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San Carlos Bar and Grill

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(8 Reviews)

279 Madison Ave N, Bainbridge Island, WA 98110

(206) 842-1999

Today: Open 24 Hours
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General Info
Along with the delightful Southwestern menu, we are proud to serve the Best Margaritas in the West. Featuring among others: the Santa Fe (with fresh squeezed grapefruit juice) and the Skinny Margarita with Agave Nectar. We have twelve local and regional micro beers on tap and a tasteful selection of local wines. We believe in a deep and abiding involvement in the community, and there is always some kind of local activity going on, from the Annual Poetry Reading (featuring local writers of many talents), to fundraising events benefiting junior athletic and academic endeavors. Watch the website for future events, and come join the fun. We are delighted to have you visit and we hope to see you here soon!

Regular Hours

Payment method
cash, discover, master card, visa, amex
Price Range
Mexican Restaurants, Latin American Restaurants, American Restaurants, Vegetarian Restaurants, Seafood Restaurants, Caterers, Restaurants
Other Information

Parking: Lot, Private

Wi-Fi: No

Bike Parking: Yes

Attire: Casual

Wheelchair Accessible: Yes

Cuisines: Caterers, Mexican, American, Latin American, Seafood, Healthy, Vegetarian

Alcohol: Full Bar

Takes Reservations: Yes

Outdoor Seating: Yes

Price Range : Average

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Provided by Citysearch - 
Comments from an ex-employee

My dad found these reviews and thought they were pretty entertaining to read. I worked at San Carlos during my high school years under a pretty much crazy boss, Lee Jorgenson. Some comments and complaints posted here I agree with, and others I find come from people that had the misfortune of coming in on a bad night.

Yes, it is true that on the weekends they get really, really busy. However, it is absolutely ridiculous to expect to come in on a busy Friday night at 6:30, without a reservation, and expect to be seated right away. The food may take awhile, and they can have enchiladas and chile rellenos up in minutes--if its not busy. The kitchen is incredibly small, and there's going to be a lot of orders in front of yours. Also, its run out of an old house with a few additions, and so space is small.

As for the staff, there are a lot of people taking care of each individual table. The hostess seats you and brings and runs your bill. The busser brings your water, chips, salsa, clears your plates, brings desserts, and non alcoholic drinks. The cocktail waitress gets orders for drinks from the bar, and finally the waitress manages your food orders. This system allows for the staff to take care of a high volume of people. Communication is key with this system, and sometimes does fail. I can't imagine why a table would wait twenty minutes for anyone to take there order, that just seems completely off from the way the place usually is.

The food was generally good, but could be inconsistent depending on whose running the line.

Overall the place is pretty good. I've heard they've recently started a new happy hour deal, and they've been doing special promos on facebook. It can be expensive, but it also depends on what you order. If you want a good experience I suggest making a reservation, especially on the weekends. If you choose to come in on the weekends, or if you don't make a reservation, don't come in at 6:30. Its one of the busiest times of the night. Come in around 5, or later around 7:30.



Provided by Citysearch - 
Lousy Service, don't waste your time or money

I was told about this restaurant by a friend saying that it was a good place for mexican cuisine on the island. We went on a Monday night, so it wasn't very crowded. We were seated right away. However we sat for a while (20 min) before someone came to take our drink order. The waitress that took our order never came back. We had probably 5 different servers throughout the meal taking our order and then bringing us our drinks and food. The experience lasted 2 hours, and we ended up walking up to another person, who seemed to be in charge, and asked them if we could pay to leave. We also got the sense that we were posing an imposition on the service staff... so after a $75 dinner for two we were glad to leave and get out of there... and don't plan on returning. Also, I am well experienced with mexican/southwestern cuisine, and was not impressed with the appetizer and dinner we ordered. So I don't know who would give this restaurant a good review...



Provided by Citysearch - 
Worst customer service ever

Four of us went to the restaurant excited to enjoy a nice meal. We had heard a lot of great things about the restaurant and food. When we arrived it was not too busy, only a couple tables occupied. We were waiting at the front desk and 3 different employees made eye contact with us but did not bother to acknowledge us...that should have been the first sign. We had one gal seat us and give us our menus, we had another gal take our drink order and another take our food order. Throughout the evening we had 5 different gals servicing us. The food was good. I'm not from the Bainbridge Island area, but it's one of few Mexican restaurants from what I hear. Having a nice relaxing meal enjoying the company of each other, we had drinks and then our meal and then ordered dessert. A server brought out some of our desserts (they would not all fit on one tray so a second trip had to be made). Before all of us received our desserts, we received the bill. We thought that was a little odd, but then again the girl that brought our check didn't bring our dessert so maybe she didn't know any better. As soon as a dessert plate was empty someone was there to quickly pick it up along with anything else that was on the table that they could clear. There were no offers for refills on coffee. Two people were still working on dessert and a server came over and said, ""Oh, is there a credit card under there (the bill)."" One person in our party asked, ""Gosh, is there a hurry or something."" The gal replied, ""well yes, actually there are people that have been waiting for your table."" I talked to her on my way out and expressed how rude i thought her comment was. She said she normally wouldn't say that but there were people waiting for half an hour. I'm sorry, was that our problem?! It gave my party a lot to talk about on our drive home and not a place we would recommend to anyone we know.



Provided by Citysearch - 
Incredibly lousy service, don't bother! Definitely avoid on weekend nights!

My wife and I arrived at 6:30 on a Friday evening. We didn't have a reservation and waited 35 minutes to be seated. Don't even bother to show up without a reservation! They must have a section for those without reservations because the tables next to us also arrived without reservations. One waitress took our drink order and 10 minutes later another waitress took our food order. No one server was responsible for our table. We then waited 40 minutes for our food which did not arrive. Chile rellenos and enchildas don't take 40 minutes to prepare. During this time the food waitress never returned to our table. The table next to us was in the same predicament and they had an infant. Finally, we got up to leave. The table next to us decided to leave at the same time. We all walked out together past more unfortunate groups waiting for a tables. I told the hostess that we would like to pay for our drinks, but that we were passing on dinner since we had already waited long enough. Her response, ""we'll really busy tonight and I believe that your food is in the oven."" There was no, I'm sorry. In fact she never apologized. The couple with the infant simply walked out. We left after the hostess didn't seem to care about us paying for our drinks. She simply said, ""you're good."" I worked for many years as a waiter and I know what good service is. To be fair the hostess was barely 18, but shame on the owners for placing an inexperienced person front and center. We have eaten here in the past and the food was reasonably good. The service has always been inconsistent, but this was really bad. There are several very good restaurants on Bainbridge, but this is the only Southwestern Mexican style restaurant on the island. Clearly, if this restaurant had any real competition in this category it would have to seriously improve its service to survive. I'd suggest hiring a few professionals!



Provided by Citysearch - 
Pricey food, fun vibe

This is an island favorite and has been for years. The food and margaritas are quite good for being prepared by a crew of highschool kids, although often overpriced for Mexican. The bar vibe is fun, locals and young people which is a rarity for BI, and the outside patio is a winner in the summer.



Provided by Citysearch - 

I haven't been here, only called for info and the gentleman offered to take us to/from the ferry if it was raining since we're walking from the terminal, now that's taking care of customers!



Provided by Citysearch - 
No resemblance

On recommendation of friend, dined here on fish tacos -their specialty. Sorry to report that it did not resemble any fish taco we ever ate in Mexico or S Calif for that matter. A slice of tuna (changes--sometime monkfish or salmon, what???) inside cold limp flour tortillas. Dressed with a white sauce and shredded orange cheese. Black beans and hot sauce were fine. Orzo completed the plate. Amateurish food and service, but apparently well-intended and popular with locals.



Provided by Citysearch - 
Best Black Beans

the roasted vegtables are perfection....great combo of northwest flavors and REAL mexican cooking. Killer drinks.....try the grapefruit margarita. to die for. please try the carne asada

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