El Cartel Old Town

El Cartel Old Town
15–16 Teviot Place, Edinburgh, EH1 2QZ
  • Telephone 0131 370 8189
  • Seasonal times Festival: open until midnight all week
  • Food served Sun–Thu noon–10pm; Fri/Sat noon–midnight.
  • Email
  • Website www.elcartelmexicana.co.uk
Photo of El Cartel Old Town

The second branch for the cult taqueria brings more good beats, good food and really good mezcal to Edinburgh's vibrant Mexican scene. Now taking bookings.

Eating & Drinking Guide

The 2019 edition of The List's Eating & Drinking Guide is out now – only £5.95 (+p&p).

The Teviot Place version of El Cartel serves up the same Mexican delights as the original Thistle Street restaurant in a slightly bigger space (15 tables to 10) and – praise the tequila gods – you can now book for this branch. Expect the same funky calaveras (skull art) and Mexican tiles, same hip hop beats. You still have your 80 tequilas, mezcals and agaves, your Mexican beers and your peach or mixed berry Margarita slushies turning slowly in the machines, but after a straight-up Margarita or four you won’t need anything else. Or actually you will – the superb, spicy small plates are a crucial accompaniment. If you’ve never had the bombers – cream cheese balls with jalapeño and black onion seed – then get yourself over there immediately. While you’re there, add some chamoy chicken wings (with apricot and tamarind sauce), some guacamole with plantain chips and at least a couple of smoky tacos and settle in for the evening or, heck, go at lunch and spend the day.

The List's rating
8

Menu

Cooking

Service

Ambience

Appeal

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Megan Welford visited El Cartel Old Town on 15 November 2018
  • High point: The Margaritas or the food? Both
  • Low point: They haven't found the volume button for the stereo here either
  • Notable dish: Guacamole national with plantain chips
  • Average price: £5 lunch special (set lunch); £14 (dinner)
  • Provides: Vegetarian options (at least ¼ main courses), Children's portions, Children's high chairs, Wheelchair access, Free wi-fi
  • Music on stereo: Hip-hop
  • Capacity: 55
  • Largest group: No reservations
  • Open since: 2018
  • Number of wines sold by the glass: 2
  • House wine: £22 per bottle