Bottomfeeder: La Palma's Tequila Is the Interbay Way

Massive margaritas do an unglamorous neighborhood right.

Interbay might be Seattle's least sexy neighborhood. Consisting of the more working-class quadrants of Magnolia and Queen Anne, Interbay is split down the middle by pedestrian-unfriendly 15th Avenue West (aka "Aurora Jr."). It's an extraordinarily convenient place to live if you want to get to a multitude of trendy neighborhoods very quickly. But judged on its own merits, Interbay can be pretty damn depressing, a human storage unit taunted by the palaces that lurk over the hills. But Interbay has at least one thing going for it: La Palma, one of the city's most durable family-owned greasy-Mex restaurants. It opened in 1976, when Seattle was essentially one big Interbay. Back then, Ballard was overrun by drunken longshoremen, Fremont hosted more bum fights than bistros, everyone on Capitol Hill wore chaps, Belltown's sidewalks were covered in human feces, and Queen Anne and Magnolia were . . . still elite Caucasian enclaves, although the wealth came from more brick-and-mortar sectors. With its shabby-chic decor and dark lighting, La Palma seems as though it'd work a cocktail lounge into its floor plan. But it doesn't—and it doesn't matter: The entire restaurant feels like a hole-in-the-wall cantina, right down to the dearth of underage patrons, a demographic peculiarity that suits a neighborhood filled with apartment dwellers. There's an upper-deck area where customers can gaze at sports on a wall-embedded TV (or into the kitchen, where they can watch their food being prepped), and an employee-only utility bar adjacent to the kitchen where jumbo margaritas are blended. As for the food, it ranges from merely OK to pretty good. The Steak La Palma was tough but generously apportioned, the beef taco was too juicy for its shell, and the cheese enchilada and tostada were solid. Service is cheerful and attentive, the perfect end-of-day pick-me-up for the Interbay grinder. Those soup-bowl tequila vessels don't diminish spirits either.

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