Restaurant Review: El Pilón

“Homespun” may have become a ubiquitous term, but at Marta Vega’s 5-month-old restaurant, El Pilón,

By Seattle Mag


August 1, 2010

This article originally appeared in the August 2010 issue of Seattle Magazine.

 With the help of son Luis, Marta Vega realized her dream of cooking the Puerto Rican food her neighbors and family have loved for years.

In a snug space between Columbia City and Hillman City—with room for just six red vinyl booths—families share Vega’s specialty, mofongo, a soulful, comforting mash of plantains and slow-cooked pork ($12.95), before diving into slow-stewed chicken thighs (chicken fricassee, $12.95), the meat pulling away from the bone with just the nudge of a fork. Savory simmered beans arrive alongside a plate of perfectly cooked sweet shrimp in a lightly spicy tomato-laced sofrito sauce ($13.95).

This is seriously cravable food, with one caveat:  Vega does the lion’s share of the cooking, so the wait for food can sometimes stretch. But chances are you’ll be too busy getting to know the friendly locals sitting next to you to mind too much.

Lunch and dinner daily. Columbia City, 5303 Rainier Ave. S; 206.501.8167. ¢ Wheelchair.