El Cartel Casera Mexicana
Fresh Mexican street food, tequilas, mezcals, frozen cocktails and lively vibes.
El Cartel has reached near-mythical status, fanned by their no-booking policy. Right across from sister bar Bon Vivant (where you’ll inevitably end up while waiting for your table) the intimate taqueria feels casual but stylish. The mood is lively; old-school hip hop on the stereo, get-your-hands-dirty street food on the menu, dia de los muertos artwork on the walls and a speciality drinks menu so extensive it should come with a sick note. The menu is compact, fresh and seasonal – daily specials feature on the board and in the grown-up slush puppy machine. Start with fresh guacamole with sheep’s milk cheese and pomegranate, complete with plantain or corn chips; indulge in sinfully delicious street corn; opt for at least one of the vegetarian specials wrapped up in a soft corn tortilla; tuck into a pile of chicken wings. The rest is up to you… but don’t forget the handmade goat's curd and chilli ice-creams either.
- Provides: Vegetarian options (at least ¼ main courses), Children's high chairs, Free wi-fi
- Music on stereo: Mixed playlist
- Capacity: 40
- Largest group: No bookings
- Open since: 2014
- Number of wines sold by the glass: 2
- House wine: £23 per bottle
- BYOB: £5 corkage (Must be purchased from The Bon Vivant's Companion, which closes 8pm Sun–Thu/ 9pm Fri/Sat.)
Reviews & features
Best Mexican restaurants in Edinburgh16 Apr 2018
Get your fill of tacos and tequila at these hitlisted Mexican restaurants
Classic Tex-Mex favourites remain plentiful, but the capital's Mexican scene has taken a turn for the adventurous in recent years. Tacos play a starring role and street food eateries are burgeoning if you need a burrito fix in a hurry.
Restaurant review: El Cartel3 Jun 2015
El Cartel is back from the dead, following a disastrous kitchen fire and lengthy refurb
There’s something folkloric about the tale of El Cartel which perfectly suits this taqueria’s atmosphere. A young, vivacious upstart, cruelly cut down in its prime by fire and smoke. There were tears, sadness and mourning for a time, but then whispers…