El Cartel Edinburgh

Image by Fiona Diack

El Cartel – The search is over

On a trip to San Diego 10 years ago my life changed forever. I knew I had to try Mexican food while I was in the city but when a friend suggested fish tacos I was a little suspicious. My experience of Mexican food in the North East of Scotland pretty much began and ended with Chicken Fajitas. Oh, how I was missing out!

I ate fish tacos at least once a day for the entire length of that trip and on my return to Scotland visited every Mexican place I saw to find out if I could get them here. A few years ago I started to find some options but none tasted quite like I remembered the heaven I discovered in San Diego. That was until El Cartel opened.

There’s now two locations in town, but I still prefer the original on Thistle Street. It’s the kind of place you could easily miss and inside, the small space means there’s sometimes a wait for food, especially as they don’t take reservations. It’s so worth the wait though!

The plates are all small, which is perfect for someone like me who wants to try as many things as possible, the Carne Asada, Guacamole and Ceviche are all great but really it’s all about the Baja Cod tacos. The fish and spices are the perfect lightness I remember from San Diego. All dishes are even better when washed down with one of their ever-changing-flavoured margaritas.

My search is over.

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Details about this spot



64 Thistle Street, Edinburgh

Telephone number


Opening Times

Sun - Thu 12:00 - 22:00, Fri - Sat 12:00 - 00:00


Main dish: £ 6.50


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Last Changed Date: 2016-05-19 11:45:13 +0200 (Thu, 19 May 2016)