth it. Pros: great food a...


I'm not sure what all the excitement is about regarding La Carta De Oaxaca. I have now been several times and find myself rather unimpressed. The environment is at best homogeni...

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Love it...It's fabulous! 8/24/2009

I always take my, out of town guest here for lunch! It's fabulous! more

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Pork Tamales, Strong Margaritas! 5/23/2007

Yes, yes. I agree wholeheartedly about the annoying wait at this restaurant. Both times I've gone, I arrived promptly at 5pm when they opened and have both times been the last person seated. The parties immediately after us were told to come back in 45 minutes. Yikes! Given that I've never had a horrible wait, I will proceed to share the high points of this experience. I love their margaritas, served up strong like they should be, and made with high quality tequila - Amazing! Some chips and a variety of salsas available at the self-service salsa bar are a great way to wet the appetite and counteract the aforementioned drink. Unlike many "Mexican" restaurants, the items on this menu are tasty appetizer size plates. If you value quantity, you may be disappointed if you order certain items. I found that the best bang for your buck would be the pork or chicken tamale. They come in a lovely mole sauce and are truly filling. I'd venture to say they are the best I've had in a long time! Pros: Mole, margaritas!! Cons: Parking, Shared seating arrangement more

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Way Over-hyped 11/29/2006

Way, way over-hyped. This may be the "in" place to go on Ballard Avenue (and the decor /lighting are certainly original), but the wait (even after we had left for a half hour having left our name on the waiting list and came back) was still about AN HOUR from the time we actually got seated. (And then though the restaurant was fairly full, there was no line outside). There seemed to be about one or two waiters. We had to go up to him and ask him for a beer, which he brought in 20 minutes without a glass. At least a couple of tables (the people arrived after us) were served ahead of us. The condiments were very good but the waiter did not tell us we had to go up and get them ourselves. The portions are miniscule but tasty. The Mole Negro Oaxaquena was one, albeit delicious, drumstick. The Tacos Carne Asada was also very good but slight. I don't blame the waitors or staff, but the manager is obviously making BIG BUCKS and not making it a very pleasant experience waiting and waiting and waiting. For that kind of a wait...nothing's worth that. For value for your bucks, and service (and if you don't want to have to wait an ordinate amount of time) go to Corditos,Pesos Kitchen and Lounge, or for that matter, or Guaymos (sp?). 11/30/2006 more

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La Carta De Oaxaca 8/30/2006

This place is great if you can get a seat. One tip-do not attempt to eat here on the weekends go late (around 10 or so) on a week night to get a seat. Mole is the specialty food here and is blended into many of the dishes. The ingredients are very fresh and and sometimes include surprising ingredients, like curry in the Empanadas. Seating is European style and the service is efficient and not overly friendly. Dinner will cost around 10 to 12 dollars a person. more

Thumbs down for La Carta de Oaxaca 6/1/2006

I heard many people gush about this place it was excited to try it. Unfortunately, I was disappointed by the food and put off by the ambiance. First of all, I was unimpressed by the salsas which were rather bland (hard to do with pico de gallo)... second of all, the dishes I ordered came to me nearly cold (a big no no for cheese quesadillas) and again void of significant flavor and heat and packaged tortillas (the flavor of preservatives tips that off). The cheese was flavorless and the beans unseasoned mush. I am vegetarian, so my dining companion and I only ordered the meatless items on the menu -- none of which I would recommend. Maybe the meat-containing dishes are better? Although I really didn't like ambiance, I will say that the average Seattle-ite would probably enjoy it. All in all, the crowed is uber-hip -- filled with Ballard young professionals & hipsters. The decor cashes in on the fetishization of Oaxaca/Zapatista culture, and romanticizing (they have so little but seem so happy!) and exoticizing the third world poverty so popular among Seattle's largely white, well-educated, liberal population. You're surrounded by chic, glowing pictures of wise and old (assumedly) Oaxacan men, smiling barefoot children sitting in the dirt and other earthy scenes evocative of third-world rural living. I am sincerely puzzled by the rave reviews this restaurant receives... and keep thinking I should give it another try. But, quite frankly, don't want to waste my money or time. Honestly, I can make much tastier and cheaper food at home. I've yet to find good Mexican food in Seattle. Growing up close to the border has given me a critical tongue. more

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Awesome 5/30/2006

Order a few of the smallish dishes and share with your dinnermates, there are so many great options. Make sure you try the mole. Unlike other Mexican restaurants you have to order the tortilla chips as a side; do so, and sample the different salsas with the guacamole. Be prepared for a little wait, but it's well worth it. more

A Dream Come True 5/24/2006

As I walked by La Carta De Oaxaca today around 12:45 I noticed that people were inside. WHAT!!?? It can't be true! They are now open for lunch from 11:00 am to 3:00 pm. This is the only place in Ballard that I truly want to each lunch at every day. I LOVE THIS RESTAURANT and now I can have a little taco yum-yum with my pals from Blackbird! God bless America! Also they seem to have outdoor seating. I believe this is new. more

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Awesome Family Style, Top Tier Margs 5/18/2006

Ok so this is perhaps my favorite restaurant in Seattle. These guys have the most authentic mexican food, and the 'mole is the best dish around! Watch the margaritas too--they make them nice and strong!!!! Get there early for a seat. more

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Large Photographs and Communal Table 4/20/2006

There are lots of Mexican restaurants. But let's not put this in that category. Oaxaca (I like to pronounce it how it's spelled) is a great place to satisfy your palate. I prefer the quesadilla because it's not just cheese and tortilla. It's topped with a guacamole, then drizzled with cream...VERY good. I order nothing else. The salsas and guacamole is good too. I hear the rest of the food is also great, but I'll stick with the quesadilla. The lit photographs on the wall are great too. This place is not cheesy (pun not intended) and the decor is quite nice. I love the communal's like a party but you don't have to pay for everyone to eat! more

I crave it! 3/18/2006

I could eat at La Carta de Oaxaca everyday. The food is so authentic, it's hard to believe that it's in Ballard. The room is noisey, there is always a wait for a table, and you might get seated at the communal table but the food is so delicious you won't mind one bit. They make a mean margarita too. I dream of the carne asada tacos! And the mole is to die for. The portions are small and so you will want to order a couple of dishes per person. more

I'd Give it 5 Stars But There's Always a Wait to Get In! 3/2/2006

This is absolutely the best Mexican Food I've ever had in Seattle, second only to a small family place I ate at in Mexico City in 1976. It's noisy and really crowded and you may have to sit next to a stranger if you're really hungry, but it is worth it. The Tamales de Mole' Negro are wonderful. Reasonable prices help. Get there early and leave your typical mexican meal experience at home. more

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Delicioso 3/1/2006

I am conflicted about drumming up any more interest in this restaurant, because it's already hard enough to get a table here. This food is such a welcome change from the dreaded Azteca-style Mexican food most places inflict on their customers. Order several of the little dishes, along with a margarita, and take in the beautiful photography on the walls. Take the opportunity to sit at the bar if you can, and watch the staff making tortillas and creating their wonderful food. I love the tamales and the little potato and meat torpedo things whose name I forget. more

Above average 9/7/2005

The food here was good. The service was average. The staff was friendly. The prices were great. The decor is pleasant. The parking is tough, but it's an easy walk for a lot of people in Ballard. Crowded at times, but I suppose that is a compliment in the food business. Worth a visit every month or so. more

La Carta De Oaxaca 8/19/2005

La Carta De Oaxaca, which no longer is the secret gem of Ballard, is fabulous and well known. It's a tiny restaurant but packs a big punch. They make the tortilla's and chips fresh. Most of the dishes are served a la cart. Which is fine as you can then try a few. I recommend starting out with the chips and guacamole, it's delicious! They also have a salsa bar you can help yourself to. There are approximately five to six different salsa's to choose from. I also highly recommend the carne asada. Definitely spicy but the best I've ever had. I crave these tacos. If you don't want to wait, plan on getting there before 6 pm. They also have a very small bar. Street parking. more

Culinary Perfection 8/18/2005

Nestled in historic Ballard, La Carta de Oaxaca is a diner's delight. This is a dream restaurant, personal yet bustling, light and airy, filled with delicious aromas from the open kitchen. From the women making tortillas by hand (corn; phenomenal) to the waiters constantly replenishing the salsa bar, the staff is gracious, kind, and hard-working. The food, of course is the highlight. House-made chips (w/ guacamole) bear little resemblance to store-bought chips; these chips are light, airy, crispy, crunchy, salty, and perfect. The posozle is perfectly seasoned, full of pork and hominy; the entomatadas are a revelation - try them with the green (tomatilla) sauce. The house specialty, mole negro, is complex and sweet, and rumor has it dessert is as well! Small plates ideal for sharing mean your meal can be as elaborate or as simple as you wish - either way, it will be delicious. more

Authentic Oaxacan in the Heart of Ballard! 8/16/2005

This place rocks! If you're looking for Dumbed-Down Mexican, stay away. Here you'll find reasonable prices, "real" portions of food (not the huge platters that you get at Azteca) sized so that you should order to share, and menu items that you probably won't find anywhere else in town. We had the Chicken mole tamale, Pork soft taco, Chicken mole, and the dessert tamale. The savory dishes were wonderful. I'd pass on the dessert tamale the next time and order another dinner item to share instead. Parking can be difficult, they don't take reservations, and the wait can be loooooooong. So worth it! BTW - We sat next to a couple that was very knowledgeable of the Oaxacan people and region and they ordered some Chapulines (fried grasshoppers -not on the menu!) to go with their beers. If you're brave enough, try them. They are brought out in a small clay dish. I didn't care for them. They tasted like roasted tobacco or something akin to that. more

Finally some good Mexican in this town!! 8/16/2005

Having grown up in Arizona and later lived in California life in Seattle has been very hard for me when it comes to food. There is such a deplorable lack of decent Mexican food in this town. The I discovered Oaxaca and once again life is good. This is a great place to go with friends after a film at the Majestic. The servings are small and we simply ordered several plates and shared them. Everything was fantastic including plenty of items you don't normally find in Mexican restaurants. Some might gripe that there are no burritos. This isn't fair since the burrito is (depending on whose story you believe) not a Mexican creation and certainly isn't too be found in the southern Mexican city from which Oaxaca gets its name. Only real room for improvement would be more room. The place is very crowded on a Saturday night and the wait can be lengthy. more

Unique in Seattle 8/16/2005

We discovered La Carta de Oaxaca on a walk through Ballard -- the place was packed and a dozen people waited outside. If you're looking for a uniquely authentic Mexican dinner of "little dishes," it's worth the wait. In the open dining room/bar/kitchen, you sit at big, family-style tables and order from a one-page menu of little plates -- figure one per person for a snack with drinks, 1.5 to 2 for dinner. The mole and other sauces are complex and obviously homemade, and the meats are of excellent quality. The vegetarian options are quite limited and it would be difficult to eat with a group of vegetarians here. That said, I recommend La Carta for a group or couple interested in their extensive tequila list and sharing a number of plates. It's a fun place, and there's really nowhere else like it in Seattle. more

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Mui Fabuloso 8/16/2005

This place deserves to be a long time mainstay of the Ballard dining scene. Great dishes, moderate prices, and a mole that is second to none (that from a born-and-bred Texan). This is not Tex-Mex -- its genuine southern Mexican cuisine, and some of the best you'll find in the Northwest. The wait is unbearable on a weekend night, but worth all your patience, and makes the meal that much more special. more

Best Mexican Food in Seattle 6/22/2005

We ate at this place on the recommendation of the guys at ( I have to say, their review is quite accurate. We had the Entomatadas, a dish of thin-sliced beef with tortillas in a green sauce. It was fantastic. Read the tastingmenu review for more details and great pictures. Everything we had was terrific except for the margaritas. Who cares? The food is original and there's nothing like it anywhere else in Seattle. The place has been open about a year and a half. The decor is very utilitarian, although there is a bar in back. It's not a romantic place; don't go there expecting any privacy. It gets crowded fast, so get there early or be prepared to wait. It is definitely worth waiting for. more
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Menu for La Carta De Oaxaca

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  • The Scene
    The bustle and bright lights behind big storefront windows make this cheery restaurant stand out along dark Ballard Avenue. A long family-style table, an open kitchen and large...

  • 9/25/2007 Provided by Citysearch

Additional information

  • Hours:

    Tuesday To Saturday From 11:30 AM To 03:00 PM Monday To Thursday From 05:00 PM To 11:00 PM Friday To Saturday From 05:00 PM To 12:00 AM
  • Payments:

    American Express, Discover, Master Card, Visa
  • Neighborhoods:

    Ballard, Adams