Bongos serves delicious Caribbean food with zero pretensions, and the restaurant, tucked into a triangular plot of land on Aurora, just off Green Lake, is practically a theme-park ride. It's a repurposed 76 station made into a Caribbean playground, with the help of a splash of colorful paint and a thorough reimagining of the space. The best part, obviously, is the sandpit where the gas pumps used to be; even on the dreariest Northwest winter day, the patio furniture and bright plastic shovels and buckets give the restaurant a playful, beachy vibe. Inside, the ceiling is covered in burlap coffee sacks and strings of lights, and aqua highlights liven up what should be, by all rights, a deadly dull building. PAUL CONSTANT
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