Under the Sea at El Sirenito
TMA'ed with The Hills Remix by the Weeknd ft. Eminem on repeat
Mari: While researching for my TMA Monday post I came across Seattle Time's review of El Sirenito, a new tapas place attached to its older sibling Fonda La Catrina. According to them, Sirenito has "arguably the best fish taco's in Seattle." That's a hard pressed claim in the PNW, where lots of places get wild-caught fish and local produce, so we had to find out for ourselves.
Temi: Ever since we started TMA, we have been exploring neighborhoods that we would normally be too lazy to drive to, Georgetown was one of them. At night it has a mixed feel. It's dark, with warehouses and muddy side streets, yet in the midst of all the train tracks, there are gems of restaurants, coffee shops and life. Every street was so packed it took us 10 mins just to find parking.
Mari: The great thing about El Sirenito is that almost everything on the menu is Halal friendly. Aside from an item with chorizo and wine, I was in halal eater's paradise. For one of the first times ever, I was able to go splitsies on everything we ordered without any qualms.
Temi: We ordered the Pescadillas, Montaditos, Tacos de Pescado and de Camarones, the Camarones al Moje de Ajo and the Camarones a la Diabla.
Mari: Pescadillas are fish tacos that have been deep fried so it's almost like eating a crispy taco quesadilla. While I could taste the freshness of the rockfish, there weren't a lot of flavors going on. I think they didn’t even have any cheese it them! Coming in to save the day was the chile habenero hot sauce. A little drop of that XXXtra hot sauce, elevated the pescadillas to a whole other level. Speaking of a whole other level, I felt like I was taken to one when I had the Camarones al Mojo de Ajo. Simply grilled in garlic and butter, I devoured them faster than you can say Aye dios Mio.
Temi: Habanero's are the only peppers that are on my level, so I didn’t have to think twice about ordering the Camarones a la Diabla. The Camarones were sizable and laying in a habanero, cilantro sauce. The sauce hit the spot, the spicy spot in my mouth that triggers slight sniffles. The corn tortillas mellowed the spice a bit, but I could easily have eaten just the shrimp and sauce without any assistance needed. Mari however, could not handle the heat.
Mari: My taste buds are normal and don’t enjoy being on fire. I was lucky to still have the tacos to cool them down. We came here for the fish tacos, so I had some high expectations for the Tacos de Pescado. Unfortunately they weren't the best I ever had. Maybe it's just the rockfish, but I squeezed a lot of lemon and poured a lot of the sauce it came with to compensate for the blandness. On the other hand, the Tacos de Camarones were better perhaps because it usedwild shrimp from the gulf of Mexico.
Temi: The true winner of the whole night and the real reason I will keep coming back are the Montaditos. You ever have that moment where you see an item on the menu that makes you slightly wary because it’s potato toast with avocado, sardine, pickled onion and red pimento, but then you take a chance because, AVOCADO, and you realize it's one of the best decisions you’ve made this month? I had that moment at El Sirenito. They have taken the most common starch and made it the toasty foundation to creamy avocado and goat cheese. The sardine, oil included, added an additional layer.The red pimento on top, perfect when it is there and highly missed when its absent.
Mari: Despite my aversion to sardines, I tried a bite and have to admit that if I wasn't craving the apple bread pudding I might've had a little more. The pudding truly hit the spot. The bread was just right, soft from being doused in cream but not to the point that its soggy. The apples were about the same texture and molded well with the bread.
Temi: Since Mari ordered dessert, I went for another round of Montaditos, because one order is definitely not enough.
Our experience at El Sirenito was great and we have added it to our "places to take visitors" list. We had an attentive waiter, who knew a lot about the dishes and really wanted us to have a good opinion about the food. The shrimp dishes were are favorites, but for Temi the Montaditos were the real winners. Even though it's a tapa's place, you can still get enough food to fill you up for cheap. Lastly, their menu is very Halal friendly . With relatively cheap tacos, shareable plates, great service and sardines, what's not to love?
One thing to note, El Sirenito is 21+ only, so no family fish trips here.
Wait time: Basically none for a Thursday night
Food: Mexican seafood tapas
Would we go back? You bet!
Halal Friendly? Whole menu except one item
Hot sauce always to the rescue
What's your favorite tapas place in Seattle? Any good seafood recommendations? Let us know!