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(Photo Credit: Francisco's Kitchen & Cantina)

Enjoy a meal of appetizers at Francisco's Kitchen & Cantina

I have a handful of girlfriends whose advice I follow without reservation. So, when they said it was appetizer night at Francisco’s Kitchen & Cantina in Lake Stevens I knew I had to be there. They have yet to lead me astray, and, once again, their wisdom in all things delicious proved true.

Touted as Mexican-style northwest fare, Francisco’s offers a classy, unpretentious dining experience in their fresh and airy dining room as well as their picturesque patio. The team at Francisco’s has taken the utmost care in facilitating safety measures for both their staff and guests. Through cleaning, masks, and table distancing you can rest assured that if you choose to dine out, you’ll be at peace at Francisco’s. Takeout is also available and recently they added a brilliant machine that seals alcoholic beverages! Which means, yes, you can enjoy their fabulous margaritas (hello peach!) and all other bar menu items at home.

During my recent outing to Francisco’s I was amply tempted by their steak offerings, or, perhaps more, the steak topper menu: lobster tails, garlic shrimp, blue cheese crust, mushroom sauce, and peppercorn sauce. Hot off the grill and sizzling, each steak is accompanied with potatoes and seasonal veggies prepared to perfection.

Burgers, tacos, chicken, and seafood round out Francisco’s entree offerings, but in the end, my girlfriends and I enjoyed a meal of appetizers, soups, and salads. It seemed like the perfect spread of options for a northwest summer evening. And, how can you go wrong with shrimp ceviche served in a halved pineapple?

Francisco’s appetizer spread doesn’t stop at ceviche. Oh no. Their guacamole is sprinkled with pomegranates. Pomegranates! Sound odd? Well, don’t you dare knock it until you try it! It was the perfect flavor and texture. I’ve ordered guacamole everywhere I dine for decades and not only did the pop of color wow, the taste was spectacular. Francisco’s large coconut shrimp are served with homemade sweet and spicy sauce - the kind of sauce you want to drink and dip everything in - and they also offer shrimp cocktail and a baked garlic shrimp dish similar to a crab dip with ciabatta on the side.

Ancho seasoned chicken top a hearty portion of nachos ideal for sharing and potato tacos (yes, potato) are sprinkled with queso fresco, crema, and red salsa. Yum! Those remind me of the unique taco varieties from Vancouver’s Tacofino. Who needs regular tacos anyway? Fancy all the way!

See how it would be easy to enjoy a meal of appetizers at Francisco’s Kitchen & Cantina?

A duo of soups complement Francisco’s appetizer menu beautifully from a rich French onion to a wholesome vegetable soup filled with zucchini, squash, carrots, celery, potato, onion, cilantro, avocado. Salads pair well with a meal of appetizers too, as either a side or a full entree since you can add chicken, steak, shrimp, or salmon. It’s the Tropical Salad that keeps me coming back though, especially in the warmer months. There is just nothing better than spring mix topped with strawberries, mangos, dried cranberries, walnuts, gorgonzola, and pear gorgonzola dressing. You can’t beat a fruity, fresh flavor while gettin’ your greens in.

Oh, and here’s a little insider tip - if you do go just for appetizers, be sure to order a side of French fries. They are typically served with Francisco’s burgers, but you don’t want to miss out on a serving of those so be sure to add a side for your table to share.

Are you calling for a reservation yet - (425)-512-8587? Francisco’s is open for both lunch and dinner throughout the week, but due to limited seating, especially during the dinner hours, it is best to call ahead if you plan to dine in the evening. Enjoy your outing to downtown Lake Stevens, Francisco’s Kitchen & Cantina will surely keep you coming back to this lovely community.