Mona's Bistro & Lounge

For some reason I never used to think of Mona's around happy-hour time, even though it's (almost) in my after-work neighborhood. I often wondered: Did they even have a happy hour? Indeed they do, weekdays from 5 to 7 p.m., so off we went to Green Lake's friendliest little bistro, where we learned why we didn't know there was a happy hour: Mona's is so reasonably priced, drinks and food alike, that the difference between happy hour and full price is vestigial. Example: Happy-hour well drinks are $6 and a happy-hour margarita $8, but Tanqueray 10 martinis, exceptionally tasty, run only $7, as does a tangy capirinha. A happy-hour plate of dainty ravioli and spicy but gluey carne asada runs $6, while an order of (regular price) empanadas, flaky and filling, is only $8. Happy hour features one real category killer, however: Spicy andouille sausage in a sumptuous puddle of mild, cheesy, fragrant grits—yes, grits—costs just $5, and we were tempted to make a meal of them alone. You may well be tempted, too. 6241 Latona Ave. N.E., 206-526-1188. GREEN LAKE

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