In a former Skippers fish and chip shack along a stretch of Aurora in Shoreline, sharing the parking lot with a multi-fast food structure, is Taqueria Guaymas. It is an unlikely spot with the façade still clinging to its nautical roots.
The restaurant is fairly nice but you can still come-as-you-are. Cozy booths are nothing like the molded plastic seats at taquerias. The lighting is soft and the service is efficient. Fajitas arrive sizzling, Tortilla Soup comes steamy and Prawn Salad is served chilled.
Sure there are the taqueria specialties, favorites like tacos, your choice of meat; burritos in a dizzying array; and enchiladas, tostadas and chimichangas. But where Taqueria Guaymas departs and tips a sombrero to a proper restaurant is in the more elegant dishes – Pollo con Crema, plump white meat chicken in a splendid cream sauce with onions and green peppers; Camarones Mojo de Ajo, large-size shrimp lovingly sautéed in butter with onions, mushrooms and garlic; and Steak en Salsa Verde, sliced steak cooked with tomatoes, onions and bell pepper in a house-made tomatillo sauce.
Another decided step up from a classic taqueria are the handmade tortillas, a hard-to-find art in north King County.
While the menu offers the huge, gut-busting portions de rigueur of the classic Mexican spots in these parts, Taqueria Guaymas carries that splendid abundance over into its Margaritas. The Cadillac tequila inspiration seems like it is served in a fish bowl.
While some might challenge the authentic culinary direction of Taqueria Guaymas, accusing the cooking staff of producing bland food for Americans, it could be countered that heat is in the mouth of the beholder.