happyly approved

Bongo's Cafe - Caribbean Cuisine

Bongos, Aurora Avenue North, Seattle, WA, USA

Wed-Sun 11 a.m.-9 p.m.; CLOSED Mon and Tues



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!). 


Outdoor Seating Restaurant Sandbox
Thoughtfully captured by:
Natasha Dillinger
Natasha was born and raised in California (Bay Area and San Diego areas) and caught the travel bug after studying French in high school. She studied abroad in France for a year (where her husband proposed) and earned an International Business degree at Northeastern University before working in accounting and finance for 8 years. Now based in Seattle, she paused her office job after her son was born to show her two young children around the Pacific Northwest and the world. When she's not plotting adventures in endless spreadsheets, Natasha enjoys reading and doing some freelance writing for local parenting publications.
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