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Specialty tacos. (Image: Karen Rose / Seattle Refined)

Sazón Kitchen spices up Seattle with Northern Mexican cuisine

After opening in 2019, Sazón Kitchen in Ballard quickly became a favorite dining option for local Mexican food lovers. After experiencing the success of their humble new eatery, owners Aldo Gongora, his wife Angelica Mirtin, and her sister Roxanna, were inspired to open a second location in Queen Anne. Serving up some serious south-of-the-border flavors, their new locale, Sazón de la Baja, offers generous portions of breakfast favorites and delicious seafood lunch and dinner entrées.

Born and raised in Baja, Mexico, Gongora attended culinary school in Ensenada. After moving to the Pacific Northwest, he started missing the flavors of home and explored the area to seek out the comfort foods he craved.

“I was always looking for a spot to have breakfast, and I just couldn't find what I was looking for,” he said. “I decided to open my own restaurant and bring the flavors I grew up with in Baja to the Seattle area.”

Gongora incorporated the similar culinary ingredients of Mexico and the Northwest and fused it with a spicy, Latin flare.

“There are more food similarities between Seattle and Baja than some may think,” he said. “Both Seattle and Ensenada are located on the Pacific Ocean and have access to good fish and meats. When I decided to share the food I grew up with, the taste of Baja and my family’s cooking, my wife and her sister [who are also trained chefs], all decided to go on this adventure together.”

In 2018, the trio purchased a food truck and began the process of seeking the perfect location for their new venture. However, instead of finding a location for the truck, they ended up finding a brick and mortar spot, and ultimately redeveloped their menu and business plan.

“We would serve breakfast and brunch out of the brick and mortar, then close at 3 p.m. to serve tacos and lunch out of the food truck with a different menu,” said Gongora. “Today we are doing mostly take-out at the Ballard location. The Queen Anne location has a large patio and is more spacious, so there are more diners there.”

My daughter’ joined, and made a TikTok! Now a standard part of my food stories :)

Sazón de la Baja infuses the passion of their culture into every bite. Their cuisine shares a distinctive palate of fresh local products and delicious comfort food. Northern Mexican food celebrates the flavors of Mexico in its own unique way, and the owners and chefs of Sazón strive to bring these regional techniques to Seattle’s culinary scene.

For a diverse selection of options, taco lovers will enjoy an array of Sazón’s specialty tacos. The Diabla Shrimp is made with a cheesy corn tortilla filled with Shrimp in a spicy diabla sauce, with an olive oil base, chipotle mayo, cheese, cilantro and onion. The Taco de Machaca is their signature protein taco made with a tortilla and cheese crust and savory toppings. The Fish Taco is filled with cod battered fillet, chipotle mayo, cabbage, red pickled onion and hot sauce. The Al Pastor Taco is made with marinated chicken in achiote, pineapple and onion and cilantro with house made hot sauce.

Seafood fans will love the Tower "La Torre" House ceviche with aguachile, shrimp ceviche, onion, avocado, cucumber and house made salsas. If breakfast is your thing, the Mexican Toast is insanely delicious and made with fresh guacamole, tomatoes, greens , chorizo, eggs, fresh jalapeños, red pickled onion, radish and lime. The plates are generous, so consider sharing the Machaca De Res Slow braised tri tip with potatoes, chilaquiles, beans, two eggs and corn tortillas. If you prefer to satisfy your sweet tooth in the mornings, the French toast is griddled to perfection.

“We put a lot of love into the food and we love what we do,” said Gongora. “We enjoy feeding people. It's part of our culture. In Mexico, there is a saying that goes, ‘Throw the house over the window.’” I don't know if that's translate right, but we love people leaving with a smile. I hope people will continue to come and enjoy the differences and uniqueness of our northern Mexican regional cuisine.”

Sazón’s Kitchen in Ballard is open 9am-8pm daily and is located at 7301 15th Ave NW. Sazón d’ la Baja in Queen Anne is open 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. and 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday and Sunday and is located at 2232 Queen Anne Ave. North.

While some of the products, services, and/or accommodations in this post were provided without charge, all of the opinions within are those of the author and the Seattle Refined editorial board. Seattle Refined is proud to collaborate with Intentionalist, an online guide that makes it easier for you to find and connect with diverse local businesses owned by women, people of color, veterans, members of the LGBTQ community, and people with disabilities.