This is my second visit to a Mexican restaurant in Olympia, WA. It’s a rainy Saturday night, typical for western WA, and I am sitting at a table with a hand-hammered copper top. The room is large, dimly lit, and unlike any mexican restaurant I have ever been to. There’s no counter where you place your order or wall-mounted menus behind it with large photos of food or cheap frescos that mexican restaurants are known for. No, this isn’t some cheap hole-in-the-wall taco shop, this is more like a cross between the Rain Forest Cafe and a some central-american palace.

The restaurant is open and airy, maybe just a touch on the warm side, but in a good way. For where I am sitting, I can see fireside tables in the bar area, as well as a few gigantic TVs in the corner playing what looks like rugby or soccer – I forgot my glasses at home. Again, this place is beautiful. People are laughing and having a good time, Sublime is playing in the background.

I have returned to this restaurant only three days after my first visit for another meal, and to reaffirm my original thoughts from my first visit that El Sarape West Olympia is the very best mexican food restaurant north of Yreka. The man who own the restaurant, Carlos, has mastered the art of hospitality and has put together what can only be described as the Pink Floyd of chefs, bar tenders, and servers… Absolutely transcendent. The food is excellent, the ambiance is sublime, and my beer was served cold and without hesitation. I love mexican beer, and they had plenty of it.

Tonight I am enjoying the best flan I have ever eaten, so perfectly made that I am tempted to bribe the cook for the recipe after his shift ends. My Molcajete was deliciously seasoned, and everything was so fresh and tender. I am convinced that that, too, is the one of the best that I have ever had. Muy bueno!

It isn’t just the food that I love, it is the beautiful and authentic-looking mexican decor, the cleanliness and attention to detail, and the entire experience that brought me back to El Sarape in West Olympia. Tonight, eating here again, is nearly a religious experience.

I am already looking forward to next time.