Seattle's Top 5 Nacho Plates, Just in Time for Thanksgiving

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© Siiri Sampson 2010.
This old timer Eastside diamond in the rough pumps out a front runner for some of the best nachos on either side of Lake Washington.
The Top 5 Nachos for Seattle begs for clarification: are you talking authentic Mexican, fusion, or Texas? Do you want greasy bar food, upscale white table cloth or chain? Should they include everything but the kitchen sink, or stick to the traditional cheese and olives? Whatever your take on the definition of nachos, one thing is certain: when they're done right, you'll literally drive across town (or hire a cab in your 4 drink stupor) for a mouthful of gooey, guactastic nachos. Here's a short list of nachos around town that fills the many profiles of 'best nacho'.

5. Lil Jon - Bellevue

3080 148th Ave. SE Bellevue

Double-plated, fresh out the broiler, the taco meat (still unsure if it's only beef or some combo), cheese and pickled jalapeños don't disappoint. People can be pretty particular about what's on (or not on) their nachos. Here you get them with meat, cheese, onions, and olives and if you ask, the pickled peppers. The side plate of pre-made guac, salsa and sour cream also comes standard, and if you're the only person at the table eating them, just get the Lil' Nachos. Ordering the big boy version and run the risk of looking like a full blown glutton. The kitchen turns 'em out like a champ, the chips are always crispy and the meat (although somewhat lonely without any beans) is never oily.

4. The Attic

4226 E. Madison St. Seattle

While this place fronts as a trans-generational and family oriented pub, you'll be best served to come here with your closest group of bros/girlfriends for a good round of catch up/gossip, beers and of course, nachos. Using freshly made tortilla chips layered up with loads of pepperjack and cheddar, there's something special about this pile of love with its voluptuous toppings of salsa and guacamole, sour cream, black olives, tomatoes and green onions. Just get them the way God intended, don't take anything off, especially the green onions, and forget about adding meat, it doesn't need it. Meet up on a Thursday night here for Mexican night, get this as your app and be glad you ate them all before you boozed it up like it was a Friday.

3. Mexico Cantina y Cocina

600 Pine St. (Pacific Place, 4th floor) Seattle

You went here the first time because it was on the same floor as the movie theater and your girlfriend was all, "let's do dinner and a movie, you find a place." And you were thinking, "someplace with a flat screen in the bar that I can watch over her shoulder." You were blown away by the freshness of everything, the politeness of the staff and decently sized dishes that had a rustic flair. It's not your Grandma's Azteca, kids. Now you go there to sit by the window, watch the torches flame against the crazy Seattle weather (rain, snow or shine) and take your time ordering their Nachos Especiales. The beauty is in the basic ingredients that carry equal weight in flavor, and have just enough beans to remind you how much you. love. beans. and nachos, duh. Go ahead and splurge by ordering them with the fajita beef, it's sizzling hot and pretty good for not coming out of a steak house. You can also get these during their Cantina Happy Hour from 3:00-6:00, Monday thru Friday for $5.00. How can they even afford that? Who cares, just eat.

2. Cactus- Madison Park

4220 E. Madison St. Seattle

Cactus rides that sweet line between upscale, catch all restaurant and potentially raucous Saturday night dinner to post-dinner drinks neighborhood joint. Their kitchen is always on point, and put up a good fight with their seriously fresh nacho accoutrements. Just listen to the list of ingredients, "roasted corn, black olives, jalapeños, pico de gallo, charred tomato salsa, buttermilk crema, guacamole." If you want the protein to make this a true meal, slap on the carnitas, it just feels right. It tastes like they spent all day, and therefore get the stamp of approval for identifiable and quality ingredients. You could take your date, and hell, even her parents, to this place and walk away full, happy and still have some cash money in your back pocket.

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Photo courtesy of
Sweet, hot, cheesy lovin' delivered to your mouth via the Matador in Ballard.
1. Matador

2221 N.W. Market St. Seattle

With a great Happy Hour (where else are you getting the nachos for $4 or $5, a hot fire keeping the crowd alive and enough good people watching for a month full of laughs?) the Matador serves up a mean plate of nachos to saddle up alongside that stiff drink you just threw back. While you might die from hypothermia if you get seated next to their entrance, you'll be glad your last meal included their Texas Style Nachos with jack and cheddar, a healthy dump of black beans, pico, sour cream and of course guac. It's a little bit neighborhood haunt, a tad mid-thirties professional, with a dash of post-college kids all intermixing, watching the game and generally being loud and having a good time. Do nachos taste better on a Friday night? They do here, because you know you're just going to roll your cheesy butt home and sleep it off till 11am the next morning. The Matador knows their customers, their niche and their nachos. You won't be able to finish them, but you can have fun trying.

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