Bongo's Cafe - Caribbean Cuisine
Bongos, Aurora Avenue North, Seattle, WA, USA
Wed-Sun 11 a.m.-9 p.m.; CLOSED Mon and Tues
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Transport yourself to the beaches of the Caribbean at this Green Lake cafe
Around mid-winter, Seattleites often travel to beachy locales for a break in the gray. When travel is limited, though, families can enjoy takeout or covered outdoor dining at this restaurant near the southwest corner of Green Lake.
Built on the site of an old gas station, the gas pump area has been converted to a huge enclosed sandpit that will make you feel like you're on a beach. A large treasure chest normally greets kids with oodles of sand toys to entertain themselves. It's temporarily out of commission due to the pandemic, but we bring a couple of our own while waiting for pick-up.
A gas firepit with multi-colored glass pebbles sits on the concrete porch with bar seating, providing some outdoor warmth if you're out in cold weather.
There's plenty of outdoor seating with a wooden boardwalk through the sand, making it easy to bring in your jogging stroller from a walk around nearby Green Lake. The space gets busy in the summer, but if it's too full it's a 5-10 minute walk under Highway 99 to the south if you want to picnic at the lake.
While the restaurant doesn't have a specific kids' menu, the food is all very kid-friendly. I typically share the Desi plate with our kids — they love the braised pork, maduros (fried ripe plantains), mango slaw and rice and beans. Vegetarians will appreciate a platter with a sampling of yucca fries, maduros and tostones (fried unripened and smashed plantains).
Beer and wine-based cocktails are available, and they recently started offering Seattle Pops popsicles (the strawberry and coconut flavors are our favorites!).