What People are Saying About Bongos!

The 6 Most Criminally Underrated Restaurants in Seattle

by Seattle Refined's Naomi Tomky (January 19, 2016)

There's a segment of the Seattle population that argues these sandwiches are better than the ones at Paseo or Un Bien. I'm inclined to agree with them, but it shouldn't even be a discussion because Paseo and Un Bien barely even have places to sit, while Bongos has converted an old gas station by Green Lake into a Caribbean coastal shack, beach and all. Put your toes in the sand and bask in the glow of the neon building it makes the sandwiches taste even better.

Lunchtime! - Bongos Is a Relaxing Vacation on Aurora

By The Stranger's Paul Constant

I’ll fight you if you tell me they’re not good. The Stranger

If the counter person at Bongos Cafe is sick of answering questions about the closing of Paseo, he sure doesn't show it. In my visit, he fielded two separate volleys of Paseo-related questions from customers (yes, business at Bongos has increased since they closed; no, nobody's sure what happened with them, although there's a lot of gossip) with good cheer and understanding. But he's quick to bring your attention back to the menu, which is exactly where it belongs.

Bongos serves delicious Caribbean food with zero pretensions, and the restaurant, tucked into a triangular plot of land on Aurora, just off Green Lake, is practically a theme-park ride. It's a repurposed 76 station made into a Caribbean playground,...Click here to continue reading.

Angela Stowell Goes to Green Lake for Cuban Food

By Seattle Eater's Megan Hill

"Now that Paseo is closed, maybe Bongos won’t be under the radar much longer."

Angela Stowell knows a thing or two about what makes a restaurant great. As CFO and co-owner of Ethan Stowell Restaurants, Angela oversees some of Seattle's top restaurants,...Click here to continue reading about Angela.

Bongos Cuban Cafe is in this old school gas station across the street from Green Lake. It’s almost like a food truck pulled into the parking lot and set up shop. They have a little indoor seating, but the outside seating is perfect on a pretty Seattle day – especially with kids in tow. Ethan and I will stop in after a walk around Green Lake, and our oldest can play in the giant sand lot while we enjoy some pretty good Cuban food.

I always get The Desi Plate with citrus braised pork. It comes with Cuban black beans, white rice, mango agave slaw, caramelized onions, and these delicious fried sweet plantains—plenty to share with our two-year-old. Ethan is a fan of the Cuban Joe.

It’s close to home, so great for takeout in a pinch. We took a bunch of our staff there after a company softball game, and it was a hit. Now that Paseo is closed, maybe Bongos won’t be under the radar much longer. Get there before the line is out of the parking lot!

For the best Caribbean sandwiches in Seattle, eat at Bongos

By The Solo Cook

Adiós Paseo’s, Bongos Caribbean Cafe has a sandwich worthy of a cult following

Bongos offers sandwiches and Caribbean plates that are hefty and tangy.

Enough whining about Paseo’s. For me, Paseo’s was never a religious experience like so many others claimed when the doors abruptly closed. It’s time for you to move on to my favorite Hot Spot, a hidden spot that offers Caribbean sandwiches and plates that I think are BETTER than Paseo’s. Yes, I said it.
My critique of Paseo’s is that its sandwiches were too wet and messy, with the ingredients often sliding out of the bun and landing on the saturated paper before you caught them in your mouth. The problem – you couldn’t enjoy the combination of flavors with each bite. It just wasn’t worth the long wait that took up half of your lunch hour before you’d even placed an order. The media craze when Paseo’s closed was over the top with television coverage, numerous newspaper stories and blogs describing eaters coveted the restaurant and mourning its closure.
Even before Paseo’s closed in Fremont and Ballard neighborhoods about a month ago, I had found my favorite hot spot this summer called Bongos, at 6501 Aurora Ave. N., Seattle.
Bongos is a causal joint full of character and color. The restaurant is actually a food truck connected to a building right off Aurora Avenue, across from Green Lake. Step inside for a sandwich and be surrounded by bright colors or sit outside on patio chairs in the sand...Click here to continue reading.

Review By the Happy Hour Honeys

When I drive back to Portland from Whidbey (where I grew up) I try to stop in Seattle and see Jen and Michael. Due to the dogs that typically involves a walk around Green Lake, but with Jen and Michael's recent move and projects (aka lack of working stove) Jen did some research for restaurants that welcome doggies so we could grab dinner instead.
We settled on Bongos, a Cuban cafe with ample outdoor seating- perfect for the dogs and the warm summer evening! After an older woman talked to us about her love of dachshunds for 10 minutes because she "has dachshunds, one that is 17 and one that is fat..." we explored the chalkboard menu comprised of sandwiches, plates, and beer, finally deciding to share two plates.
We went for the Spicy Shrimp ($10.99) with chili sauce shrimp, long gran white rice, Cuban black beans, mango agave slaw, and a maduro and the Trinidad Steak Plate ($10.99) with Caribbean marinated hanger steak served with Cuban black beans, long grain white rice, mango agave slaw, caramelized onions, and a maduro...Click here to continue reading.

Reviews from other sites

Yelp 4.5/5 (769 Reviews)

Wtf? This place is so good! I can't believe it took me this long to try it! You would never guess such good Caribbean food lives here, in this odd part of the city on Aurora Ave.

We had the shrimp po' boy, Caribbean stew, yucca fries, and bananas foster silk. The po' boy was full of fresh, plump, succulent shrimp. The sauce is creamy with a spicy kick and the bread was perfect. The Caribbean stew was very flavorful and had plenty of meat. The consistency and texture was just right and like the sandwich, had the just right amount of spice. The crispy yucca fries went very well with the cool cilantro sauce and last but not least -- the dessert was SO good! It was like a pudding/mousse version of bananas foster sitting on top of stewed bananas with white chocolate pieces around it.

Both my BF and I are very full after this meal. I can't wait to go again! Vivian H.

Facebook 4.8/5 (231 Reviews)

Found this awesome place just driving around lost!! Awesome food great people!! Only problem I live in Montana!! Brittni M.

Trip Advisor 4.5/5 (29 Reviews)

“One of the Best Sandwiches Ever!” This place is great. They have a huge covered sandbox out front for summertime. And the food is amazing. I had a Desi and a Coke. I would highly recommend it. Check this place out while in Seattle. A little bit away from Downtown, but trust me, it's worth it. Austin W.

The Stranger 5/5 Stars (2 Reviews)

I'm from south Florida and have had a really hard time finding Cuban food up here, Bongos is my fix.
This is a Latin mash up done well. The food is delicious and cooked traditionally in a way that true to the country the specific dish came from. Usually when you go to a restaurant that serves dishes that represent more than one country nothing comes out right, Bongos seems to have risen above that somehow. I highly recommend them! Ashes

Google 4.7/5 Stars (1,213 Reviews)

Hands down one of the best and most interesting restaurants in Seattle and all for a great place. Everything here is must try so you'll have to make a few visits but you'll enjoy every one. Nice patio and bar during summer but I usually get take out. Jason R.

Foursquare 8.3/10 (47 Reviews)

I had never tried Caribbean food but gave it a whirl. I have been missing out my whole life! Seriously. Its that good. Its a 40 minute drive in traffic from Tukwila and absolutely worth it. Meg W.