El Cartel New Town

El Cartel New Town
64 Thistle Street, Edinburgh, EH2 1EN
  • Telephone 0131 226 7171
  • Seasonal times Festival: open until midnight
  • Food served Sun–Thu noon–10pm; Fri/Sat noon–midnight.
  • Email
  • Website elcartelmexicana.co.uk
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Mexican street food with frozen cocktails and a long list of tequilas and mezcals. Walk-ins only.

Eating & Drinking Guide

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

El Cartel’s no-booking policy may mean a while-you-wait apéro over the road at sister venue Bon Vivant, but save a thirst for a Slush Puppy-esque frozen Margarita, perhaps a pretty white peach version, or maybe blackcurrant. Or something from a very long list of tequilas and mezcals. In contrast, El C’s taco-sized Thistle Street tuck-away has a suitably compact food menu: seven options apiece of soft tacos and antojitos (snacks), served when they’re ready. This is stylish street food, all irresistibly Instagrammable, like the fresh guacamole topped with sheep’s milk cheese and pomegranate, served with plantain chips. Other antojitos include fun cream cheese bombers, citrusy and surprisingly chunky ceviche, sweet potato quesadillas, and an immense plate of chicken wings. Tacos include fish fingers of battered Baja cod, pulled pork cousin conchita pibil, and crispy shredded ox tongue, as well as a couple of veggie options such as the beetroot doubler taco de remolacha. And be warned - they love their hip hop … loud!

The List's rating
7.4

Menu

Cooking

Service

Ambience

Appeal

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James Teideman visited El Cartel New Town on 6 March 2019
  • High point: Colourful frozen Maragritas
  • Low point: Music volume might be off-putting for some
  • Average price: £23 (lunch); £23 (dinner)
  • Provides: Vegetarian options (at least ¼ main courses), Children's high chairs, Free wi-fi
  • Music on stereo: Very loud hip-hop
  • 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.)

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