Mighty Mexicana at El Cartel…

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Depending on my mood Mexican is my absolute favourite food. The tacos, tortillas and tequila however, must be dished up right (no ol’ el paso here). Thank God then for El Cartel. One of the newest Mexicana eats-on-the-block in Edinburgh.

el cartel

For a start, it’s an authentic street-food offering. So, it’s going all out with its incredible tacos…and they’re soooooo super tasty .While the food is traditional, it’s sexy too and the dining space is styled to match. It’s hip yet casual, and its vibe is a chilled as its frozen margaritas.


If you know me by now, you’ll know I properly love a margarita…or three. And El Cartel gets ten out of ten.

It was a sad day for me when Tex Mex closed its Thistle Street doors. I have many-a-margarita memory thanks to Fat Donny and his wee empire back then. While, it was good news that the Bon Vivant brigade were taking it over (with BIG plans for an all new Mexican place) it was sad too…end of an era and all that.

Sometimes you need a renaissance though. And, the time is definitely now!


The current menu has nine starters and six tacos. The steak, duck and fish tacos are all piquant chic, making you just want more! While starter dishes like the salmon ceviche – served ‘Mexico city style in soy sauce, cucumber, red onion tomato and avocado’, and the chorizo Quesadillas will definitely make your day.



It’s not a huge menu, which I prefer (being Libran, too much choice is never a good thing!). I did however, find myself contemplating whether I could chomp my way through the whole thing, there and then….hmmm probably, as long as I was sharing. Well, the food is that good.


Don’t forget to sample the chilli-chocolate ice cream either – super tasty, and the perfect end with a bite to a perfect meal. The home-made hot sauce is spot on too.

Arriba Arriba!

Any more Margarita / Mexicana recommendations?


Christmas at the Bon Vivant

Have you been for many Christmas lunches? I haven’t enjoyed as many as usual this year (they’ve been replaced with Christmas kiddy parties) but I’ve still managed to squeeze in a few.

Most memorable has been the Bon Vivant . I had a Christmas get together with a group of old work friends the other week and, after much debate over our meeting destination, we decided to go to Bon V…again (we always end up there).

Now, this (the Thistle Street location) is actually my favourite place to hang out with friends in Edinburgh. It’s such a cool wee place with great drinks on offer and pretty amazing food. There’s just such a lovely ambience too. If you haven’t been yet or are planning a trip to the city, I highly recommend it for drinks…or food…or both!

It was a treat to sample its Christmas menu – you got three courses for £17 and each dish was a WOW. Bon V is famous for offering its starters and sweets as ‘bite’ servings, as well as normal size – ‘allowing you to pick and choose tapas style’. It’s so you can try out all of its menu if you wish. I LOVE this foody concept and Friday night’s with the girls here always involves loads of these tasty bites washed down with a perfect white and, great chat (of course).

So, it was very exciting to be served up a ‘bite’ platter for our starter – check this out. They were all sooo good but if I had to pick the pork belly was my fave.


I had the cod for my main along with a couple of the girls and, two had the pheasant. I’d love to be able to share these dishes too but, erm…they were so good, we got carried away and forgot to capture the moment. Apols. Here are two of the amazing desserts though.

IMAG1538Chocolate Tarte with Yummy Honeycomb Stuff

IMAG1535White Choc Cheesecake with Orange

It certainly beat turkey and all the trimmings! The Picpoult de Pinet was the ideal wine match and, the catch up was lovely too. We even agreed it would become a time honored tradition – same time, same place, every year. So that’s nice isn’t it?!

Thanks to Susie for organising. And, we missed your wee face VMB!

Do you have any Christmas traditions with friends? Do you keep in touch with old work pals?