Old Town

El Cartel

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This is an old page, so some of the details here may be out of date. Check out Vegan Edinburgh’s city guides for the latest and most accurate information.


El Cartel
15-16 Teviot Place

+44(0)131 370 8189

Overall score: ★★★★☆

Disclaimer: In exchange for this post, Mr B and I dined here free of charge. The opinions expressed in this article remain my own.

El Cartel is a bit of an Edinburgh cult favourite. This Mexican eatery, from the same people who brought you the Bon Vivant and The Devil’s Advocate, serves up delicious Mexican tacos and margaritas from its little restaurant on Thistle Street and its new premises on Teviot Place.

I’ve never had any trouble eating here, because the staff have always been more than happy to veganise dishes as and when I visit. But it seems that El Cartel are now really making a conscious effort to become vegan-friendly, and I was recently asked along by one of the managers to try out their new vegan options.

Vegan food at El Cartel

The menu at El Cartel does not clearly show vegan options (yet) but they are aggressively growing their vegan offering, with a vegan alternative to most of their vegetarian tacos and regular vegan specials.

At the time of writing, these are the best vegan dishes available at El Cartel:

  • Guacamole Guacamole, avocado, pomegranate seeds, plantain chips
  • Taco de puerros Chargrilled leek, mint, lime and fried shallot and pecan salsa
  • Taco de camote Sweet potato, cashews, pumpkin seed, red onion
  • Taco de frijoles The vegan special – Hongos (mushrooms), black bean mole and spinach

There’s also a really lovely vegan-friendly cocktail, Ochoata, made with Ocho Blanco tequila, lime, house horchata made with rice milk, dates, cinnamon, vanilla, ground almonds and sprinkled with nutmeg.

Vegan cocktail at El Cartel Edinburgh
Ochoata cocktail


Vegan Taco De Frijoles at El Cartel Edinburgh
Taco de frijoles


Vegan Taco de puerros at El Cartel, Edinburgh
Taco de puerros


El Cartel Stickers


Vegan Taco de camote at El Cartel, Edinburgh
Taco de camote


Vegan Guacamole and Plantain at El Cartel, Edinburgh
Guacamole and plantain


Vegan Taco de puerros at El Cartel, Edinburgh


Vegan Guacamole and Plantain at El Cartel, Edinburgh


Vegan Taco De Frijoles at El Cartel Edinburgh


Vegan food at El Cartel, Edinburgh


Vegan Taco de camote at El Cartel, Edinburgh


El Cartel Outside

How much does it cost?

As you can see from the pictures above, we pretty much had one of everything. These four dishes were the perfect number for sharing between me and Mr B. The total cost of everything would have come to £34.00, as the tacos cost £6.50 each and the cocktail cost £7.50.

El Cartel also has a daily changing £5.00 taco special available 12 midday until 6 pm, so you might luck out and save on a vegan special depending on the day.

Is it any good?

Of course it is. It’s El Cartel. I must admit, I was a bit skeptical when I heard that I was getting a cocktail of tequila and rice milk, but it was actually really delicious.

The tacos were also really good – each one very different and unique in flavour. I personally enjoyed the taco de camote, while Mr B preferred the colourful and crunchy taco de puerros. The taco de frijoles was also really nice and gave off a delicious fresh scent when it came to the table.

I’ve always been a fan of El Cartel, but now they have a pretty decent vegan offering I really have no excuse to stay away. It would be wonderful if their menus clearly showed these options, but it’s certainly a step in the right direction. If you’re craving some decent Mexican tacos, this is definitely the place to be.

We enjoyed this meal at El Cartel Teviot Place, but there’s also a restaurant at 64 Thistle Street, Edinburgh EH2 1EN. 

Choice: ★★★☆☆
Menu info: ★★★☆☆
Deliciousness: ★★★★★
Value for money: ★★★★☆

El Cartel Opening Hours

These opening hours are correct at the time of writing. For the most accurate times, check El Cartel’s website (linked above).

Please note that El Cartel do not take reservations. Once the restaurant is full, they start a waitlist and will call you forward when a table is available.

Monday 12 midday – 10 pm
Tuesday 12 midday – 10 pm
Wednesday 12 midday – 10 pm
Thursday 12 midday – 10 pm
Friday 12 midday – 12 midnight
Saturday 12 midday – 12 midnight
Sunday 12 midday – 10 pm

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Try some awesome vegan tacos at El Cartel, Edinburgh

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