Vegan Food

Who Knew Burien Had New New Mexican?

For our honeymoon, my husband and I went to New Mexico. We visited Santa Fe, Taos, Albuquerque, and Roswell, and we completely fell in love with the food. So when signs went up in a previously vacant space in downtown Burien for a New Mexican restaurant with vegan options—well, we couldn’t wait. Black Zia Cantina opened in September, and it’s a great destination for Seattle-area vegans.

Black Zia Vegan Burrito

Adovada burrito topped with enchilada sauce and green chiles.

They do have vegan and non-vegan options here, so be sure to specify that you want your food vegan. You choose your “meat,” your filling, the way it’s served, whether you want red or green chile, and whether you want it spicy or not.  You can choose from two house-made seitan options: herb-seasoned and roasted (asada), or herb-seasoned, roasted, and simmered in Hatch red chile (adovada). The asada is great, but the adovada is definitely my favorite. They also offer a vegan ground beef in the form of house-made TVP.

Also, if you have never had fry bread, then this is the place to change that. You can opt for a burrito, a stuffed sopapilla, or fry bread. A burrito is never a bad choice, but the fry bread is like a cloud made of carbs. You can’t go wrong with that.

For the fillings, your options are roasted potatoes and vegan cheese, or else beans, forbidden rice, and vegan cheese. Forbidden rice is also known as black rice. Whatever you call it, it’s fantastic, and a nice change of pace. Each New Mexican entree comes with a side of rice and beans, so you can try it no matter which filling you choose.

Your final choice is whether you want red or green chile (or Christmas style, which is both)—and whether you want hot or mild. If you’re uncertain, go with the mild and add a little hot sauce yourself. There are bottles on every table. I loved the hot version, but my dining companion found it too spicy.

They also have corn tortillas, and serve TVP tacos on those during happy hour (weekdays from 4 to 7 PM), but can also use them for entrees for gluten-free folks upon request. I don’t pretend to be a gluten-free expert, though, so call ahead for additional details if you have specific gluten-free needs.

Black Zia Vegan

Adovada on fry bread in the foreground; green chile-topped burrito in the background.

Black Zia Cantina even offers vegan options beyond New Mexican cuisine—including a Reuben, a gyro, a portabella burger, and a veggie burger. I have not tried any of these yet, but the portabella burger sounds enticing enough that I plan to give it a try on my next visit—even though I almost always pass on mushrooms. These all come with fries.

The people here are incredibly friendly and hard-working, and manage to strike just the right balance between leaving you alone and stopping by to check on things, freshen drinks, etc. They have a good tap list (small, but chosen well), and an extensive drink menu. They even offer non-dairy alternatives for certain drinks. But their specialty, naturally, seems to be margaritas. All of them are made with fresh-squeezed juices, and range from the classic margarita to the blackberry habañero.

They opened just last month, and are still working out occasional kinks. We had one meal that had to be re-done because it was made vegan, but topped with non-vegan cheese (the error was caught in the kitchen before it was brought out, thankfully). On an earlier visit, when it came time to pack up our leftovers, they had run out of lids for the to-go cups. My food—and car!—survived the short drive home inside a box, but I don’t think I’ll transport enchilada sauce that way again.

The interior is dark, sleek, and simple. The walls are decorated with work from a local photographer, and they also have flat screen TVs and pool tables. Black Zia Cantina is open to all ages until 8 PM, and is 21 and up after that. They are closed on Wednesdays, but are open from 11 AM to 11 PM on Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday, and from 11 AM to 2 AM on Friday and Saturday. See you there!

Black Zia Cantina
15212 6th Ave SW
Burien, WA 98166
(206) 420-3869

7 thoughts on “Who Knew Burien Had New New Mexican?

  1. This is a heads up to any vegans/vegetarians eating there from now on. I was the chef there until I was fired, along with my wife, in the middle of November. I created all the recipes, which were stolen from me, and was the only one with vegan/veggie experience there. The owner and staff don’t know, or particularly care, about ingredients such as casein , vegan chicken and beef broth among many other things. This is the only post I have made about blk zia since I was let go. I’m not posting this as a vendetta but a warning. I don’t trust them to make proper vegan food for you and think any prospective customers should know. Be sure to ask questions about ingredients, products , brands anything. Be wary, you would be quite offended if you heard the way you were spoken of when I worked there. I just don’t want you to pay good money and get flesh. Thanks, good luck and happy eating.

    • Yikes! Thanks for letting readers know that this has happened. Please let us know if you end up at a new establishment treating folks with your vegan and veggie creations. Good luck Anthony!

    • Thank you for taking the time to tell us about your experience, Anthony! I’m sorry to hear about how you were treated, but appreciate you sharing your behind-the-scenes perspective so that people can be aware.

  2. Thanks Anthony! I went to Black Zia after the original post and it was great. Went a second time more recently and it was definitely different. The menu had changed and the waitress really had no idea what was vegan or what could be made vegan. I figured that there must have been a change in chefs/owners or something,

    • Thanks for reporting back, Violet, and I’m sorry to hear your visit was a disappointment! It’s too bad that a place that originally went out of their way to promote their vegan options changed course so quickly. Between Anthony’s experience and an off-putting Facebook post they made (too close to mocking veganism for my taste), they’ve lost my business permanently. There are plenty of other places to eat.

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