Celebrating our Wedding Anniversary at Cantina Monarca in Bellevue


Our Anniversary lunch in Bellevue at Cantina Monarca. 

My husband and I just had our 16th anniversary. We celebrated by going to lunch at Cantina Monarca and dinner in Ballard at Sunny Hill to try some Detroit style pizza. I will cover Sunny Hill in my next post. 

Cantina Monarca serves elevated Mexican cuisine and is for diners aged 21 and over. Their website claims you will be transported to an upscale boutique hotel in Tulum, Mexica. Their interior actually has decorations imported from Tulum. This spot in Bellevue is a vibe, and I did feel transported to Mexico. The atmosphere is definitely a little clubby and feels like a bar. 

There are two levels of seating to choose from. Both the downstairs and the upstairs are crowded with small tables pretty close to the other diners. For an anniversary lunch, this wasn't the best arrangement. We were seated at a small table with a couch on one side. Although I did specify it was our anniversary when I made our reservation, no one mentioned it and the server asked what we were celebrating. I told him and he said congratulations but didn't mention it again or offer us a free drink or dessert. This makes me wonder why they even ask if you're celebrating anything when you make a reservation? This has happened in the past when it was my birthday, and you definitely don't feel very special at all. 

I was excited to try the Margarita flight. There are five flavors to choose from. I chose the Pina Nina, the Mamacita, and the La Pasion. The flight was beautiful and colorful and each glass was 6 oz. My favorite one was the La Pasion, a passionfruit flavored Margarita. The Mamacita was cranberry, and the Pina Nina was like a Pina Colada. My husband enjoyed an Old Fashioned. Their drinks however are pricey and unless it was a special occasion, I don't think they'd be worth it. 

To eat, I ordered the Queso Fundito and it came with four soft corn tortillas and a salsa verde. You can then assemble your own cheesy tacos. If you love cheese, you'll love this Mexican dish. The cheese pull on this dish was epic. I also got one Quesabirria taco. Each taco is ten bucks, so choose wisely at this place. There was no consomm√© sauce on the side, but instead the taco was soaked with juices and meat. Each bite was incredibly messy. It was deliciously messy though. 

My husband ordered the Corvina Ceviche with citrus cured sea bass. This dish came with tortilla chips. Everything was tasty and really enjoyable, but everything did come out at once. For such a small table, this was a little questionable. The server should have asked if we wanted the food to come out at once or not. The drinks came out one minute before our food. I recommend asking your server or telling them how to pace the dishes when you go out to eat. I usually forget and the server doesn't think to ask. The server and other servers checked on us a few too many times, even almost taking away my plate when I was still eating. 

For dessert we shared the Pastel Chocolate. This was a gluten free chocolate cake with strawberries and a raspberry sorbet. It was good, but once again no special fanfare for our anniversary. I felt like our server forgot and I didn't want to keep reminding him about why we were eating there in the first place. This would not be a typical lunch destination for my husband and I to go. We did enjoy the food and drinks and the interior was really pretty. I was drawn to this spot because of the way it looked and how yummy the drinks also looked. 

Cantina Monarca 

504 Bellevue Way NE 

Bellevue, WA 

(425) 531-7206


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