This really isn't such a bad place, and their food is really pretty good. However, it is somewhat limited to fast-food style creations that are all made to order, so the food arrives in a fairly slow fashion. When it arrives, it's good, but just be prepared for service to be slower than you would expect it to be. It may look like a fast food restaurant and may have fountain drinks and self-service silverware and condiments but in reality it is a much slower restaurant than this implies.
At the same time, they must be doing something right as they have been serving this location since 1987.
They are especially well known for their seafood, and have actually won an award or two for some of these dishes at local events.
Favorite Dish: For $3.50 their large milkshakes seem a bit expensive, but they are pretty good anyway.
First, about that name: originally this was Café Moose, but the owners were very much missing authentic Mexican food from the central plateau area. So, they added a few Mexican dishes here and there. Pretty soon, they found themselves famous for these dishes, and the other types of food simply passed by the wayside. Not that Café Moose makes any more sense than does Señor Moose, but Señor Moose is what this restaurant has become.
Don't expect there to be much in the way of empty tables. It is a very popular place.
The setting is an old Ballard storefront that has been converted.
Many of the items you see on the wall are for sale.
Favorite Dish: I've had a few dishes from this place, and all have been good. However, the one pictured in photo 3 is Camarones al Tequila for $14.95. It is quite good, and has a special tequila cream sauce.
Please Note: This tip was originally about Alexa's Garden Café at this location just north of Ballard, and it is now closed. However, the original Alexa's Garden Cafe location in Bothell remains open. The location in Ballard described here and in the photo still serves food, but it is not operated by the same people and not operated under the same name. Therefore, this tip isn't completely valid for this location. The Ballard Location described here is now operating under the name Season's Cafe and Bakery at Swanson's Nursery. I have not been able to visit this location since Swanson's has been serving the food here.
While there are several restaurants in the Alexa's chain, the one on the north side of Ballard is fairly unique as it is located within the buildings and greenhouses of Swanson's Nursery. The pond just at the entrance to the café area is filled with koi, which really enjoy attention, especially being patted on the head.
While Alexa's has been around for 20 years, the northern Ballard location is fairly new, and it has quickly become popular. Although in general Alexa's takes reservations, at some points of business this location can't handle even that. Thus, call about 1 hour ahead of time if it is a busy breakfast or lunch hour, and see what the waiting time is like. You may wish to put your name on the list at that point, depending on what their estimated wait time is.
It could be an intimate and relaxing environment, especially in the setting of the nursery greenhouse, but on a busy day it has the clatter of any other busy restaurant.
Favorite Dish: One slice of cake is $3.50, and quite good if you need something more of a dessert.
The scrambles ($9.95, or $7.95 for half a scramble), especially the southwestern Scramble or the Italian Scramble, are quite good according to my dining companions. I had the French Toast Slam ($9.75) and while good the scrambles seemed much better.
There is no question that Anchors Down has a nautical theme, and you get bonus points for going down to the ship canal to see if you can find the boats that have had their parts removed in order to construct the interior decorations of this Ballard night spot.
It is known for its large and eccentric combinations of hot dog creations. I had the South of the Border Dog, which is more like a sausage burrito on a hot dog bun - and really isn't something to eat with your hands but instead requires a knife and fork. For $7 it included Guacamole, Pico de Gallo, and Sour Cream.
There are several options available for the hot dog: 100% kosher beef, field roast vegetarian sausage, Polish Bratworst, or a chicken apple sausage. None of these are the typical questionable content sausages that you would find in the usual hot dog stand.
Unfortunately, it was some year and a half ago that I ate at the Seattle India Bistro. I do not remember what I had, except that it was good. However, I can tell you that it is always a very crowded and popular place to eat. The place has definitely met the price and quality of food point that makes restaurants popular in the Ballard area.
It's a reasonably typical Seattle pub, but has some interesting features, including a pile of board games on a shelf by the room closest to the entry of the pub. Apparently, unlike certain other establishments, they aren't in a hurry for their customers to leave to make room for new ones.
Children are allowed in the front room as well, until 10 pm.
It is also a somewhat unique place in that some of the owners are graduates of a university in Virginia, and thus sports events from that team are shown on the television here.
It is intended that the pub have somewhat of a German feel to it, and the names and content of some of the menu selections, and some of the beverage selections. This also explains the way the web site is set up. However, in reality in my opinion it is pretty much an American institution in its methods and servings. It does fine in this, and should not pretend to be anything else.
There are only two tables close to the front windows, so if you are wanting something with a view of local scenery you are best off trying to find somewhere else.
Favorite Dish: The Hinden-Burger adds bacon and deep fried pickle to one of the standard burgers, including house salad, german potato salad, chips or fries for $8.
A Fox Barrel Black Currant cider is $4.50
OK, so it is a national chain these days, but that doesn't stop the fact that they started in Washington and their headquarters are in Seattle.
So, I would hope that their Seattle locations would be the best ones to sample.
This store is part health food store, and part smoothie shop. Quite a number of heathly snacks, drinks, and food mixes are sold here, plus water bottles and the like. The primary food sold here are "healthy" smoothies, and the menu options include such sections as "zero fat" and "low sugar".
The Ballard location features only three tables along a southwest facing window. In the summer months, the sunlight is fairly intense, but due to the busy street right outside any outdoor seating (there isn't any) would be a waste to try to use. In the winter months, the huge new buildings in this part of town block the sunlight.
Favorite Dish: The fruit mixtures here are quite eccentric and quite good, though certainly on the more expensive side. I like the Mango Mania, which is $5.23 at the Ballard location, including the sales tax.
Located in the very far northern reaches of what should be considered Ballard (beyond here lies Crown Hill) the Larsen Brothers Bakery have been making wonderful treats since the early 1970s, and have developed quite a reputation. There are now locations in a number of places in western Washington, but Ballard is the first.
The "restaurant" part of the operation is a bit limited. There are three tables to sit at, the coffee (which seems to be extremely popular) is mostly self-service, and there are no public restrooms offered.
However, the baked goods have a reputation that makes many generations of people come here, and you will find something you will want to try.
Weather you *should* try it or not I will leave up to you.
Favorite Dish: The rhubarb strudel ($2.75 per slice) isn't featured on the web site, but disappeared some time back, and is now back in the display cabinet by popular demand.
You will probably want to try the kringle, however, as the reputation for that is quite large.