Last Monday night, went to El Portal for the first time as a stranger. Sat at the bar with a friend who knew the place, and got introduced to Joe the owner and Julien behind the bar.
Easily the best margarita I've ever had. Bar food all under $10 -- pork ribs in mole, guacamole made to order, mild but tasty empanadas with black beans.
Went back this Monday night with another friend -- and don't feel like a stranger anymore. Joe and Julien gave us the big hello, we had the same dishes (even better than last time) and unbelievable pours of modestly priced Spanish reds.
Great food, terrific bar and service, easy peasy parking. And mostly empty? Oh, and here's a Seattle rarity -- a mixed crowd, white, black, brown.
Anyway, I'm going back and other days of the week, too. It's a hidden treasure.