Lupe's Cantina Leeds review - authentic family run Mexican with margaritas to die for

It doesn't feel right to call Lupe's Cantina a hidden gem.

Sunday, 4th July 2021, 11:45 am

Located on the busy Cardigan Road, it's on the main route into the beating heart of Leeds' student land.

But take a chance on this family run Mexican restaurant, with its shack-like exterior and car park shared with a builders yard, and you'll feel like you've come across something truly special.

The DIY aesthetic only adds to the charm of the place.

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Lupe's Cantina, Cardigan Road.
Lupe's Cantina, Cardigan Road.

It opened in 2016 and Rudy, the head chef, built the bar himself by hand.

Born and raised in Veracruz, Mexico, Rudy has been in the business since childhood and serves his family's traditional recipes, passed down by his mother, the eponymous Lupe.

It's a small building, but there's outdoor seating to the front and side, where we take our seats.

The service is enthusiastic and friendly, with waiting staff, like many of the patrons, drawn from the huge student community nearby.

Lupe's Cantina, Cardigan Road.

We're told that Rudy takes authenticity seriously - most of his ingredients are imported from Mexico, right down to the oregano - and the mescal and tequila, of course.

We choose to go for a selection of dishes, starting with - of course, guacamole and tortilla chips.

The guacamole (£5.45) is thick and fresh and the tortilla chips (£1.75) put any you've had before to shame.

The chicken enchiladas (£9.95) are doused in a black mole sauce, topped with cheese, onion and radish, while the Mexico City Quesadillas (£4.25) are small but tasty.

The grilled black tiger prawns with garlic and achiote (£7.25) are the highlight, chargrilled to smoky and sweet perfection.

Wanting more, we chose the ceviche Veracruz Mixto (£6.25), which includes haddock, shrimp, salsa and a passion fruit serrano broth - as packed with flavour as you'd expect.

There are some fantastic cocktails on offer too, with a quality to price ratio which you'd be hard pressed to beat anywhere in Leeds.

A couple of beers and a magnificent margartia down, we decide to top it off with two tequilas, which are remarkably smooth.

Top-notch, authentic Mexican food at a great price - Lupe's Cantina will not disappoint.

Factfile

Address: 204 Cardigan Road, Burley, LS6 1LF

Telephone:0113 345 3070

Opening hours: Monday, 5pm - 9pm; Tuesday - Thursday, noon till 9pm; Friday and Saturday, noon till 9.30pm; closed Sunday

Website: https://www.lupescantinamexicana.co.uk/

Scores

Food: 8

Value: 9

Atmosphere: 7

Service: 8