The AQUA by El Gaucho experience blends impeccable service and exceptional quality. Our team of talented chefs and dedicated staff provide old school, tableside service for people celebrating their lives. Each ritual, from the greeting at the front door to the fire-dancing desserts, is part of our nod to the past and vision for how fine dining should remain.
El Gaucho was founded by Paul Mackay and is now led by his son, CEO Chad Mackay. Each of the five locations is based on Paul’s original vision and is designed to present guests with a unique, unparalleled service encounter—one in which every single detail is considered an essential element to the overall experience.
Seattle’s original El Gaucho opened in 1953 by Jim Ward; its sister restaurant was the 13 Coins. Paul Mackay opened the Seattle 13 Coins for Mr. Ward and became the General Manager of the original El Gaucho. After Mr. Ward passed, the restaurants were sold off and El Gaucho closed its doors shortly after, in 1985. By that time, Mr. Mackay had already left and ran many restaurants such as Elliott’s, Metropolitan Grill, Yarrow Bay Grill, and opened his own restaurant, the Flying Fish, in 1995 with Christine Keff.
It was Paul’s dream to bring El Gaucho back and did in 1996 at 1st and Wall in Belltown and eventually expanded to include El Gaucho Portland (2000), AQUA by El Gaucho (2000), El Gaucho Tacoma (2002), Inn at El Gaucho (2005) and El Gaucho Bellevue (2008). A new Seattle location opened in 2020 on Western and Blanchard, and another location will be added in Vancouver, WA in 2022.
El Gaucho is part of the Revelers Club collection of iconic Pacific Northwest lodging and restaurants which includes Aerlume, Walla Walla Steak Co. and Crossbuck Brewing.