Lupe’s Cantia Cardigan Road review - Mexican magic in Leeds’ student heartland

Lupe's Cantina in Cardigan Road.Lupe's Cantina in Cardigan Road.
Lupe's Cantina in Cardigan Road.
Tucked away on Cardigan Road, Lupe’s Cantina is easy to miss.

A family-run business and Rudy, the head chef and owner, was born and raised in Mexico.

It’s housed in a basic but brightly coloured single-storey block next to a builder’s yard. Decking and chairs at the front are a relatively new addition, but certainly weren’t an option on a grey Tuesday evening in June (!) in which the heavens had been well and truly open for several hours.

First impressions?

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Fish and bean tacos at Lupe's Cantina.Fish and bean tacos at Lupe's Cantina.
Fish and bean tacos at Lupe's Cantina.

Warm and welcoming. Bold yellow, blues and oranges cover the walls, with the kitchen fronted by the bar, it has a rustic and homely feel.

The service was friendly and attentive. Despite the aforementioned terrible weather, the place was still half full midweek - the tapas-style dishes making it a good choice for groups.

What’s the menu like?

It’s split up into guacamole and salads, seafood, street food, tacos and enchiladas and larger meat and fish dishes. There’ a page of specials too and all in all, there’s only two dishes that aren’t available on the night.

Beer-wise there are your standard Sol and Corona - but also an impressive selection of specialist Mexican beers. Me and my dining companion have a Ocho Reales Pilsner (£3.90 / 4.6 per cent) which is beautifully sweet and crisp - so much so that we get another each.

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We didn’t sample the margaritas, but my companion had sampled them several times before and assures me they’re great.

Onto the food

The traditional guacamole was a good start; there was a nice sharpness coming from the onion and lime softened by the small chunks of fresh tomato.

We were encouraged to order extra chips to supplement the four that were provided with the dip - a bit cheeky.

The grilled black tiger prawns with garlic and achiote were sweet and smokey with a decent hit of bitter charcoal flavour. Lifted by a squeeze of lime juice at the table.

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The shredded beef in abodo sauce with queso fresco was lovely and rich, though I was expecting the corn masa boat it came in to be a bit crispier.

The fish tacos let the side down a bit. The haddock was well cooked in the crispy batter but the lack of sauce left the whole thing a bit dry. Looking back though, they might have accidentally left off the salsa which was a shame as they were a few condiments away from being memorable.

The sweet potato and black bean vegetarian tacos ordered from the special menu were tasty and generously filled. Heavy on black beans but still managed to be moist and carried a good kick of chilli.

Value for money?

Definitely. Most plates are between £5-£7.


Address: 204 Cardigan Road, LS6 1LF

Telephone: 0113 345 3070

Opening hours: Monday - Thursday: 12pm-3pm and 5pm-9.30pm.

Saturday: 12pm-3pm and 5pm-10.30pm. Closed Sunday



Food 7/10

Value 8/10

Atmosphere 8/10

Service 7 /10

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