Huarachitos Mexican Taqueria in Southeast Seattle offers excellent tacos and other dishes bursting with flavor.

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No offense to taco trucks, but sometimes a picnic table under a makeshift tent does not cut it. Sometimes dinner demands a table and chairs, a server and a big ol’ margarita.

Huarachitos Mexican Taqueria in Southeast Seattle does a lovely job combining both, elevating taco-truck-worthy eats in a cozy, vibrant restaurant.

A meal at Huarachitos on Martin Luther King Jr. Way South starts with a huge, communal jar of pickled jalapeños and carrots to munch on as you mull over a lengthy menu. It is tempting to stick with the excellent tacos, but try to broaden your horizons for a kitchen that ushers out dishes bursting with flavor.

The menu: The menu boasts plenty of tacos priced at $1.75, ranging from al pastor (pork) to beef tongue. Dishes include huge corn-based huaraches ($9.95) topped with green or red sauce, lettuce and your choice of meat; and a variety of shrimp dishes.

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The restaurant also serves beer and margaritas, which come small (16 ounces, $7.50) or Cancun-style large (20 ounces, $9.50). Horchata ($2.50) is creamy, sweet and delicious.

What to write home about: Try the simple, divine al pastor taco, but save room for the enmoladas de pollo ($11.99), which will haunt your mole-hued dreams. Tender chicken is layered in tortillas with cheese and topped with a dark, intensely flavored mole that emits coffee and chocolate notes while balancing a perfect hit of spiciness.

The shrimp de crema ($13.99) also had a lovely, light sauce, and the shrimp — tossed with onions and peppers — were large, firm and juicy. Warm, thick tortillas were served on the side.

What to skip: We could not resist the “We have flan!” chalkboard sign. Topped with whipped cream, the flan ($3.75) at first was smooth and custardy, but the bottom part was firmer and ruined the texture.

The setting: An open kitchen greets diners and colorful frames hang in every window. Lamps on every table emit a warm glow. Service is no-frills and fairly prompt.

Summing up: Huarachitos costs more than a taco truck, but for good reason. A dinner for two, with dessert and nonalcoholic drinks, added up to about $45 with tip, but you will be rewarded with an authentic, delicious meal.

Nicole Tsong: 206-464-2150 or

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