Cactus on Alki
- THE GOOD: can’t beat the view from Alki.
- THE BAD: tough biscuits.
- THE NEIGHBORHOOD: Alki Beach West Seattle.
Welcome back to Best Brunch Seattle; and, welcome to Alki!
Alki, the historical beach front of West Seattle Neightborhoods, resides across the Pudget Sound from Downtown Seattle, and appeals to both visitors and Seattleites with beautiful views, fun activities, local establishments and relaxed vibe. Stretching for several miles along the waterfront, Alki combines nature with commerce, offering beaches, parks, walking paths, shopping, restaurants and night life. On a sunny day in Seattle, Alki is a fantastic place for families to spend the day at, starting with brunch.
Best Brunch Seattle: Cactus Alki
Known for being the first tapas restaurant in Seattle, Cactus, with unique menu items comprising of Spanish, Southwestern and Mexican cuisine, has been serving the Emerald City since the 90’s. By offering innovative and continuously-evolving seasonal menus, Cactus soon became a local favorite, and expanded from Madison Park’s flagship location to South Lake Union, Bellevue, Kirkland and Alki.
All Cactus Restaurants are close to beautiful waterfronts but Cactus on Alki, with its front doors opening straight to the Pudget Sound, has, by far, the best location!
You might not be a fan of Southwestern cuisine but at least visit Cactus Alki for the view. It’s worth the drive.
Speaking of driving to Alki, West Seattle is easily accessible by the West Seattle Bridge.
Built between 1981 and 1984, the West Seattle Bridge connects West Seattle with the rest of Seattle, crossing over Harbour Island and existing onto Fauntleroy South, SW Admiral Way and Harbour Ave.
Harbour Ave is the exit you want to take. It bears right on the bridge, and turns into Alki Ave after driving past the tip of the peninsula.
On weekends with nice weather, parking can be slim, but if you arrive before noon, you’ll have a better chance of finding parking along the beach walk or in nearby neighborhoods. Beware that before noon, Seattle still feels breezy, even on sunny days.
Cactus Restaurant also gets crowded during brunch on weekends. According to the server I spoke to, it’s always packed at around 1 p.m.–and no, they don’t take reservations.
The Atmosphere inside Cactus is fun and relaxed.
The restaurant exudes a casual attitude with Latin flare, with bright colored walls and Southwestern decor. There’s a full bar for those of you thirsting for “spirit”–concoctions looked delicious, by the way–and roomy tables and booths for families and big parties.
If the weather’s warm and the restaurant’s not crowded, ask to sit outside. There’s ample seating at the restaurant’s patio for you to both enjoy the view and people-watch.
The Brunch menu isn’t extensive but offers unique choices.
I’ve never heard of lemon and blue corn pancakes or Chile Braised hash, so reading about each dish in detail became a learning experience. One thing I noticed was how intricately-designed each item was to combine opposing flavors for optimal taste; For example, the Breakfast Tacos offer the sweet-and-spicy mixture of caramelized onions and pepper jack cheese while the Blue Corn Pancakes bear the nectarous-yet-smokey blend of agave butter and smoked bacon. Cactus’s efforts for creating the most unique taste experience convey through its out-of-the-box yet well-thoughtout menu.
On top of regular brunch menu, there is also a “featured menu” with new and rotating items that return every six to eight weeks. Doing so probably keeps customers interested and cost low.
Of course my partner and I weren’t able to try everything in one sitting, but what we ordered we enjoyed, which were the Chorizo and Egg Skillet ($11) from the regular menu and the Gaucho Sliders (around $10 – $15), a rotating item on the featured menu.
In honest opinion, the Chorizo and Egg Skillet tasted better than the Gaucho Sliders.
The skillet, packed with seasoned meat, fluffy eggs, crunchy peppers, creamy avocado, roasted potatoes, juicy salsa, cheese and herbs, arrived in a deep dish of traditional brunch foods with Southwestern infusion. Flour tortilla came on the side to wrap a lot of food into manageable pieces, and reduced mess. The tortillas’ blandness balanced out the foods’ spiciness–though the spiciness was more palatable than potent. Regardless, each bite contained a fabulous jolt of flavors. If you’re a first-timer at Cactus for brunch, the Chorizo and Egg Skillet is one to try!
The gaucho sliders were good but not excellent.
I liked the concept of sandwiching taco meat, a traditional Southwestern food, with biscuits for brunch. The meat and the biscuit, along with arugula and house guacamole, created an interesting combo.
The sliders’ flavor was fine; but the biscuits didn’t taste fresh, and weren’t soft and moist. Also, the potato chips on the side were salty.
I would give these sliders another try, but hope for fresher biscuits and one less pinch of salt.
On the other hand, the service at Cactus was fantastic!
The server apologized for seating us at a small table, though he had no choice, and was attentive–and quick too–with our drinks. When we felt indecisive about what to order, he recommended the Chorizo and Egg Skillet, his favorite on the menu. It was, as written above, a nice choice.
Overall, Cactus Alki was a wonderful experience!
Certainly one of the best brunch in Seattle. From our visit, Cactus brought friendly service, unique menu, good food, comforting atmosphere and of course one of the most gorgeous views in Seattle. Unfortunately, the Gaucho Sliders had stale biscuits and salty chips, but they were the only drawbacks, and I can certainly look past them. If I have another chance to eat brunch at Cactus, I’d go; and I recommend you do too!
Thanks for reading! See you next time.
CACTUS ALKI WEST SEATTLE
2820 Alki Ave SW
Seattle, WA 98116
SUN: 10AM – 10PM
MON-THUR: 11AM – 10PM
FRI: 11AM – 11PM
SAT: 10AM – 11PM
CLOSED 7/4, THANKSGIVING, 12/24, 12/25,1/1:
MON – FRI: 3PM – 6PM
SAT & SUN: 3PM – 5PM